Many of us are familiar with the eye chart that is used to measure "visual acuity." A 20/20 visual acuity is an arbitrary standard of what size letter most people who didn't need glasses could see from a distance of 20 feet. However, many people who have 20/20 eyesight still struggle with reading and learning.
The myth is that 20/20 eyesight is not enough. In fact, having perfect eyesight is only a very small part of what defines perfect vision. Vision depends on approximately 20 visual abilities that an eye chart cannot detect. However, sometimes, professionals whether it's a school nurse, a pediatrician, or an eye doctor, refer 20/20 eyesight as perfect vision. That is why many patients and parents of patients who were told that they (or their child’s) vision is perfect are still having problems in school, work and with prolong near tasks. It all depends on how the professional defines "perfect vision".
Vision depends on both visual motor skills and visual perceptual abilities. Visual motor skills refer to eye tracking, eye focusing and eye teaming proficiency. These skills are necessary in activities of daily living, such as reading, playing sports and driving. Deficiency in visual motor skills cause reading problems such as skipping of words/lines, poor comprehension, headaches around the eyes, double vision and/or fluctuating blurry vision (see symptoms checklist for more details).
Visual perceptual skills refer the ability to process, interpret and understand visual information. For instance, visual discrimination, visual memory, figure-ground, visual processing speed, spatial relations, form perception and laterality/directionality are some of the skills important for spelling, math and efficient learning as a whole.
Furthermore, vision is important in guiding movement in space and eye-hand coordination. This is why professional athletes such as NFL player Larry Fitzgerald and NHL player Chris Higgins engage in sports vision therapy.
In reality, you can have 20/20 eyesight yet still have vision problems that affect learning. Patients of all ages can have 20/20 eyesight, yet benefit from optometric vision therapy for visual problems having more to do with insight than eyesight. While most processes related to eyesight occur in the eye, most processes related to vision occur in the brain. Seeing a line of print doesn't do you much good if you can't visualize what it means.
A developmental optometrist spends years in post-doctoral education to master the complex visual programs prescribed to prevent or to normalize visual problems and enhance visual performance. Developmental optometrists, also known as behavioural optometrists, perform functional vision assessment. This includes testing for eye tracking, eye focusing, eye teaming, eye-hand coordination and visual perceptual skills. Not all optometrists have the advanced training or equipments required to perform a functional vision assessment, which is why many refer their patients to Dr. Debbie Luk.
Your visual system can undergo tremendous ‘visual stress’ with the demands of today’s society. Protracted, uninterrupted periods of reading, studying, computer work and/or video games can cause visual problems such as: headaches, blurred vision, burning eyes and fatigue. Visual stress is linked to the development of permanent vision conditions such as nearsightedness, astigmatism and other problems that affect school and work performance.
Complete this questionnaire and see if you may a functional vision problem that can be treated with glasses and/or vision therapy.
Symptoms of Visual Problems How often are the following symptoms experienced? Grade it on a scale of 0-4 (0 = never, 1 = little, 2 = at times, 3 = a lot, 4 = always
1. Headaches with reading or writing
11. Hard to understand what he/she has read
2. Words slide together or get blurry when reading
12. Holds book very close
3. Reads below grade level
13. Hard to pay attention when reading
4. Loses place while reading
14. Hard to finish assignments on time
5. Head tilt or closes an eye when reading
15. Gives up easily (says “I can’t” before trying)
6. Hard to copy from the board
16. Bumps into things, knocks things over
7. Doesn’t like reading or writing
17. Homework takes too long
8. Leaves out small words when reading
9. Hard to write in a straight line
19. In trouble for being off task at school
10. Burning, itching, or watery eyes
If the total score is more than 20, there is > 80% chance of having a vision problem that is interfering with learning and/or work. The higher the score, the greater the probability.
