Learning and Your Vision
Your eyes are amazing. They have the ability to automatically focus, track moving targets, and move your eyes together as one team. Without these skills, you could experience confusion, decreased reading comprehension, disorientation, lack of focus, and poor cognitive abilities. 20/20 clarity is important, but visual skills and functionality can seriously hinder performance if not developed fully or correctly.
What is Vision Therapy?
Put simply, vision therapy is a form of physical therapy that is used to retrain the brain and eyes to work together more efficiently. It is highly effective and used to treat many common vision problems that glasses simply cannot fix. One of the more well known pediatric issues is known as strabismus (lazy eye), a disorder in which the eyes struggle to look in the same direction at the same time.
Vision therapy has increased its reputation for treating symptoms of common learning disabilities like ADHD. Many of these diagnoses could be related to visual fatigue, and deficiencies in how the eyes move together. Most vision therapy patients report improved academic behavior, like reading speed and comprehension, during and after treatment.
Here are a few vision therapy exercises you can do from home if you want to try it before coming to therapy. These do not replace a training regimen but can supplement them. If you aren’t sure whether vision therapy is right for you or your child, please call us today at 602-547-3255 to learn more!
Vision Therapy Exercises
Tracking Moving Targets
Visual tracking consists of two types of skills: moving your eyes between targets, called saccades, and following moving targets, called pursuits. We use these basic skills every single day in reading, writing, drawing, sports, driving and more, even if we don’t realize it. You might notice a problem with visual tracking if you are losing your place when reading or skimming over words without processing them. There are many vision therapy activities you and your child can do to improve visual tracking like:
Focusing on Still Targets
Focusing problems occur when a person cannot sustain focus at one point, or adjust from switching between two images. When looking at your paper and the words come in and out of focus or copying back and forth from a blackboard, and it appears blurry you may have a focusing problem. Vision therapy is very effective at improving focusing issues and accuracy. Glasses and contacts can certainly help as well.
One of our favorite vision therapy exercises for focusing has adopted the fitting name of ‘tromboning.’ Simply hold a pen at arm’s length and focus on it. Move the pen closer to your eyes, slowly, and then outwards again. This improves your focus, depth perception, and can relieve fatigue.
Binocular teamwork is the innate ability your eyes possess to work in unison. Good teamwork is essential for sustained comfortable vision and depth perception. Without it, objects can appear doubled or even moving. Strabismus is a type of binocular focusing problem and can be seen as an eye drifting inward or outward. Most vision therapy experts approach this problem by focusing on each eye individually. Cover one eye and choose a point to focus on (the target can be moving or stationary.) The ‘trombone’ method works here as well. Move the object back and forth and side to side. When finished, repeat with the other eye.
If you suspect any problems with learning related visual problems, please feel free to contact our office at 602-547-3255.