Learning disabilities not caused by vision problems, according to research

July 28, 2009

No scientific evidence supports the view that subtle eye or visual problems cause learning disabilities, according to a revised policy statement on learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision issued by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

San Francisco-No scientific evidence supports the view that subtle eye or visual problems cause learning disabilities, according to a revised policy statement on learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision issued by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

The revised statement, which the AAO issued with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and the American Association of Certified Orthoptists, expands on the previous policy and includes extensive scientific references.

“Dyslexia and learning disabilities are complex problems that have no simple solutions,” said Sheryl Handler, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist who helped revise the statement. “This policy statement applies the available evidence to develop recommended steps for the best possible outcome for children with these disabilities. We hope that the statement will be helpful for the physicians who play an important role in the care of children with learning disabilities.”

The policy states that numerous studies have shown that children with dyslexia or related learning disabilities have the same visual function and ocular health as children without such conditions. Altered visual function is not a cause of most reading disabilities, according to the statement.

The statement also notes that no scientific evidence supports the use of vision therapy or tinted lenses or filters as effective direct or indirect treatments for learning disabilities. No valid evidence exists that children participating in vision therapy are more responsive to educational instruction than children who do not participate, according to the organizations.

Related Content:

News | Pediatrics | Optometry