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Vision Therapy

Can Vision Therapy Help Myopia?

Can Vision Therapy Help Myopia 640You may have heard of vision therapy in the context of helping adults and children with a lazy eye, eye turn, or learning difficulties.

But did you know that in some cases, vision therapy may also be effective in preventing, reducing, or slowing myopia (nearsightedness)?

While it’s true that scientists haven’t yet found a cure for myopia, vision therapy may help by targeting certain contributing factors of myopia.

To assess whether vision therapy is right for your child, call Family Eye Care in Old Bridge today.

But First, How Does Vision Therapy Work?

To give you a better sense of what vision therapy is, here are some facts. Vision therapy:

  • Is a non-invasive set of visual exercises tailored to your specific needs
  • May involve the use of specialized prisms or filters, computerized aids, balance beams, and other therapeutic tools
  • Trains the brain and eyes to work as a team
  • Develops visual skills like eye tracking, teaming, accommodation, convergence, visual processing, visual memory, focusing, and depth perception
  • May involve an at-home component, like daily visual exercises
  • Is evidence-based. Published data has shown that it can be an effective program to improve reading, learning, overall school and sports performance

How Does Vision Therapy Relate To Myopia?

While vision therapy may not be able to fully reverse or treat myopia, some nearsighted people appear to benefit from it.

Some vision therapists have reported patients’ myopia improvement during or after the vision therapy process. This may be due to a strengthened visual skill called accommodation—the eyes’ ability to maintain clear focus on objects. Poor focusing skills have been linked to myopia. In fact, research shows that having an accommodation lag (when the eyes can’t pull the focus inwards enough to clearly see a very close object) could be a risk factor for myopia development and progression. That said, it’s worth noting that research findings are still mixed on this matter.

Accommodative spasm, also known as “pseudo-myopia,” occurs when the eyes lock their focus on a near object and then have difficulty releasing the focus to view distant objects. The reason this is considered a false myopia is because it has to do with the focusing mechanism of the lens rather than the elongation of the eye, the main characteristic of myopia.

Pseudo-myopia can be treated with vision therapy, assuming the accommodation spasm is the only culprit for blurred distance vision. In this case, the patient may no longer need to wear prescription lenses for vision correction following a successful vision therapy program,

So what’s the bottom line?

In some cases, vision therapy may be able to improve a person’s blurry vision—but research on the subject is ongoing.

If you or your child has myopia and you’re curious as to whether vision therapy can help, schedule a functional visual assessment for your child.

To schedule your appointment with Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno, call Family Eye Care today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

 

Q: #1: Who can benefit from vision therapy?

  • A: Children and adults with visual dysfunction can benefit from a personalized program of vision therapy. Visual dysfunction can manifest in many ways, including—but not limited to—behavioral and learning problems, coordination difficulties, headaches, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and attention deficits.

Q: #2: Do all optometrists offer vision therapy?

  • A: No. You should only seek vision therapy from a qualified optometrist experienced in offering vision therapy for a variety of visual disorders. Other types of therapists sometimes claim to offer vision therapy, but only an eye doctor can prescribe the necessary visual treatments for optimal results.
  • Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison, and throughout New Jersey.

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Call Us 732-993-3420

Common Visual Symptoms to Watch for in Children

kid playing outside 640People often believe that if a child has 20/20 vision, they have perfect eyesight. This isn’t always the case. Having 20/20 eyesight refers to the ability to see clearly from 20 feet away. This doesn’t guarantee that a child has the visual skills needed to read properly, pay attention in class, writing, and other tasks required for academic success.

It may surprise you that many students who show signs of a learning difficulty actually have a vision problem. According to the National PTA, approximately 10 million school-age children suffer from vision problems that make it more difficult for them to learn in a classroom setting.

If your child is struggling in school, Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno can determine whether the problem is related to their vision and provide a vision therapy program to help them succeed.

Vision Screenings vs Comprehensive Eye Exam

While school vision screenings might detect significant lazy eye or myopia, they miss many other vision problems, such as issues with focusing, depth perception, or eye tracking.

