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How Vision Therapy Impacts Confidence & Success

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthBuilding confidence in children is critical to their success. However, children with poorly developed visual skills tend to lack confidence in their abilities. They may struggle to keep up in school, finding it difficult to concentrate in the classroom, or be unable to catch a ball when playing on the sports field.

Fortunately, vision therapy can help children (and adults) develop the specific visual skills they lack, offering them the best opportunities to enhance their comprehension, increase their reading level and attention span, and improve their sports performance.

This, in turn, directly impacts their confidence levels.

How Does Vision Therapy Work?

The primary goal of vision therapy is to improve the child’s visual skills. A child can have 20/20 vision and yet have underdeveloped visual skills. Poor visual skills impede the ability of the eyes, brain, and body to work as a team. Vision therapy develops and enhances this communication, allowing people with visual dysfunction to process and react to visual information faster and more efficiently.

Vision Therapy Process

A vision therapy program consists of visual exercises specifically tailored to the patient’s individual visual needs. Depending on the type and level of visual dysfunction, the eye doctor will prescribe a personalized program of exercises to develop the communication between the brain and the visual system. Eye doctors also use tools such as specialized optical lenses, eye patches, prisms, balance boards, and digital simulations to train the brain-eye connection.

Visual Skills

There are several visual skills that vision therapy helps to improve. These include:

  • Saccades – the eyes’ ability to move quickly or “jump” between two or more focus points. This skill is crucial for reading, as children need to be able to move their eyes along a straight line without straying to other lines.
  • Pursuits or Tracking – the eyes’ ability to smoothly track a moving target. This skill allows a child’s eyes to glide along with a page and also to catch, hit, or kick a moving ball.
  • Convergence – the eyes’ ability to work together as a team in order to focus on a nearby object like a book or computer screen..
  • Accommodation Flexibility – the eyes’ ability to continuously change focus between near and distant objects. This is the skill required when a child looks at the blackboard and then copies the writing into a notebook.
  • Accommodation – The eyes’ ability to maintain focus on close-up activities. This skill is needed for homework and for using a computer for many hours.
  • Visual Memory – The ability to remember words and information. Good visual memory is essential for spelling.
  • Color Perception – The ability to distinguish between various colors. This skill is essential for the accurate interpretation of color-coded materials, such as graphs and charts.
  • Fine Visual-Motor – The ability to engage in close-up activities with accuracy and comfort. This skill is needed for reading, writing, cutting with scissors, and assembling a puzzle.
  • Visual Integration – The ability to combine your vision with your other senses to perform complex tasks. This skill is required to process various forms of visual information accurately and quickly. Visual integration is crucial for a student copying from the board and analyzing the information.

Confidence And Success Building

Developing visual skills can help children meet the demands of school, improve their grades, and allow them to gain confidence in the classroom. Vision therapy can also lead to improved hand-eye coordination and allow them to have more fun on the sports field. In fact, vision therapy can be a key component in preparing children for higher education. As they master new skills, they feel more confident in their abilities.

Keep in mind that school eye screenings and most regular eye exams evaluate eyesight, but do not assess the essential visual skills required for sports, reading, and learning. Only a comprehensive vision exam can determine whether a child has poor visual skills. Contact In Depth Vision Optometry to book a vision exam to assess your child’s visual skills. We can create a tailor-made vision therapy program to help your child succeed and reach their full potential.

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4 Ways To Help Your Students With Vision-Related Learning Difficulties

sad child 640An estimated 1.25 million children in North America are affected by some form of visual impairment that impacts their daily living. Ranging from nearsightedness to lazy eye to cross-eye, these visual problems can have a drastic impact on their performance in the classroom, which may lead them to lag behind their peers.

Fortunately, there are certain steps that educators can take to help their students with visual problems succeed. First, let’s explain the link between vision and learning.

Why are Visual Skills Necessary For Learning?

Because up to 80% of classroom learning is vision-based, it is no wonder that children with subpar visual skills may lag behind their peers academically.

We’re not referring to visual acuity, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), but rather the visual skills that rely on brain-eye communication. Problems with these skills can only be detected during a functional visual exam.These vision skills include eye teaming, tracking, accommodation, and focusing, all of which are critical for proficient reading, writing, and reading comprehension.

Teachers of school-aged children with poor visual skills can implement certain strategies to accommodate and even improve students’ academic performance. Below we’ve listed a few suggestions.

