Learning Related Visual Problems (LRVP)

The number one condition that we address in my practice are children who are having difficulties learning and achieving their potential in school and the primary cause of their problems is a visual development problem. The prevalence of these conditions is 20-23% of the general population and as many as 93% of those identified under public law 94-142 as requiring extra help in school.

Children with LRVP's have visual development problems in three general areas. 78% have a tracking or ocular motor dysfunction which is affecting their ability to keep their place or to move their eyes from place to place across the page. By the age of six and a half a child should be able to track or follow a moving target in front of them without moving their head. This developmental milestone of learning to separate the movement of the eyes from the movement of the head and upper body is essential in learning to read and write. Fortunately this is one of the easiest visual developmental problems to diagnose and to treat. Clinically we see a child who loses his or her place, moves their head when reading, uses a finger to help keep their place, and is often a child who is clumsy.

63% of the children have problems using their two eyes together. The general condition is called a binocular dysfunction with convergence insufficiency being the most prevalent specific diagnosis we see in practice. Children with this problem often have short attention spans, fatigue rapidly, the quality of their work declines rapidly over time, and they may rub their eyes and complain of headaches.

58% of the children have problems focusing their eyes and harnessing their visual attention skills/abilities for long enough to get their work done in a timely manner. This problem is called an accommodative insufficiency or it may be an accommodative infacility.

Obviously many children have combinations of these three problems: tracking, teaming or focusing. I am quite proud of our very high success rate in helping these children.

For those interested in further reading, here is a link to the 5-year research program I served as principle investigator on the study: Learning-Related Visual Problems in Baltimore City: A Long-Term Program