Vision Therapy and Visual Processing – Los Angeles and Orange County

Is it Learning Disabilities or Vision Problems? Exploring Vision Therapy for Children Who Struggle With Reading Difficulties

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Vision Therapy @
Visual Processing Institute

At the Visual Processing Institute, we go beyond traditional eye care. Our team uses cutting-edge technologies to transform how you see and interact with the world. We’re not simply about glasses or eye checkups – we focus on optimizing your brain’s ability to process visual information for greater success in life.

We collaborate with healthcare professionals across various specialties to treat a wide range of visual disorders, from those present at birth to those resulting from brain injuries or strokes. Our expertise includes:

  • Strengthening visual skills essential for learning, reading, and focus
  • Rehabilitating visual function after brain injuries
  • Remedying coordination and balance issues
  • Enhancing sports performance through specialized vision training


Our Sports Vision Training program adapts clinically proven vision therapy techniques to boost athletes’ visual processing and performance. Just like physical training, we target your eyes and brain for sharper skills and a competitive edge.

Dr. Kalie McCartin, an experienced Neuro-Optometrist and owner of a technologically advanced practice, is dedicated to improving the visual process beyond 20/20 vision. With a background in Biology and Optometry from prestigious institutions, she specializes in pediatric vision therapy and rehabilitation for brain injuries. Dr. McCartin’s commitment to excellence is evident through her awards, memberships in professional associations like the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitative Association and the International Sports Vision Association, and ongoing pursuit of fellowships. She actively contributes to the optometric community and stays updated with the latest research. Outside of work, Dr. McCartin enjoys the South Bay’s lifestyle with her children, engaging in outdoor activities and community involvement. Her passion for helping others and her expertise make her a valued member of the optometric field in Southern California.

Unlock Your Child’s Reading Potential: Vision Issues You Might Be Missing

As parents, we strive to provide our children with every opportunity to succeed. That’s why it can be incredibly disheartening when they resist reading, a skill so vital for learning and navigating the world. While there are various reasons for this resistance, one major factor often gets overlooked: underlying vision problems. Imagine their frustration – trying to decipher a world that seems blurry, jumbled, or disorienting. Reading becomes a chore, not a joy. This can erode their confidence and create a sense of discouragement within a child who simply doesn’t understand why learning feels so much harder for them.

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The Importance of Understanding Vision Beyond Eyesight

When we think of vision, perfect 20/20 eyesight frequently comes to mind. However, vision is far more complex. It’s a powerful collaboration between your eyes and brain, responsible for processing the world around you. Even subtle disruptions in this system can make reading and learning an exhausting struggle.

Why These Issues Often Go Unnoticed

As a behavioral optometrist, I frequently see children who have already consulted other healthcare professionals before reaching my office. This highlights a widespread lack of awareness regarding the intricate nature of vision. Many professionals still focus only on visual acuity, missing subtle binocular or visual processing issues. To make matters worse, children assume their vision is ‘normal’. They haven’t experienced the world any other way, so they don’t know how to articulate their difficulties.

Sadly, many of these struggling students receive misdiagnoses such as ADD/ADHD and may even be prescribed medications that address the symptoms but not the root cause. This can create a cycle of frustration and diminishing self-confidence, making it even harder for these children to reach their full potential.

The Problem Isn’t Just Blurry Vision

The visual issues hindering reading fall into two main categories:

  • Binocular Vision Disorders: These affect how the eyes work together as a team. Symptoms might include blurry or double vision, headaches, losing place while reading, and difficulty with eye-hand coordination.
  • Visual Processing Disorders: These involve how the brain interprets the information the eyes take in. This can lead to challenges like letter reversals, poor visual memory, and difficulty tracking across a page.

Both types of disorders ultimately make reading a laborious and unrewarding task, leading to frustration, falling behind in school, and diminished self-esteem.

Why Children Don’t Complain

It’s crucial to remember that children often don’t know how to express visual discomfort. They assume everyone sees the world as they do. They might not even understand what ‘blurry’ or ‘double vision’ truly means. Instead, they might express their frustrations in different ways: complaining of headaches, becoming easily tired with schoolwork, or showing disinterest in reading altogether. It’s important for parents and educators to be attentive to these subtle signs, as they could indicate a hidden struggle with vision.

The Need for Specialized Testing

Diagnosing these conditions requires in-depth testing beyond basic eye charts. A behavioral or developmental optometrist has the tools and expertise to pinpoint areas of visual weakness and recommend a personalized treatment plan. This specialized assessment goes far deeper than checking eyesight. It evaluates vital skills like:

  • Eye Teaming (Binocular Vision): How well your child’s eyes work together to create clear, single images.
  • Focusing: The ability to shift focus smoothly between near and far objects.
  • Visual Tracking: Following moving targets accurately without losing their place.
  • Visual-Motor Integration: Coordinating eyes and hands for tasks like writing.

