To help raise awareness during Dyslexia Awareness Week in October we put together a fact-sheet to provide information about the relationship between Dyslexia and vision.
Our Market Harborough Optometrist Peter Warren is specially trained and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of visual problems associated with learning difficulties and dyslexia, and has helped many children
and adults during his forty something years of experience. Should you require any further information, or have any concerns about someone you know who may benefit from a thorough eye examination in relation to vision and learning difficulties please contact us.
For more information about dyslexia and ‘National Dyslexia Awareness Week’ you can visit the British Association of Dyslexia website at www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
Key Facts About Dyslexia and Vision
- Dyslexia is a common problem
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning difficulties, estimated to affect around 1 in 20 in England. Dyslexia is perhaps up to 3x more common in boys and a dyslexic tendency can run in families.
- There's no connection between dyslexia and intelligence
A child with average intelligence and mild dyslexia will most likely be more skilled at reading than a child with high intelligence and severe dyslexia.
- It’s not just about mixing up your ‘b’s’ with your ‘d’s’
Whilst this will be a problem with many with dyslexia, the most common manifestation is difficulty recognizing words, but poor oral reading characterized by substitutions, omissions, additions and reversal of sounds, letters, syllables or full words, is also common amongst most.
- Vision plays an important part in reading and learning
First of all children must have crisp, sharp eyesight in order to see the print clearly. Unfortunately, this is all a basic vision screening is designed to check, and children's vision involves so much more. For success in school, children must also be able to coordinate their eye movements as a team. They must be able to follow a line of print without losing their place. They must be able to maintain clear focus as they read or make quick focusing changes when looking up to the board and back to their desks. And, they must be able to interpret and accurately process what they are seeing. If children have inadequate visual skills in any of these areas, they can experience great difficulty in school, especially in reading.
- Slow visual processing is common in dyslexia
Studies have shown that poor visual processing plays a significant role in a large majority of people who struggle to read. Several studies have shown those with Dyslexia process visual information more slowly than other children.
- An eye examination can play a vital part in diagnosing and treating specific visual problems associated with dyslexia
A specialized examination by an optometrist trained to diagnose and treat visual problems associated with specific learning difficulties, can determine if special vision based therapies can help a child’s struggle with reading. For instance up to 10% of children can be helped by eye exercises and a large proportion by the use of colour.
- Visual Stress is often found in people with dyslexia
Visual Stress, sometimes called Meares-Irlen syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity syndrome, is manifested as distortion, flickering or wobbling of print that persists even when any conventional optical problem is corrected. In Visual Stress, these symptoms can be stopped or reduced by the use of coloured spectacle lenses.
- A very specific colour can make a big difference
There is scientific evidence that coloured lenses can improve reading speed and comprehension, when there is Visual Stress, but the very best colour is individual and needs to be selected with precision for each person. This can be done with a specialized instrument called an Intuitive Colorimeter.