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Is your “20/20 vision” child still struggling in school?

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

While 20/20 vision is considered "normal" or "good" vision, it does not necessarily guarantee optimal visual abilities for learning in the classroom. Here are a few reasons why 20/20 vision may not be sufficient enough to keep your child from struggling in school:

  • Visual Acuity vs. Visual Skills: 20/20 vision refers to visual acuity, which is the ability to see clearly at a standard distance. However, vision encompasses more than just clear eyesight. Visual skills such as eye teaming, focusing, tracking, and visual perception are essential for efficient reading, writing, and comprehending visual information in the classroom. Even with 20/20 vision, a child may still have difficulties with these visual skills, impacting their learning experience.

Visual Acuity Chart
  • Eye Teaming and Binocular Vision: Eye teaming, also known as binocular vision, refers to both eyes' coordinated movement and alignment. It allows for single, clear, and comfortable vision. Some children may have difficulties with eye teaming, leading to eye strain, double vision, or poor depth perception. These issues can affect their ability to read and write for extended periods, causing eye fatigue and reduced concentration.

Example of Visual Posture

  • Focusing Ability: Clear vision at various distances is important in the classroom, where students frequently shift their focus between the board, their books, and their desks. Accommodative (focusing) problems can affect a child's ability to maintain clear vision at different distances, leading to eyestrain, blurred vision, or difficulties sustaining focus for extended periods.

Raise hand in classroom

  • Visual Tracking: Visual tracking refers to the ability to smoothly and accurately move the eyes across a line of text or follow a moving object. Students need efficient visual tracking skills for reading, copying from the board, or tracking objects during sports activities. Challenges with tracking can lead to skipping words or lines, losing their place while reading, or difficulties with following instructions.

Right eye tracking

  • Visual Perception: Visual perception involves the brain's ability to interpret and make sense of visual information. This includes visual discrimination, memory, and spatial awareness skills. Even with 20/20 vision, a child may struggle with visual perception difficulties, affecting their ability to recognize shapes, letters, or patterns accurately.

visual spatial perception

  • Visual Processing Speed: Visual processing speed refers to how quickly the brain processes and interprets visual information. Students must rapidly process visual information in the classroom, such as recognizing letters, words, or other visual cues. A slower visual processing speed can impact a child's ability to keep up with the pace of classroom activities and can hinder their overall learning experience.

visual perception in brain

It is important to recognize that vision is a complex system involving various visual skills. While 20/20 vision is essential to visual health, it does not provide a complete picture of a child's visual abilities. If your child is struggling academically and was already told their vision is perfect, a second opinion by a Developmental Optometrist will dive deeper into the functionality of the visual system.


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