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How Vision Therapy Can Help
While corrective lenses may be an appropriate treatment option for someone with a refractive error, other vision problems — such as functional and perceptual vision problems, in particular — are more appropriately treated with vision therapy.
Vision therapy helps patients strengthen or develop certain visual skills, such as eye teaming, peripheral vision and visual processing. Different devices and exercises are used during vision therapy to make eye control more efficient and accurate.
Your child’s vision therapist will examine his or her vision problems and formulate an appropriate therapy plan to improve the underlying cause of the problem. For instance, if your child has difficulty with hand-eye coordination, their vision therapist may have them perform exercises or games to improve the way the brain, hand and eye work together. By improving a child’s visual skills through vision therapy activities, they are better able to focus on learning in the classroom.
Reading is an instrumental part of your child’s ability to learn. In order to write complete sentences or do mathematical problems, a child must first be able to understand what is on the page in front of them. If your child is suffering from vision problems, it may be drastically interfering with their ability to learn.
Types of Vision Problems
There are several types of vision problems, all of which can affect your child’s ability to read, write and succeed in the classroom in different ways. The following are some common vision problems that children may suffer form.
Refractive Errors. Children and adults with a refractive error have an irregularly shaped cornea that does not bend light properly. This leads to images appearing blurry. Refractive vision problems include farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. If your child holds a book very close to their eyes or squints when trying to read, they may be suffering from a refractive vision problem. If children with refractive errors cannot properly see the chalkboard or a book in front of them, learning becomes difficult — especially if the refractive error goes undiagnosed.
Functional Vision Problems. These refer to problems affecting the way that the eye and brain work together. When neurological control of certain eye functions fail, problems in eye teaming (binocularity), accommodation (i.e., the ability of the eye to change optical power to focus on an object at different distances), hand-eye coordination, peripheral vision or fine eye movements (which are necessary for reading) may occur. A child with a functional vision problem may spend the majority of their time simply trying to focus on a written word instead of comprehending what is being described in the text.
Perceptual Vision Problems. Perceptual vision problems are characterized by difficulty understanding and identifying what one sees and judging the importance of it. Another characteristic of a perceptual vision problem is difficulty relating an image to information that has been stored in the brain. For example, children with perceptual vision problems may not recognize a word that they have already seen, making learning difficult for the child.
If you think that your child may be suffering from a vision problem that is affecting their ability to learn, contact us for help.