Does Your Child Have A Learning-Related Vision Problem? Vision Therapy Can Help.

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A large part of learning is done visually.  Reading, spelling, writing, whiteboard work, and computer work are among the tasks students tackle all day long, day after day.  Each involves the visual abilities of seeing quickly and understanding visual information which is frequently less than arm's length from the eyes. 

Many students' visual abilities just are not up to the level of the demands of these types of classroom learning situations.
Clear eyesight is not all that is required for close vision tasks.  Youngsters must have a variety of scanning, focusing and visual coordination skills for learning and for getting meaning from reading.  If these visual skills have not been developed, or are poorly developed, learning is difficult and stressful, and youngsters typically react in one of a variety of ways:
  • They avoid near visual work entirely, or as much as possible.
  • They attempt to do the work anyway, but with lowered understanding
  • they often experience discomfort, fatigue, and short attention span.
  • They adapt by becoming nearsighted, or by suppressing the vision of one eye.
Visual stress reactions can help explain the discomfort, fatigue, changes in behavior, altered eyesight and declining academic performance that often indicate a learning-related vision problem.
Vision problems do not "cause" learning disabilities.  However, poor visual skills, by interfering with the process, can impede remedial efforts.  It's like trying to build a house on sand.  Good vision skills, on the other hand, can provide a solid foundation for learning.
Dr. Lee will help you or your child deal with visual stress by prescribing "stress-relieving lenses."  These make it much easier for a child or adult to benefit from near vision work. 
Another fundamental approach is Vision Therapy. Vision Therapy is a sequence of activities prescribed by Dr. Lee in which the child builds visual skills and the ability to efficiently take in, understand and use visual information.  
Many have 20/20 eyesight
Dr. Lee finds that many children with learning-related vision problems have 20/20 distance eyesight, but have great difficulty doing vision tasks less than arm's length away. 
Most school screenings test just the sharpness of distance eyesight, so many vision problems that affect learning go undetected.  But parents and teachers who understand and can identify the signs and symptoms, can spot learning-related visual problems in a child. 
Some of these signs are on the following checklist.  If a child is continually exhibiting any of these signs, it's time to arrange for a Vision Therapy Evaluation.
  •  Holding a book very close (only 7 or 8 inches away)
  • Child holds head at an extreme angle to the book when reading
  • Child covers one eye while reading
  • Child squints when doing near work
  • Constant poor posture when working close
  • Child moves head back and forth while reading instead of moving only the eyes
  • Poor attention span, drowsiness after prolonged work less than arm's length away
  • Homework requiring reading takes longer than it should.  
  • Child occassionally o r persistently reports seeing blurring or double while reading or writing
  • Child reports blurring or doubling only when work is har
  • Loses place when moving gaze from desk work to chalkboard, or when copying from text to notebook
  • Child must use a marker to keep their place when reading
  • Writing up or down hill, irregular letter or word spacing
  • Child reverses letters (b for d) or words (saw for was)
  • Repeatedly omits "small" words
  • Rereads or skips words or lines unknowingly
  • Fails to recognize the same word in the next sentence
  • Misaligns digits in columns of numbers
  • Headaches after reading or near work
  • Burning or itching eyes after doing near vision work
  • Child blinks excessively when doing near work, but not otherwise
  • Rubs eyes during or after short periods of reading
  • Comprehension declines as reading continues
  • Child fails to visualize (can't describe what they have been reading about)
Eliminating the visual problems that are helping to produce these signs can quickly pay off in the child's improved school performance. 
What is a Behavioral Doctors of Optometry?
Behavioral Doctors of Optometry spend years in post-graduate, continuing education to master the complex visual programs prescribed to prevent or eliminate visual problems and enhance visual performance. 
Not all Doctors of Optometry practice Behavioral Optometry, which include Developmental and Functional Optometry.
Dr. Leanne Lee is the premier Behavioral Doctor of Optometry in the Stockton and Manteca Metro area. 
For more information, please contact our office at (209) 957-8000 and ask about setting up an Vision Therapy Evaluation with Dr. Leanne Lee today. 


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