Article: “The Visual Process and Learning” by Steve Gallop, O.D., F.C.O.V.D

Sincerest thanks to everyone who have visited my blog. I hope others will share their experiences as well. Strength in numbers, as the saying goes; the more we talk about the importance of comprehensive eye exams and the connection between vision & learning, the higher the likelihood of increasing awareness about this issue.

As I have been reading repeatedly through my research – and have witnessed first-hand with my daughter – there is much more to seeing than our visual acuity. (My daughter has 20/20 vision, and by now we’re all aware of her struggles.) Which brings me to the second point of this post, Dr. Steve Gallop’s article entitled, “The Visual Process and Learning.” While reading the article I was nodding my head and murmuring, “Yes, that’s us.” and “That sounds just like my daughter.”


Imagine (Photo credit: Javier Q.)

The following excerpt reminded me of a conversation with my daughter’s teacher where she expressed her concern about my daughter’s seemingly limited attention span. She was understandably frustrated, but as I reminded her, my daughter wasn’t being intentionally disrespectful. She can’t help it:

“A significant percentage of students who struggle with school demands have visual conditions that lie at the root of their learning difficulties. The below-level performer is often mistaken for having an attention deficit disorder or other learning disability. Often children with visually related learning problems are thought to be lazy or indifferent, especially when they are known to have high IQs and are not performing up to their expected potential.”

The following excerpt clearly describes one of the challenges my daughter is dealing with:

“Imagine if your two eyes pointed in two slightly different directions. This would cause you to see two copies of everything, either next to each other or overlapping. If this persisted, the brain would try to eliminate one of the copies. It might succeed or it might only succeed intermittently. Now imagine that your brain can eliminate this extra image intermittently but it comes and goes unpredictably and it’s not always the same image that disappears. Sound outrageous? This is actually a fairly common type of visual problem. Now imagine trying to read this way. Normally, it is hoped that the two eyes move efficiently across the printed page as a team. In the picture just painted, you can bet that the eyes are neither moving efficiently nor working like a team. What you get is something like this: the child reluctantly sits down to read; he starts at the top of the page and, unknown to him, his right eye is leading the way – stumbling along the page; suddenly, without warning, the left eye takes over – the problem is the left eye was looking at a different place on the page so the child can’t immediately decide where he was meaning to look and has to start over again. Even if he finds a way to avoid constantly starting over, the effort the brain must expend to carry on this constant vigilance simply does not leave enough energy and mental focus to perform at anything like a high level.”

If you haven’t already, please read “The Visual Process and Learning”. I found its content very relatable, as well as insightful, and I am further encouraged that we have made the right choice in pursuing vision therapy for my daughter.