Your child has passed the school vision screening at school, and the nurse even said she has 20/20 vision. Doesn't that mean her eyes are good?
Screenings tend to pick up fairly obvious problems like myopia, or a crossed eye, but in reality most school screenings and even screenings done by the pediatrician may detect only 20 to 30% of the problems that can cause learning difficulties. Checking vision with the standard eye chart is an easy way to discover near-sightedness, but it does nothing to provide information on how the eyes function in a "near environment" where most of a student's visual demands are placed for reading, writing and arithmetic. Most children may do well on a near vision test for a very short period of time, even those children with extreme amounts of farsightedness. Most screenings and even comprehensive eye exams do not check for visual fatigue, focusing strength and flexibility, the ability of the two eyes to team well together (an important skill to prevent double vision and loss of comprehension), eye movement skills (the ability to track a moving object and to move effectively from one word to the next), or check any vision perception skills like the ability to see likes and differences. All of these skills are extremely important for learning, and because these skills are developed and learned over time, they may not be developed at the level necessary for a child to begin learning at his or her academic grade.
So what should a parent do? Look for potential signs of vision problems!
Does your child ...
If your child fits in any of these categories, he or she should have a complete eye exam by a doctor who works frequently with children and who is educated in the prescribing and remediation of these problems. Often, a glasses prescription will help, but frequently vision therapy may be prescribed. Vision therapy is a program of specifically designed vision exercises employed with lenses and prisms to remedy vision problems permanently. Whether it is a simple focusing problem, or an obvious eye turn, this one-on-one therapy is designed to help children or adults without drugs or surgery!
Dr. Corinne Odineal welcomes all patients from 6 months to 18 years for a vision screening designed to check the visual tasks necessary for school achievement and work. If necessary, a complete examination will be recommended. Sometimes further testing is necessary when the comprehensive examination shows problems that may need vision therapy. This secondary testing (perceptual motor evaluation) is a full battery of age normed tests that look for problems with laterality and directionality (such as reversals of numbers and letters), vision perception, eye hand coordination, auditory visual integration and further evaluation of focusing, eye teaming and eye movement skills. A visagraph recording is also done to asses independent eye movements during a reading and comprehension test. Dr. Odineal is a developmental optometrist, experienced in vision therapy, pediatrics and complete vision care for adults and children.
Hundreds of children and adults have been helped through our personalized Vision Therapy Program.
Visit The COVD Website for more discussion of vision therapy.