A comprehensive eye exam, on the other hand, checks for farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, eye focusing abilities, eye tracking, eye focusing, visual skills, binocular eye coordination, and visual processing.

What Signs Should Parents and Teachers Look For?

Below is a list of signs and symptoms indicating that a child may be experiencing vision difficulties:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Complains of frequent headaches
  • Difficulty with comprehension
  • Complains of double or blurry vision
  • Makes errors when copying from the board
  • Reads below grade level
  • Holds reading material close to the face
  • Reverses words or letters while reading or writing
  • Loses place or skips words when reading
  • Confuses or omits small words while reading
  • Rubs eyes
  • Slow to finish written assignments
  • Frequently squints
  • Tilts head or covers one eye
  • Spelling difficulties
  • Uses finger pointing when reading

How Does Vision Therapy Help?

Vision therapy is a personalized treatment program designed to strengthen and improve your child’s visual skills.

Each vision therapy program is customized to your child’s needs and may include specialized lenses, filters, or prisms, alongside personalized eye exercises to help retrain the brain-eye connection and improve your child’s school performance.

If you think a vision problem may be affecting your child’s academic performance, vision therapy may provide them with the necessary visual skills to succeed in school.

Frequently Asked Questions with Our Vision Therapist in Old Bridge, New Jersey

Q: How do vision problems impact learning?

  • A: A child’s vision problem can impact all aspects of learning. Often, children with vision problems are told they have a learning difficulty, when in fact, their brain isn’t properly processing what their eyes see. Vision problems can affect a child’s reading skills and comprehension, handwriting, spelling, classroom performance, concentration and attention, and visual skills.

Q: Does my child have a vision problem?

  • A: Discovering a vision problem in children can be difficult, as they may lack the verbal skills to describe what they’re experiencing or may not realize that they have a vision problem.Common indicators that your child may have a vision problem include:
    – Covering one eye
    – Behavioral problems
    – Reading avoidance
    – Difficulties with reading comprehension
    – Frequent blinking
    – Excessive fidgeting
    – Limited attention span
    – Reading below school grade level
    – Tilting head to one side



If your child displays any of these signs, make sure you set up a visit to an eye doctor at Family Eye Care to evaluate their visual skills and find out whether your child could benefit from vision therapy.

Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, all throughout New Jersey.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 732-993-3420

Should My Child See an Occupational Therapist or a Developmental Optometrist that provides Vision Therapy?

vision therapy 640When a child struggles in school, parents naturally want to help. At times it is difficult to know what kind of help a child needs and who is best to provide that service.

Occupational Therapists (OT) are employed by schools and that may be a good place to start. School systems, and their OT’s, are often stretched thin and can offer only a limited therapy program. It also draws the child out of the classroom, and may take them away from learning. Many private OT’s offer pediatric care and provide OT care outside the school system.

When a vision problem interferes with learning, the best place to turn is a Developmental or Behavioral Developmental Optometrists. This is a subspecialty within Optometry. Optometrists obviously understand the vision system, provide eye examinations, eye medications, and eye glasses. Developmental Optometry is the subspecialty that understands how vision impacts learning and helps individuals to solve vision problems that affect learning. These doctors provide Vision Therapy (VT).

How are OT and VT similar? How are they different? Perhaps we can offer some guidance for parents and educators.

Most people are aware that there is an overlap between OT and PT, physical therapy. There is also an overlap with SLP; speech and language pathologists. Some OT’s and some PT’s say they provide Vision Therapy. Vision Therapy is an entity onto itself, much as Occupational Therapy is not Physical Therapy. It is specific to visual problems that affect learning and for other visual problems that eyeglasses and contact lenses can’t treat.

Developmental Optometrist offer Vision Therapy. Problems with the visual system are often best treated by someone who understand the visual system. There are parts within a Vision Therapy program that are similar to OT and PT, but in Vision Therapy, as the name implies, the main ‘focus” is vision. Vision is the sense that supplies our brain with the most information.

