The relationship between good vision and good grades in school

by , February 11, 2024

Clear vision is essential for navigating the world and is crucial to one’s academic success. Students with the proper vision correction are better equipped to learn and process information in class. Good vision enhances reading comprehension and writing skills, improves the understanding of mathematics, and enhances overall academic performance.

Undetected vision issues can hinder a student's learning ability and impact their grades and academic experience. Children are often misdiagnosed with a learning disorder but, in fact, have a vision disorder. Therefore, prioritizing a child’s vision and eye health is key to providing a conducive learning environment for their academic success

Do Good Grades Start with Good Vision?

The relationship between good vision and good grades in school

Good grades start with good vision. Vision is fundamental to learning and shapes a student's ability to absorb, understand, and retain information. If a student has optimal vision, the educational process becomes more accessible. Clear vision is integral to reading and a cornerstone of academic learning. Students with clear vision can use their textbooks and learning materials effortlessly and improve their reading comprehension skills. Reading comprehension impacts writing, memorization, and the ability to process information quickly for test taking.

Good vision contributes to a student’s overall cognitive development. Visual clarity allows students to focus on tasks without eye strain, headaches, or fatigue and pay attention to lectures. If a child has to work too hard up close to see, they are more likely to become frustrated and dislike reading and learning. Children with hyperopia (far-sightedness) or astigmatism are often poor readers. Many children with binocularity issues struggle to track and skip words or letters while reading. Many are often diagnosed with learning disorders.

Any undetected or unaddressed vision issues can impede a child’s academic progress. Students with blurred vision or eye fatigue may have difficulty reading and struggle to keep up with their peers. They may have lower grades, perform below grade level, and feel frustrated, which, in turn, affects their motivation and self-esteem. Having an annual eye exam to address any possible visual impairments can lay the groundwork for academic success and create an environment where students can confidently pursue their education.

How Vision Impacts Learning

Vision plays an important role in the learning process by affecting several areas of academic achievement. One of the primary ways vision impacts learning is through reading. Clear eyesight is essential for understanding written words, comprehending text, and extracting meaning from educational materials. Students with optimal vision can navigate the information effortlessly for a solid foundation of academic success.
Vision is also vital for active participation in the classroom. Students need to see both their teacher’s facial expressions and the instructional aids to grasp concepts fully. A clear view of the board or screen is vital to understanding the information presented during lectures and discussions. Visual clarity allows students to fully engage in group activities, collaborate, and contribute to the classroom conversation.

Vision also affects the brain’s cognitive processes. The ability to focus, sustain attention, and process visual information efficiently is crucial for absorbing complex concepts and critical thinking. Visual impairments, such as eye strain or undetected refractive errors, can distract a student’s concentration and hinder their learning.

Vision can also impact a student's attitude towards education. A child who struggles with vision difficulties may experience frustration, a decline in motivation, and even inadequacy. Addressing vision problems through regular eye check-ups will improve their academic performance and promote a positive learning mindset.
The impact of vision on learning extends beyond visual clarity. It shapes the foundation of academic progress, cognitive development, and a student's educational experience. Recognizing the importance of vision in the learning process is essential for creating an environment where students can thrive academically and develop a love of learning.

What Visual Skills Are Needed To Perform Well In School?

Several visual skills are crucial for performing well in school:

  • Visual Acuity: The ability to see clearly and sharply is fundamental for reading textbooks, written assignments, and information presented on boards or screens.
  • Eye Tracking: Smooth eye movements are needed to follow the lines of text while reading and for tracking information on a board or screen during lectures and presentations.
  • Eye Teaming: Both eyes work together for depth perception and accurate interpretation of visual stimuli, which is important for reading and writing.
  • Accommodation Adjusting focus from near to far is crucial for shifting your vision between classroom materials, the teacher, and class notes.
  • Visual Memory: The ability to retain and recall visual information is important for spelling, mathematics, and recognizing patterns.
  • Visual Discrimination: The ability to distinguish between similar-looking letters, numbers, and symbols is important for accurate reading, writing, and math.
  • Visual Processing Speed: The ability of the brain to quickly interpret and respond to visual information is key for keeping up with classroom activities, assignments, and tests.
  • Color Vision: Deficiencies in color vision can impact a student's ability to interpret and organize information.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination: The coordination between a child’s vision and motor skills aids in handwriting, drawing, and using scissors.

What Learning Disorders May Stem From Vision Problems?

Certain vision problems can contribute to or mimic learning disorders. Some of these conditions include:

  • Dyslexia: While dyslexia is a specific learning disorder, vision problems, such as difficulties with tracking or eye teaming, can exacerbate reading challenges associated with dyslexia.
  • Convergence Insufficiency: This condition affects the ability of the eyes to work together, leading to difficulties in focusing on near tasks like reading. It can be mistaken for attention or reading comprehension issues.
  • Visual Processing Disorders: Problems with visual processing can affect how the brain interprets visual information. Visual processing disorders may manifest as spatial awareness, visual-motor integration, or visual memory difficulties.
  • Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): if left untreated, Amblyopia can impact depth perception and visual acuity. This may affect a child's ability to read and comprehend written material.
  • Refractive Errors: Uncorrected refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism can cause eye strain and fatigue, making reading challenging.
  • ADHD : Though attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and vision disorders are distinct conditions, there can be an overlap in symptoms. Addressing vision problems is important for individuals with ADHD, as untreated visual issues can exacerbate attention and learning difficulties.


Recognizing and prioritizing visual health through regular eye exams and proactive measures ensures a conducive learning environment and empowers students with confidence. Students with clear vision are better prepared to absorb, comprehend, and retain information, contributing to a solid academic performance. On the other hand, undetected vision issues can significantly hinder students' ability to excel in their studies and overall attitude toward learning.

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Courtney Dryer, OD, is a 2011 graduate of SCO from Charlotte, NC. She's the owner of Autarchic Spec Shop. She... "Read More"