Individuals who skip lines when reading could be mistaken for being disinterested and careless, however, this can be indicative of an eye tracking problem. Eye tracking refers to the process whereby a person is able to accurately follow a moving object (pursuits), as well as accurately jump from one point to another (saccades).
Efficient eye tracking, for example, allows a person to follow a baseball moving across the playing field or shift their eyes easily along the line of print in a book. Eye tracking problems can therefore interfere with attention span, reading fluency, reading comprehension, copying, handwriting, and sports performance. Eye tracking skills can be improved with vision therapy.
Skipping lines or small words while reading, especially in children, could also be due to an issue with eye teaming. Eye teaming refers to how the eyes work together to focus on and process an image. Those with eye teaming issues experience the eyes focusing on slightly different objects, potentially causing double vision, confusion, fatigue, and headaches. Convergence Insufficiency and Convergence Excess are two of the most common eye teaming disorders. If you believe your child may have an eye teaming issue, then have them examined by your eye doctor to begin the appropriate treatment.
If a child is having difficulty reading, then they may not have a vision problem. The child could be experiencing dyslexia, may be attempting to read at too high of a level, or could be reading too quickly. Work with your eye care professional to determine whether your child has a visual deficit or other problem. If it is not a visual issue, then you can take steps to work on their reading skills. Always consult with your eye care professional to determine the cause of your child’s reading difficulties, to ensure they can learn to the best of their abilities.