What is the Difference Between OT and VT?

diagramThere is some overlap between OT and VT, but there are considerable differences as well.

Occupational Therapists help people gain or regain the ability to perform various daily tasks through the use of sensory-motor exercises and interventions. OT aims to improve gross and fine motor coordination, balance, tactile awareness, bilateral awareness, and hand-eye coordination.

Eye Doctors that provide Vision Therapy, and the Vision Therapists in those practices help children and adults who have not yet developed the visual skills needed to succeed in school. Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists help patients improve how the vision system works and strengthens the eye-brain connection. This then helps solve vision problems that affect learning and schoolwork. It is often these vision problems that causes a child to struggle with poor reading and then produces anxiety. Children then procrastinate completing assignments and become frustrated. The reasons for these problems are not always apparent to a parent. A child assumes that the way they see is normal, and is the same as how their classmates see. They may not realize that they see blurry or double. They may not realize that they have eye strain or headaches that are due to a vision problem.

Some of the important visual skills for reading and school success are eye teaming, tracking, focusing, depth perception, visual processing, and visual-motor skills. These are eye movement and higher visual function skills.

How does a visual deficit look in a real world situation?

A child may have 20/20 eyesight, but that only means how someone can see at a distance of 20 feet. Yes, that’s where the “20” of 20/20 comes from. It does not tell us how someone functions at near, for example reading or computer use, that is so critical now, when so much of learning is computer-based. It doesn’t tell us how the two eyes work together, as a team. A child may need to read a sentence several times in order to understand its meaning, or tilt their head to read the whiteboard. They may ultimately avoid doing activities that are visually demanding. Poor performance in school and on the playing field can often be attributed to visual skill deficits.

Which Therapy Is Right For Your Child?

If the child’s visual system is the underlying cause of behavioral or learning problems, then a personalized Vision Therapy program is usually the best answer to help the child gain the visual skills needed to succeed.

So, when is best to consider Vision Therapy for your child? The answer is simple and straightforward. If your child is struggling in school it is important to first be evaluated by a doctor who specializes in vision problems that affect learning. If a child has trouble with visually demanding tasks, like homework, reading, spelling, or complain of headaches, then a doctor skilled in this area is able to evaluate and determine if Vision Therapy is indicated. This also applies to children who avoid sports. There may be an issue in judging space and how fast a ball is coming toward them. Developmental optometrists also work on sports vision.

The point is that a Doctor of Optometry, and specifically a Developmental Optometrist, is the doctor that provides the expertise needed to address the visual system, and how someone is able to read and learn.

This is not to lessen the benefits that Occupational Therapists provide. OT’s and PT’s often refer patients to our office. OT’s sometimes perform visual exercises with children, but only an eye doctor experienced in Vision Therapy can prescribe therapeutic lenses, prisms, and filters that enable the child to develop visual skills needed for school success.

Not all optometrist are trained in Vision Therapy. Dr. Roth is a Fellow of the College of Optometrist in Vision Development. This means taht he is certified in this subspecialty. Dr. Tiomno, Dr. Roth’s associate, completed her residency with Dr. Roth. Our doctors are experienced in diagnosing and treating people of all ages with all types of visual dysfunction.

Often children who have passed a school’s vision screening, or “passed the eye test” at the pediatrician’s office, may still have a significant problem with visual processing and other skills. A screening “test” usually measures how each eye sees individually and does not test how the two eyes work together as a team. A school vision-screening tests only for visual acuity (eyesight) and do not test for the other visual skills that are so important for a child to be able to succeed.

The visual system is highly integrated with other systems, and therefore, an interdisciplinary approach is often the most effective approach. OT and VT overlap, but don’t always have to be undertaken simultaneously. Some children may benefit from both of these therapies

If your child is struggling with learning or behavioral problems, their vision could be an underlying cause or contributing factor. To schedule your child’s functional visual evaluation, contact Family Eye Care in Old Bridge today.

