Children, Vision & Learning Problems

Did you know…

  • 80 percent of everything a child learns, understands, and remembers is acquired through vision?1
  • Vision problems are the fourth most prevalent class of disability in the United States and one of the most prevalent conditions in childhood?2
  • Recent studies estimate that 64 percent of children age five and younger have never had their vision screened by a healthcare professional?1
  • An estimated 40-67 percent of children identified with vision problems during school screenings do not receive the recommended follow-up care by an eye care professional?3

Vision and learning are closely connected, yet the vision screenings done at schools are not sufficient enough to diagnose eyesight problems that children often have.  Reading the 20/20 line in an eye exam is only one of 17 visual skills needed for learning.4

“Having 20/20 eyesight does not mean that a child has perfect vision; it means that they see clearly at a distance of 20 feet. There are many components of good vision including near vision tasks such as reading, doing written assignments, or computer work. In addition, the ability to read requires the eyes to work as a team and to both move appropriately to gather accurate information. A comprehensive eye exam evaluates these skills and a number of additional skills that are critical to a child’s ability to learn.” —Vision Council “Making the Grade?” 2009 Study

Signs that your child may have or experience vision problems are4:

  • Squinting, closing or covering one eye
  • Constantly holding materials close to the face
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Rubbing eyes repeatedly
  • One or both eyes turn in or out
  • Redness or tearing in eyes

Correctable vision issues can be misdiagnosed as learning disabilities, ADHD, or even dyslexia.

“A child with undetected vision problems may display an inability to pay attention in class or follow written instructions, miss words that they know, or avoid near-viewing work altogether. While these symptoms may indicate a learning difficulty, eye experts note that these symptoms could also indicate an undetected vision problem. Given the similarities, it is important for children to receive an eye exam to rule out a vision problem prior to receiving an individual education plan (IEP).”—Vision Council “Making the Grade?” 2009 Study

At Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region, we start doing children’s comprehensive eye exams at age 6.  If you think your child may have a vision challenge, please call us to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at (518) 274-3123.


1. USA. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Visual Impairment and Use of Eye-Care Services and Protective Eyewear Among Children. By M. F. Cotch. 17th ed. Vol. 54. 2002. 425-429.

2. USA. National Institutes of Health. National Eye Institute. Vision in Preschoolers Study. NEI Clinical Studies.

3. Donahue, Sean P., Tammy M. Johnson, and Thomas C. Leonard-Martin. “Screening for amblyogenic factors using a volunteer lay network and the MTI PhotoScreener: Initial results from 15,000 preschool children in a statewide effort.” Ophthalmology 107.9 (2000): 1637-644.

4. USA . Vision Council. Making the Grade? 2009 Study.

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