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How Do I Know If My Child Needs Vision Therapy?

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A young male patient performs the Marsden Ball Bunting exercise at Aurora Eye Care.

Children learn, grow, and develop using their 5 senses—vision being an integral part of that learning. If your child is struggling with their visual skills, vision therapy could be a solution if there are problems with the brain-eye connection.

Your little one could benefit from vision therapy if:

  • They’re squinting a lot
  • Get headaches often
  • Have trouble reading
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Tilting their head when looking at objects

These signs could indicate an issue with their vision that should be addressed, and vision therapy may be the correct treatment option depending on the cause.

A good place to start is with a children’s eye exam. During this exam, our optometrists can rule out a refractive error or other problems that might affect their vision. Once we’ve examined your child’s eyes, the eye doctor can recommend an effective solution.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Visual skills (such as tracking ability) and visual acuity (20/20 vision, for example) are sometimes mixed up, but they are separate things. Visual acuity can be affected by things like nearsightedness or farsightedness; whereas visual skills more broadly include abilities such as eye movement skills, eye teaming and peripheral/spatial awareness, amongst others. Glasses or contact lenses are solutions for low visual acuity, while vision therapy can assist with functional vision problems due to deficient visual skills.  

Vision therapy is a drug-free and non-invasive treatment to help improve visual skills by strengthening the connection between the eyes and the brain. Everything from learning to socialization can be affected if a child is struggling with this eye-brain connection.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to which vision therapy treatment is best, because the therapy is typically tailored to each patient’s needs. Our optometrists at Aurora Eye Care use specialized equipment and technology to assess each patient’s visual skills and create a customized treatment plan.

Signs My Child May Need Vision Therapy

There isn’t any single sign that says a child needs vision therapy, just like there isn’t any single sign they need glasses. But as a parent, you may notice certain things that suggest your child should see their optometrist for an eye exam.

Squinting or Covering an Eye

Double or blurry vision could indicate an underlying problem, such as amblyopia or strabismus. These may not always be noticeable, but squinting or covering an eye could indicate the child is experiencing these symptoms.

Persistent Headaches

Frequent headaches or eye strain could be a sign that there is a problem with your child’s vision. It’s one thing to get the occasional headache, but a visit to our eye doctors could be a good idea if they’re getting regular headaches after spending the day at school.

Trouble Reading or with Reading Comprehension

Tracking the words on a page or the blackboard is an example of an important visual skill. If the brain has trouble making this connection, difficulty reading or with reading comprehension could be the result.

Tilting Their Head

Another potential behaviour of a child who may have strabismus, or misaligned eyes, is tilting or turning their head to odd angles. 

Short Attention Span or Trouble Sitting Still

Trouble sitting still, fidgeting, or a short attention span could all be automatically associated with ADHD. While that is a possibility, it’s also possible that there is a visual problem that leads a child to lose interest quickly. For example, if they’re expected to pay attention to the blackboard, but they can’t keep up with what the teacher points out, they may give up trying.

A young female patient doing the Peripheral Color Match exercise at Aurora Eye Care.

Vision Therapy Treatments

The appropriate or effective therapy will vary based on the particular vision problem and the patient’s vision needs. There are various vision therapy strategies we can implement depending on the needs of your child.

Vivid Vision Computer Technology

The technological age we live in is a beautiful thing when it comes to some of the incredible treatments it creates. Vivid Vision is one such technology treatment we offer at Aurora Eye Care. It’s a virtual reality program that we can use to help treat several visual conditions. 

Syntonics

You may have heard of phototherapy as a treatment for chronic headaches, brain injuries, or concussions. But syntonic phototherapy is also an effective treatment for several visual problems that can affect your child’s visual skills.

Custom Strategies

Vision therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment, so our eye doctors at Aurora Eye Care may recommend a more traditional approach to vision therapy based on your child’s needs. Exercises like custom visual tasks, specialty lenses, filters, or prism lenses could all be viable forms of vision therapy.

Discuss Your Child’s Option with Our Optometrists

If you’re noticing any of the signs we discussed above, there’s no need to panic. Your child’s vision may be fine—they may simply need help in strengthening their brain-eye connection. We take a personalized approach to vision therapy, so we can target the specific issue your child is having to prescribe appropriate treatment.

It’s also worth mentioning that vision therapy is not only for children. This therapy could be beneficial for you if you’re an adult who identifies with some of these symptoms. It’s never too late to develop your visual skills!Give us a call today at Aurora Eye Care. Our professional staff can answer your questions and discuss next steps with you.

Written by Luis Marquez

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