Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy

1 in 4 children struggle with reading because of undiagnosed or undetected vision problems which are rarely related to eyesight. They lack adequate visual skills needed for close up work during reading, writing, and computer tasks. Frequently, children’s symptoms are attributed to problems such as ADHD or learning disabilities when the source of their problems in the classroom is often undiagnosed visual problems. Most frequently these will be convergence insufficiency (an inability of the eyes to work together in locating the object of regard) and reduced accommodation (poorer than expected ability to change focus to keep print clear). When these situations exist we often find that there is difficulty in making smooth eye movements when scanning along the line, and as a result words are missed out.

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Vision is our dominant sense and is estimated to contribute to around 80% of what we learn throughout our life. The whole brain is involved with vision and integrated with all other senses. Two thirds of our brain activity is taken up by processing visual information. Some of the visual skills that can impact learning includes eye tracking, focusing, eye teaming, depth perception, eye-hand-body coordination, visual memory, and visual form perception.

Research has shown that 60% of students identified as learning disabled have undetected visual problems.

Your child can only learn properly if they can move their eyes along the lines of a book smoothly and efficiently, switch from far to near vision quickly and accurately, sustain clarity on targets at different distances such as copying from the board, team the eyes to see single when reading with minimal effort, integrate what they see and what they write, and visually discriminate objects. If your child cannot do these visual tasks efficiently, a bright child can easily be mislabelled learning disabled.

What are some possible symptoms of poor visual performance?

​Some of the most common vision symptoms are.

  • Blurred print
  • Headaches
  • Print moves when reading
  • Skip words when reading along the line
  • Losing your place when looking from the book to the board and back again
  • Need to re-read the sentence for comprehension

Many children who struggle in school have never had a vision evaluation and may be suffering needlessly. Smart, intelligent children who don’t perform up to their expectations are prime candidates for hidden vision problems.

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy is a series of exercises and procedures which are designed to improve the performance of the Visual System – not just eyesight! It’s all about efficiency and not having to think and concentrate on the words or about print moving. When this happens, we are not able to think about what we have just read.

  • The ability to follow a moving object smoothly, accurately, and effortlessly with both eyes and at the same time think, talk, read or listen without losing alignment of eyes. This pursuit ability is used to follow a ball, to guide a pencil while writing, to read symbols on moving objects, etc.
  • The ability to accurately aim the eyes on a series of stationary objects quickly, with both eyes, and at the same time identify what each object is. This is a skill used to read words from left to right, add columns of numbers, read maps, etc.
  • The ability to change focus quickly, without blur, from far to near and from near to far, over, and over, effortlessly and at the same time obtain meaning and understanding from the symbols or objects seen. This ability is used to copy from the chalkboard, to watch the road ahead and check the speedometer, to read a book or watch TV from across the room.
  • The ability to use two eyes together. This is very important in ensuring a balanced even performance when viewing objects at a near distance. When this skill is deficient, fatigue, distractibility and shortened attention span often results.
  • Being able to keep peripheral information in your conscious awareness while paying attention to detail immediately ahead of you (that’s what happens when we drive!)
    Efficient vision is dependent on the ability to see rapidly, to see and recognise an object, or words in a small fraction of a second. The less time required to see, the faster the reading and thinking.
  • The ability to see depth. A child should be able to catch a ball as it is thrown towards them. to judge the visual distance and control the arm movement needed. An adult, when driving, needs to see and judge how far it is to the kerb, make accurate decisions about the speed and distances of other cars to be safe.

The above information which is essential for efficient learning will not work to a satisfactory level if the previously mentioned essential visual skills are working below satisfactory levels.

For more details, view our glossary of terms.