Vision problems might hamper learning ‘the 3 R’s’ in school

If you are having trouble at school it might be related to an undiagnosed vision problem. Read our article to find out how.

- 8 minutes to read

Vision problems might hamper learning ‘the 3 R’s’ in school 

Reading, writing and arithmetic are the foundations of learning. Having weak eyesight can seriously hamper learning in these subjects which is why it's so important for children to get an eye exam before school to figure out if they are performing to the best of their ability.

Most of learning is visual, therefore it’s safe to assume that having an undiagnosed vision problem can also impact learning. In this article, we will discuss the ‘3 R’s’ (reading, writing and arithmetic) and how they might be affected by a vision problem.

How do vision problems affect reading


A vision problem might impact reading in the following ways:

  • If the words on a page are blurry or if a student has double vision they won’t be able to keep up with other students in their class. This means that information might not be processed at the same pace as their peers, resulting in tasks taking longer than they should on average. It also hampers reading stamina, meaning a student will not be able to concentrate on a task.
  • If a student can’t properly read what is on the page, they will also not be able to recall what was read at a later date. This could be letters or numbers.

For a student to be able to understand what's on a page and to recall at a later date reading needs to be fluid. It’s added work to be constantly deciphering the words on a page but getting an eye exam to find the underlying cause of vision problems can solve this.

How do vision problems affect arithmetic

The most obvious reason why a student might be struggling in math could be because they can’t figure out things like decimals and signs. But vision problems can also affect a student's laterality and directionality i.e. the orientation of how numbers appear on paper. It also results in doing poorly on timed exams because the student will be slower at comprehending a problem when compared to the rest of the class.

Math doesn’t require as much focussed visual attention as say reading. It might even be that the student is very good at the subject. However, not being able to visualise numbers in their head can be linked to vision problems and ultimately means not performing at optimum levels.

How do vision problems affect writing

There are several reasons why a vision problem can impact how well a student can write. Bad handwriting can even be used as an indicator that a student might have an undiagnosed vision problem. The following are ways that vision problems might be affecting handwriting:

  • Spatial awareness can be reduced due to vision problems. Low spacial awareness can ultimately affect planning how words will go together resulting in poor composition.
  • Vision problems also affect peripheral awareness. This can cause issues in writing neatly.
  • Similarly shaped letters can be confused because vision problems may affect laterality, as well as directionality.
  • Remembering how something is spelt has a lot to do with visual recall. Creating a mental image of a word is how we are reminded of how it is written correctly so poor eyesight can result in not remembering how to spell a word resulting in more spelling mistakes.


How to get an eye exam


You can easily get an eye exam at any Vision Express outlet. Before seeing an optometrist, you’ll have an eye-health screening so we can determine if you have any underlying conditions that might be contributing to your vision problems. When you visit the optometrist, we will ask you about existing medical conditions, any prescription medication that you might be taking, as well as family-related health problems. You can find more details about what to expect during an eye-test at Vision Express on our website.