What is dyslexia? Can it affect my vision?
Dyslexia is a common learning disability that affects reading and spelling skills. Dyslexic people have problems decoding words, even when given adequate or additional learning opportunities.
It is important to note that while dyslexia is classed as a learning disability, it is not indicative of an individual's intelligence and people with the disorder range from high to low intelligence levels. Dyslexic people have difficulties with:
- Phonological awareness: the ability to identify how words are comprised of smaller units of sound
- Verbal processing speed: the time it takes to recognise and process verbal information
- Verbal memory: the ability to remember verbal information sequences such as word lists
Dyslexia and the eyes
Between 35 and 40 per cent of dyslexic people are believed to experience visual problems and discomfort when reading print. Not only does this make reading very tiring, it can have a significant effect on an individual's reading ability. This can be particularly difficult to notice in children, as they may not be aware there is a problem. Here are some of the visual disturbances that may be experienced:
- Headaches while reading
- Blurred letters or words going in and out of focus
- Shimmering or shaking letters
- Problems tracking across the page
- Oversensitivity to bright lights or page glare
- Issues seeing text on white backgrounds
- Difficulties reading small and crowded print
- Preference for widely spaced, large fonts
If you or your children exhibit any of these symptoms, you should contact an eye specialist with expertise in this particular field. It is also recommended to seek help if your child is generally struggling at school, as dyslexia could be an underlying cause.