Kid with optic dyslexia sitting in the library and learning


Dear readers, here it is, a continuation of the post on

“Optodyslexia and dyslexia. My child is unwilling to read or write”!
Your child has undergone a professional orthoptic diagnosis and you have finally got an answer to the question which keeps you awake at night: “Why is my child reluctant to read and write?”. You child suffering from OPTODYSLEXIA! This problem concerns over 5% of all children of school age and requires professional therapy and rehabilitation. It is a common mistake to confuse orthoptic disorders and dyslexia when evaluating a child’s linguistic development. At school an orthoptic disorder can be identified as a visual disorder resulting from the incorrect functioning of the retina (eye accommodation) and a lack of cooperation between the eyes (binocular vision). Also, there is a specific kind of dyslexia: optic dyslexia.

1. What test, other than an ophthalmologic test, is necessary to get a full picture of visual functions?

An orthoptic diagnosis by a certified orthoptist. During such a diagnosis we get a full picture of the visual functions through an evaluation of such visual aspects as: convergence, adjustment and eyeball movement, accommodation and binocular-spatial vision (three dimensional).

2. What does „dyslexia” actually mean?

The International Orton Dyslexia Association (USA) puts forward the case for dyslexia linguistic development disorder, taking into consideration the phonologic processing disorder only: “Dyslexia is one of many kinds of difficulties in learning. It is a specific disorder of the linguistic base, conditioned constitutionally. It is characterised with difficulties in decoding single words, which is very often reflected in non-sufficient abilities of phonologic processing. The difficulties in decoding single words are usually disproportionate to age, life and other cognitive abilities and school skills; they are not a result of general development disorders or sensory disorders. Dyslexia manifests itself in diverse difficulties as regards various forms of verbal communication, very often, apart from difficulties in reading, additionally serious problems with commanding efficiency within writing functions appear.”

The definition adopted by the IDA (International Dyslexia Association) Board of Directors on Nov. 12, 2002: “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. (…)”.

The general view, common among pedagogues and school logopedists, is that dyslexia is simply a learning disorder of the linguistic base. Its symptoms are specific linguistic dysfunctions, in particular difficulties in reading. Students diagnosed with dyslexia also have problems with commanding other linguistic abilities, such as: correct spelling, written communication (expressing themselves in writing) and speaking (articulating) words.

Let’s bring up the definition worked out by….

Ms Jagoda Cieszyńska formulated a good definition of dyslexia: “… includes difficulties in reading and writing caused by visual, auditory perception disorders and/or the processing of language material by the right cerebral hemisphere. The reason for dyslexia may also be a combination of the above factors.” (J. Cieszyńska, Scientific seminar in Pedagogical Academy, 20.02.2008). This means that there are different types of dyslexia and each of them differs SIGNIFICANTLY.

TO SUM UP:“Development dyslexia” means specific difficulties in learning to read and write; however it can be split into visual-type dyslexia (optodyslexia), auditory-type and mixed-type (visual-auditory).


OPTO-DYSLEXIA is so-called visual dyslexia, caused by eye problems. It is marked by a complex group of specific difficulties in learning to read and write which manifest itself in dyslexia and result from visual disorders such as: faulty accommodation and binocular-spatial vision disorders (disturbed convergence, hidden squint-eye, fusion and binocular vision disorders) as well as incorrect adjustments of visual impairment sight defects.


4. What is a binocular-spatial vision (stereoscopic, three-dimensional)?

Put simply: our eyes work together in creating images in our brain. This means that each eye sees the given object/ person/ shape a little bit differently. Therefore, when the information will be processed in the cerebral cortex, it created three-dimensional image.

5. What does visual perception depend on?

Visual perception is based on, among other things, clarity of vision as well as proper eyeball movement – for which the eyeballs’ oblique muscles are responsible.

6. Are visual perception disorders and eyesight disorders the same?

 No!. We want to let you know that:

Visual perception is the ability to perceive visually, to notice, to recognise and to interpret visual incentives in the presence of the cerebral cortex (cerebral cortex, i.e. poliomyelitis – the outer layer of grey nerve cells which covers both cerebral hemispheres, being a part of the central nervous system). With the use of the cerebral cortex, certain visual incentives are registered, isolated and then classified.