How Educators Can Help Students With Vision-Related Learning Challenges

1. Consider Where Your Students Should Be Seated

Make sure your students are seated facing the whiteboard. They should not have to look over their shoulder or turn around to see what the teacher is writing on the board. Some classrooms have students seated at round tables, forcing some children to turn around to see the front of the classroom. While this type of seating arrangement has its benefits, it is not appropriate for children with visual impairments, as they may find it difficult to quickly shift their gaze.

2. Pay Attention to Their Visual Needs

Try to meet the students’ visual needs. For example, if a child is expected to wear glasses for certain tasks, make sure that the child follows through. If the child doesn’t comply, consider speaking with the child’s parents.

3. Optimize Classroom Lighting

If you know that a certain student has a visual problem, seat them so that they aren’t in direct sunlight or under a shadow. Natural lighting is preferred, but when this isn’t possible, tungsten light bulbs are generally favored by the eye over fluorescent lighting. Please note that any flickering light bulb should be changed without delay.

4. Choose a Teaching Method That Accommodates Their Vision

Below are steps you can take to help students with poor visual skills:

  • Use black or dark-colored markers on the whiteboard. Avoid bright colored markers like orange, red, and yellow.
  • While writing on the board, say the words/numbers aloud to assist those who may have difficulty reading or seeing the text.
  • Avoid using language that relies heavily on vision, such as “like this one” or “over there.”
  • Be patient when a student with subpar visual skills stares off into space or daydreams. This is often a symptom of visual dysfunction, rather than a lack of attention.

How We Can Help

At In Depth Vision Optometry, our goal is to help each child reach their full potential by strengthening any visual skill deficiencies.

We treat children with many types of visual dysfunctions, often using a specialized form of therapy called vision therapy. Vision therapy trains the eyes to focus better or work as a team (among many other visual skills) by strengthening the eye-brain connection.

To learn more or to ask any questions, contact In Depth Vision Optometry today.

In Depth Vision Optometry serves patients from Auburn, Nevada, Sacramento, El Dorado, and throughout California.

REFERENCES

 

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Choose Holiday Gifts That Support Your Child’s Vision

child looking at toys 640Gift giving season is fast approaching. If you plan on purchasing a gift for a child, you may want to consider choosing one that supports healthy visual functioning.

Here’s our list of children’s gifts that benefit their visual health in a fun and enjoyable way.

Building Toys

Building toys help children develop hand-eye coordination and visualization skills. They also help enhance visual-spatial skills — an essential component of reading readiness. Understanding how to create a structure refines children’s spatial-organization skills.

Playing with building toys perfects skills like problem-solving, patience, and focus.

Some popular building toys are Legos, Duplos, Mega-Bloks, Clics, and Magnatiles. Many building toys are appropriate for children aged 1-9, but follow the age recommendation and warning labels listed on the packaging.

Visual Thinking Games and Toys

Jigsaw puzzles, memory games, dominoes, checkers, Rush Hour, and Bingo all help children to build visual thinking and processing skills. Visual thinking, also known as visual/spatial learning or picture thinking, is the ability to think and analyze what you have seen. This skill is needed for math and reading comprehension.

Visual thinking games are a great way to cultivate abilities like visual memory, form perception, eye tracking, sequencing, and pattern recognition.

Space Perception Toys

What better way to develop a child’s hand-eye coordination than with a lively game of catch or ping pong? Space perception toys also promote a child’s awareness of the space around them, as well as three-dimensional depth perception, eye tracking, and accommodation flexibility (the eyes’ ability to continuously change their focus between near and distant objects).

Other examples of space perception toys include marbles, pick-up-sticks, Jenga, and any game or sport that involves a ball.

Let’s Support Your Child’s Vision Together

A child’s vision enables them to succeed academically, building self esteem. When a child has a problem with one or several visual skills, it can cause them to struggle in school or develop attention and behavioral issues.

That’s why it’s important to provide children with toys, games, and opportunities that support and refine their visual skills.

If you suspect that your child may be struggling with their vision, bring them to In Depth Vision Optometry for a functional visual evaluation, where will test their visual skills and processing abilities.

Even a child with 20/20 vision can have visual dysfunction that will likely go undetected in standard eye exams or school screenings.

If a problem with their visual functioning is found, we may recommend a personalized program of vision therapy. Vision therapy is an evidence-based treatment method that has been proven effective for a wide variety of visual dysfunctions. This form of therapy can be thought of as a “gym” for the brain, as it helps to retrain the eye-brain connection and speed up a child’s visual information superhighway.


For more information or to schedule a functional visual evaluation, call In Depth Vision Optometry today.

In Depth Vision Optometry serves patients in Auburn, Nevada, Sacramento, El Dorado, and throughout California.

