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The Way Functional Vision Impact Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Reading, writing, and arithmetic constitute the bedrock of our educational structure, forming the essential skills for your child’s success in school. However, Functional Vision Problems can significantly influence all three.

Functional vision problems represent issues not easily detected by standard school vision screenings, yet they can deeply impact your child’s academic and social life. Here’s a detailed look at how these problems can affect your child’s performance in the fundamental areas of reading, writing, and arithmetic:



Functional vision problems impact reading in two significant ways:

During the learning-to-read phase, a severe vision issue can hinder a student’s ability to recognize and remember numbers and letters, affecting their comprehension of what they’re studying. Consequently, a budding reader might struggle to keep up with peers who are mastering this skill.

When a student is reading to learn but experiences blurry or double vision, their capacity to sustain reading for extended periods and comprehend the material is significantly diminished. This impedes their ability to process information swiftly, leading to falling behind their classmates.

It’s crucial to differentiate between “learning to read” and “reading to learn.” The latter requires comprehension, which heavily relies on proficient visual skills. Dysfunctional vision can profoundly affect this aspect. For instance, if a student perceives words on the page as blurry or doubled, they must exert extra effort to maintain clarity, negatively impacting comprehension.

In both scenarios, students with vision problems devote most of their time decoding words. Instead of reading smoothly and grasping the message as a whole, they concentrate on individual words. This struggle makes it challenging to swiftly process text sections.



If a student struggles to perceive things clearly and singly, they might encounter difficulties in deciphering decimals and signs. Proficiency in math demands the ability to organize written content, and poor visual skills can impede a student’s capacity to align and maintain their place effectively.

Understanding laterality and directionality holds significance in math. If a student misinterprets the orientation of numbers, they’ll likely encounter challenges in problem-solving.

Students lacking visualization skills often resort to counting on their fingers or verbalizing sequences, finding it challenging to mentally process information. Though they can eventually compute answers given time, they often perform poorly in timed tests.

Understanding the concept and significance of numbers, alongside the ability to mentally visualize quantities, are pivotal for success in math and may be affected if a child has vision issues.

It’s worth noting that a child experiencing vision problems might excel in math but struggle with reading, primarily because math doesn’t demand as much sustained visual focus as reading does.



Writing encompasses both handwriting and compositional skills. For handwriting to be effective, vision must guide the hand—a task made challenging if the student has poor vision. In fact, handwriting often reveals where a student paused or grew fatigued due to difficulties in seeing.

Several crucial vision-related skills necessary for proficient handwriting might be underdeveloped in a student with vision issues.

Inadequate peripheral awareness can lead to challenges in writing in a straight line on a page. Visualization plays a pivotal role in handwriting as students need to recall what various words look like to reproduce them accurately. Spatial understanding is crucial in planning how words will fit together on paper. Strong laterality and directionality are essential for distinguishing similar-shaped letters in different orientations (e.g., b, d, p, q). Visualization also significantly impacts compositional writing, as students must mentally organize and rearrange their compositions. Visual recall, which involves creating mental images based on past visual experiences, is a critical skill in spelling. It enables students to visualize words without actually seeing them when spelling.



After reviewing these issues, it’s evident that there might be some overlap in certain areas. Your child could potentially experience various functional vision problems, causing a ripple effect across their academic pursuits. Click here for a complimentary consultation.

To identify the specific types of vision issues your child might be facing, seek advice from a developmental optometrist for a comprehensive functional vision assessment.

The initial step involves arranging a functional vision evaluation to gauge the extent to which vision difficulties are impacting your child’s challenges. Following the completion of the tests, we’ll schedule a separate appointment to discuss the results and provide recommendations for a tailored program.

To schedule an appointment, click here or reach us at +603-76138468.


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