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Visual training

‘Developmental’ optometrists believe that many forms of specific learning difficulty, particularly specific reading difficulty, are primarily due to visual impairment. For this reason they may undertake long and complex eye examinations and prescribe eye exercises (visual training) to improve the way the eyes work.

Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have stated that there is no evidence that such treatments have any beneficial effect on a child with a specific learning difficulty, and that they may cause unnecessary expense and delay appropriate help for the child.

A child with a specific learning difficulty should have a conventional eye examination by an ophthalmologist (an eye specialist) to exclude conditions such as long-sightedness or short-sightedness that may aggravate the child’s difficulties. Such visual problems may make it difficult for a child to see letters clearly; however, eye defects are not responsible for difficulties such as reversal of letters, words, or numbers. These errors do not originate in the eyes, but in the brain.

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