Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vision is More Than 20/20

By Dr. Melanie Langford, O.D.

Do you have a child that is very smart but struggles with reading, writing, spelling, or math? He or she could have an undetected vision problem. Current research indicates that approximately 1 out of 4 children have vision problems that interfere with their ability to achieve and succeed in school.

Many parents are told that their child has perfect vision because they are able to read the 20/20 line on the visual acuity chart.It is important that you do not confuse a vision screening with a comprehensive eye examination. A vision screening is a brief check which tests how well a child sees an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. A comprehensive exam can detect not only ocular health issues, but problems with near vision, eye coordination, and eye focusing. All of these things are vital for good academic performance.
  • Vision is a complex process that involves over 20 visual abilities  
  • ⅔ of all the pathways to the brain starts from the eyes
  • 80% of what a child perceives, comprehends, and remembers depends on the efficiency of the visual system
Inefficient visual information processing can result in poor visual tracking, the inability to use the eyes together, focusing problems, visual motor and sensory deficiencies, and sometimes even amblyopia or a lazy eye.

Learning related vision problems are treated not only with glasses or contact lenses, but with optometric vision therapy. Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program designed to improve visual function and performance by improving the brain’s ability to control eye alignment, eye tracking, eye teaming, eye focusing, and visual processing. It can help help those that lack these visual skills that are important for effective learning.

If you are concerned your child may be suffering from a vision related learning problem, he or she may have the following symptoms:
  • jerky eye movements or an eye that turns in or out
  • blurred or double vision
  • headaches or dizziness after reading
  • avoidance of near work
  • frequent loss of place when reading or writing
  • reversal of numbers and letters
  • poor reading comprehension
  • poor sports performance
  • poor handwriting
The above symptoms can result in things such as low self-esteem, short attention span, fatigue, frustration, and stress.

Vision therapy can not only help children with learning difficulties, but it can also help adults with the same issues, as well as difficulties with sports or even the computer.

Visual skills are also important for success in sports.To be a good athlete, it is critical that your brain successfully tells your eyes, hands, and body what to do. Vision therapy can improve ball tracking, eye-hand coordination, peripheral vision, and reaction time.

Finally, in this technological society that we live in, it is crucial that our eyes can handle the stresses induced by excessive computer and near work. C.V.S. or Computer Vision Syndrome, is defined as eyestrain, headaches, or visual difficulties caused by long-term computer work.

An eyeglass prescription specifically for near work computer and possibly the addition of vision therapy can effectively treat computer vision syndrome.

Dr. Melanie Langford received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Indiana University Bloomington. She then went on to receive her Doctorate of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, IL.  Dr. Langford practices full scope optometry at Family Vision Care – Gary Sneag, O.D., 4310 Genesee Ave., Ste. 101, San Diego, CA 92117.   858-560-5181 

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