Children’s Vision & Learning Month

Children’s Vision & Learning Month

August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month, for the 20th year in a row! The goal of this month is to help educate parents and educators about the critical link between vision and learning. 

This year, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development is focusing on the link between concussions and visual-learning symptoms. The story of Kelsey Ransom is a perfect example of this link:

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The SVI Game for Vision Therapy

The SVI Game for Vision Therapy

The SVI is a large touch-screen monitor that improves visual abilities for learning problems, sports, amblyopia, and traumatic brain injury. Targets on the screen can be made large or small, dark or faint. We encourage everyone to hit the target in the center - the smaller the target, the more accurate you have to be. If you miss a target, a dot appears on the screen. This gives you instant feedback on where you are actually touching and you are (hopefully) able re-adjust your next target - perhaps reaching further, closer, higher or lower.

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Grace’s outward turned eye

Grace’s outward turned eye

A little girl named Grace came into our practice with a very prominent eye turn outward – these outward turned eyes are referred to as exotropia. She was seeing double and blurred vision, and other kids would ask her whether she was looking at them, noticing that one eye was facing another direction. She also felt eye strain, and got frequent headaches.

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How vision therapy can improve reading ability

How vision therapy can improve reading ability

At Family Eyecare Centre, we currently have a 10-year-old boy in our Integrated Vision Therapy Program who has completely blossomed from his shell. His boost in confidence has given him the ability to do activities that were previously difficult in many parts of his life, including his social life. 

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Can Vision Therapy help you skip rope?

Can Vision Therapy help you skip rope?

In my practice, we recently treated a young girl who, in addition to her vision-related reading problems, was upset that she could not skip rope like her friends. Jumping rope is a gross motor skill highly influenced by the quality of your visual processing. This type of vision problem had nothing to do with her 20/20 eyesight. Giving her glasses wasn’t going to help her jump rope, but a vision therapy treatment could!

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How Vision Therapy can Improve Saccadic Eye Movements and Help Reading Problems

How Vision Therapy can Improve Saccadic Eye Movements and Help Reading Problems

What are saccadic eye movements?

Saccadic eye movements are very fast jumps from one eye position to another. These are the eye movements used in reading or searching. This scanning of the visual field is learned during the first years of life, developing as a child explores their environment. In fact, saccades are the very first eye movements that develop!

How saccadic deficiencies affect reading

These eye movements are critical to success and speed of reading. If they do not develop well, it can result in the opposite effect: slow, frustrated reading. When learning to read the eyes must be able to align and track together (or form saccades) letter-by-letter, word-by-word, and line-by-line. Errors can be made when the eyes lose their place and have to backtrack (leading to re-reading and slow reading). Or instead of moving smoothly they skip around (leading to 'words moving on a page' or loss of place when reading and/or misreading words like 'saw' instead of 'was'). When errors like these happen frequently, so much effort is put into trying to coordinate the eyes that reading comprehension declines dramatically.

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Convergence Insufficiency, Not a Learning Disability

Convergence Insufficiency, Not a Learning Disability

More than half of patients that are enrolled in a Vision Therapy program with me have a vergence (which means eye coordination) problem.

The most common type of vergence problem is called convergence insufficiency. Convergence insufficiency can lead to reading difficulties including seeing double, getting fatigued quickly, feeling like your eyes are not working together, and headaches.

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Vision Therapy: Correcting More Than 20/20

Vision Therapy: Correcting More Than 20/20

As an Optometrist, I know that many visual processing problems can be corrected using Vision Therapy rather than just lenses. I've had countless patients come to me having been told that "it's too late to fix your vision problems" or that they'll "have to learn to live with these issues." But with Vision Therapy, so many of these patients have been able to improve their vision problems.

So what is Vision Therapy? Vision Therapy improves the way vision is processed in the brain. These are some of the problems I've helped to correct in my clinic with Vision Therapy:

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