The eyes are the equipment we use to read and track words on a page. It’s like playing basketball with a flat ball. You have the equipment, but you can’t play the game because your equipment isn’t working properly. It is the same concept with reading. If you have a child whose eyes do not track properly, reading, writing, and spelling is challenging and almost impossible. Students who cannot hold their eyes perfectly still for a 1/4 second cannot perceive the detail necessary to distinguish a word or group of words while reading, even if they have good visual acuity.
One possible way to correct this issue is for parents or therapists to perform visual exercises to train the brain and the eyes to work together. Many schools check for visual acuity, but do not screen for visual skills that include tracking, focusing, or perceptual skills. Educators may think a student struggling in school is linked with intelligence, when the student is actually struggling with visually processing the information in front of them.
In some cases, children may say they are seeing double vision or they see words move or jump on a page. This may lead to parents mistaking their children for having visual disorders such as dyslexia because they have 20/20 vision with or without corrective lenses, but still have trouble with reversing words, letters, and numbers.
If a child requires an evaluation, therapists or education specialists may check your child for visual processing issues. If an issue is detected, visual exercises may strengthen the muscles of the eyes to help them track words on a page, visualize words correctly, and help them focus on the information they need to process.