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How to Help a Child with Reading Difficulties: Is It Time for Vision Therapy?

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A young girl looking frustrated while reading with her hands on her head

Reading is a fundamental ability that contributes significantly to a kid’s academic and personal development. Unfortunately, many kids have reading problems, which can be frustrating and demotivating for both the child and their parents.

While there are numerous potential causes of reading difficulties, one factor that’s frequently overlooked is vision issues. Children with vision problems may struggle to read, resulting in problems with comprehension, fluency, and other important reading skills.

Fortunately, a variety of interventions, including vision therapy, are available to assist kids with reading difficulties. They can improve their visual skills and overcome the obstacles that have been holding them back by working with a qualified vision therapist.

What Are Reading Difficulties?

Reading difficulties, in essence, refer to any difficulties a child may encounter while attempting to read. This can include having difficulty decoding words, having difficulty understanding text meaning, or simply not being able to read at the same level as their peers.

A child may struggle with reading for a variety of reasons, including cognitive, emotional, and physical factors.

The Role of Vision in Reading

A child with vision problems may struggle to focus on the text, track lines of text, or see the words clearly. This can lead to frustration and difficulty understanding what they’re reading.

It’s important that your child has regular eye exams to detect vision problems early on.

Some common vision issues that can interfere with reading include:

  • Strabismus: A condition in which the eyes are misaligned, making it difficult to focus and causing double vision.
  • Convergence insufficiency: A condition in which the eyes have difficulty working together to focus on nearby objects, which can make it hard to read for extended periods.
  • Amblyopia: Also known as lazy eye, this condition can cause one eye to become weaker than the other, which can impact visual processing and reading ability.
Young boy in a striped shirt suffering from a headache

Signs That Vision May Be Contributing to Reading Difficulties

So how do you know if vision is the culprit behind your child’s reading difficulties? There are a few key signs to look out for:

  • Frequent headaches or eye strain when reading
  • Skipping words or lines of text when reading
  • Difficulty tracking lines of text
  • Complaints of blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty distinguishing between similar letters or words

If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, it may be time to think about vision therapy. Vision therapy is a type of therapy that aims to improve a child’s visual processing and reading ability.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy usually consists of a series of exercises and activities designed to strengthen the muscles and improve eye coordination.

There are many different types of vision therapy, including:

  • Eye exercises: These are simple exercises that are intended to strengthen and improve the coordination of the eye muscles. A child, for example, may be asked to follow a moving object with their eyes or to concentrate on a specific point for an extended period.
  • Computer-based programs: Computer-based exercises are used in some vision therapy programs to help children improve their visual processing and reading skills. Tracking moving objects on a screen or solving visual puzzles are examples of these exercises.
  • Prism lenses: These specialized lenses can aid in the correction of certain vision issues, such as double vision or convergence insufficiency. Each day, the lenses are worn for a set amount of time and gradually adjusted to improve visual processing.

Not all children who struggle with reading will require vision therapy. However, if your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it may be worthwhile to consult with a vision therapist to see if it’s a viable option.

Choosing a Vision Therapist

When looking for a vision therapist, it’s important to choose someone experienced and qualified. Look for a therapist who has specialized training in vision therapy and has experience working with children who have reading difficulties.

At The Eye Gallery, our approach is to carefully assess the root cause of your child’s vision problems and design a tailored treatment plan that suits their individual needs.

Through this personalized approach, we aim to enhance your child’s visual abilities and help them see comfortably and clearly. Book an appointment with us to find out if vision therapy could benefit your child. 

Written by Dr. Megan Baldwin

As a Kansas native (born and raised in Kingman), Dr. Baldwin is thrilled to practice what she loves so close to home. She can’t imagine anything better than to care for her community and build strong ties with new friends and colleagues.

When She’s not in the office caring for her patients, Dr. Baldwin enjoys making memories with her husband, Aaron, and two sweet kids, Parker and Stella! You’ll often find her playing piano, hosting her friends and family in her home, or out for a run. Dr. Baldwin and her husband enjoy traveling to warm places and recently became open-water scuba diver certified!

She chose eye care as her career because Dr. Baldwin has always wanted to help people. The quality of care she provides is incredibly important to her. In an age where doctors spend just a few minutes with their patients, she is proud to give her patients the time and diligence they deserve. More than to simply “see” you, Dr. Baldwin wants to learn more about you and how she can best serve your needs. Your relationship matters.

Dr. Baldwin invites you to make an appointment for yourself or your children, whether you have an eye concern or are simply seeking an updated corrective lens prescription. She will always do her best to provide you the best eye care available anywhere in Wichita.

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Member, Kansas Optometric Association (KOA)
  • Member, American Optometric Association (AOA)
  • Member, Business Networking International (BNI)


  • Bachelor of Science (chemistry) – Bethel College, 2007
  • Doctor of Optometry – Northeastern State University, Oklahoma College of Optometry, 2011
    • Graduated Magna Cum Laude
    • Member of the Beta Sigma Kappa honor society
    • Presented with “Outstanding Clinician in Ocular Disease” award
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