Building confidence in children is critical to their success. Children who have visual skills that have not yet developed, tend to lack confidence in their abilities. They may struggle to keep up in school, finding it difficult to concentrate in the classroom. They may have difficulty when trying to catch a ball when playing on the sports field.
The good news is that Vision Therapy can help children (and adults) develop the specific visual skills they lack, offering them the best opportunities to have better reading comprehension, increase their reading level and attention span, and improve their sports performance.
We usually expect eyeglasses to solve all vision problems, but they don't and they can't. Much as eyeglasses don't solve an eye allergy and they can't solve glaucoma (an eye disease), eyeglasses don't solve all vision problems. Vision Therapy solves eye problems that eyeglasses and contact lenses can't treat.
Once the vision problems are addressed, the child is able to function and learn better. This then directly impacts their confidence level.
How Does Vision Therapy Work?
The primary goal of Vision Therapy is to improve the child’s visual skills. A child can have 20/20 acuity, which means they can see clearly at 20 feet and beyond, but they may still have visual skills that have not yet developed. Think about it. Most of child's learning is at near, on the computer, or reading a book. Is measuring distance acuity really a good gauge for how someone functions are NEAR?
Poor visual skills makes it hard for the eyes and brain (and body) to work together. Vision Therapy helps the child or adult to develop that communication. That enables people who have Binocular Vision Dysfunction to process and react to visual information faster, more accurately, and more efficiently.
Vision Therapy Process
A Vision Therapy program helps the person learn the visual skills that they need so they can succeed. It is a personalized program tailored to what that person's needs.
The Therapy program is specific for that individual's particular type and level of visual dysfunction. Its purpose is to develop communication between the brain and the visual system. The instruments we use to do that include specialized optical lenses, eye patches, prisms, balance boards, and digital technology in order to develop the brain-eye connection.
There are several visual skills that vision therapy helps to improve. These include:
- Saccades - the eyes’ ability to move quickly or “jump” between two or more focus points. This skill is crucial for reading, as children need to be able to move their eyes along a straight line without straying to other lines.
- Pursuits or Tracking - the eyes’ ability to smoothly track a moving target. This skill allows a child’s eyes to glide along with a page and also to catch, hit, or kick a moving ball.
- Convergence - the eyes’ ability to work together as a team in order to focus on a nearby object like a book or computer screen..
- Accommodation Flexibility - the eyes’ ability to continuously change focus between near and distant objects. This is the skill required when a child looks at the blackboard and then copies the writing into a notebook.
- Accommodation - The eyes’ ability to maintain focus on close-up activities. This skill is needed for homework and for using a computer for many hours.
- Central and Peripheral Vision - the ability to integrate those two different important parts so they are seamless and have flow.
- Visual Memory - The ability to remember words and information. Good visual memory is essential for spelling.
- Color Perception - The ability to distinguish between various colors. This skill is essential for the accurate interpretation of color-coded materials, such as graphs and charts.
- Fine Visual-Motor - The ability to engage in close-up activities with accuracy and comfort. This skill is needed for reading, writing, cutting with scissors, and assembling a puzzle.
- Visual Integration - The ability to combine your vision with your other senses to perform complex tasks. This skill is required to process various forms of visual information accurately and quickly. Visual integration is crucial for a student copying from the board and analyzing the information.
Confidence And Success Building
Developing visual skills is critical to a child's ability to succeed and meet the demands of school, especially now, when so much learning is done on computer. This will then help a child improve their grades, and allow them to gain confidence in the classroom. Vision Therapy can also lead to improved hand-eye coordination and allow them to have more fun on the sports field. In fact, Vision Therapy can be a key component in preparing children for higher education. As they master new skills, they feel more confident in their abilities.
IT is important to understand that a school eye screening by the school nurse or with a pediatrician, is not an eye examination. Most regular eye exams evaluate eyesight, but do not assess the essential visual skills required for sports, reading, and learning. Only a comprehensive vision exam by a Developmental Optometrist can determine whether a child has the visual skills they need to succeed in school. Contact Family Eye Care to schedule a Comprehensive vision exam to assess your child’s visual skills. We have Vision Therapy Programs that are individualized to help each child develop visual skills so your child can succeed and reach their full potential.