Your child’s ability to see properly plays a role in all aspects of life, especially learning. A child may be bright but have grades that do not reflect it; behavioral issues at school may have their origins in a poorly developed visual processing skills. Vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in the United States and because up to 80 percent of learning in the classroom takes place through vision, vision problems can play a significant role in disrupting that learning. If you suspect there may be problems with your child’s vision development, a developmental vision exam (DVA) and vision therapy (VT) may provide the answers you are looking for.
There are many vision disorders which can impede your child’s ability to learn. Issues that go beyond 20/20 vision frequently go undiagnosed. Poor visual ability may masquerade as poor attention, poor eye contact, or laziness in class when the actual problem is poor eye teaming that can lead to words that move on the page, exhaustion after only a short time reading, and poor memory because eyes cannot stay in one place long enough to remember well what is seen. Fortunately, there is hope.
Vision disorders come in many forms, but many of them are treatable. Some examples of vision disorders are:
Eye Movement Disorder
Due to ocular-motor deficits, eye movement is not smoothly coordinated; person tracks objects with “skips” or “jumps” (words may move on the page, head follows eyes or moves while reading, lose place easily when reading, or fatigue very quickly when reading because of the extra energy required to keep eyes moving together as a team).
When the acuity (20/20 measure) in one eye is significantly less than the other, in the absence of disease or injury) and with or without prescription, leading to an imbalance that encourages suppression of binocular vision. Head tilt, closing or covering one eye, and crooked posture can interfere with proper vision development and can indicate this issue is present.
A patient’s eye can have poorer clarity, even when wearing a prescription, when accompanied with the inward or outward turn of that eye. This also causes issues with both eyes wanting to work together, and possibly suppression of the eye with strabismic amblyopia. Brain begins to ignore eye that is not straight. eyes are not straight, can be up or down also.
This term describes the eyes’ inability or difficulty in coming together (“crossing”). Because the eyes come together when looking at things up close, this can lead to fatigue (watering, redness, headaches) with reading and writing.
Both eyes take in information and the brain fuses the two into one image. When this fusing does not occur, diplopia (double vision) results. It can be constant or intermittent. Words may move on the page, there may be confusion as to where objects actually are (they may appear to move suddenly or randomly), or which confusion about which image is “real” can lead to problems with coordination, anxiety, irritability, and frustration.
Vision therapy is a treatment modality developed by optometrists who specialize in how vision is used, known as behavioral optometry or developmental optometry. This is different than the standard optometrist who identifies and corrects defects in acuity (clarity) and looks at basic eye health – what most know as “20/20” vision. Opthalmology is a specialty that focuses on pathology (disease) of the eye, while optometry looks at eyes that are otherwise healthy but function poorly due to errors in brain function, either due to disruptions in development or brain injury. Because the brain tells the eyes what to do, miswiring or incorrect signaling can cause vision to be poor even when standard eye tests have found nothing wrong. Vision therapy is a non-invasive, proven effective option in addressing a variety of vision issues, including eye turn, “lazy eye”, convergence insufficiency, amblyopia, double vision, and more. (See HERE for brief explanations of common diagnoses.)
Dr. Davis has been in the field of vision therapy for over 30 years. Having grown up with an undiagnosed vision disorder, he empathizes with the pain and frustration that such can cause for parents and children alike.
If your child is passing “20/20″ vision tests, but still complains about not being able to read the chalkboard in class, or if your child complains of headaches or blurred vision, call Virginia Vision Therapy Center today. We will test your child’s vision to determine if vision therapy is the key; and if so, will work with you to create a plan that will give your child a future again.