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Vision Therapy: 8 Signs Your Child Needs It

Monday, February 23, 2015 @ 10:02 PM
Author: Amit Mathur



Vision therapy is a doctor-supervised, non-surgical and customized program of visual activities designed to correct vision problems and/or improve visual skills. Over time, it has evolved as quite a controversial form of treatment. Some doctors are completely in favor of it, especially when it comes to vision correction in children. However, there are others who strongly oppose it and call for other conventional methods. Regardless of what choice you make, it is important to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms that may help you identify if your child needs vision therapy.

The Importance of Vision Therapy

Parents who react favorably towards the advice of their optometrist believe that prevention is better than cure. Indeed, this is what vision therapy is all about. It is non-surgical, and thus involves a combination of eye exercises, sight-enhancing methods and state-of-the-art optometric devices. These aim to relieve your child from any vision problems. If the requisite vision therapy sessions are begun promptly, they will have a large impact in reducing the rate of progression of the vision problem. Moreover, they may also provide an ultimate cure in the long-run, thereby eliminating the need for invasive surgery.

Recent research has emphatically stated that reading difficulties exhibited in young children are often a result of undiagnosed or untreated sight-related problems. A startling discovery has been that of convergence insufficiency, also known as improper eye alignment. Statistics reveal that this problem shows up in 1 out of 20 school going children, whereas undiagnosed vision problems affect over 60% of them. This certainly points towards the need to rectify sight-related learning problems in youngsters from an early age.

What Vision Therapy Can Provide

Vision therapy offers innumerable benefits and can effectively eradicate common vision problems that your child may have, without requiring surgery. Some of the common vision problems that children often have, and can be treated by vision therapy are:

-Strabismus (irregular eye alignment)

-Convergence insufficiency

-Crossed eyes

-Double vision

-Amblyopia (“lazy eye”)

-Reading and learning disabilities

Signs and Symptoms

Parents should be mindful of how their children interact visually with their surroundings at home and during school. While participating in activities during work and play, it is possible that children may exhibit subtle signs of visual discomfort. These can then be treated appropriately with vision therapy.

The common signs of such visual problems include:

1. Abnormal mood swings. Your child may generally have an easy-going temperament, but may have started getting snappy and irritable at the playground or be refusing to listen to you at home. This can be indicative of a problem in visualizing and interpreting external stimuli.

2. Blurriness and headaches. A healthy child may start to complain of heaviness in the head, or portray an inability to read lettering properly from the blackboard. Regular headaches are also common in children with vision problems.

3. Poor reading, writing or spelling ability. This can easily be discerned since young children are continuously engaged in learning. Therefore, any problems while reading text or making sense of pictures should be brought to attention immediately.

4. Short attention spans. While this can also occur because some children are naturally impatient, it may also point towards a vision problem. Your child may be prevented from focusing on schoolwork because of it and hence may show disinterest in that particular activity.

5. Taking excessive time to do schoolwork. A child with a vision problem may be genuinely struggling to make sense while reading. He or she may be having a problem perceiving numbers or reading words from textbooks.

6. Misinterpreting letters. Your child may be mistaking one letter for another, for example,‘d’ for ‘b’ or vice versa. This symptom points to a vision problem with regard to making sense of basic alphabets, and therefore reading overall.

7. Re-reading or skipping lines. While reciting from a book, your child may not be able to continue from the subsequent line or may go over the same line again. This highlights a problem in viewing text in its entirety.

8. Frustration with work. Your child may have been performing well and have been deemed bright by teachers, but over time may have started to display irritation and aggressiveness when doing schoolwork.

The Bottom Line

Accurate vision is essential for your child’s development, and as a responsible parent, it is your duty to ensure that this is so. It is essential that parents seek an early optometric diagnosis as soon as they notice these signs in their child. A thorough evaluation of the symptoms by a specialist will confirm if your child needs vision therapy.The proper treatment can then be administered and the vision problems can be rectified for good.

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