 

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Call 530-830-7007

How to Know If Your Child Has a Functional Vision Problem

Functional Vision ProblemMany parents mistakenly assume that if their children have excellent eyesight, their visual system is functioning normally. Yet even if children have 20/20 vision, they may experience problems with their functional vision — how the eyes and brain work together to perform many everyday tasks.

Being aware of your child’s functional vision problems and addressing them is vital because well developed visual function means the eye and brain are communicating effectively. This is key to learning in class and throughout life. Functional vision problems can leave children feeling frustrated, cause difficulties with maintaining concentration and hinder their ability to reach their potential.

Symptoms of Functional Vision Problems

Children who have a visual function problem may:

  • Frequently rub their eyes
  • Experience persistent headaches
  • See double images
  • Seem overly fatigued
  • Cover one eye in the classroom, especially while reading, and doing homework
  • Tilt their head to see

While reading, they may:

  • Read slower than their classmates
  • Have reduced reading comprehension
  • Lose their place on the page
  • Hold written material or a digital screen too close to their faces
  • Avoid reading altogether

Problems with functional vision may force children to compensate by covering one eye or tilting their head to avoid the symptoms and make a task easier.

Such struggles cause fatigue of the eyes and body, along with headaches.

Possible Causes of Functional Vision Problems and How to Address Them

Your children’s functional vision requires the following visual skills. During a comprehensive visual function examination we will check for:

Convergence. Both eyes looking at and focusing on a nearby object, such as a book or computer screen

Tracking. Both eyes moving together as a task demands, such as following the words across a page or the arc of a basketball shot

Accommodation. Both eyes maintaining focus on an object as it moves closer or farther away

Alignment. Both eyes properly lining up so that they see the same object and send the same image to the brain

Fortunately, we can get your child back to enjoying school, reading and other activities. Bring your child in for an eye exam with Dr. Corinne Odineal, who also will conduct a comprehensive examination for functional vision. This test is different from the standard vision screening your child likely receives in school, and is more extensive than a regular eye exam.

If we detect the shortfalls mentioned above, we’ll recommend vision therapy and then prescribe a customized program. Vision therapy is a month-long program made up of in-office and at-home exercises. These exercises, when done regularly and diligently, will significantly improve your child’s convergence, tracking, accommodation, and alignment, and get their visual functioning where it needs to be to enjoy daily activities and succeed in school.

When that happens, expect your child to request many more trips to the library!

In Depth Vision Optometry provides vision therapy for children with functional vision challenges from Auburn, Nevada, Sacramento, Auburn, and throughout California.

References:

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What is Vision Therapy?

Is it doing some motor eye movement exercise as well? That’s part of it. Vision therapy is a sequence of activities that are provided by an experienced optometrist or therapist who has checked everything in the child’s development or the adult, to put together a program to get their visual processing working well.

So, some of the activities we may do with vision therapy; we may use lenses to get your eyes to focus and relax quickly or to sustain that. We may use little activities where your eyes are moving a certain way and you’re learning to do that quicker & faster.

Often times we will use metronomes; we use lots of devices to help your eyes team. We start with one at a time and then we start with both eyes on but maybe not looking at the same target, and then we start to team the eyes and actually work with prism amounts to get the teaming better.

We also may work with young children or adults where their gross motor is not very good because that precedes your fine motor and your visual processing as well. We also may work with likes and differences and your speed of understanding what you see for instance visual memory making sure that you can get a lot of information in a short period of time.

These kinds of things are usually not checked for in a doctor’s office when your child goes in. They’re only going to look at how big the target is. They’re not going to look at any of the processing things that I just described to you.

Oftentimes that’s not going to ever be done at a screening. In fact, screenings pick up very few problems except for maybe nearsightedness, and nearsightedness is what usually makes kids readers so they’re actually the ones that are reading more and having fewer problems.

Can At-Home Learning Cause Vision Problems in Children?

Home LearningMillions of schoolchildren are studying at home in coronavirus-dictated on-line classes. While squinting at the blackboard is less common for now, remote learning presents students with other vision challenges. The most common problem is digital eye strain — also called computer vision syndrome. Spending many hours indoors has also been linked to the rapid progression of myopia, the elongation of the eye that causes nearsightedness.

These problems are especially worrying because children are spending an estimated 50% more time on-line compared to the days before the coronavirus.

Digital eye strain results from the prolonged use of digital screens. The eye strain then causes headaches, blurriness, dry eyes, difficulties with concentration, and neck and shoulder pain. The effects of digital eye strain are also worsened by any existing eye conditions — such as astigmatism, uncorrected anisometropia, and uncorrected eye movement problems.

