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How Can Visual Processing deficiencies cause behavioral problems?

Dr. Kalie McCartin

Neuro-Developmental Optometrist

I often have children and teens in my exam chair that have no complaints about occasional blur or double vision, until I demonstrate what those are. When they then realize how they have been seeing the world isn’t normal, it makes sense as to why they are uncomfortable in it.

Deficiencies can cause headaches, trouble processing space, anxiety in visually busy spaces, and so much more.

I don’t know about you, but as a grown adult, I would be pretty grumpy, anxious, and uncomfortable if I struggled with those things.  For kids and teens, who can’t verbalize that what they are seeing is “off”, it makes perfect sense as to why they are grumpy!

Considering Visual Process Deficiencies often going without complaints, it also makes sense as to why they go undiagnosed and missed for so many years! Kids, teens, and even adults often don’t realize that how they perceive the world is not “normal”.  Luckily, I have charts and tables of normal values and in my hour-and-a-half exam, I can uncover the cause of countless problems that lead to discomfort in our world, anxiety, fatigue, and more.


Vision Is Learned!

Finally, one other incredibly important thing to know is that we are NOT born with the ability to process the visual data that our eyes take in and these visual processing skills must be learned.

  • roughly 30% (one study found over 50% of college students) of the general population has a deficiency in at least one skill to the degree of affecting their life

  • the percentages are even higher for  patients with ADD, ADHD, or on the spectrum have a coinciding visual processing deficiency


With vision therapy, we can help take care of the visual processing so our patients can have more energy to put towards everything else.

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