Signs a Child May Need Vision Therapy

Did you know that a child can have 20/20 vision (“perfect vision”) and still experience visual issues? This is because some individuals can see 20/20 through each eye, but the eyes don’t necessarily work well together to create a clear picture. Vision therapy can help improve the muscular systems of the eye for better teaming, tracking and focusing. It can also improve the eye-brain connection so that the child can interpret visual information more effectively. These therapies allow for proper overall visual development and can improve classroom learning.

Children are often not aware that they are experiencing vision challenges since they don’t have a point of reference for optimal functional vision. This makes regular comprehensive eye exams important for children as they approach and advance through classroom learning.

Misdiagnosis of visual challenges is also common, and these visual issues can look similar to the following ADHD symptoms:

  • Reading issues
  • Poor attention span in school
  • Frequent mistakes
  • Difficulty doing and completing schoolwork

The best way to determine if these academic challenges are due to visual issues is to see an optometrist who will assess how well the child’s eyes work together. Additionally, some individuals who have ADHD also have vision issues that can compound the ADHD symptoms when not addressed. This makes seeing an eye doctor important to fully understand if vision therapy can assist in alleviating some of the symptoms.

Symptoms that may indicate a need for vision therapy:

  • Skips words or lines when reading
  • Rubs eyes when reading or doing near work
  • Closes one eye with reading or near work
  • Holds reading material close to face or tilts head or paper
  • Sits close to the TV
  • Headaches from reading or homework
  • Good word reader, but poor reading comprehension
  • Poor handwriting
  • Blurred vision when transitioning from far to near vision
  • Homework takes a long time or is highly frustrating
  • Short attention span for schoolwork or reading

Colorado’s doctors of optometry recommend a comprehensive eye exam if a child is experiencing one or more of these symptoms. Early identification and intervention are key in preventing impact on school performance and student confidence. Vision therapy can also help avoid or improve outcomes of surgical intervention. If you think your child may need vision therapy, call your local optometrist for an appointment today or search for a qualified Colorado optometrist here.

What Parents Need to Know About Nearsightedness Prevention for Children

Nearsightedness (Myopia) among children has been rapidly increasing for decades, yet the risks and treatment are widely misunderstood by parents and caregivers. Prevention and early detection are two keys to controlling this epidemic impacting children’s vision, development and classroom learning.

What is nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a vision condition that impacts a child’s ability to see objects at a distance because the shape of the eyeball is too long, or the cornea is too curved. Nearsightedness is not an eye disease, but an imperfection in the eye known as a refractive error. The condition typically begins in childhood and often progresses over time as the child grows. Roughly, 41% of Americans are nearsighted as opposed to 25% in 1971.1 This upward trend exists throughout Colorado and across the world.

Early Detection and Slowing Progression

Doctors of optometry agree that the best way to slow myopia progression and possibly prevent it includes a combination of:

  1. Consistent comprehensive eye exams for children even without symptoms. Children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor to get a full look at their eye health at 12 months, 3 years, 5 years of age and then every year for low-risk kids. These regular exams give your child the best chance at early detection and treatment to slow or correct nearsightedness.
  2. Daily time outdoors has been shown to delay the onset of myopia.
  3. Minimize screen time as this has been linked to increase in progression.
  4. If one or both parents are nearsighted their child is at higher risk, making it not possible to prevent, but the progression of the condition can often be slowed with proper detection and treatment.

Symptoms

Below are common symptoms for children experiencing nearsightedness. Keep in mind that many children don’t complain of symptoms and aren’t aware they are having a visual challenge. This makes a comprehensive eye exam key for early detection.

  • Blurry vision when trying to focus on distant objects.
  • Squinting to read far away text.
  • Sitting close to the TV or holding screens, books or objects close to the face.
  • Regular headaches.

Risks of Untreated Nearsightedness

It is important for caregivers to understand that children with moderate nearsightedness are at risk for additional serious eye conditions as adults. Such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Macular Degeneration

Treatment

Once nearsightedness begins it cannot be reversed, but it can be slowed. The child’s distance vision should be fully corrected with glasses and/or contacts. Additional treatments to slow progression can include:

Prescribed eye drops
These drops are administered daily to slow progression of myopia.

Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT)
Used in children and adults, CRT uses contact lenses that are worn only at night to reshape the cornea during sleep. No lenses or minimal correction is worn during the day. It takes about 2 weeks get the full effect and they need to be work every night.

Multifocal contact lenses
These unique contact lenses have different prescriptions in different locations of the lens. Often these are daily disposable contact lenses that children learn quickly to insert and remove.

References

1 https://www.nei.nih.gov/about/news-and-events/news/myopia-close-look-efforts-turn-back-growing-problem#:~:text=As%20a%20result%2C%20people%20with,from%2025%20percent%20in%201971.

Vision Changes at 41-55 Years of Age

Did you know that your vision has been gradually changing since childhood? It’s true! These subtle changes occur for everyone, even for individuals who have never needed assistance from glasses or contacts. Over the course of your life, the lens in your eyes begins to stiffen and slowly begins to lose its ability to change focus from near to far.

Trouble Focusing Up Close (Presbyopia)
After age 40, these gradual vision changes often begin to manifest as having difficulty quickly changing focus. For example, you may notice transient blur at distance after you have been doing a lot of near work. This is called Presbyopia, which will continue to advance through your early 50’s when near vision changes should then stop. 

Presbyopia is not curable or preventable and it occurs for everyone. Your local optometrist can assist in correcting your vision with eyeglasses or contact lenses so that you can maintain your quality of life.

Symptoms of Presbyopia
These symptoms may occur gradually with the first signs showing after age 40:

  • Hold reading material further away to make letters clearer
  • Needing brighter lighting when reading
  • Squinting
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance
  • Eyestrain/ headaches after a task requiring near vision like reading
  • Slow transition from near to far viewing or vice versa

Risk Factors
Age is the greatest factor for developing presbyopia. Almost everyone experiences symptoms of presbyopia after age 40 to some degree.

Premature Presbyopia Risk Factors
Specific diseases like diabetes, anemia, eye trauma, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular diseases can increase your risk of premature presbyopia, which is presbyopia in people younger than 40. Some drugs are associated with premature presbyopia symptoms, including; alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressant, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antispasmodics, and diuretics.1

When to See an Optometrist
If blurry close-up vision is interfering with your day-to-day tasks or quality of life, it is recommended that you get a comprehensive eye exam with your optometrist right away.

Seek immediate medical care if you experience:

  • Sudden loss of vision in one eye with or without eye pain
  • Sudden hazy or blurred vision
  • Flashes of light, black spots or halos around lights
  • Double vision

1https://www.healthline.com/health/presbyopia#risk-factors

 

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