References:

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Why vision therapy comes before tutoring or a learning center

Teacher eyeglasses 1280 x 853Our parental instinct naturally wants to find the fastest solution & often the first options for a child who struggles in the classroom are either a tutor or a learning center. However, some learning problems are vision-related, which is a problem in development and not necessarily due to learning capability.

When patients come to us for a vision therapy evaluation, we strive to educate parents how to recognize that when their child has a tantrum, gets easily frustrated, and can’t continue with homework, the child can show he or she is very bright and intelligent in other areas. Therefore, the issue of learning to read might not have anything to do with the child’s intelligence but a visual one.

Vision is such a basic tool that many parents may have already enrolled their child in other programs because they never questioned the child’s ability to see. When learning programs can’t solve the child’s struggles, parents discover vision therapy as an alternative, either from a referral or after online research.

Why aren’t parents brought to vision therapy from the beginning?

There are various reasons why vision therapy may not have been recommended to you initially or perhaps have never heard about it until now.

  1. Vision therapy is a unique program that only some optometrists specialize in and offer at their clinics.
  2. In vision screenings at school, vision is only tested for seeing at a distance. A child with a problem with another visual skill can go undiagnosed.
  3. Since there are children with learning problems, some with vision problems, diagnosing the exact issue becomes more difficult as the child may be juggling more than one condition.
  4. The child does not have regular eye exams with an optometrist or local eye doctor.

Fortunately, vision therapy is growing in popularity because of the effectiveness and immediate benefits in children with problems. Previousl children would continue their years at school without ever treating their vision problem. Even today, some adult patients come to us for therapy & discover they had a lingering vision problem holding them back the entire time.

Is there a time that’s too early to treat a vision problem?

When a child is starting to read & pronounce the words in 1st or 2nd grade, if they have a vision problem, their learning will be slower than other children & unfortunately, the issue generally won’t go away on its own. In scenarios like this, a child with a vision problem who reaches 3rd, 4th, or even 5th grade without treating their vision, will end up falling behind the class at a more noticeable rate. A child may lose confidence or face peer pressure unless their situation is handled with care. However, if the vision problem is addressed early, the child can enjoy their early school years with fully developed visual skills and not have to face these challenges at an older age.

Signs of a child with a vision problem may be able to pronounce words & run through sentences, but they will lack comprehension. Children may end up learning to read but never reading to learn. For a person who grew up with normal vision, it’s difficult to comprehend how someone can read through a page & not remember what they read.

Why Vision Therapy Should Be Your 1st Priority

Fortunately, vision therapy is well researched & supported with multitudes of success stories over the years. Plus, a developmental optometrist who specializes in vision therapy has ways to accurately test your child’s various visual skills & identify whether vision therapy is needed. There’s no guesswork involved. This means that your child will achieve normal, functional vision at the end of therapy, and in many cases, they become amazing readers, sports players, and happy to learn.

Struggling with Reading & Overall Learning Problems

learning at home 640×350During COVID-19, parents are challenged with the task of supporting their children’s studies as they contend with online classrooms and homework. We can certainly acknowledge our teachers have done a phenomenal job at adapting their classroom setting to a virtual one, but a struggling reader or learning problem is hard for a teacher in a remote setting to solve. So, the burden is placed on the parent’s shoulders to bear.

Fortunately, there are multiple avenues to take to help your child feel empowered and gain a better foothold with their online learning. By now, most parents have equipped their child with a fast internet connection, new computer, and quiet learning environment. What else is there left to do?

Encouragement & Support

As much as we’re all under a lot of stress, your child depends on your never-ending support & love. You don’t need to turn to gifts or money to make a child feel appreciated. A personal touch like their favorite snack, quality time, and compliments can go far with anyone.

Digital Eye Strain

Eye fatigue from excessive smartphone/computer usage isn’t unique to children — it affects everyone. Not only do our eyes need a rest from the computer, but digital devices reduce our blinking rate, which also results in dry eye symptoms. Take frequent breaks & stretch your eye muscles by looking out a window once in a while.

