Visual skills are critical in learning and development. Eye tracking, eye focusing, eye teaming, and visual processing skills are all used when trying to learn to read. Inefficiencies in these skills may be causing a lag in performance for reading and learning. Symptoms of visual inefficiencies are troubles focusing, skipping words, losing place, headaches, eye strain, avoidance, letter and word reversals, and words moving on the page. Vision is not equivalent to seeing 20/20, and other visual skills are often not tested in basic eye examinations.
Who would benefit from Vision Therapy?
Common symptoms for visual dysfunctions
- Have visual symptoms following a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Have trouble focusing their vision, or get double vision (diplopia), eye strain or headaches from visual tasks.
- Are behind in learning, reading, writing in school.
- Have poor coordination, balance, or get easily motion sick.
- Have an eye turn inward, outward, or up or down, intermittently or constantly (strabismus).
- Have a lazy eye (amblyopia – reduced visual acuity in one or both eyes).
- Feel that they have not reached their visual potential.
- Athletes who want to accelerate their visual skills.
Those that may benefit from Vision Therapy:
Strabismus & Amblyopia
When the visual system develops to use eyes asymmetrically (unequal) due to an eye turn (strabismus) or weak eye (amblyopia), it can be visually restrictive to an individual in many ways. Strabismus and amblyopia often causes reduced “3D vision” or stereopsis (a form of depth perception) as this requires symmetrical use of both eyes, working in unison. This often leads to clumsiness, poor performance in sports, and visual discomfort or avoidance.
Overall child development is critical in visual development and vice versa. Our children need to “learn to see” and this is a result of proper developmental opportunities and experiences throughout their lifetime. Did your child participate in tummy time? Did you know this increases neck strength, eye tracking, and eye focusing? Did your child crawl? Did you know that crawling allows your child to use their vision to direct action? Did your child like jumping, spinning, and bilateral coordination? Did you know this is important in developing both eyes working together as a team?
TBI & Concussions
Approximately 40% of the human brain contains networking pathways for vision and can be easily affected by concussions and brain injuries. Vision symptoms post concussion / brain injury are often significant and affect daily living and ability to perform work related duties. Symptoms of headaches, dizziness, nausea, motion sensitivity, off-balance, blurred or double vision, light sensitivity and overall reduced functioning, are all symptoms that the visual pathways have been affected. Eye tracking, eye focusing, eye teaming, and visual processing can all be affected by concussions and brain injuries and are often overlooked as part of concussion management and treatment.
Did you know that visual performance is one of the top predictors of an athlete making it to high level teams? We are not talking about visual acuity! We are talking about central and peripheral awareness, hand-eye reaction time, foot-eye reaction time, accuracy and speed of eye tracking, flexibility and control of eye focus and eye teaming, and overall visual stamina. Vision is a trainable skill, and athletes that practice hard to improve their automaticity and accuracy of visual performance are more likely to excel.
In certain developmental disorders, visual skills may be significantly affected. Often areas like eye contact and visual attention are grossly underdeveloped and can be linked with difficulties with social interaction, posture and balance, and reading and learning. The development of stronger and more comfortable visual skills can increase interaction and engagement within their environment and improve confidence with movement. Any individual has the ability to reach an improved visual potential if provided the right opportunity.