It’s important that your children undergo a thorough eye exam, and to correct or treat eye conditions that can interfere with their learning, both in the classroom and online.

How Parents Can Help

Conditions that contribute to a child experiencing digital eye strain also include insufficient contrast between characters appearing on the screen and the screen’s background, the amount of glare emitted by the computer or tablet screen, being too close to or too far from the screen, and poor posture.

By monitoring your children’s learning environment and recognizing the signs of digital eye strain, you can prevent or at least minimize the effects of eye strain on your child. The American Optometric Association recommends:

  • Adjusting the device so that the center of the screen is approximately 5 inches below the eyes and 20–28 inches away
  • Tilting the screen to eliminate glare
  • Employing proper posture, with feet planted firmly on the floor, back straight, and wrists off the keyboard
  • Blinking frequently to keep the eyes moist
  • Taking frequent breaks away from the device (at least every 20 minutes)
  • Shutting devices at least one hour before going to sleep

Research has shown that children who spend significant time playing in the sunshine experience slower myopia progression than children who stay indoors. So make sure your children get plenty of sunshine, weather permitting.

 

 

If your children haven’t yet undergone their annual comprehensive start-of-school eye exam, schedule an appointment with Dr. Corinne Odineal. We’ll advise you and your children on how to keep their vision clear and comfortable and their eyes healthy during this extended period of at-home learning. In Depth Vision Optometry helps parents and children from Auburn, Nevada, Sacramento, El Dorado, and throughout California.

References:

 

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How to prevent computer vision syndrome during COVID-19

Because of the whole problem with COVID-19 that’s happened in the last several months an unprecedented time in the history of our world. We are now utilizing so much more technology, which has been a blessing. We’ve been able to stay in contact with people that we normally can’t, but it’s caused a lot of issues.

There is something called computer vision syndrome, and many of you are on your computers so much more than before. You’re on the computers for schoolwork, you’re on computers remotely for work, I’m on the computer doing telehealth, and those kind of things are really going to cause eye strain.

There’s a couple things that you can do about it.

One is you want to make sure you have good ergonomics of your computer. You want your computer set at the right height, you really want to have it a little bit below eye level if possible, and you want to have it at about 20 to 28 inches away from you. You want to be careful that you don’t have a lot of glare and you want to also be careful about how much brightness the computer is putting at your eyes & in your face.

The other thing you want to do is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, you want to look 20 feet away and relax your eyes for about 20 seconds. It’s really important to give your focusing system that release. A pixelated version of what you’re reading through a computer is hard on the eyes. The eyes are focusing in and out very quickly. So the other thing you want to make sure of is that you don’t have some two-eyed problems with what we call binocular problems or accommodative problems that may be contributing to more problems with computer vision syndrome.

If that’s the case then you do want to see your eye doctor for specific testing on those types of things. It may not be just any eye doctor you may have to go to a doctor that specializes in those areas to find treatments to help you.

What to look out for when home schooling your child during COVID-19?


I want to talk to parents that may be frustrated today about being at home constantly with your kids and trying to not only do your own job but trying to get them through their schoolwork.

You may be noticing things that you never saw before like they may have no ability to concentrate, they may be rubbing their eyes, they may be getting headaches or eye strain, covering an eye, tilting their head when they read to you, they may be skipping words or lines.

These are things that you really want to pay attention to because it may not just be that they’re trying to drive you crazy, but they may actually have a visual processing problem.

Fortunately, that can be fixed pretty easily by having the right kind of vision therapy and care.

So, if you’re seeing a lot of these things, I would highly recommend that you have an evaluation by a doctor who has a fellowship in developmental optometry who will not simply evaluate your child to see if their visual clarity is good, seeing 20/20, but whether they may have problems with eye teaming, focusing eye movements, or eye-tracking. They may have trouble understanding what they’re seeing and processing and understanding where they are in space.

For, all of these things, we are here to help your child.

Will Wearing Glasses Weaken My Eyes?

young child reading a book 640×350Some people mistakenly believe that wearing glasses weakens our eyesight. While glasses correct vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, they cause our eyesight to deteriorate.

The misunderstanding may be due to mixing up cause and effect. Getting new glasses will help you see more clearly, but you may need a stronger prescription a year or two later. If you think your glasses weakened your vision, let us tell you that it is simply not the case. It is perfectly natural for children and adults to experience vision changes as they get older.

