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reading problems

When reading is a challenge, the issue may be eye-related -
for example, impaired vision or an inability to focus properly. 


Some people’s eyes struggle with ‘tracking’ – moving along a page or screen to follow text. Some possible reasons for tracking problems are outlined below.

Focusing - If a person’s vision system does not work properly, their sight may blur. This is also known as accommodative dysfunction. If so, the concentration required to focus on letters can be tiring, especially for children. However, the problem can be treated with prescription lenses.

Teaming - The muscles around the eyes help them move in tandem. If they are not properly coordinated, a person may experience blurry vision, and struggle to follow text. Lazy eye (amblyopia or strabismus) can result in teaming problems, and both conditions primarily affect children. But people with permanent strabismus, where one eye is constantly turned away, tend not to struggle with reading, as they only use the better eye to process text.

Peripheral vision - Some people have a limited field of vision, and may not be able to process a whole word, phrase or sentence as a result. Prescription lenses can expand the field of view.

CB_AC_AAV_Item2_620x364_ReadingProblems_Tracking.jpg Difficulty "tracking" may also be caused by hyperopia or presbyopia

Eye Conditions

Besides tracking problems, difficulty reading could be a symptom of one of the following eye conditions. 


The ability to focus on nearby objects, such as reading material, can diminish with age. This can be corrected with prescription lenses.

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Symptoms such as squinting and eyestrain are likely to be worse when concentrating on reading. Prescription glasses can correct astigmatism.

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Cloudiness of the lens can make it difficult to read. Discover more about this common condition.

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Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

A symptom of AMD is blurred vision, especially when reading. Straight lines may appear curved, which will also cause problems when tracking.

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Look out for floaters

Floaters are particles of the jelly-like part of the eye. They break off and drift around inside the eye, affecting reading ability. Floaters are mostly harmless, but can be a sign of a vision problem.

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Did you know?
Regular eye exams

Most of us need an eye examination at least every 2 years...

Some people need more regular eye examinations. You should get your eyes examined at least once a year if you have a diagnosed eye condition, if certain medical conditions run
in your family,and if you are you are over 40.

Those of African, Asian and Caribbean origin are more prone to eye diseases and hereditary
problems, so should have annual tests.