Did your child ever have a functional vision evaluation?

While a child who is really struggling at learning can require the help of an educational therapist or tutor, a key step to identifying what’s holding your child back in their studies is addressing their vision — 80 of learning is visual!

We often find children who have struggled in the classroom as “C” students because their vision was never evaluated by an optometrist who specializes in vision therapy.

If your child has an underlying vision problem, no amount of tutoring or work with other specialists will address or treat the problem effectively or at all.

We encourage you to contact Family Eye Care today for a vision therapy evaluation to assess if their vision is what has held them back from their studies.

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Call Us 732-993-3420

How Vision Therapy Impacts Confidence & Success

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthBuilding 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.

Visual Skills

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.

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Call Us 732-993-3420

4 Ways To Help Your Child who has a Vision-Related Learning Difficulties

sad child 640An estimated 1.25 million children in North America are affected by some form of visual problem that affects studying, reading, and daily living. These include: nearsightedness, farsightedness, lazy eye, or crossed-eye.

Please consider visiting our website to learn the difference between these two. We have explained that in words and with videos.

These visual problems usually have a huge impact on school performance and can cause a child to lag behind their peers.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to help your child succeed. First, let’s explain the link between vision and learning.

Why are Visual Skills Necessary For Learning?

Most of what we learn is through our visual system. Up to 80% of classroom learning is vision-based. Is it any wonder then, that children who have problems with certain visual skills lag behind their peers academically?

This goes way beyond the ability to see letters on the eye chart at the pediatrition’s office or the school nurse. It goes way beyond the pediatric eye surgeon’s test for eye health. What we are dealing with is how the 2 eyes function together as a team.

The Acuity chart tells us how we see at distance, such as looking at the blackboard, but more of learning, and reading, is NOT done at distance; it is done at near, such as reading a book or working on a computer.

The visual skills needed for school success go far beyond just visual acuity, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). The visual skills needed rely on brain-eye communication. These types of visual skills problems can only be detected with a doctor who is looking for these types of problems. These vision skills include eye teaming, tracking, accommodation, and focusing, all of which are critical for proficient reading, writing, and reading comprehension.

How Educators Can Help Students With Vision-Related Learning Challenges

Firstly, teachers are experts in teaching, but may not be experts in identifying what is holding a child back from being able to learn effectively.

1. Consider Where Your Students Should Be Seated

It is a good idea to have children seated facing the whiteboard rather than having to look over their shoulder or turn around to see what the teacher is writing on the board. Some classrooms have students seated at round tables, which puts some children into the position of having to turn around to see the front of the classroom. There are some positive reasons for this type of seating arrangement, but it makes it difficult to quickly shift gaze from distance to near in order to copy from the board.

2. Pay Attention to a Child’s Visual Needs

If eyeglasses were prescribed, it is important to know how and when they should be used. Sometimes children are bullied and that is why they don’t wear the eyeglasses that were prescribed.

3. Classroom Lighting

It is important that a child’s seat is not in direct sunlight or under a shadow. Natural lighting is preferred, but when that isn’t possible, tungsten light bulbs are generally favored by the eye over fluorescent lighting. Flickering light bulb should be changed without delay.

4. Choose a Teaching Method That Promotes good Vision and Sight

  • Use black or dark-colored markers on the whiteboard.
  • Avoid bright colored markers like orange, red, and yellow.
  • When writing on the board, say the words/numbers aloud to assist those who may have difficulty reading or seeing the text.
  • Avoid using language that relies heavily on vision, such as “like this one” or “over there.”
  • Be patient when a student stares off into space or daydreams. This is often a symptom of visual dysfunction, rather than a lack of attention.

How We Can Help

At Family Eye Care, our goal is to help each child reach their full potential by strengthening any visual skill deficiencies.