If anything, in certain cases it can be damaging not to wear glasses. For children with crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia), glasses help straighten their eyes or improve vision, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System. Not wearing them may lead to an eye turn or lazy eye becoming permanent. In addition, an eye doctor may prescribe special glasses to children during vision therapy, or until a child’s eyes mature. These glasses will strengthen, not weaken the eyes. In many cases, the child won’t need glasses after vision therapy concludes.

Wearing glasses can make all the difference between enjoying a book, comfortably working at a computer or driving with confidence, and experiencing headaches, eye strain, and frustration.

 

In Depth Vision Optometry makes sure that patients from Auburn, Nevada, Sacramento, El Dorado, and throughout California wear the right eyeglasses for their needs.

References:

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The 5 Most Common Vision Problems In Children

child taking photographAs children grow, their vision becomes increasingly relevant to their academic and social success. For example, children who have difficulty reading due to a visual problem may shy away from reading aloud in class, fearing ridicule from their classmates. Given that 80% of classroom learning is vision-based, it’s no surprise that even slight visual difficulties can dramatically affect scholastic achievement. For this reason it’s important for parents and teachers to be aware of the most prevalent visual problems that can affect children.

Fortunately, many of these conditions are treatable. At In Depth Vision Optometry, we treat children with various visual impairments and help them regain the visual ability and confidence they need to succeed.

Here’s our list of the five most common pediatric visual problems that we treat on a daily basis:

1- Refractive Errors

Refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism are the most common visual problems in children today. Myopia and hyperopia impair visual acuity, which is the ability to clearly see objects that are close up or far away. Children with refractive errors may squint, sit too close to the whiteboard or TV screen, or complain that their vision is fuzzy. Prescription lenses are the most effective way to correct refractive errors.

2- Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Binocular vision is the ability to see one image with both eyes working together. When the eyes are aligned perfectly, they send two images to the brain, and the brain creates one clear image. In binocular vision dysfunction (BVD) the eyes have difficulty working together. BVD can produce symptoms similar to a learning disorder and can impact academic success, making it crucial for a child that’s been diagnosed with a learning disorder to undergo a functional eye exam to rule out visual dysfunction as the primary cause of symptoms.

3- Amblyopia

Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” occurs when vision in one eye is reduced due to a communication error between the brain and the affected eye. Amblyopia usually involves one eye but in rare cases can affect both. It usually develops in infancy and affects 2-5% of preschool-aged children. It’s time to suspect amblyopia if a child or baby becomes visibly bothered when one eye is covered, has poor depth perception, or is excessively clumsy. It’s recommended that babies have their first eye exam around 6 months of age to confirm that their vision is healthy.

4- Strabismus

Otherwise known as “eye-turn” or “crossed-eyes,” strabismus is an ocular condition where one or both eyes do not focus on the same object at the same time and have trouble maintaining their correct position. Eye misalignment in early childhood can lead to amblyopia, as the brain suppresses the image from the affected eye. Some symptoms of strabismus may include wandering eye (the eyes drift outward) and covering one eye when looking at a near object. Strabismus can result in the child tilting the head to look at an object, and frequently bumping into things. In some children with strabismus, their eyes may appear straight but have difficulty working as a team. This makes it difficult for the eyes to send correct images to the brain.

5- Convergence Insufficiency

Convergence insufficiency (CI) means the eyes have a problem focusing on near or moving objects. Eyes with normal convergence abilities point inwards when focusing on a very nearby object. For example, the closer something moves towards the nose, the more inwards the eyes will point to focus on that object. In cases of CI, the child suffers with fatigue when trying to point inwards, resulting in tiredness, to the point where the child’s reading ability and comprehension are affected. Children with CI will likely have difficulty reading and focusing, and may experience eyestrain or blurred vision.

 

 

How Can Your Optometrist Help?

In Depth Vision Optometry provides many services and treatments to young patients with visual problems. We offer a wide variety of prescription lenses to correct refractive errors.

We also provide vision therapy to treat conditions such as amblyopia, strabismus, convergence insufficiency, and binocular vision dysfunction. Vision therapy (VT) is a personalized program of in-office treatments and at-home exercises that train the eyes and brain to work in unison.

If you are concerned about your child’s academic or sports performance or think that their visual skills may need strengthening, bring them in for a functional visual evaluation. Dr. Corinne Odineal will assess your child’s visual skills and general ocular health using standardized diagnostic tools for the most accurate examination.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, call In Depth Vision Optometry today — we look forward to hearing from you!

In Depth Vision Optometry serves patients from Auburn, Nevada, Sacramento, El Dorado, and throughout California.

 

Book Online
Call 530-830-7007