By carefully identifying the specific areas where your child struggles, the optometrist can design a vision therapy program tailored to their needs. This targeted approach is key to maximizing progress and creating lasting improvement.

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What is Vision Therapy?

If your child shows signs of visual difficulties, don’t worry – there’s hope! Vision therapy is a highly effective, non-invasive treatment option. Think of it as brain training for the eyes! Through specialized exercises and activities, vision therapy can:

  • Improve eye coordination and focusing skills
  • Strengthen visual processing abilities
  • Enhance reading fluency and comprehension
  • Reduce strain and headaches
  • Boost overall academic performance and confidence

Take the First Step

If you suspect your child might be struggling with an undiagnosed vision problem, don’t hesitate! A comprehensive eye and vision exam by a skilled optometrist can uncover the root cause of their difficulties and lead to the appropriate support.

Call Visual Processing Institute today to schedule an appointment and give your child the gift of clearer vision and a brighter future.

Let’s Spread Awareness!

If you found this information valuable, please help us raise awareness about the complexities of vision. Share this blog with other parents, educators, and healthcare professionals so more children can receive the support they need for academic success and overall well-being.

Contact our expert team at the Visual Processing Institute and take the first step towards improving your visual processing skills, schedule a comprehensive eye and vision exam today. Your clearer vision and enhanced visual processing await!


  1. College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD):

    • Why it’s relevant: This is the official website of the COVD, a professional organization dedicated to vision therapy and developmental optometry. It offers a wealth of information for parents and educators, including articles on vision therapy for learning disabilities and reading difficulties.
  2. Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA):

    • Why it’s relevant: The LDA is a leading organization that supports individuals with learning disabilities. Their website includes a section on vision and learning disabilities, highlighting how vision problems can mimic symptoms of learning disabilities.
  3. National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD):

    • Why it’s relevant: NCLD is another prominent organization focused on learning disabilities. Their website offers resources for parents and educators, including information on the role of vision in learning and how to identify potential vision problems.

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  1. American Optometric Association (AOA) – AOA is a trusted source for information on vision and eye care, providing resources about vision problems in children and the importance of early detection and treatment.

  2. College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) – COVD offers valuable insights into vision therapy and its role in addressing vision problems that can affect reading abilities in children.

  3. Optometry Times – Optometry Times provides articles and updates on vision-related topics, including the impact of undiagnosed vision problems on children’s reading skills.

  4. All About Vision – All About Vision is a comprehensive resource for eye health information, covering topics such as vision problems, vision therapy, and the importance of early intervention for children.

  5. Vision Therapy Success Stories – This website shares success stories and testimonials about the benefits of vision therapy, showcasing real-life examples of how it can improve reading difficulties caused by vision problems in children.

Questions About: Undiagnosed Vision Problems

Question 1: My child hates reading. Could it be more than just disliking the activity? 

Answer: Absolutely. Dislike for reading can stem from underlying vision problems that make the act difficult and frustrating, even if your child has good eyesight.

Question 2: How do I know if vision problems are causing the issue, not lack of focus?

Answer: Common signs include losing place when reading, frequent headaches, difficulty copying from the board, or avoiding reading-related activities. However, these can overlap with focus issues, which is why specialized testing is crucial.

Question 3: My child’s regular eye doctor says their vision is fine. Should I get a second opinion?

Answer: If reading struggles persist despite good eyesight, yes. Traditional eye exams don’t assess the complex system of visual skills needed for reading. A behavioral or developmental optometrist has specialized tools to uncover these issues.

Question 4: What exactly is a behavior or developmental optometrist?

Answer: These optometrists specialize in diagnosing and treating the root causes of vision-related learning problems. They go beyond eyesight checks to evaluate how your child’s eyes and brain work together to process visual information.

Question 5: Are the vision issues you mentioned treatable?

Answer: Yes! Vision therapy offers a highly successful, non-invasive approach. It’s like targeted exercises to train the eyes and brain for better visual processing and coordination.

Question 6: How does vision therapy actually work?

Answer: Vision therapy uses customized activities and specialized equipment to strengthen specific visual skills. Think of it as brain training for the eyes to work more efficiently, making reading easier.

Question 7: How long does vision therapy typically take?

Answer: While it varies, treatment generally involves between 20-40 regular sessions over several months for optimal results.

Question 8: Will my child need glasses too?

Answer: Possibly, but not always. Vision therapy focuses on the brain-eye connection, while glasses correct eyesight. Your optometrist will determine if both are needed.

Question 9: Does insurance cover vision therapy?

Answer: Unfortunately, we do not take insurance.

Question 10: How do I schedule an appointment for my child at the Visual Processing Institute?

Answer: You can call us directly 424-407-3303 to schedule a comprehensive eye and vision exam.