In the year 2012, about 6.5 million pairs of eyeglasses were sold to patients under the age of 14. Poor vision can have a significant impact on the quality of life for a young child. Being unable to see clearly can make learning in school much more difficult, which could negatively impact a child's occupational opportunities in the future.
If you find that eyeglasses just aren't cutting it when it comes to improving your child's vision, you might want to ask your optometrist about vision therapy.
Training The Muscles Of The Eye
Some vision problems, like those caused by lazy eye or fatigue, can be attributed to poor muscle tone. Many people are surprised to find that the eye contains muscles that should be exercised on a regular basis. If your child has poor muscle tone in his or her eyes, the vision therapy designed to strengthen these muscles could improve eye health and clear up blurred vision.
An optometrist will have your child use exercises like contracting the eye muscles by squeezing them tightly for about 4 seconds and then opening them, or focusing the eyes on a pen moved toward and away from your child's nose to increase acuity.
Improving Reading Skills
How well the eye functions can have a direct impact on your child's reading skills. Reflexive movements, known as saccadic eye movements, allow a reader to scan through a sentence very quickly. If your child has a developmental problem that prevents their eye from making these rapid saccadic movements, they will have difficulty reading efficiently.
Optometrists often use computer software programs that randomly stimulate the neural pathways that control saccadic movement. A stimulus, most often in the form of a flashing light, is introduced and remains onscreen until the eye moves to pick up the light. Through repeated use, these computer programs can improve saccadic movement rates and help your child become a more proficient reader.
The average person has the ability to use both eyes as a singular unit to create one cohesive visual image, a phenomenon referred to as eye teaming. If your child suffers from esotropia, or an inward turn of the eyes, it can be nearly impossible to use both eyes in tandem.
Symptoms of esotropia can include motion sickness, poor hand-eye coordination, or headaches. An optometrist skilled in the administration of vision therapy can employ a number of computer aided exercises to improve your child's eye teaming by strengthening the muscles of the eye to prevent the characteristic inward turn of esotropia. This will improve not only your child's vision, but their quality of life as well.
Vision therapy at clinics like Absolute Vision Care provides a viable alternative to the surgical procedures used to correct a child's vision when glasses were insufficient in the past. Ask your optometrist if your child could benefit from the improved muscle tone, eye teaming abilities, and reading capabilities that vision therapy can provide.