What Is Dyslexia, and How Does It Relate to the Eyes?

August 31, 2020

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with dyslexia, we understand you may have questions. Because individuals with dyslexia may have a harder time reading and processing visual information, patients sometimes wonder how dyslexia and the eyes relate. It often manifests itself at an early age, which may present a need for a different learning style when it comes to reading, writing and pronunciation. Approximately 5-10 percent of people are diagnosed with dyslexia. Fortunately, individuals with dyslexia can work with health care providers and behavioral specialists to manage any challenges that may arise.

The Nature of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a neural condition that inhibits the brain’s ability to distinguish or match words, letters and sounds from or with one another. Dyslexia is not linked to eye health. Dyslexia is often labeled as a learning disability, as it may lead to additional challenges with learning and development. Children with dyslexia may feel more easily overwhelmed in educational environments. But you can help them by learning how to spot early signs and providing them with the support they need. Some of the symptoms include:

Learning Disabilities

One of the most common things to keep an eye on is your child’s pace with reading and writing. If your child seems to be having a harder time with language arts, it’s possible they may have dyslexia. Because of how dyslexia affects the brain, they may need extra support as they learn to distinguish or process different letters and word sounds. For instance, they may be able to learn one part of a word and not another. Individuals with dyslexia may also experience the feeling of letters floating on a page or may see or write words and letters backwards. This is a language decoding sensation that will likely be temporary. However, a child who receives extra learning support from a professional should be able to manage or overcome many of these challenges.

Early Childhood Development

Individuals with dyslexia may also experience a different timeline with common developmental markers, like walking, talking or even riding a bike.

Memory and Concentration

People with dyslexia may also have a difficult time remembering what they’ve learned. Sometimes, this may look like learning to spell or pronounce a word correctly and having a harder time repeating that task. Individuals with dyslexia are also more likely to have difficulty concentrating and may also be evaluated for conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


People with dyslexia may have difficulty with understanding directions (i.e. telling left from right) and may have struggles with hand-eye coordination activities.

Dyslexia Causes and Management

Dyslexia is a complex genetic condition often passed on from parent to child. Around 40-50 percent of people who struggle with it have a close family relative like a sibling or parent who struggles with it, too. Fortunately, the brain is a remarkably flexible organ. It can develop new language processing skills that empower the person with dyslexia to learn, grow and make a difference in the world. In fact, many influential people, like Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Pablo Picasso and Muhammad Ali, have struggled with dyslexia and still made a major mark on the history. 

As is the case for many learning-based disorders, dyslexia will affect each individual differently, and therefore, different treatments are available. Dyslexia does not have a cure, but it can be managed through careful instruction from a learning specialist. Also, since dyslexia is not related to sight problems, there is no vision correction prescription that can “fix” it. Some people suggest that vision therapy methods, such as wearing special lenses or doing vision-based activities like letter-finding puzzles, helps ease the symptoms of dyslexia. However, there is no proof of this, and leading organizations that study brain function do not support it.

Multiple options exist for managing dyslexia, like specialized language arts lessons. Professionals who work with people with learning disabilities can guide the individual with dyslexia through structured programs that teach them to identify words, syllables and language sounds and empower them to improve in their skill with literacy. If you’re the parent of a child with dyslexia, you can access many resources to support your child’s learning journey, and many public school systems offer dyslexia assistance services to help children in the classroom. And remember—a parent’s encouragement is always helpful when it comes to promoting a healthy relationship with learning and educational environments.

Eye Conditions and Dyslexia

While a special prescription will not help the person with dyslexia, they may need one anyway. Dyslexia and vision problems can often coexist, so if you find that your child needs extra support with learning, glasses could help. However, if your child begins to exhibit any of the above mentioned signs, you should also consider getting them tested for dyslexia and other learning disabilities. While we at Piedmont Eye Center don’t diagnose dyslexia or do dyslexia tests, we’d be happy to help you or your child find the right vision correction prescription for you! Contact us today!

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