Visual Difficulties: The Missing Link

Routinely having your child’s eyes tested is always a good idea. This is generally recommended at 6 months of age, 3 years old, just before school (6-7 years old), and annually thereafter, during school years, if no visual correction was recommended.

But despite having their eyes tested by an optometrist, your child may still present with a combination of the following:

  • Headaches while reading or doing desk work
  • Difficulty keeping their place while reading or copying from the board
  • Difficulty spacing their work, resulting in untidy handwriting
  • Use of their finger or a marker while reading
  • Whole head movements while reading
  • Slow work pace and fatigue
  • Regular eye rubbing, blinking or tearing
  • Difficulty with remembering text after reading it/comprehension
  • Delayed ball skills and eye-hand coordination

The fact of the matter is that the link between vision and learning is a lot more complex than we thought.

The Eye & All It’s Complexities

We all know the human eye is responsible for sight, however, sight not only involves visual acuity, but it also relies on optimum functioning of the other parts of the eye. For example, the movements of the muscles around the eye.

As part of our occupational therapy assessment procedure at Success Therapy Centre, we screen the movements of the eye to determine whether a more in-depth visual examination is needed. We look at the following important eye movements:

Tracking: the smooth and accurate side to side movement of both eyes together, while following a moving object.

Quick Localisation: the multidirectional movement of both eyes shifting rapidly from one object to another, as well as the maintenance of focus during this process.

Convergence: the fluid movement of both eyes towards each other, while focusing on a close object, and again outwards towards the regular eye position.

Visual Therapy

When difficulties with any of the above are noted, a referral to a Behavioural Optometrist is made. Behavioural optometry is an expanded area of optometric practise whose practitioners have the advanced training and equipment to perform a comprehensive functional visual test.

Sometimes visual therapy is recommended. This is tailored to your child’s individual needs, following assessment and consultation, and can involve home programs, together with in-room treatment at the behavioural optometry practice.

Strengthening your child’s visual skills is just as important as strengthening their weak hand muscles for writing, and core muscles for improved gross motor skills, and can greatly assist your child in achieving success.

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