It may be your eyes:
How Binocular Vision Affects School Performance

How Binocular Vision Affects School Performance

For young children, a huge part of their learning – about 80%, in fact – is visual. Before children even make it to school, they’ve learned to do things such as read facial cues to determine if their actions are good or bad. When kids begin school, their visual system is taxed even more as they learn to read. Unfortunately for those with Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD), reading can be very difficult, and those that don’t receive the proper treatment for this and other binocular vision disorders will soon be left behind when it comes to their schooling.

What Is the Pictorial Superiority Effect?

Like it or not, the majority of us are visual learners. This is because over 50% of our brain power is dedicated to interpreting the images being taken in by our eyes. While some fare better than others when it comes to auditory learning, in the end, vision beats out all the other senses in regard to learning. This is a phenomenon known as the pictorial superiority effect (PSE).

Simply stated, we learn much better when there’s a visual component integrated into the teaching process. Instructors who incorporate visual aids into their lesson plans, for example, are generally much more effective at getting through to students than their colleagues who rely solely on auditory learning.

When Binocular Vision Is Compromised

In general, when people think of vision and vision testing, they tend to picture the standard eye chart we’re all asked to read when we go to the eye doctor. This chart, also known as the Snellen chart, is used to measure visual acuity. However, there’s more to good vision than just being able to clearly see letters on this chart from a distance.

Another important component of sight is binocular vision, which refers to the eyes’ ability to work together as a team. In people who have good binocular vision, the eyes work in tandem and are perfectly in sync at all times, which allows them to send one clear, focused picture to the brain. Those who have faulty binocular vision, on the other hand, do not work smoothly together and are not perfectly synchronized – they struggle to see one clear image. The brain cannot tolerate these blurred, shadowed or doubled images, and works so hard to correct the problem that the muscles that aim the eyes often become strained, which leads to the symptoms of BVD, including headaches and dizziness, reading difficulties and problems focusing.

Binocular Vision Dysfunction & ADHD

In addition to the troubling symptoms of BVD, children can also have behavioral issues generally associated with ADD/ADHD. Unfortunately, because these conditions often overlap, kids with BVD are often misdiagnosed as having ADD/ADHD. As a result, they never receive the correct treatment and their school performance continues to suffer as they struggle to read and write while dealing with the effects of this condition.

See a Binocular Vision Specialist

At Vision Specialists of Michigan, our doctors have the necessary specialized training and equipment to properly diagnose and treat BVD. If your child is struggling in school and has anxiety and vision problems, BVD could be the culprit. Contact us today at (248) 258-9000 to schedule a Neuro Visual Examination or complete our online BVD questionnaire.

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Tagged With: All, Anxiety, Headaches and Migraines, Reading and Learning Challenges,

It may be your eyes

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It may be your eyes

  • American Academy Optometry
  • American Optometric Association
  • Michigan Optometric Association
  • VEDA
  • Neuro Optometry Rehabilitation Association

Dr. Sandy DiPonio earned her optometry degree from Illinois College of Optometry in 1996. She is a highly skilled and experienced eye care professional dedicated to giving her patients of all ages excellent and compassionate care. She has a wide variety of experience in binocular vision, pediatric and adult eye care, ocular disease and contact lens fitting. She strives to provide each of her patients the best quality of life they can achieve with their vision through knowledge and education of treatment options.

Dr. DiPonio is a member of the American Optometric Society and Michigan Optometric Society.

Dr. Sally Hoey has been practicing optometry since graduating from Michigan College of Optometry in 2001. During her time in optometry school, she developed an interest in binocular vision, culminating in a senior thesis involving binocular vision.

Prior to joining Vision Specialists of Michigan, Dr. Hoey specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of vision-related learning problems as well as other binocular vision disorders. Her other areas of interest include specialty contact lens fittings and treating dry eye. Dr. Hoey strives to provide her patients with clear, comfortable vision while meeting their individual needs at the same time.

Dr. Hoey had the opportunity to provide eye care on an optometric mission trip to Guyana, South America and vision screenings at a local medical clinic. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, Michigan Optometric Association, Metropolitan Detroit Optometric Society and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

Dr. Jennifer Place graduated with honors from Michigan College of Optometry in 2001.

Before joining Vision Specialists of Michigan, she specialized in treating pediatric and adult patients with binocular vision disorders and vision-related learning problems, as well as fitting specialty contact lenses and managing various types of ocular disease. She enjoys working with patients with unique visual needs, and she takes great pride in providing all patients with highly customized care.

Dr. Place has volunteered for Opening Eyes, a program that provides eye exams to the athletes of the Michigan Special Olympics, and she participated in an international mission to St. Lucia to provide eye care to those in need. Dr. Place is a member of the Detroit Optometric Society, the Michigan Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association, the College of Vision Development, and the Optometric Extension Program Foundation.

Dr. Mary Jo Ference has been practicing optometry since 1990 upon graduating from Ferris State University- Michigan College of Optometry, and is certified in Low Vision Rehabilitation. She has worked at Sinai-Grace Hospital systems for over 20 years before joining Vision Specialists of Michigan in 2013 to work with binocular vision disorders. Her clinical areas of expertise include visual rehabilitation of pediatric and adult patients who have suffered from brain trauma, injury or disease. She has taught both optometry and ophthalmology residents at Sinai Grace Hospital. Dr. Ference has sat on numerous boards, including Sinai Grace Hospital, Berry Out-Patient Surgical Center, and Seedlings Braille Books for the Blind. She is actively involved in area school districts to provide education, training and access for students, teachers, OT’s and PT’s to eye care service rehabilitation information. Dr. Ference has lectured extensively nationally and internationally.

Dr. Debby Feinberg began practicing Optometry in Oakland County in 1983, upon graduating from Illinois College of Optometry. She joined her father, Dr. Paul C. Feinberg, at Mall Optical Center, which was located in Summit Place Mall.

Since 1995 Dr. Feinberg has been developing the field of NeuroVisual Medicine which is the optometric subspecialty that identifies and treats neurological / medical symptoms that originate directly or indirectly in the visual system.

Dr. Feinberg has been performing pioneering work with Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD), a condition where a vision misalignment (frequently subtle) creates difficulties with the two eyes working together to create a single 3-dimensional image, and difficulties with the two eyes following that image as it moves.

The symptoms caused by BVD are not usually associated with problems with the visual system, and include headache, dizziness, anxiety and panic, persistent post-concussive symptoms, gait instability and balance problems, frequent falls, neck pain, motion sickness, nausea, and reading and learning problems.

In 2004. Dr. Feinberg established Vision Specialists of Birmingham, specifically designing the practice to accommodate the needs of the NeuroVisual Medicine patient.

In 2011, the office moved to its current location in Bloomfield Hills and updated its name to Vision Specialists of Michigan.