When a doctor says that nothing more can be done to help, it can be very frustrating. It can be even more devastating when this pertains to a child. But what if this wasn't true? What if, "nothing more can be done," really meant, "I don't know what else to do"? This is exactly what happened to Dr. Susan Barry, associate professor of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. After just 6 months of vision therapy, Dr. Barry was able to resolve what other doctors had told her would be impossible.
Dr. Oliver Sacks is a world-renowned neurologist, physician, and writer. He is perhaps best known for his book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, and the movie Awakenings. Dr. Sacks recently authored an article in the June 19th 2006 issue of New Yorker Magazine, titled "Stereo Sue: Why Two Eyes Are Better Than One". He discusses Dr. Sue Barry, who had had three eye surgeries between the ages of two and seven, but despite those surgeries, the doctors were unable to straighten her eyes. Since the two eyes did not work together, she developed a "lazy eye". Her parents were told nothing more could be done. She was unfortunately resigned to a life without depth perception. As she approached her 50th birthday she began to experience new vision problems. Fortunately she found a developmental optometrist who was able to help her.
Many doctors still think and advise parents that lazy eye is not treatable after the age of 7. New research is confirming what developmental optometrists have known for years, that it is never too late to treat this, thanks to vision therapy!
As with most vision defects, strabismus and amblyopia are easier to treat when diagnosed early. It is important to know however that both children and adults can still greatly benefit from vision therapy, regardless of age. Surgery is often not the answer. Surgery simply addresses appearance. Vision Therapy addresses not only how someone looks, but also how someone sees. It is important that parents are aware of ALL treatment options.
If you are told that nothing else can be done, don't give up hope. One out of four children have vision problems that interfere with sports performance, reading and/or learning. This includes children who have passed school vision screenings. To determine if your child's difficulties are due to vision, ask yourself these questions:
Does your child:
Get frustrated trying to read or do homework?
Take much longer doing his/her homework than it should?
Have poor hand-eye coordination, or seem clumsy?
Copy slowly or make lots of errors when copying from the board?
Find it harder to read at the end of the day than in the morning?
Skip words or repeat lines when reading out loud to you?
Reverse letters like b's into d's when reading?
Have a short attention span with schoolwork?
Any one of these symptoms may be a sign that your child has a correctable vision problem.