Teacher’s Guide to Vision

Approximately 80 percent of learning is done through vision, and 60 percent of students who are identified as having a “learning difficulty” have vision problems that are undetected.

Teacher’s Guide to Vision in Olympia

 

American Family Vision Clinic

In many cases, students that appear to be showing signs of learning disabilities are actually suffering from a vision problem. It is estimated that more than 10 million school age children in the United States suffer from vision problems that can impair their learning capabilities.

For educators, who play a vital role in the success of their students, it is important to be able to correctly recognize any problems that might impact their students’ ability to learn so they can be addressed.

Important Things for Teachers to Know About Students’ Vision

In order to properly recognize vision problems among their students, a teacher needs to know just how linked vision and learning are.

Approximately 80 percent of learning is done through vision, and 60 percent of students who are identified as having a “learning difficulty” have vision problems that are undetected.

Just because a child can read the eye chart in an on-school vision screening does not mean they have perfect vision. In fact, some of the most crucial aspects of learning and academic performance, including reading, require good near vision, which those screenings do not test for.

Important Things for Teachers to Know About Students’ Vision
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Please fill out the following checklist to reflect your child or student’s experiences which will provide our behavioural optometrist with a better understanding of your possible concerns pertaining to your child or student’s visual abilities. Rate the following symptoms or scenarios on a scale of 0-4 as it most suitably applies to the patient.

0 = never

1 = rarely

2 = sometimes

3 = frequently

4 = always

 

The child or caretaker can fill out the questionnaire. If possible, it is recommended for the child to participate, however having a parent or teacher answer the following questions is also a great option.


never (0)rarely (1)sometimes (2)frequently (3)always (4)
Do you have a hard time gauging distance accurately?
Do you avoid reading or work that requires material to be up close?
Do you get headaches from work that is close up?
Do you experience motion sickness?
Do you not enjoy sports or find that you have inconsistent performance when participating in sports?
Do you notice that you have to sit close to the computer to see?
never (0)rarely (1)sometimes (2)frequently (3)always (4)
Do you skip or repeat lines?
Do you see double or blurry?
Do you feel exhausted?
Do you tilt your head or close an eye?
Do you skip small print when reading?
Do you have difficulty with reading comprehension?
Do you read very close up?
Do you find that it is hard to pay attention when reading?
Do you notice that you need to use your finger or something else to keep your place?
Is it easier if you close one eye?
Do you have better reading comprehension when someone else reads to you?
never (0)rarely (1)sometimes (2)frequently (3)always (4)
Do you find yourself re-reading in order to understand it?
Is it hard to remember what you read?
never (0)rarely (1)sometimes (2)frequently (3)always (4)
Do you confuse or reverse numbers/ letters?
Do you write on an upward or downward slant?
Do you have a hard time writing down answers and you find it easier to answer orally?
never (0)rarely (1)sometimes (2)frequently (3)always (4)
Do you struggle with time management?
Do you say “I can’t do it” before attempting to do so?
Do you bump into things and knock them over?
Do you tend to lose things?
Do you get frustrated often?
Do one or both of your eyes tend to wander in/ out/ up/ down?
never (0)rarely (1)sometimes (2)frequently (3)always (4)
Do you have a hard time with homework overall?
Is it challenging turning in projects on time?
Do you find it difficult to remember things?
Do you have a hard time looking down at your desk to copy notes from a board?
Do you misnumber rows or columns of numbers?
Do you have a hard time in math class?
Do you benefit from extra help?

20-24 points = suspect for binocular vision problem 

> 25 points or more = refer for developmental eye exam

 

If a child has multiple symptoms or any symptom that occurs always, the child should be assessed by our developmental optometrist. If you are unsure whether the symptoms require a developmental eye exam, please complete this form and our Certified Optometric Vision Therapist will assess the results and contact you with a recommendation of the next steps to take. 

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Do Not Rely on In-School Vision Screenings

In addition to the limitation mentioned above, there are other reasons not to rely on these vision screenings. They are not true diagnostic exams, and will not identify many vision problems, such as issues with eye focusing, eye tracking, and depth perception. They are also not usually carried out by eye care professionals.

Vision screenings provide less than 4% of the information generated during a comprehensive eye exam and miss up to 75% of children with vision problems. (American Optometric Association)

Only proper eye exams by a developmental optometrist can be relied on to determine whether or not a child has vision issues which may affect their learning capabilities.

What Should Teachers Be Looking For?

There are many signs that can signify that one of your students might be experiencing vision difficulties. These include:

  • Sprinting eyes
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension and reading in general
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Frequent head tilting, or covering of one eye
  • Regular headaches
  • Holding reading material very close to their face, or using a finger to mark their place
  • Issues with focus or concentration
Important Things for Teachers to Know About Students’ Vision
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Another Way to Help Your Students

Teachers already help their students in many ways. Being able to correctly identify when a learning issue might be vision related is just one more way you can help them achieve their full potential in the classroom. Teachers may be in the best position to detect a child’s learning-related vision problems. Learn how to identify them so students can correct them and excel in the classroom.

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