We treat children who have visual problems that affect learning. Most often, a child is not awaare that they have a problem and assuemthat everyone sees the same way that they do. Vision Therapy may be indicated to help the child to be able to use the two eyes together as a team, and to physically focus so the child can then mentally focus. Vision Therapy enables the individual to build a strong eye-brain connection.

To learn more or to ask any questions, contact Family Eye Care today.

Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison, and throughout New Jersey.

REFERENCES

 

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Choose Holiday Gifts That Support Your Child’s Vision

child looking at toys 640Gift giving season is fast approaching. If you plan on purchasing a gift for a child, you may want to consider choosing one that supports healthy visual functioning.

Here’s our list of children’s gifts that benefit their visual health in a fun and enjoyable way.

Building Toys

Building toys help children develop hand-eye coordination and visualization skills. They also help enhance visual-spatial skills — an essential component of reading readiness. Understanding how to create a structure refines children’s spatial-organization skills.

Playing with building toys perfects skills like problem-solving, patience, and focus.

Some popular building toys are Legos, Duplos, Mega-Bloks, Clics, and Magnatiles. Many building toys are appropriate for children aged 1-9, but follow the age recommendation and warning labels listed on the packaging.

Visual Thinking Games and Toys

Jigsaw puzzles, memory games, dominoes, checkers, Rush Hour, and Bingo all help children to build visual thinking and processing skills. Visual thinking, also known as visual/spatial learning or picture thinking, is the ability to think and analyze what you have seen. This skill is needed for math and reading comprehension.

Visual thinking games are a great way to cultivate abilities like visual memory, form perception, eye tracking, sequencing, and pattern recognition.

Space Perception Toys

What better way to develop a child’s hand-eye coordination than with a lively game of catch or ping pong? Space perception toys also promote a child’s awareness of the space around them, as well as three-dimensional depth perception, eye tracking, and accommodation flexibility (the eyes’ ability to continuously change their focus between near and distant objects).

Other examples of space perception toys include marbles, pick-up-sticks, Jenga, and any game or sport that involves a ball.

Let’s Support Your Child’s Vision Together

A child’s vision enables them to succeed academically, building self esteem. When a child has a problem with one or several visual skills, it can cause them to struggle in school or develop attention and behavioral issues.

That’s why it’s important to provide children with toys, games, and opportunities that support and refine their visual skills.

If you suspect that your child may be struggling with their vision, bring them to Family Eye Care for a functional visual evaluation, where will test their visual skills and processing abilities.

Even a child with 20/20 vision can have visual dysfunction that will likely go undetected in standard eye exams or school screenings.

If a problem with their visual functioning is found, we may recommend a personalized program of vision therapy. Vision therapy is an evidence-based treatment method that has been proven effective for a wide variety of visual dysfunctions. This form of therapy can be thought of as a “gym” for the brain, as it helps to retrain the eye-brain connection and speed up a child’s visual information superhighway.


For more information or to schedule a functional visual evaluation, call Family Eye Care today.

Family Eye Care serves patients in Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison, and throughout New Jersey.

 

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Call Us 732-993-3420

How to Know If Your Child Has a Functional Vision Problem

Functional Vision ProblemMany parents mistakenly assume that if their children have excellent eyesight, their visual system is functioning normally. Yet even if children have 20/20 vision, they may experience problems with their functional vision — how the eyes and brain work together to perform many everyday tasks.

Being aware of your child’s functional vision problems and addressing them is vital because well developed visual function means the eye and brain are communicating effectively. This is key to learning in class and throughout life. Functional vision problems can leave children feeling frustrated, cause difficulties with maintaining concentration and hinder their ability to reach their potential.

Symptoms of Functional Vision Problems

Children who have a visual function problem may:

  • Frequently rub their eyes
  • Experience persistent headaches
  • See double images
  • Seem overly fatigued
  • Cover one eye in the classroom, especially while reading, and doing homework
  • Tilt their head to see

While reading, they may:

  • Read slower than their classmates
  • Have reduced reading comprehension
  • Lose their place on the page
  • Hold written material or a digital screen too close to their faces
  • Avoid reading altogether

Problems with functional vision may force children to compensate by covering one eye or tilting their head to avoid the symptoms and make a task easier.

