It is generally accepted that 87% of all learning takes place through the visual system. Clearly, if the visual system is not working effectively, learning and the learning process must be negatively impacted.
The American Foundation for Vision Awareness has released the following information:
Each of these four studies quoted above dealt with the general population and each related to general vision problems, not sight (i.e. not blindness or sight impairment).
Among at risk children, the statistical information is even more staggering:
Perhaps the biggest barrier in fully understanding this problem is not having a single study that effectively demonstrates the scope of the vision problems among children. Most authorities select a conservative figure of 10-15%. Some private studies put this figure as high as 85% in an average school classroom. Even if we take the very conservative figure of 10%, as many as 8,000,000 children in the United States suffer from undetected and untreated vision problems. It is reasonable to assume that similar results would come from other developed countries.
These figures give an idea of the extent of the problem in schools and learning in general. Parents and educators are looking for solutions. We feel that behavioural vision care is a major part of the answer for many of these children.
The efficacy of behavioural vision care and vision therapy has been well researched and documented although it is appreciated that those not familiar with behavioural vision care will find this difficult to follow and understand and often, therefore, do not consider this as a partial solution to many of the learning problems that affect children worldwide.
The Optometric Extension Programme Foundation in the USA has approximately 3000 Associates worldwide, practicing behavioural vision care in more than 30 countries. Behavioural or functional optometry is relatively new in the UK, being introduced by Keith Holland, a British optometrist, in 1990.
One supporter of behavioural vision care in the USA, a retired special education teacher, is advocating the placement of a behavioural optometrist on the staff of every school district in the USA. He claims that the cost will be more than compensated for by the number of children who will not have to be placed in special education classes.
Children with any level of learning difficulties very commonly have undiagnosed and untreated vision problems. Behavioural optometry can help resolve many of these problems. At the very least, parents of children with learning problems should have their children examined by a behavioural optometrist to determine whether or not visual problems exist.