Vision Therapy is an individualized therapy program designed to improve and treat visual function. This includes the treatment of amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (eye turn), eye tracking, eye focusing, eye teaming and visual perceptual deficits. The goal is to improve visual skills and functions to eliminate symptoms of visual stress and provide the skills necessary to read and learn at the patient’s full potential.
Please visit us at Vision Therapy Calgary for more information.
It is known that 80% of learning comes from vision. Nearly all the visual problems that deter children from doing well in the classroom will not be uncovered by the standard eye chart. This is because 20/20 eyesight is only a small part of vision. In fact, visual acuity has little correlation with reading ability, although children must be able to see the board and reading material reasonably well.
Vision is a learned ability to interpret, perceive and correctly identify information. A vision problem can hinder a child’s ability to stay focus on tasks, to learn to read and to understand math concepts. Furthermore, vision problems can affect eye-hand coordination and depth perception, affecting the ability to play sports and music.
Would you like to have Dr. Luk speak at your next meeting?
Dr. Luk gladly provides informative and interactive lectures to educators, health care professionals and community groups. The lectures address vision development, children’s eye care, common vision problems, and the connection between vision and learning. Because Dr. Luk understands how undiagnosed vision problems can impact not only the children, but the entire family, she offers these lectures at no charge.
The vision therapy program is designed and supervised by a developmental optometrist. The therapy is provided on a one-to-one basis by the doctor or vision therapist. Various equipments are used to remediate the visual function such as
If you feel you or your child has a vision problem, here are five appropriate questions that should be asked of any vision care practitioner before the appointment is made. These are:
1. Do you make a full series of nearpoint tests? 2. Do you make school-related visual and/or visual perceptual tests? 3. Do you provide total vision care including appropriate therapy to help work with the problems identified? If not, will you refer me to a colleague who does provide therapy? 4. Will I receive a detailed written report if requested that we can understand and apply to assist the child? 5. Will you see this child on a regular basis to ascertain his progress?
Most doctors will answer "yes" -- however, the time periods involved are dependent on each individual case. If "no" or "this is not routine", you may want to check elsewhere.
It is very important that those concerned with the child have a concise explanation of the visual conditions that are causing problems.
It is one thing to identify a visual problem, and another to do something about it.Again if the answer is "no" call another doctor.
Parents Active for Vision Education (P.A.V.E) www.pavevision.org
P.A.V.E.® is a national non-profit education, resource and support organization whose mission is to raise public awareness of the crucial relationship between vision and achievement.
Vision Therapy Success Stories http://www.visiontherapystories.org A collection of over 500 stories. Read what many patients, teachers, and parents have written when asked "What changes have you seen as a result of a Vision Therapy program" or "How has Vision Therapy changed your life?"
Vision Therapy FAQs http://www.visiontherapy.org/vision-therapy/faqs/vision-therapy-FAQs.html
An eye doctor answers questions about Vision Therapy in an interview.
College of Optometrists in Vision Therapy www.covd.org
An international professional organization which grants board certification in vision therapy to optometrists.
Optometric Extension Program www.oepf.org
Serving the educational needs of optometrists.
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association www.nora.cc
An organization which provides direction for the visual rehabilitation of persons who have physical disabilities and/or traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Professional athletes and their coaches have found that vision can play an important part in sports performance; it may be the one thing that keeps a good athlete from being an exceptional one.
Think of your favorite sport; chances are that concentration, balance, reaction time, eye-hand coordination and eye tracking skills are just a few of the visually-related abilities you use during sports event. Vision involves many subtle and sophisticated links between your brain, muscles and eyes.
Even if you already wear prescription lenses or contact lenses, the visual skills you need for optimum sports performance probably need improvement. These skills are developed from birth and learned as you grow; they can also be taught, enhanced and improved at almost any time during your life under the direction of a behavioral optometrist who understands how your visual system works. We have a special interest in the practice of behavioral optometry; please contact us to discuss a custom tailored sports vision program fit for your eyes only.
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