Fernette and Brock Eide are two well educated and highly respected physicians who set the tone for how to help children who have undetected or untreated vision problems impeding learning and development. Fernette Eide, MD, is a Magna Cum Laude graduate with highest departmental honors from Harvard-Radcliffe college. She has been on the Neurology faculties of the University of Washington and the University of Chicago School of Medicine. Brock Eide, MD, MA, is a Phi Beta Kappa and Honors Society graduate of the University of Washington, and U. of Washington School of Medicine. He completed post-doctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Eides have lectured widely and published extensively in the fields of gifted education, learning disabilities, and twice exceptionalities such as giftedness and dyslexia, and served as consultants to the President’s Council on Bioethics. In the September/October 2009 issue of 2e, the Eides take aim at the bias of organizational policy statements and their colleagues who confuse the public about the role of vision in learning problems in general, and dyslexia in particular.
What the Eides have to say is so important that I want to quote the essence of it here for you directly: “Visual problems do appear to be common in children with dyslexia. We base this answer on research findings in available scientific literature and on our own professional experiences in working with hundreds of dyslexic children. A substantial proportion of dyslexic children, we believe between 60 and 80 percent, do show important visual difficulties …. In spite of this research, the claim that visual dysfunction plays little or no role in the reading challenges that dyslexics face has recently received broad circulation. A statement supporting this claim was issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the August, 2009 edition of the journal Pediatrics.“
The Eides conclude their powerful message with the following: “The bottom line is that visual problems are common, though not universal in children who struggle to read; and visual therapy can help address visual problems. A good visual examination is an important part of the workup of every struggling reader. Visual specialists differ in their expertise about the complex dynamic functions needed in reading. In general, the most appropriate specialist to do a thorough exam is a developmental optometrist, an optometrist who is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, or FCOVD. To find local practitioners, visit http://www.covd.org.”
I encourage you to order issue #36, September/October 2009 of the 2e Newsletter not only for the article by the Eides, but for an excellent companion article on vision and learning authored by our colleague and Past-President of COVD, Dr. Nancy Torgerson.