The eye is a very sensitive receptor (optical apparatus). The eye comprises: the eyeball (bulbus oculi) together with the optic nerve (nervus opticus), eyeball movement apparatus and protective apparatus: the eye socket, eye lids, the membrane and lacrimal organ. In practice, each type of anomaly in the functioning of the eye (i.e. not resulting from damage to the eyeball structure or optic pathway; the eye structure is fine but functionally the eye does not work properly) disrupts the process of forming visual perception.


optic dyslexia optodyslexia

7. What are the causes for optodyslexia?  dysleksja wzrokowa 


– FAULTY ACCOMMODATION: the accommodation mechanism has significant meaning for a person’s vision and depends on eyeball muscle health. In practice it boils down to eye adjustments made in order to see from various distances (in other words: the ability of the eye to concentrate light beams bounced off of viewed objects situated at different proximities from the eye on the retina, i.e. correctly functioning close and distant vision;

What happens to the eye during accommodation?During accommodation the shape of the retina and the eyeball changes. When seeing close-up objects the retina becomes more convex and the eyeball increases in size (takes on an elliptical shape). When looking at distant objects, the retina flattens significantly and the eye shortens in the front-rear axis.

What is responsible for eyeball movement? We would not be able to move our eyeballs without the optic nerve placed just behind the eyeball, the rectus muscles (responsible for eye movement in different directions: left, right, up, down, bevelled left, bevelled right, around etc.) and the oblique muscles attached to the eyeball in the upper and lower part (they change the length of the eyeball).

– BINOCULAR VISION DISORDERS (convergence disorders, “hidden squint” eye, fusion [1] and stereopsis [2] disorders, optic location disorders);

1 – fusion – the second degree of binocular vision involving the ability to “mix into one” two pictures, when each of them comes from a different eye.
2 – stereopsis – third, the highest degree of binocular vision involving the ability of spatial perception, 3D vision.

The binocular vision test is taken on a SYNOPTOPHORE.Take a look at one of the tests conducted by our certified orthoptist – Ewa Młodawska with our young patient, Tadeusz. Film with subtitles in English:


There are more films on our YouTube Channel:



 dysleksja wzrokowa 

8. What are the symptoms of optodyslexia? We have divided them into two groups:


– the child writes slowly and has difficulty keeping the writing straight (along the lines in a notebook and in graph-paper notebooks)
– the child has problems writing by ear, rewriting text and writing from memory
– overall, text is placed unevenly, unnatural spaces appear on the page, there is a general mess
– the child omits letters, endings, parts of words and even whole syllables or parts of sentences or sequences of words
– usually the child does not draw diacritical marks on letters, including: lines (such as ą, ó, ć, ń), dots (by ż) and omits punctuation marks: (commas, dots, colons, hyphens, brackets etc.), question marks (?) and exclamation marks (!) etc.
– makes spelling mistakes, which are a result of weak visual memory
– writing is disfigured somehow – he/she writes in a “crooked way”, “like a chicken scratch”, “unclearly” etc.


– text is unclear, blurred, usually doubles up; it pulses and shifts,
– a yellow edge appears (background) around letters, symbols and pictures (for a while or remains longer)
– the child does not like reading, in particular reading out loud
– he/she reads aloud slowly, changing pace and lacking certainty as they make a decision before reading a given word
– he/she loses track of the lines of text, omits whole sections, has difficulty in finding a given paragraph (for example when looking for the place in the text they last finished reading or finding a specific paragraph containing the answer to a question asked)
– the child has difficulty with intonation of the text (bad articulation), they focus too much on this, which is why they cannot control the pace of reading and ignore punctuation marks
– he/she cannot divide simple words into syllables and characters; they have trouble in synthesising syllables (“syllable synthesis”)

9. Is there a possibility of the occurrence of mixed dyslexia – i.e. visual-spatial dyslexia (the most difficult in therapy)?

Yes, there is! The main cause for such type of dyslexia is visual perception disorder, which is usually connected with delays in the child’s motor development as well as in visual-motor coordination.

10. Is it worthy enrolling the child for orthoptic exercises (orthoptic therapy, rehabilitation)?

Of course it is! This is the most efficient method in the battle against optodyslexia.
A certified orthoptist sets out a therapy and rehabilitation plan in order to correct any irregularities in vision. (more on: DIAGNOSIS AND ORTHOPTIC REHABILITATION)

11. How long does orthoptic rehabilitation usually last?

Orthoptic rehabilitation is not a demanding process and usually takes from two to six months. Orthoptic exercises are recommended in the case of insufficiency in all three degrees of binocular vision, i.e. perception, fusion and stereopsis simultaneously.

