Reading and Learning Difficulties

It may be your eyes:

Reading and Learning Difficulties

It may be your eyes:

vertical heterophoria

Do you struggle with having words run together, losing your place, or skipping lines while reading? Does this difficulty prevent you from being able to concentrate or sit still? The stress and challenges associated with learning and reading difficulties can make life taxing. Not being able to read or comprehend the words on the page makes it almost impossible to learn. Many of our patients have been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, and/or convergence insufficiency and have sought help from medications, doctors, and other treatments. If you have not obtained adequate improvement from your other approaches, and are overwhelmed and still looking for relief from your reading and learning disability, it may be time to investigate another possibility – that you may actually be suffering from Binocular Vision Dysfunction.

It Could Be Your Eyes

Vertical Heterophoria (VH) is a form of Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) characterized by a subtle vertical misalignment of the eyes. While this misalignment can be very subtle, it can make it incredibly difficult for our eyes to send one clear image to our brain.

Here’s what happens when someone has VH: With two eyes, we are able to see one clear image. This is because our brain is able to transform the images seen by each eye into a single image, which is known as binocular vision.

In patients with VH, there is a slight misalignment between their eyes resulting in their eyes being out of sync with one another, causing the brain to have a very difficult time processing those two separate images to form one clear image.

The result? The brain forces the eye aligning muscles to fix the problem by realigning the eyes. But the realignment is only temporary and misalignment then recurs, which is followed closely by realignment, and the cycle of misalignment and realignment continues. Over time, this places an immense amount of strain on the eye muscles and leads to dizziness, clumsiness and difficulty with coordination and depth perception.

Binocular Vision Dysfunction and Reading & Learning Difficulties

Your eyes depend on being synchronized with one another in order to see clearly. Binocular Vision Dysfunction is a condition where there is a subtle misalignment of the eyes which can cause blurred, shadowed, or possibly double vision if left unchecked. When you have difficulty reading and comprehending the words on the page, it greatly diminishes the ability to succeed in school or work. These symptoms are common to many of the conditions that our patients have been diagnosed with, including:

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

People suffering from ADD and ADHD struggle with their ability to sustain attention. This makes it difficult to read and to comprehend what has been read. Many children and adults are being prescribed medications to help them concentrate better; however, the issue with reading and comprehension might actually be a problem with vision misalignment. People with Binocular Vision Dysfunction experience blurred, shadowed, or possibly double vision making reading very difficult. They also live with a chaotic visual field, making reading and paying attention extremely difficult. Our young patients often tell us the “letters and words ‘swim on the page’ or ‘vibrate’ or ‘shimmer’”. When you are unable to read or comprehend the information you stop paying attention, and may even become hyperactive. Vision alignment achieved using specialized aligning glasses allows you can see clearly without stress and strain and calms the visual chaos, making visual tasks easier. Once you are able to clearly see the words in front of you, concentrating and sitting still becomes easier.


Dyslexia is often characterized by jumbled letters, trouble with word sequences, and spelling. These same symptoms are found in our patients with Binocular Vision Dysfunction. When the reading difficulty is due to a vision misalignment, aligning lenses reduce the blurred and distorted vision and words can be seen clearly and in order, easing or eliminating the reading disability.

Convergence Insufficiency:

Convergence Insufficiency is a vision misalignment condition where bringing the eyes together (converging) is hard to do, leading to an overworked vision system. Because you struggle to bring your eyes together, near-vision activities like reading can be incredibly difficult. However, many of the symptoms caused by Convergence Insufficiency are also common to patients suffering from Binocular Vision Dysfunction. When the traditional treatments do not provide you with reading disability relief, you may actually be suffering from Binocular Vision Dysfunction. The specialized aligning lenses bring images together, making it unnecessary for the eye muscles to strain to bring your eyes together. This allows you to see clearly and to focus on the words in front of you, providing you with reading and learning disability relief.

At Vision Specialists of Michigan, we understand the difficulties that accompany learning and reading challenges. Our compassionate doctors will complete a thorough NeuroVisual Examination to determine if your difficulties are actually the result of a vision misalignment. The results will determine the extent of your vision misalignment and will allow us to prescribe specialized aligning lenses. Unlike your standard eyeglass prescription, our lenses treat your Binocular Vision Dysfunction, along with any additional vision impairments, to allow your eyes to work together. Without the blurred, shadowed, or distorted vision you can see words clearly, providing reading and learning difficulties relief.

Suffering from reading and learning disabilities makes it difficult for you to be able to learn and comprehend important information at school and work. Let us, at Vision Specialists of Michigan, help you with your Binocular Vision Dysfunction. Complete the screening questionnaire or contact us today to determine if we can help you experience reading and learning disability relief.

Want to learn more about Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Listen to this TEDx talk from the founder of NeuroVisual Medicine, Dr. Debby Feinberg & some BVD patient experiences:

Watch the Latest Video Testimonials

Daily Stomach Ache, Headache, Nausea:

Christine's Binocular Vision Dysfunction Story

Headaches and Learning Challenges:

Kali's Binocular Vision Dysfunction Story

Years of Daily Headaches, Nausea, and Dizziness:

Cynthia's Binocular Vision Dysfunction
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.