The American Optometric Association state that around a quarter of children have a vision problem that affects their ability to learn. This means that 1 in 4 children could be missing out on vital education and failing to achieve their full academic potential thanks to an issue with their eyesight. In most cases, these vision problems aren’t the type that is usually detected during school sight tests or by pediatricians, but is identified at comprehensive eye exams with a trained and experienced optometrist.
Fortunately, there are treatments that can help. One of the most effective treatment options is vision therapy. Vision therapy is a very successful way of addressing many vision problems that can’t be corrected using glasses or contact lenses.
Vision therapy is the name given to training that is used to develop important visual skills that will help improve reading, learning, concentration, and attention. Each therapy is completely customized to the individual needs of the child and is designed to strengthen and improve the exact visual skills that the child is lacking. Many people think that it is just a simple eye exercise, but in fact, it is much more complex. This is because vision therapy usually works on improving the communication pathway between the brain and eyes to enhance the child’s overall visual operating system. Your optometrist will be able to explain to you exactly how they think vision therapy will benefit your child and what you and they can expect from the treatment.
Unfortunately, in many cases, children don’t realize that they are affected by a vision problem, or if they do, they don’t always have the verbal ability to explain what they are experiencing. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that there are no signs that they are struggling. Here are some of the most common symptoms and behaviors that indicate that a child could benefit from vision therapy.
Problems with concentration
Avoiding reading wherever possible
Avoiding schoolwork, such as by being disruptive in class
Being unable to put the correct answers on paper, but being able to verbalize the answers
Non-compliance with homework
Losing their place easily when reading, or struggling to remember what they have read
Holding their book very close when reading
Skips words or lines when reading
Moves their head when reading rather than their eyes
Struggles with handwriting
Poor hand-eye coordination
Squinting, blinking, or closing one eye repeatedly
Tilting the head to one side
One shoulder sitting higher than the other
A visibly crossed or lazy eye
Confuses their left and right
Appears clumsy and uncoordinated
Short attention span
Irritability, nervousness, or behavior problems
Many children are misdiagnosed with behavior-based conditions such as ADHD and autism, when in fact they are actually suffering from visual issues which are affecting their behavior instead. With the right diagnosis and treatment, there’s nothing to stop these children from achieving their full academic potential and going on to live very successful, fulfilling lives.
If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from a visual problem that hasn’t been detected at routine screening appointments, or if you have any questions about vision therapy, please call the Bernstein Center for Visual Performance in White Plains, New York at 914-682-8886 to get in touch with our experienced visual performance team today.