At Premier Eye Physicians, we believe an efficient visual system is crucial in allowing a child to reach their full academic potential. A few weeks ago, we discussed how vision therapy can help children whose visual dysfunction may be affecting their performance in the classroom. Today we further explore how vision therapy can be a crucial learning tool for kids who are struggling to learn to deal with subtle problems in their visual system.
Visual dysfunction can be difficult to identify. It goes beyond the ability to see 20/20 on an eye chart, and depends much more on the efficiency with which the brain and the eyes communicate. Difficulties with tracking and teaming are a common problem with the visual system that can affect a child’s performance in school. If a child struggles with tracking and teaming, they will have difficulty fixating on a target and fluidly moving their eyes to the next target. Without the brain effectively communicating the appropriate fixation location, the eyes may move frantically about the page. This creates significant adversity for a child while trying to read, and can negatively affecting reading comprehension and stamina. Accommodative and convergence problems are also common dysfunctions in the visual system that can impact academic performance. Accommodation, referring to the focusing system of the eyes, and convergence, referring to the eye’s ability to keep objects single and clear while reading, are crucial for a child’s academic success. Accommodative and convergence abilities allow children to read efficiently and for extended periods of time. Problems in these areas of the visual system can result in symptoms such as visual fatigue, poor comprehension, or disinterest in reading, and can have a negative impact in the classroom.
Vision therapy programs are tailored to address the specific visual problem that may be impeding your child’s ability to perform to their full academic potential. If tracking and teaming are playing a role in your child’s academic performance, then vision therapy will emphasize creating smooth and well controlled eye movements that make reading easier and more enjoyable, as well as strengthen other visual skills. If problems with accommodation or convergence are impacting your child’s ability to learn, skills to improve your child’s focusing abilities, such as focusing stamina and flexibility, will be performed both in office and at home to strengthen the visual system.
By performing vision therapy homework individually, and attending supervised therapy sessions, children are able to practice visual skills on their own, as well as receive important feedback on their visual performance. Many children, and their parents, are able to see noticeable improvement in visual skills following successful vision therapy treatment. The goal of the therapy is to provide the child with the tools to enhance their visual processing abilities and improve their learning performance.
The negative impact of visual dysfunction cannot be overlooked. If you, your child, or your child’s teacher suspect there may be a visual component affecting academic performance, talk to your doctor at Premier Eye Physicians about a visual evaluation and see if vision therapy is an option for you.