Acuity just one element of vision for learning

Parents invited to learn about sight beyond the 20/20 eye exam Feb. 18

Most people don’t know there are three parts to vision – acuity, functionality and perceptional processing – says Anita Murray-Hill.

Murray-Hill, executive director for The Visual Process Society that works to raise awareness about vision for learning, will outline the 17 vision skills needed to develop efficient and accurate vision during a free session at the Oak Bay library.

“The Visual Process Society is working on a Vision Care Management strategy for parents. At the upcoming seminar, we will have a road map for parents for vision care. Included in this package will be questions that parents should ask their optometrist,” said Murray-Hill. “Twenty-five per cent of kids have a significant eye problem that can interfere with development. My daughter was going through all the eye exams. Having 20/20 vision doesn’t mean you have the vision for learning.

“The area my daughter struggled was the functional,” Murray-Hill said.

She’d always thought her daughter Helena was clumsy when she reached for the milk and knocked it over.

“But if you have two glasses, which one do you reach for?” Murray-Hill said.

Helena saw double – binocular vision dysfunction – and it wasn’t something anyone was really on the lookout for. Her mom would like to see more parents prepared for the possibility with her session Feb. 18.

“From a parent’s perspective, what questions should you be asking that optometrist before you make that appointment? I want to make parents aware of what they should be looking out for,” Murray Hill said. “It’s really tips on some of the things that can be picked up on.”

She’ll share her daughter’s experience and things she’s learned along the way, but recently added another professional who happens to be in town that week.

“I’m really excited because it so happens that Linda Lemon, who has been an educator with 38 years in the Waterloo School District, is coming to town,” Murray-Hill said.

“She specializes in binocular vision dysfunction. Her school district is the only one in the district that recognizes binocular vision dysfunction as a physical disability,” Murray-Hill said. “The reason the district has said it is a physical disability is because of the work Linda has done.”

Lemon works with the issues regularly and right from the optometry appointment to arrangement of desks in a classroom, Murray Hill said, and it’s made a difference in graduation rates and student dropout rates.

That expertise is one reason she hopes to have Lemon speak during the Oak Bay presentation.

“She has provided screening and accommodations for over 4,000 kids in her district,” Murray-Hill said.

“I had the experience as a mom. Linda has the experience of what it’s like in the classroom for kids learning,” she said.

The session runs Feb. 18 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Oak Bay library meeting room. Register at gvpl.ca or call 250-940-GVPL (4875) for more information. Learn more about the society at thevisualprocess.com.