Vision Problems Impeding School Improvement
Your child’s visual plays a large role in their academic success. Eighty percent of what they’re taught is delivered visually—through books, computers, and lessons written on the whiteboard. Consequently, learning in all academic areas suffers when struggling with an undetected vision problem that goes beyond 20/20 eyesight. To ensure your child’s success, learn about the common functional vision issues affecting young children and teenagers in academic settings and how vision therapy can help.
What Is Functional Vision?
Functional vision accounts for neurological control of eye function, including the eyes’ ability to properly coordinate with each other and the brain—this coordination is necessary to process visual information. With functional vision problems, your child may have difficulty digesting information while reading and writing. Even if they have 20/20 eyesight, a functional vision problem can prevent them from holding their place while reading or focusing on text on the page—concentration issues that commonly mimic learning disabilities like ADHD and Dyslexia.
Common Functional Visual Problems & Solutions
Functional visual problems affect visual efficiency skills, including focusing, teaming, and tracking. With the help of a certified developmental optometrist, your child will redevelop and strengthen neural connections between the brain and eyes with training exercises tailored to their unique goals.
Convergence Insufficiency & Eye Teaming Eye teaming refers to the eyes working together for sustained and comfortable vision. In order to focus on three-dimensional objects in space, both eyes send slightly different images of an object to the brain, where the two images are combined to create a normal picture of the object and surrounding world.
When the eyes don’t properly work together to send images to the brain, vision issues occur. Two common eye teaming problems are convergence insufficiency and convergence excess.
Convergence insufficiency occurs when the eyes turn outward during close-up activities like reading and writing. The eyes then strain themselves to return inward, causing headaches, double vision, and errors like confusing similar looking words or skipping words with reading. To the contrary, convergence excess occurs when the eyes turn inward, causing similar difficulties.
If your child is experiencing eye teaming problems like these, they may struggle with reading and computer work and have difficulty concentrating and staying on task. Vision therapy helps by retraining the eyes to coordinate with each other so they can deliver information to the brain accurately.
Eye Tracking Eye tracking describes the precise eye movements needed for effective reading skills and sports performance. It includes the following three skills:
- Fixation: a sustained and steady gaze used for visual attention
- Pursuit: coordinated eye movements needed for eye-hand coordination and following moving objects for sports and ball tracking.
- Saccade: precise eye movements from one target to another (necessary for reading efficiency)
Eye tracking issues can result in poor eye-hand coordination and skipping lines, confusing or omitting words, or losing place while reading. Our developmental optometrists help your child retrain their eyes to properly track words and objects, allowing for the accurate transmission of visual information to the brain.
Children with eye focusing problems have trouble keeping objects clear in their line of sight and also keep things clear when switching focus for example from a board to paper even if they have 20/20 eyesight. This condition, also known as accommodative dysfunction, makes it difficult to stay focused on objects that are in close sight. Near vision tasks like reading and writing are harder to accomplish when the eye cannot focus on text or switch focus far to near.
Accommodative dysfunction therapy includes eye focusing exercises and trainings that improve focusing endurance and strength. With learned visual stamina, your child can focus on objects with less fatigue, making schoolwork easier than before.
Treating Functional Vision Problems
Certified developmental optometrists will work with your child to determine if functional vision issues are affecting their ability to focus and process information in school. If you have concerns about your child’s vision, rely on our team to provide personalized, one-on-one support. Contact OCVT for a complimentary consultation to start improving your child’s vision inside and outside of the classroom.