Contact lenses provide some great lifestyle advantages over glasses. An obvious advantage is being able to participate in activities where glasses are either difficult to use or get in the way. Water sports fits into this category, but water has a higher amount of Acanthamoeba, a pathogen that can cause serious eye infections.
Our visual systems are amazing and incredibly complex. And yet we persist on trying to rate the quality of vision by just one measurement – sight or visual acuity, as measured by the letters on a distance letter chart. As most people over 40 will tell you, this tells you nothing about their ability to see at near. It is assumed that children can see at near and it is rarely tested as part of sight screenings. And yet problems with near vision in children can impact on how willing they are to read, or how comfortably they can engage in close work.
Renowned vision scientist Janette Atkinson has quoted that both in research and in clinical settings, it is both difficult and increasing impractical to separate vision, vision-motor, and motor functions as these elements do not occur in neat little boxes in isolation in “brain” function. There is a similarity here to what we see clinically where children who have difficulty recognising visual patterns, often have similar pattern recognition difficulties in language and movement. This often requires a multi-disciplinary approach to helping the patient achieve their goals.
A recent large population study concluded “In this large nationally representative sample, the prevalence of ADHD was greater among children with vision problems not correctable with glasses or contacts. The association between vision problems and ADHD remains even after adjusting for other factors known to be associated with ADHD.”
Essentially, regardless of your opinion or otherwise of the source or ultimate “cause” of dyslexia, or any reading difficulty for that matter, it doesn’t change the advice that people of all reading abilities deserve to have their vision problems properly and fully managed. One might argue that it’s even more important for someone already struggling to be freed from the additional burden of a vision problem.