In-Sight Vision Therapy:
Help for vision-related learning problems
Just because a child sees 20/20 doesn’t mean that the eyes are working together efficiently. When eye coordination isn’t optimal, the brain receives jumbled information and the eyes have to work harder to compensate for the visual deficiencies. As a result, even very bright children can have difficulty learning in school.
Comprehensive eye and vision examinations are important for children entering school and regularly throughout their school years to ensure healthy eyes and visual skills. The vision screenings offered in schools typically detect only 5% of all vision problems.
Vision is the process of being able to interpret and use the information that is being seen. People are not just born with good vision. Good vision skills are something that everybody learns, just like they learn to walk or talk. Because everyone develops vision skills differently, no two people see exactly alike.
Our In-Sight Vision Therapy program is designed to provide early diagnosis and treatment of vision-related problems so your child can enjoy learning and succeed in school.
What are some clues to look for when a vision problem is suspected?
- Headaches while reading or doing close-up work
- Eyes tire quickly when reading or doing homework
- Eyes water when reading
- Head moves when reading across the page
- A finger is needed to keep place while reading
- Skips lines, words, or letters when reading
- Spends a long time doing homework that should only take a few minutes
- Closes or covers one eye for near work
- Difficulty copying from the board
- Complains of double vision
- Rubs eyes when reading
- Excessive blinking
- Holds book close to face when reading
- Reduced attention span, can only concentrate for a short amount of time
- Covers one eye by leaning on a hand
- Reverses words or letters (b for d or was for saw)
- Must re-read material several times to understand what has been read
- Avoids activities that include reading or close-up work
- Is a year or more behind in reading skills
If your child has two or more of these symptoms, call us to schedule a functional vision evaluation to check for vision problems. Functional vision examinations are more in-depth than most regular eye exams. The examination tests how the eyes work together in addition to testing visual acuity and checking the eye health.
If problems are detected, Dr. Baker provides the necessary treatment which may involve the use of lenses, prisms, and special instrumentation to improve eye coordination, focusing, and tracking skills. We work closely with your child to eliminate visual stress and make learning, reading, and close-up work less tiring.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can benefit from vision therapy?
Vision therapy can be effective for patients of any age who have vision-related learning problems or other vision processing disorders which affect reading, computer use, and other areas such as sports and driving. Patients learn visual skills such as eye movement control, focusing, eye coordination, and eye teaming. It is basically practicing a weak skill (in this case vision) until the skills become automatic.
Once the brain learns how to use the eyes in a more efficient manner, it usually does not go back to using the eyes the old way. If these vision skills are not corrected as a child, they will often carry the vision problems with them into adulthood.
What is eye coordination?
Eye coordination is the ability of both eyes to work together as a team. Each eye receives an image of an object at a slightly different angle. When these two images are fused in the brain, it gives us three-dimensional vision. When this is off, it can cause double vision, blurred vision, tired eyes, and headaches. Poor eye coordination can cause vision-related learning problems.
What are the signs of vision-related learning problems?
Poor reading skills or difficulty in sports can be signs of vision-related learning problems. Other indicators are not liking to read, or the inability to pay attention and sit still when asked to do reading or writing activities. Please see the checklist above for more signs of eye coordination problems.
How are vision-related learning problems diagnosed?
At Overlake Family Vision, our eye exams test for sharpness in vision as well as eye health. We check eye coordination and eye movement skills. Deficiencies in these areas can cause vision-related learning problems. The earlier the vision problem is detected, the less the child will struggle in school and the better the outcome will be.
How does the In-Sight Vision Therapy program work?
Our In-Sight Vision Therapy program is tailored for each individual patient. Treatment may include the use of prisms, lenses, filters, and special instrumentation to improve specific visual skills. Patients receive a customized computer program to guide them through their home therapy assignments. The programs come with colored 3-D glasses and focusing lenses. Following the home assignments, the patient comes into our office for a weekly 45-minute vision therapy session. During these sessions, we have patients practice the new skills so that they will be retained after the end of the program.
We have fun in vision therapy and play games to improve vision skills. We do not work on reading skills. When vision skills improve, reading skills also improve for most patients. With practice, the child will be able to spend less effort concentrating on the act of reading and can pay more attention to what is read. Reading becomes more enjoyable and grades start to come up. When the grades and reading skills improve, so do the relationships with family, friends, and teachers. More good news is that the results of vision therapy usually last a lifetime so it is an extremely worthwhile investment!
How successful is vision therapy?
Vision therapy has been very effective on certain vision conditions. It can help people see more clearly and comfortably with less effort. Improvement depends greatly on the motivation of the patient to complete the program.
Bellevue Vision Therapy Specialists – Bellevue Optometrist Mary Baker, O.D. has 2 convenient Vision Therapy locations – Overlake Family Vision which have Seattle Metro Eastside residents covered. Come on in and see all the latest advances in eye care, and get your annual eye checkups.
New vision skills boost student performance!
By Dr. Mary Baker
We all want our kids to succeed in school, but hidden barriers to learning can trip up even the brightest students. Twenty to thirty percent of all school age children have a vision problem that is significant enough to interfere with learning.
The typical school vision screening detects only 5% of all vision problems and only tests for 20/20 vision at distance. School screenings aren’t equipped to check for important visual skills that are necessary for reading and using the computer. For example, they don’t determine if children can coordinate both eyes as a team, track print across a written page without losing their place, or comfortably adjust focus when looking from near to far away.
Children who are struggling with undetected vision problems often fail to progress well in school some even lack coordination in sports like hitting or catching a ball. A few of the signs of vision related learning problems include slow reading, difficulty copying from the board, skipping words or lines, losing his/her place when reading, poor comprehension, and reversing words and letters.
Fortunately there’s something that can be done to correct the vision problems and make learning enjoyable. We recommend having your child’s vision checked by a behavioral optometrist who tests for visual function as well as eye health and visual acuity. If a vision related learning problem is diagnosed, vision therapy may be prescribed. This type of therapy has been very successful in improving vision skills with exercises that use lenses, prisms and filters. The therapy usually involves regularly scheduled office visits and home therapy assignments.
When kids have better vision skills, they are better prepared to learn in school. In our program, when vision skills are corrected, grades start to come up, self esteem improves and so do relationships at home and at school. The best thing about vision therapy is that the results usually last a lifetime. These skills have a significant impact on your child’s success and can even affect whether or not your child goes to college!
Mary E. Baker, OD, is a behavioral optometrist at Overlake Family Vision. Visit overlakefamilyvisions.com or call (425)638-0700 for more information.