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Vision Therapy

Vision is a unifying system that helps us interact with and make sense of our world.


Parents, teachers, and OT's, please note: These activities are offered as a fun way to help sharpen "learning-related" visual skills that are critical for success in school. If a child has deficits in visual information processing, these simple exercises alone are not sufficient to correct a problem. Please do not confuse these exercises with vision therapy. Vision therapy involves a much wider scope of remediation procedures involving the use of lenses, prisms, filters, and instrumentation in a closely sequenced program prescribed by developmental optometrists. However, if your child has difficulty with these activities, it could indicate there is a problem with his/her vision system, and you may want to contact a developmental optometrist for further evaluation. A developmental optometrists can run specialized tests to determine if your child has developed adequate visual skills for reading, learning, and visual attention. Developmental optometrists are sometimes called behavioral optometrists because of their role in evaluating how vision affects behavior and performance.

Dr. Jeffrey Becker, FCOVD, OD provides evaluation at Memorial Hospital.
For more information, please call 570-268-2209


Eighty percent of learning occurs through vision. Vision is more than just acuity or whether someone requires glasses or not. Vision is a complex set of systems that encompasses acuity, visual perceptual skills, visual motor integration skills and ocular motor skills. It also plays a big roll in balance in combination with the vestibular system. Convergence is a main skill that is, put simply, the ability of the eyes to work together as a team instead of opposing forces.

It is estimated that up to 10 million children ages 0-10 experience visual difficulties. Children and adults may have 20/20 vision and still have poor ocular motor control.


When Is a Learning Difficulty Due to a Vision Problem?
While learning occurs through a number of complex and interrelated processes, vision plays a key role.  Many signs, symptoms, and behaviors associated with learning disabilities are similar to those caused by vision problems.  This is why it is so important that a comprehensive vision examination be part of the interdisciplinary evaluation of all children who are failing to succeed in school.

Here are some signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate a vision problem.

Symptoms Possible Vision Problems

-Complains of blurred vision
-Rubs eyes frequently
-Squints
Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, or Astigmatism
inability to see clearly in the distance or up close

- Closes or covers one eye
- Occasionally sees double
- Rubs eyes frequently
- Able to read for only a short time
- Poor reading comprehension
Eye coordination problems
inability to coordinate the eyes together effectively


Pursuits         Saccades

- Holds things very close
- Complains of blurred vision
- Poor reading comprehension
- Says eyes are tired
- Able to read for only a short time
- Has headaches when reading
Eye focusing problems
inability to easily refocus eyes or maintain clear focus


Convergence         Divergence

- Moves head excessively when reading
- Frequently loses place, skips lines when reading
- Uses finger to keep place
- Poor reading comprehension
- Short attention span
Eye tracking problems
inadequate ability to smoothly and accurately move the eyes from one point to another


Pursuits

- Mistakes words with similar beginnings
- Difficulty recognizing letters, words, or simple shapes and forms
- Can't distinguish the main idea from insignificant details
- Trouble learning basic math concepts of size, magnitude, and position

Faulty visual form perception
inability to discriminate differences in size, shape, or form

- Trouble visualizing what is read
- Poor reading comprehension
- Poor speller
- Trouble with mathematical concepts
- Poor recall of visually presented material
Faulty visual memory
inability to remember and understand what is seen


Simon Says

- Sloppy handwriting and drawing
- Can't stay on lines
- Poor copying skills
- Can respond orally but not in writing
Faulty visual motor integration
inability to process and reproduce visual mages by writing or drawing

- Trouble learning right and left
- Reverses letters and words
- Trouble writing and remembering letters and numbers
Difficulty with laterality and directionality
Poor development of left/right awareness


Physical signs or symptoms

  • Frequent headaches or eye strain
  • Blurring of distance or near vision, particularly after reading or other close work
  • Avoidance of close work or other visually demanding tasks
  • Poor judgment of depth
  • Turning of an eye in or out, up or down
  • Tendency to cover or close one eye, or favor the vision in one eye
  • Double vision
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Difficulty following a moving target
  • Dizziness or motion sickness

Performance problems

  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty copying from one place to another
  • Loss of place, repetition, and/or omission of words while reading
  • Difficulty changing focus from distance to near and back
  • Poor posture when reading or writing
  • Poor handwriting
  • Can respond orally but can't get the same information down on paper
  • Letter and word reversals
  • Difficulty judging sizes and shapes

How to Identify a Vision Problem
Children should be referred for a comprehensive eye exam whenever visual symptoms are noticed or if they are not achieving their potential. Many of these vision problems will not be detected during a school vision screening or limited vision assessment as part of a school physical or routine pediatric health evaluation. 

Adults may also experience difficulty with their visual system. Often the most drastic changes are noted with traumatic brain injury, stroke, concussion but a variety of difficulties are seen without a major diagnosis present. Often times adults experience difficulty reading for prolonged periods, difficulty driving at night, double vision, frequent headaches, imbalance or vertigo type symptoms.

Memorial Hospital is pleased to offer a new Vision Rehabilitation program, complete with state of the art equipment. The program offers two trained Occupational Therapists that utilize both hand held and advanced technological equipment to improve muscle control and work to develop accurate pursuit, saccade and fixational skills. The end goal works on integrating visual and motor abilities for fine and gross motor tasks. We work closely with Dr. Becker, O.D., a neurodevelopmental optometrist with more than 25 years of experiencing in detecting and treating these difficulties. He offers hours on-site as well for evaluation.


If you would like more information regarding this exciting, life changing new service, or need to make an appointment, please contact the Outpatient Therapy Clinic at (570)268-2209.