Over the past number of years, many aids and treatments of visual dyslexia have been presented – but more recently, the revelation of ‘Schoolvision’ has emerged, which takes some of the already used techniques and adds in the new knowledge, to significantly improve reading speeds, in this whole process aimed at stabilising the dominant eye.
The standard NHS examination looks at the health of the eye and each eye’s individual prescription – but little is done on the evaluation of how the two eyes work as a pair, never mind finding the faults that exist or subsequently treating them.
The Basis of ‘Schoolvision’
The whole concept of stable eye dominance and its importance was discovered in early studies in sports, namely clay pigeon shooting and tennis. Shooting is an ‘aiming’ sport (involving central vision) and the latter an ‘anticipation’ sport, where peripheral vision is the most important to assess positioning in the 3-D spatial environment. It was subsequently found that the exact same principles of ‘Sportvision’ could be applied to reading – and hence ‘Schoolvision’ emerged.
Dyslexia affects around 16% of the population, however it is thought over half will have a visual dysfunction which can cause underachievement in reading. Visual dysfunction may be due to:
- Uncorrected long sight, short sight or astigmatism.
- Accommodative insufficiency.
- Eye tracking difficulties.
- Poor eye motility.
- Convergence insufficiency.
- Ocular muscle imbalance.
- Eye dominance that is unstable.
- Pattern glare.
- Spectral sensitivity.
- Poor dynamic fixation.
- Contrast sensitivity issues.
- Fixation disparity / poor fusional reserves.
The evidence of the whole concept of Schoolvision comes from a research study of Year 7 pupils from the Moreton School in a deprived area of Wolverhampton (1996 – Geraint Griffiths) – showing that 60% of the pupils had predisposing signs of dyslexia. It moved from being a ‘failing school’ to one of the most improved in the country over a four year period. On the first screening it was apparent that at least 30% of the children tested had visual problems amenable to correction which were holding back their academic development. An extended study involving 14 of these pupils over a 3 month period showed a dramatic improvement. Positive behaviour and visual improvement were measured and recorded and reading speeds increased by over 100% in those pupils.
The principals of ‘Schoolvision’ are simple, but yet the effect is profound. It’s like revisiting the ‘old optics’ of 80-100 years ago, the ones that have been pushed aside and forgotten, as commercial gain and the ‘conveyor belt’ mentality took precedent in the whole optical industry. We all know we are on the right path here, when we see benefits to the children such as better school performance, increased reading speed, improved arithmetic, increased self-esteem / confidence, clearer writing, increased concentration, decreased tiredness and anxiety, reduction of headaches / migraines, calming effect (in children with hyperactivity) and the general reducing effect of disruption and delinquency.