It is estimated that as much as 80% of all learning during a child's first 12 years is achieved through their visual system. Vision issues that can hinder your child's learning are not tested in a school vision screening or at the pediatrician's office. Many visual conditions can be treated effectively with spectacles or contact lenses alone, however, some are most effectively treated with vision therapy.
What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a doctor-supervised, non-surgical and customized program of visual activities designed to correct certain vision problems and/or improve visual skills.
The vision therapy program is based on the results of a comprehensive eye examination or consultation, and takes into consideration the results of standardized tests, the needs of the patient, and the patient’s signs and symptoms. The use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, specialized instruments, and computer programs is an integral part of vision therapy. The length of the therapy program varies depending on the severity of the diagnosed conditions, typically ranging from 3 to 12 months. Home support activities paralleling in-office techniques are typically taught to the patient to be practiced at home, thereby reinforcing the developing visual system.
Research has demonstrated vision therapy can be an effective treatment option for:
- Ocular motility dysfunctions (eye movement disorders)
- Non-strabismic binocular disorders (inefficient eye teaming)
- Strabismus (misalignment of the eyes)
- Amblyopia (poorly developed vision)
- Accommodative disorders (focusing problems)
- Visual information processing disorders, including visual-motor integration and integration with other sensory modalities
- Visual sequelae of acquired brain injury
Overall, the goal of vision therapy is to treat vision problems that cannot be treated successfully with eyeglasses, contact lenses and/or surgery, and help people achieve clear, comfortable binocular vision.
The Goals of Vision Therapy
- Help patients develop or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities
- Improve visual comfort, ease and efficiency
- Change how a patient processes or interprets visual information
- To train the patient’s brain to use the eyes to receive information effectively, comprehend it quickly and react appropriately
Who needs Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is useful and effective for patients of all ages. The majority of our patients are children who struggle in school. If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms they may benefit from vision therapy:
- Words running together
- Uphill/downhill handwriting
- Skipping rows or omitting words
- Poor reading comprehension
- Tired eyes and headaches
Does your child have learning related vision problems?
The following questionnaire can help identify a child who may be struggling with a vision problem that can be corrected with a program of vision therapy:
1. Physical Signs
Y/N | One eye turning in or out
Y/N | Squinting, eye rubbing or excessive blinking
Y/N | Blurred or double vision
Y/N | Headaches or dizziness after reading
Y/N | Head tilting, closing or blocking one eye when reading
2. Performance Signs
Y/N | Avoids “near” work
Y/N | Frequent loss of place when reading
Y/N | Omits, inserts, or rereads letters/words
Y/N | Confuses similar looking words
Y/N | Failure to recognize the same word in the next sentence
Y/N | Poor reading comprehension
Y/N | Letter or word reversals after the first grade
Y/N | Difficulty copying from the chalkboard
Y/N | Poor handwriting; misaligns numbers
Y/N | Book held too close to the eyes
3. Secondary Symptoms
Y/N | Smart in everything but school
Y/N | Low self-esteem, poor self image
Y/N | Temper flare-ups, aggressiveness
Y/N | Short attention span
Y/N | Fatigue, frustration, stress
Y/N | Irritability
Answering Yes to 5 or more of the above statements may be an indication of a learning related vision problem.
Call Elite Eye Care at 515-987-3937 to schedule an appointment for a diagnostic examination to determine if vision therapy may be the solution for you or your child’s symptoms.