How does vision affect reading?

Published on
November 8, 2022

80% of a child's learning takes place through their eyes, yet 1 in 4 children in the United States has some sort of vision problem that impacts their school performance.

Vision is an integral part of everything we do in life. It is therefore so important to take care of our eyes. All our actions are guided by our vision. The act of seeing is not just sensory, but motor as well. In our early stages of life, we rely on our motor system to help develop our visual system, which is responsible for developing eye coordination, identifying objects, and recognizing things that matter. Everything, from school work to sports and social interactions, is directed by vision.

What are the different visual conditions that may affect academic performance?

Vision is extremely important in the classroom. In order to read, you have to be able to look at words and put the words together. You must be able to move your eyes in such a way that you can read fluently and comprehend what you are reading. Furthermore being able to focus on things at close, such as notes or reading materials, then transition to the board at far requires a high functioning visual system. 

It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 school aged children have a vision deficiency that makes it challenging to learn and read in the classroom.

  • Eye coordination problems - Reading can be challenging if you have problems with fixation and eye coordination. If your eyes are not moving together in a coordinated manner, you will often lose your place while reading. And it will take your eyes quite a bit more time to maintain an adequate reading speed.  If students use their fingers or a ruler to find their place, then you could reasonably assume that they have difficulty with eye coordination.
  • Convergence insufficiency - Convergence insufficiency is one of the most common functional vision problems with estimates that it impacts 4.2% to 17.6% of the general population. Convergence insufficiency is a highly treatable condition which makes it hard to keep your eyes focused for extended periods of time when looking at things up close. Children who have convergence insufficiency will have to exert a great deal more effort to focus. In turn, this can lead to chronic fatigue and frequent headaches, which can lead to irritability and acting out in class. Other symptoms include  eye strain, double vision, blurred vision at near, eye fatigue, print moving on page, and frequent loss of place when reading.
  • Close vision difficulty - People who are farsighted (meaning they have difficulty seeing near objects) will have difficulty reading. When a child is farsighted, they are likely to complain of blurry vision, squint frequently, and rub their eyes constantly.
  • Double vision - Double vision can be caused by many factors including a convergence issue, differing prescriptions in each eye, astigmatism, misaligned eyes (strabismus) among other conditions. When a child is seeing double they may not know that this is abnormal or how to describe what they are seeing, making it difficult to identify. If a child is seeing double they are forced to exert much more energy in order to see clearly. Typically children in this situation will fight about doing homework or reading, they may also become very tired after reading or a long day at school.
  • Short attention span - A short attention span can be caused by vision problems that affect reading ability, as is to be expected. When a task is more challenging, a child is likely to dislike it and tolerate it for a shorter period of time.

What is a developmental vision exam? 

Unlike a comprehensive eye exam, a developmental vision exam is a much more in depth evaluation that looks at all elements of a child's visual development and the level of visual development that is required for the demands of their age. A developmental optometrist will conduct a functional eye exam to look beyond just acuity/clarity, and look for the patient’s ability to use their eyes to receive information, process it, and to efficiently use that information.

Schedule a pediatric eye exam in Long Beach CA

Visual skills are crucial for your child's academic success. A visual condition can cause your child to struggle with reading and writing in a classroom. Your children's eye health is our top priority. Pediatric patients visit our clinic from all over California, and we are proud to be a leading provider of pediatric eye care services including developmental eye exams and vision therapy for patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles. You can schedule a developmental vision exam by calling at (562) 925-6591.


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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