Such struggles cause fatigue of the eyes and body, along with headaches.

Possible Causes of Functional Vision Problems and How to Address Them

Your children’s functional vision requires the following visual skills. During a comprehensive visual function examination we will check for:

Convergence. Both eyes looking at and focusing on a nearby object, such as a book or computer screen

Tracking. Both eyes moving together as a task demands, such as following the words across a page or the arc of a basketball shot

Accommodation. Both eyes maintaining focus on an object as it moves closer or farther away

Alignment. Both eyes properly lining up so that they see the same object and send the same image to the brain

Fortunately, we can get your child back to enjoying school, reading and other activities. Bring your child in for an eye exam with Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno, who also will conduct a comprehensive examination for functional vision. This test is different from the standard vision screening your child likely receives in school, and is more extensive than a regular eye exam.

If we detect the shortfalls mentioned above, we’ll recommend vision therapy and then prescribe a customized program. Vision therapy is a month-long program made up of in-office and at-home exercises. These exercises, when done regularly and diligently, will significantly improve your child’s convergence, tracking, accommodation, and alignment, and get their visual functioning where it needs to be to enjoy daily activities and succeed in school.

When that happens, expect your child to request many more trips to the library!

Family Eye Care provides vision therapy for children with functional vision challenges from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Old Bridge, and throughout New Jersey.

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Call Us 732-993-3420

Can At-Home Learning Cause Vision Problems in Children?

Home LearningMillions of schoolchildren are doing most of their learning at home during this COVID pandemic. Remote learning presents students with vision challenges. The most common problem is digital eye strain — also called computer vision syndrome. Spending many hours indoors and on computer has also been linked to a child becoming more and more nearsighted. That is called progressive myopia. These problems are of particular concern now, because children are now spending much more time on-line as compared to the days before the COVID epidemic.

Using digital screens for long periods causes digital eye strain. That eye strain then causes headaches, blurriness, dry eyes, difficulties with concentration, and neck and shoulder pain. The effects of digital eye strain are made even worse when a child has an already existing eye condition, for example, it they have a problem with eye movements.

A child is not able to tell you that they have these problems because they have always seen this way and they way they think everyone sees. That is why it is so important that your children undergo a thorough eye exam, and to correct or treat eye conditions that can interfere with their learning, both in the classroom and online.

How Parents Can Help

Conditions that contribute to a child having digital eye strain also include insufficient contrast between characters appearing on the screen and the screen’s background, the amount of glare emitted by the computer or tablet screen, being too close to or too far from the screen, and poor posture.

By monitoring your children’s learning environment and recognizing the signs of digital eye strain, you can prevent or at least minimize the effects of eye strain on your child. The American Optometric Association recommends that you:

  • Adjust the center of the screen so that it is approximately 5 inches below your eyes and 20–28 inches away
  • Tilt the screen to eliminate glare
  • Use proper posture, with feet planted firmly on the floor, back straight, and wrists off the keyboard
  • Blink frequently to keep the eyes moist
  • Take frequent breaks away from the device (at least every 20 minutes)
  • Shut devices at least one hour before going to sleep

Research has shown that children who spend significant time playing in the sunshine experience slower myopia progression than children who stay indoors, so it is a good idea to have your children get plenty of sunshine.

If your children haven’t yet undergone their annual comprehensive start-of-school eye exam, schedule an appointment with us. We’ll advise you and your children on how to keep their vision clear and comfortable and their eyes healthy during this extended period of at-home learning.

We, at Family Eye Care of Old Bridge, help parents and children from Old Bridge and the surrounding towns of Aberdeen, East Brunswick, Manalapan, Matawan, Marlboro, Monroe, Parlin. Sayreville, South Amboy, South River, Spotswood, Lawrence Harbor, Cliffwood Beach, and throughout New Jersey.

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Book An Appointment
Call Us 732-993-3420