School driven to provide adequate Eye Care

Atticus Carter endured years of poor vision and as a result, suffered knock-on health effects. However, his school, Glenwood Middle School did not provide the support he needed. He had being having problems with nausea and vomiting at school, problems concentrating, difficulty with reading, and also depression. Initially, this had been misdiagnosed as ADHD.

"Despite exhaustive appointments with specialists over five years, doctors were unable to determine the cause of Atticus’ symptoms. Atticus never told his parents that he saw double because he thought everyone saw the same way."

His vision deteriorated so much that Atticus began to have intermittent periods of dizziness and blindness and started asking for glasses despite having 20/20 acuity (this is the clarity of vision).

Desperate for answers, Atticus’ mother, Catherine Carter, took him to the optometrist at her local Costco, who recommended they see a behavioral optometrist. According to Mrs. Carter, the behavioral optometrist discovered what everyone had been missing: Atticus was seeing double.

“The diagnosis was life changing,” Catherine said. “Atticus began visual habilitation, and his visual efficiency improved and his symptoms lessened. He is in treatment and is able to read without pain.”

Despite this, Atticus’ school sadly did not recognize his double vision as a visual impairment. Atticus and his mother Catherine lobbied the school for over a year, with him struggling to complete coursework without educational support.

At this point, Atticus bravely declared a "school work strike" until his school provided what he needed to be able to complete his coursework - by addressing his double-vision and convergence insufficiency (An eye teaming problem in which the eyes have a strong tendency to drift outward when reading or doing close work).

“I want to learn,” Atticus told the board, “but I can’t do it without my vision accommodations.”

Atticus and mother Catherine soon realized that this was not just a problem at Atticus’ school, it was across the United States -  so they brought this issue to the attention of the State of Maryland, and soon after, Congress in Washington D.C - to try make a change to improve the school lives and education for children struggling with visual impairments.

Their efforts have meant that all U.S. schools recognize all visual impairments, not just acuity, and provide needed vision accommodations, helping kids with sight loss all over the United States. A great result for education.