Saturday, September 1, 2012

Exophoria & Reading

 Last school year was not without its struggles for my little Mia. She's such a social person and has many talents, including athleticism and performance. But parts of school just weren't easy for her. Reading and math were both a struggle, and reading in particular just seemed to be getting harder instead of easier.

Mia had a great teacher last year who recommended that the school do some testing. We agreed, since we felt that something had to be hindering her. All kinds of tests were run for different learning disabilities. Fortunately Mia was not found to have a learning disability in reading, and in math they couldn't nail anything down, only that there seemed to be a disconnect somewhere between her eyes and her brain. She was able to start receiving extra help in math and that was good, but we still had no answers for why she couldn't read without stumbling over words.

Summer came and no change. Then one day, Mia put on my reading glasses for fun during scripture time and was still wearing them when her turn came to read. Lo and behold, we were amazed at the difference in her reading! And then Mia said, "I can read easier with your reading glasses!" That was the first time that it occurred to me that there could be a vision problem.

A few weeks ago, I took Mia to the eye doctor. I expected something like farsightedness, but was surprised when the doctor said, "She has a condition called Exophoria" after he had performed some interesting tests. As he explained it, Mia's eyes don't focus together at the same point for near work--reading, math, computer, etc.--they want to focus beyond whatever she is trying to look at. So words, numbers, etc., are unclear and can seem to jump around on the page. No wonder she was having such a struggle! It was such a relief to FINALLY have an answer.

So Mia now wears glasses for anything within 2-3 feet of her face. The lenses have prisms in them that force her eyes to focus correctly together. She is reading easier and better, but still needs practice to catch up. Hopefully the glasses will do the trick, but if they don't, she will need vision therapy.

In the meantime, Mia LOVES her purple glasses and is excited to start school in them next week. I have spoken with the principal at her school, and we will all be watching to see what happens with her reading and math skills.

For more info on Exophoria, check out this link:

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