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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.

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.