Except for individual exercises (or group ones), at the orthoptist’s office, you may also continue selected exercises from a home therapy plan.

In the case of visual-spatial dyslexia (the most difficult in therapy) the main cause is visual perception disorder, which is often connected with delays in the child’s motor development as well as his/her motor-visual coordination level.

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK at our video: “Fusion exercise with orthoptic slat” [HD VIDEO!] —>

Fusion exercise with orthoptic slat aims at regaining one degree of binocular vision: so-called “fusion”.


Orthoptic therapy is provided at our Warsaw Orthoptic Office by, among others, Ewa Młodawska, a certified orthoptist and special educator with a long history of experience in child therapy.

< span style="text-decoration: underline;">We invite you to take an eye test conducted by a child ophthalmologist along with an orthoptic diagnosis with a certified orthoptist! Contact us on 22 266 09 95 and come with your child to our Ophthalmologist and Orthoptic Office, the friendliest place for children in Warsaw!




Dear parent or guardian, before you start judging your child and considering them to be lazy (as they avoid learning), please note how they behave when reading and writing. Ask, communicate with them: “Are the letters you see clear, tilted, become double?”, “Do you see yellow framing around letters?”, “Is the picture clear?”

If we do not act at the right time, backlogs in education will build up, and at the same time aversion to school will deepen. The child may become annoyed and even aggressive from time to time. They become weepy, quarrelsome and restless. We adults should observe our children attentively, ask questions and talk to them. Unfortunately, young children do not know what it means to “see properly” as they do not have any point of reference. You need to explain everything to the child clearly, and if there is problem they can tell us: “I can’t see it properly”, “it’s blurred”, “it’s unclear”, “it’s crooked”, “it’s bent”, “it breaks up”, “it tilts”, “it pulses” etc. These are intelligent little people after all, so try to find a way to communicate with them. Sometimes, optic disorders result from mental strain, so try to look after you children with particular care!

EYE TEST, ORTHOPTIC DIAGNOSIS AND REHABILITATION at our Children’s Eye Centre. Booking: tel. 22 266 09 95 or via e-mail:


We recommend reading the book “Supporting the development of a child at risk from dyslexia” edited by Aneta Rudzińska-Rogoża, which helps in understanding what optic dyslexia is. In particular we recommend the part on exercises for children with diagnosed optic dyslexia:

„4. Hand-eye coordination exercises, eyeball mobility and accommodation:
– bouncing a hanging ball, a balloon and balls of different sizes while seated and while standing up;
– drawing geometric lines in the air and with a torch on the ceiling and on the wall;
– painting on a large surface with a large paintbrush while seated and while standing up; painting on paper laid out on the floor, on a table, on A4 paper;
– exercises in observing a moving object;
– gradual sight transfer, by turns, for distance and close-up work;
– exercises with a tennis ball hanging from the ceiling on a string (adjusting the length of the string) – the child observes the movement of the ball in while lying down (swinging and spherical motion).”

We invite you to familiarise yourself with other posts on our blog. And please visit our Facebook page! Visit us at our Warsaw office for an EYE TEST, ORTHOPTIC DIAGNOSIS AND REHABILITATION. Booking: tel. 22 266 09 95 or via e-mail:

optic dyslexia








Sources (in Polish language):

„DYSLEKSJA ROZWOJOWA – fakt i tajemnica w diagnostyce psychologiczno-pedagogicznej”
pod redakcją naukową s. Marii Bogumiły Pecyna”, Opole, 2011;
„Wspomaganie rozwoju dziecka z ryzyka dysleksji” pod redakcją Anety Rudzińskiej-Rogoży,
„Dysleksja”, DR Marta Korendo. W: Akademia Pedagogiczna, Kraków.
„Dysleksja rozwojowa – symptomy, patomechanizmy,
terapia pedagogiczna”, BOGDANOWICZ Marta, 1997. W: Terapia, Numer Specjalny, Warsaw Voice S.A., Warszawa.
Our own materials and research

School photograph designed by Pressfoto –