Glasses for the Brain

Bringing Focus to the Brain When 20/20 Eyesight Is Not Enough

Is your child fully prepared for success in the classroom?

For that matter... are your eyes cooperating with your brain?

Success in school... and in life... depends on the ability to absorb a tremendous amount of visual information. 

A screening at school or at the pediatrician’s office may provide parents with a quick and easy green light. Often parents conclude, My child doesn’t need glasses, when the screening has confirmed nothing more than, My child does not need glasses to see a chart at 20 feet.

The only thing the screening measures is eyesight.

But optometrists evaluate a great deal more than eyesight: they assess visual performance, which includes focusing, eye teaming and eye tracking. 

Just as a wrench can help someone loosen a bolt swiftly and effortlessly, glasses can be prescribed as tools to help someone learn more easily. 

Behavioral/developmental optometrists pay extra attention to reading and the processing of visual information where it matters most: at near-point reading distance. They may prescribe “learning lenses,” low-powered lenses that help bring focus to the brain, so that the child (OR adult!) can see clearly and comfortably. This frees up the mind for processing and absorbing information, so that effort is applied to cognitive skills rather than the visual skills of focusing, eye teaming and eye tracking.

In fact, research published in Optometry & Visual Performance1 has demonstrated that low-powered lenses have a significant positive effect on reading speed and comprehension.

So the question for parents should not be, Does my child need glasses? Rather, it should be, Would my child benefit from learning lenses? Back-to-school checklists should include a visit with a behavioral or developmental optometrist to ensure that children are ready to learn.

And then, ask yourself, Am I as efficient and comfortable as I wish to be in my own "visual world?"

Iyer, J and Harris P. The effect of low plus lenses on reading rate and comprehension. Optometry & Visual Performance, 2013;1(2):59-61.

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