Vision problems impact reading and learning…a focus for optometry’s next generation of doctors


The research is abundant and the evidence is clear…visual efficiency problems impact reading and learning. In addition to good visual acuity (eye sight), the American Optometric Association (AOA) defines visual efficiency problems as dysfunctions of visual skills involving binocular vision (eye teaming), accommodation (eye focusing) and/or oculomotor (eye tracking) abilities as well as eye hand coordination and visual perception. The AOA defines these visual skills needed for school success. Problems associated with these areas are usually developmental delays or associated with a neurological event, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury and can be effectively treated with office-based vision therapy.

For over 10 years it has been my honor and privilege, as an Adjunct Clinical Professor at Michigan’s College of Optometry at Ferris State University (MCO),  to present to the 3rd year optometry students on developmental vision and rehabilitation. With the gracious permission of Dr. Mark Swan, Professor of Pediatrics and Developmental Vision at MCO, on October 26, 2018, it was my pleasure to lecture along with my 2 residents, Dr. Jamie Jacobs and Dr. Kelsey Starman in Dr. Swan’s Developmental Vision Course.

Our lecture was entitled: Vision Problems that Impact Reading and Learning. The emphasis in our lecture was to go beyond the academics of these complex issues and  provide a level of appreciation for the important role the doctor has of integrating the science and art of vision therapy/rehabilitation in a private practice to obtain the best outcomes for patients.

Our lecture  involved 3 cases reports of patients treated by the doctors and vision therapists in our practices. Included were the “before” and “after” visual clinical findings as well as reading performance on a variety of standardized reading tests. In addition, each case report included three separate published papers in peer reviewed journals citing the connection between visual efficiency problems and/or the proven results of office-based vision therapy on treating visual efficiency problems involving binocular vision dysfunction, accommodative dysfunction and/or oculomotor dysfunction.

Therefore, in this lecture we presented not just 1 research paper but 9 research papers from around the world that shows the connection between visual efficiency problems and reading/learning problems.

Click here to download a pdf copy of our lecture.Vision problems that impact reading and learning

For addition information, including videos, books, white papers, research and more check out the VisionHelp Vision and Learning Project

Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD

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