Some of the mechanical visual skills which are related to reading include focusing or accommodation, and eye teaming, or convergence. Fatigue of one or both of these systems may interfere with reading. There is also a relationship between eye movements such as saccades (whereby we change fixation from one target to the next) and smooth following movements known as pursuits and reading. Children who cannot make accurate eye movements are often found to skip lines and words while reading.

The visual system was originally designed so that the peripheral vision was responsive to motion detection (danger from the jungles) with a central portion for fine discrimination (to identify the source of danger; e.g., a lion.) In the school environment the child is expected to ignore the peripheral portion of their visual system and pay attention with the central portion. If the child can not ignore the peripheral portion, he/she becomes distracted.  Improvement in eye movement skills often results in less distraction and fewer errors of skipping words while reading.

vision and learning
 

There is controversy over the exact relationship between vision and learning. For example there is a negative correlation between distance refractive error and reading ability. Myopic or nearsighted children who cannot see clearly at a distance without glasses are more commonly good readers. Children who spend tremendous amounts of time reading become nearsighted. Before Alaska became a state myopia was rare. After becoming a state, more than 50 percent of the children in Alaska developed nearsightedness. Thus, correlation is such that nearsightedness or poor distance vision is highly correlated with success in reading. Restated another way, poor distance vision is associated with better reading abilities.  Farsighted children statistically are poorer readers than myopic children.

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