Posted August 29, 2011
Vision therapy is designed to remedy problems that interfere with kids’ ability to read, learn or participate in educational activities. Often kids cannot identify vision problems because changes have occurred gradually and they don’t know that their eyes should work differently.
One of the most common vision disorders that kids experience is convergence insufficiency, which occurs when both eyes do not work in unison as they should, making it difficult for them to concentrate on reading and learning. Fortunately, the majority of these vision problems can be treated with a program of optometric vision therapy, combining in-office treatments with short daily exercises at home.
Review the following signs that a child may benefit from vision therapy assistance:
- Skips lines while reading, rereads lines or uses a finger to maintain place
- Avoids close work
- Holds reading material closer than normal
- Rubs eyes frequently
- Complains of headaches
- Squints or closes one eye; tilts head to one side
- Exhibits poor reading comprehension
- Requires extra time to complete homework
- Reverses letters when reading, such as b’s and d’s
- Demonstrates a short attention span with reading and schoolwork
- Exhibits difficulty in focusing, visual tracking (following an object), or alignment and moving of the eyes after 6 months of age
- Displays chronic redness or tearing of the eyes
Any one of these symptoms may impact a child’s performance in school and result in the misidentification of the root cause of learning problems.
Studies by the National Institutes of Health and the National Eye Institute discovered that more than 60 percent of students with learning problems have undiagnosed vision abnormalities that contribute to their difficulties. But more than 50 percent of American parents do not know that behavioral problems can indicate that a child has vision impairment issues, and in some cases literacy issues may be linked to vision problems.
If you have concerns about your child’s reading or learning problems, contact your eye doctor and ask about the benefits of vision therapy.
Do you know of a child who has participated in vision therapy? What were the initial symptoms and how has school performance improved? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group