Children’s Vision

Do you know your vision facts?

  • One out of four children struggle with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems.
  • It is estimated that over 60% of problem learners have undiagnosed vision problems.
  • 80% of learning in the classroom is visual.
  • The majority of the vision problems that interfere with reading and learning are very treatable. 
  • Seeing clearly (“20/20”) is just one of 17 visual skills critical to academic success.

The American Federation of Teachers acknowledged the vital role that vision plays in our children’s education and that:

“Even the most gifted students will struggle academically if they have trouble seeing the blackboard or focusing on a book. A tremendous amount of learning happens visually, so proper vision care is crucial to helping students reach their full potential.”

According to the National PTA “It is estimated that more than ten million children suffer from vision problems” that may cause them to fail in school.  Vision screenings in school and at the pediatrician’s office usually only test distance vision.  Most people think that 20/20 is “perfect vision”, when in fact 20/20 is simply a measurement of what someone is able to see at a distance of 20 feet.  Most of our learning is through reading, which is not at 20 feet at all!

There are more than 15 visual skills required for reading and learning, including the ability to point the eyes together, to focus the eyes, to move across the page properly.  These skills are often not tested in most vision screenings.  Passing a vision screening which tests only distance vision leads parents to believe incorrectly that nothing is wrong. 

If any of these visual skills are not working properly, it can make reading and learning an unnecessary challenge.  Some children develop behavior problems, while others avoid reading or simply refuse to read.  Usually the child is bright, causing parents to be confused by the child’s difficulties.  Often the child is labeled hyperactive, lazy, or slow.  What makes this even worse is that many of these problems can easily be mistaken as learning disabilities or attention problems such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). 

If your child struggles with reading or learning, call our office to schedule an appointment today.

Look over the symptom checklist to see how many signs your child has.

A Non-surgical Solution to Eye Turns

Eye turns (a condition called Strabismus), have to do with an inability to point both eyes in the same direction at the same time. One eye—or both, as in crossed eyes—may appear to turn in, or one eye may turn out, up or down.

Eye turns can change from one eye to the other, and may only appear after a person becomes tired or injured. It is not always noticeable, except through symptoms of difficulty with doing certain daily activities.

An eye turn may cause double vision. To avoid seeing double, the person may tend to ignore the visual images from one eye by turning his or her head while reading.

Eye turns can be treated with Vision Therapy!

While surgery can straighten the eyes, one eye may still have a tendency to continue “seeing” as though it were still crossed. Actually, eye turns do not usually involve faulty or damaged eye muscles.  Eye turns can often be treated non-surgically with a program of Vision Therapy.

Eyes that wander cause more than just an appearance problem. Non-optimum binocular vision can cause trouble with:

  • Riding a bicycle or driving
  • Measuring objects in relation to oneself
  • Doing close-up work
  • Playing ball sports
  • Depth perception; inability to see in 3D

 If you or a loved one has an eye turn, be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.

Lazy Eye:  What is it? And What Can Parents Do About It?

“Lazy Eye,” or Amblyopia, is easy to miss because there are very few symptoms.  Lazy Eye means that the eye sees poorly, even with eyeglasses. Usually when parents see an eye that doesn’t seem to line up correctly they think that is a “lazy eye.”  In fact, that is a condition called an eye turn, or Strabismus.  It is important for parents to understand that while amblyopia and strabismus often occur together, you won’t always see an eye wander off when your child has amblyopia.

Some early childhood symptoms that might indicate that there is a problem include difficulty in catching or hitting a ball.   Another symptom is if your child has difficulty seeing 3D movies.  Being able to see 3D is not just a fun thing to do in the movies, it is important for everyday life.  As an example, we use 3 dimensional vision to ride a bicycle, walk down stairs, play sports and for all activities that require eye-hand coordination.  If your child always knocks over the milk at the dinner table, is clumsy or has sloppy handwriting, these could also be signs of a vision problem.

Treatment for amblyopia is different depending on which doctor you see.  Some will tell you that nothing can be done after age 7 or 9.  However, new research is confirming what we have known for years; thanks to optometric vision therapy, it is never too late to treat a lazy eye!  It is definitely true that the earlier amblyopia and other vision conditions are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat and manage.  But, even adults well into their 40’s and older can often benefit from vision therapy. 

As a parent it is important to educate yourself on ALL treatment options because children do not outgrow eye turns or lazy eye.  Surgery is not the only way to treat an eye turn and there are more effective treatment options for lazy eye other than patching alone (with or without drops).

Optometric vision therapy has helped many patients achieve normal vision in their amblyopic eye and has also resulted in eyes that are straight without the need for surgery!  Vision therapy gets excellent results no matter how old the patient is. 

Vision Problems Resulting from Concussion

Post-concussion symptoms include vision problems that cause difficulties with concentration, eyestrain, loss of place while reading, slower processing speed, headaches and fatigue.   These symptoms are very similar to symptoms relating to eye coordination disorders (which we often see in patients who have suffered a head injury).  We have known for years that concussions cause vision problems, and these are some of the types of vision problems that we specialize in treating to help children get back on track with their academics after a concussion.

It is vital that parents and educators know the signs and symptoms of vision problems that block learning as a result of a concussion.  Signs of Post Trauma Vision Syndrome include:

  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Attention or concentration difficulties
  • Staring behavior (low blink rate)
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Losing place when reading
  • Can’t find beginning of next line when reading
  • Comprehension problems when reading
  • Visual memory problems
  • Pulls away from objects when they are brought   close to them
  • Exotropia or high exophoria
  • Difficulty shifting focus from near to far
  • Words move or blur when reading
  • Objects appear to move
  • Unstable peripheral vision
  • Difficulties with balance, coordination and posture
  • Perceived movement of stationary objects
  • Consistently stays to one side of hallway or room
  • Bumps into objects when walking
  • Poor walking or posture: leans back on heels, forward, or to one side when walking, standing or seated in a chair
  • Perception of the floor being tilted

Just one of these symptoms could mean that your child is struggling with Post Trauma Vision Syndrome.  Call today to schedule an appointment – we can help!

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