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Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy

Vision therapy uses a wide range of tools and exercises that aid in the therapeutic process. Here, you’ll find a few examples of what vision therapists use to help strengthen the visual system.

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Exercises and Tools Used In Vision Therapy
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Vision therapy is a customized treatment program that aims to improve visual processing by developing and/or improving the communication between the eyes and the brain.

To help enhance the eye-brain connection, a vision therapy program may include specialized lenses, prisms, and eye exercises. By strengthening the visual system, vision therapy helps treat several conditions and minimize their associated symptoms.

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Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

Having a visual efficiency problem can present in many forms, from reading difficulties, to focusing issues to behavioral problems. Visual dysfunction can dramatically reduce a student’s ability to learn and can hinder one’s productivity at work.

Knowing and understanding which red flags to keep an eye out for can give rise to early detection and treatment of visual problems.

Below, we’ll explore several common visual efficiency problems and symptoms. Should you have any of them, we recommend you visit your eye doctor.

Eye Teaming Problems

In order to perceive the world around in a clearly way, your two eyes need to work in perfect unison and coordination. When your eyes don’t function as a team, the perceived images your brain creates may be confusing.

Two common eye teaming problems are convergence insufficiency and convergence excess. With the former, the eyes have difficulty focusing inwards on an object that is being held close to the nose. Convergence excess is the opposite—where the eyes can’t easily focus outward, leading to difficulties with distance vision.

Symptoms of eye teaming problems include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Tired or uncomfortable eyes
  • Difficulty reading
  • Eye squinting or rubbing
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor depth perception

Eye Tracking Problems

Eye tracking involves the smooth and effortless movements of the eyes. Efficient eye tracking helps us scan our environment and quickly gauge where we are and what our next move should be.

When eye movements are slower than normal, inaccurate, or require external cues (like following a moving finger), it may indicate an eye tracking problem. Three types of eye tracking problems include fixation dysfunction, deficiency of saccades, and deficiency or pursuits.

Individuals with an eye tracking problem may:

  • Often skip lines when reading, as the eyes can’t smoothly scan from one line to the next
  • Easily lose their place while reading
  • Omit or substitute words
  • Have poor hand-eye coordination
  • Find it difficult to spell words correctly

Focusing Problems

Every time our eyes shift their gaze from one object to another, they accommodate their focusing power so that each object appears crisp and clear. Focusing problems arise when the ciliary muscle—the muscle responsible for accommodating focus—can’t easily relax, tighten or maintain its position.

Symptoms of focusing problems include:

  • Holding objects close to the face in order to view them
  • Experiencing headaches during or after reading
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty reading or avoiding reading
  • Blurred vision when shifting focus from one object to another
  • Frequent eye rubbing

How a Vision Therapist Can Help

Vision therapy helps to develop and strengthen the eye-brain connection, which is often weak in a person with visual efficiency problems.

A personalized vision therapy program involves tailor-made visual exercises that forge new pathways in the visual system. By performing these exercises regularly, the patient will develop improved visual skills. Vision therapy may also involve the use of specialized prisms, filters or lenses.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time to have your vision evaluated. Call Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to schedule your appointment today.

Our practice serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.
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Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children

By training the eyes and brain to seamlessly work together, vision therapy effectively treats visual dysfunctions that interfere with a child’s reading and learning abilities.

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Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children

Reading Skills In Children 1

Because 75% to 90% of what a child learns enters through their eyes and travels down the visual pathways to the brain, it stands to reason that any obstruction in their visual system may keep a child from achieving their full potential.

If your child struggles to read, it may be rooted in an undetected visual dysfunction. To read seamlessly, one needs to possess strong vision skills, such as excellent binocular vision, visual fixation, saccades, accommodation, and convergence. As mentioned above, a deficiency in any of these visual functions can result in reading difficulties, which, in turn, hinders learning and academic success.

Fortunately, the vision therapy program offered at Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance can help improve your child’s visual skills, thus improving his or her reading abilities and scholastic achievements. Call us to set up a functional vision evaluation with Dr. Cameron McCrodan or Dr. Scott Irvine to assess your child's visual skills.

The Difference Between Good Eyesight and Good Vision

Basic vision screenings offered in schools only check for visual acuity — meaning, how clearly your child can see objects situated 20 feet away. This is usually referred to as 20/20 eyesight. However, 20/20 eyesight doesn’t mean that the child has perfect vision. Children may have 20/20 eyesight, with or without prescription glasses and may still experience trouble reading, learning or seeing the board due to reduced visual skills.

Which Visual Skills are Necessary For Reading and Learning?

  • Visual fixation - the eye's ability to aim accurately at a given target. Static fixation refers to the eye’s ability to aim and focus on a stationary object, such as a word on a page. Whereas saccadic fixation is when the eyes move rapidly and accurately across a page to read a line of print.
  • Accommodation - is when the eyes adjust their focus as the distance between the individual and the target shifts from near to far. One's ability to maintain focus at near distances is critical for reading and writing.
  • Binocular fusion - the brain’s ability to form a single, integrated image with the information received by each individual eye. Poor binocular vision tends to result in double or blurred vision, confusion, or reading avoidance.
  • Saccades - rapid eye movements, such as when the eyes move from one word to the next when reading a text.
  • Convergence - the eyes’ ability to turn towards each other to maintain a single image, which is vital for reading.

How Can Parents and Teachers Spot a Child's Visual Dysfunction?

Reading Skills In Children 3Detecting a visual problem can be difficult — especially in children — as they may not complain about their vision, or simply lack the verbal skills to effectively communicate what they’re experiencing. By undergoing a functional vision assessment with Dr. Cameron McCrodan or Dr. Scott Irvine, the optometrist will determine whether visual dysfunction is at the root of their difficulty. In addition to reading problems, poor visual skills can manifest in several ways:

  • Children with reading difficulties may exhibit behavioral issues associated with frustration
  • Reading below school grade level
  • Excessive fidgeting or low attention span could indicate a vision-related problem
  • They may resist going to school or doing homework
  • In the classroom, they may shy away from reading out loud or avoid reading altogether
  • They may struggle to summarize or remember what they’ve just read
  • Teachers may notice the child taking frequent bathroom breaks during reading-related activities
  • When looking at distant objects, such as a blackboard, they may cover one eye, tilt their head, or frequently blink their eyes

If you notice a child displaying any of the above behaviors, it may be time to call Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance for a functional vision evaluation.

How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Skills?

Reading Skills In Children 2Vision is a learned skill — meaning, it can be trained and often responds well to training due to the brain’s neuroplasticity. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities found that 12 vision therapy sessions significantly enhanced reading abilities among sixth graders with subpar reading levels. Results indicate that after undergoing vision therapy, their attention processing abilities and reading improved by an impressive 220%.

The vision therapy program offered at Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance can provide similar outcomes for your child. If visual dysfunction is the underlying cause of your child's reading and learning struggles, our tailor-made vision therapy program will target and improve his or her specific visual skills. The process may involve various aids and tools, such as prisms, filters, eye patches, balance beams, and digital simulations.

Because reading issues can have multiple causes, a multidisciplinary approach incorporating other health care professionals and educators will help ensure that your child reads at the expected level.

If you suspect that a vision problem may be preventing your child from reaching his or her potential, contact  Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to schedule a functional eye evaluation today. Invest in your child’s future with vision therapy and see the results for yourself.

Dr. Cameron McCrodan or Dr. Scott Irvine provides vision therapy and other services to patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, Vancouver Island, and throughout British Columbia.

References


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