Vision problems and learning difficulties

For your child to have the proper vision for learning, their brain and eyes need to work together efficiently and accurately. There are three broad categories of vision-related learning disorders:

Refractive problems

These are the issues parents most commonly think of when considering whether their child’s learning difficulties are related to vision. Refractive problems include the following:

  • Myopia (near-sightedness)
  • Hyperopia (far-sightedness)
  • Astigmatism

These conditions affect a child’s ability to see clearly up close or at a distance. A child with refractive error may have trouble seeing the board at the front of the classroom or experience blurry vision when reading up close.


Functional vision problems

Functional vision refers to the visual skills required for the eyes to work together to form a three-dimensional picture, keep images in focus as they come closer or move further away, track moving objects and more.

Difficulties with visual skills cause blurred vision, headaches and eye strain and can cause discomfort during reading and writing activities.


Visual perception problems/visual stress

Visual perceptual abilities describe the brain’s ability to interpret the signals sent to it by the eyes. A child who has difficulty with visual perception may have problems with comprehension, visual memory, spelling, reading fluency or processing visual information.

Any of the following can be affected by vision problems:

Classroom performance

Concentration & attention


Homework completion

Reading comprehension

Reading fluency


Visual arts