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Visual Problems & Dyslexia

Eye problems themselves are not a cause of dyslexia, however they can be a contributory factor to the reading and writing difficulty.

There are two particular visual problems that seem to occur more often in dyslexics than in non dyslexics:

1. Difficulty maintaining focus at near tasks
2. Poor co-ordination of the two eyes

Because of this it is important that those who have the symptoms of, or are assessed as having a specific reading difficulty, undergo a
Pre-Overlay Vision Assessment to check for the above two anomalies.

Pre-Overlay Vision Assessment:
This is a detailed investigation that is concentrated on checking near vision focusing and co-ordination.

It is preceded by a standard Eye Examination.

The assessment checks for:

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Latent Hyperopia (long sightedness): drops are instilled which prevent the focusing muscles from temporarily working for a few hours. This allows any residual hyperopia to be unmasked. Moderate and large degrees of latent Hyperopia can be missed during a routine examination, particularly in young children, as they are able to mask it due to very active muscle activity.

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Accommodative Insufficiency: The eyes ability to change its internal lens power (accommodate) is measured. An inability to accommodate or maintain accommodation will lead to near vision fatigue and blur.

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Binocular Co-Ordination: if the two eyes do not work in conjunction with one another a binocular instability is said to be present. Co-ordination problems are fairly common, but are frequently missed. Measurement of the severity and type of instability is undertaken and a treatment plan is formulated to correct or manage it. Most binocular co-ordination problems respond well to a combination of eye exercises, spectacles and prisms.

The correction of any underlying visual problems can often dramatically reduce symptoms in many individuals who are struggling with reading and writing. However those who are still having difficulties, or those in whom the pre-overlay Assessment did not identify any anomalies, are recommended to have a Coloured Overlay Assesment.
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