Learning disabilities affect an estimated 2.6 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 6 to 11. Learning disabilities are complex, language-based disorders that require complex solutions, including early identification and referral to qualified professionals. Because they can be very difficult to treat, learning disabilities have spawned a variety of controversial and scientifically unsupported alternative treatments, including vision therapy. Children with suspected learning disabilities should receive only individualized, evidenced-based diagnostic and educational interventions combined with psychological, medical and vision-oriented treatments as needed.
In a joint policy statement, “Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision,” the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and the American Association of Certified Orthoptists set out recommendations for identifying and treating dyslexia, a language-based disorder. While vision problems can interfere with the process of learning, vision problems are not the cause of dyslexia or learning disabilities.
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of eye exercises, vision therapy, tinted lenses or filters to directly or indirectly treat learning disabilities, and such therapies are not recommended or endorsed. There is no valid evidence that children participating in vision therapy are more responsive to educational instruction than children who do not participate.