Eye and vision problems

Amblyopia or “lazy eye”

  • Reduced vision in one or both eyes due to a strabismus (turned eye), a difference in prescription between the two eyes, an eye disease
  • Commonly treated with patching and/or eye drops to strengthen the weaker eye

Strabismus

  • Two eyes do not line up in the same direction, and therefore do not look at the same object at the same time. The other eye will appear turned out, up, or down from wherever the first eye is focused.
  • In most cases, the problem has to do with muscle control rather than muscle strength.
  • In more than half of these cases, the problem is present at or shortly after birth (congenital strabismus) and the eye turn can be tiny and often undetectable by an untrained eye.  Other cases often begin during school years.
  • Symptoms of strabismus may be present all the time, or only when you are tired or sick.
  • Someone with strabismus may also have:
    • Depth perception loss
    • Double vision
    • Vision loss
  • Surgery and/or patching treatment may be necessary
  • Strabismus requires prompt medical evaluation. Call for an appointment if your child:
    • Appears to be cross-eyed
    • Complains of double vision
    • Has difficulty seeing

Convergence Insufficiency (CI)

  • A common vision disorder in which the eyes have a strong tendency to drift outward when reading or doing close work (exophoria at near).
  • The leading cause of eyestrain, blurred vision, double vision (diplopia), and/or headaches.
  • Interferes with a person’s ability to see, read, learn, and work at close distances.
  • Symptoms while doing close work (i.e., reading, computer work, deskwork, playing handheld video games, doing crafts, etc.):
    • eyestrain (especially with or after reading)
    • headaches
    • blurred vision
    • double vision
    • inability to concentrate
    • short attention span
    • frequent loss of place
    • squinting, rubbing, closing or covering an eye
    • sleepiness during the activity
    • trouble remembering what was read
    • words appear to move, jump, swim or float
    • problems with motion sickness and/or vertigo
  • It is not unusual for a person with convergence insufficiency to cover or close one eye while reading to relieve the blurring or double vision. Symptoms will be worsened by illness, lack of sleep, anxiety, and/or prolonged close work.
  • A multi-site randomized clinical trial (CITT) funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) has proven that the best treatment for convergence insufficiency is supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement (15 minutes of prescribed vision exercises done in the home five days per week). The scientific study showed that children responded quickly to this treatment protocol and75% achieved either full correction of their vision or had marked improvements within 12 weeks.

Focusing Problems

  • At near, accommodation is the visual skill needed to maintain a clear image. It also includes the ability to quickly shift focus when looking from near to far, such as when looking from our desk to the board.  For children with accommodation problems, print will become progressively blurry as they read for longer periods of time, and their eyes will fatigue from the strain of trying to keep the print clear. Sometimes children with focusing problems will hold their books very closely or lay their heads down. Headaches are very common. 
  • Reading glasses are often prescribed to help shore up inadequate focusing systems in addition to vision therapy to improve a child’s focusing stamina.

Eye Tracking

  • The ability to control the fine eye movements required to follow a line of print, are especially important in reading. Children with tracking problems will often lose their place, skip or transpose words, and have difficulty comprehending because of their difficulty moving their eyes accurately.  Many are forced to use their fingers or head movements to follow the line because their eyes can’t.

Vision and Reading

  • For success in school, children must have other equally important visual skills besides their sharpness of sight, or visual acuity. They must also be able to coordinate their eye movements as a team. They must be able to follow a line of print without losing their place.  They must be able to maintain clear focus as they read or make quick focusing changes when looking up to the board and back to their desks. And they must be able to interpret and accurately process what they are seeing.  If children have inadequate visual skills in any of these areas, they can experience great difficulty in school, especially in reading.
  • Children who lack good basic visual skills often struggle in school unnecessarily. Their “hidden” vision problem is keeping them from performing at grade level, yet teachers and parents often fail to make the connection between poor reading and the child’s vision.
  • We work with Optometrists who do Vision Therapy along with the Beacon Literacy Center for Reading.  Blue segments you should be able to link to website http://visiontherapy.org/ and http://literacycanada.com/
  • If your child is struggling, schedule an eye exam today.

Visual Perception

  • The ability to interpret, analyze, and give meaning to what is seen
  • Visual perception skills can be broken down into the following areas:
    • Visual Discrimination: the ability to determine characteristics and distinctive features among similar objects or forms. In reading, this skill helps children distinguish between the letters b, d, p and q.
    • Visual Memory: the ability to remember for immediate recall the characteristics of a given object or form. This skill helps children remember what they read and see by adequately processing information through their short-term memory, from where it is filtered out into the long-term memory. Children with poor visual memory may struggle with comprehension. They may have difficulty remembering what a word looks like or fail to recognize the same word on another page. They may also take longer copying assignments because they must frequently review the text.
    • Visual Sequential Memory: the ability to remember forms or characters in correct order. This skill is particularly important in spelling. Letter omissions, additions, or transpositions within words are common for children who struggle with this skill. Recognizing and remembering patterns may also be a problem.
    • Visual Spatial Relations: the ability to distinguish differences among similar objects or forms. This skill helps children in understanding relationships and recognizing underlying concepts. This area is closely related to the problem solving and conceptual skills required for higher level science and math.  
    • Visual Spatial Orientation: helps us with letter reversals. Many parents and educators considered letter reversals after age seven to be a symptom of dyslexia. While this can be true, the most common cause of reversals in older children is a lack of visual spatial development–consistently knowing left from right, either in relationship to their own bodies or in the world around them. Children with poor visual processing have not developed adequate skills in visual perception and spatial orientation, such as laterality and directionality. 
    • Visual Form Constancy: the ability to mentally manipulate forms and visualize the resulting outcomes. This skill helps children distinguish differences in size, shape, and orientation. Children with poor form-constancy may frequently reverse letters and numbers.
    • Visual Closure: the ability to visualize a complete whole when given incomplete information or a partial picture. This skill helps children read and comprehend quickly; their eyes don’t have to individually process every letter in every word for them to quickly recognize the word by sight. Children with poor visual closure may have difficulty completing a thought. They may also confuse similar objects or words, especially words with close beginning or endings.
    • Visual Figure Ground: the ability to perceive and locate a form or object within a busy field without getting confused by the background or surrounding images. This skill keeps children from getting lost in details. Children with poor figure-ground become easily confused with too much print on the page, affecting their concentration and attention. They may also have difficulty scanning text to locate specific information.
    • Visual Motor Integration: commonly called eye-body or eye-hand coordination, is a critical component of vision.

Visual Perception

  • Gross Motor Eye-Body Coordination – Good visual motor and bilateral integration skills allow children good balance and coordination. Children with poor eye-body skills may have difficulty in such areas as sports, learning to ride a bicycle, or general “clumsiness.” 
  • Fine Motor Eye-Hand Coordination – Children with poor eye-hand coordination may have poor handwriting and take longer to complete written assignments.