We often think of a visit to the eye doctor as an evaluation of whether or not we require glasses. Did you know that 1 in 6 children have a vision disorder? Vision disorders are of many types, ones that require glasses such as nearsightedness, and ones that require vision therapy, such as tracking disorders.
When you bring your child in for an eye exam we screen for many disorders. Besides nearsightedness and farsightedness your eye doctor also checks their ability to track, ability to change their focus, and ability to coordinate their eyes. We also rely on any concerns you, your child or their educational team may have. It is critical that you let your eye doctor know if your child is delayed in any aspect of learning, or delayed in reaching their developmental milestones.
Eye tracking disorders, focussing disorders, and eye coordination disorders have a major effect on reading, writing, learning and speech. Eye tracking disorders cause the child to skip letters and words, they often lose their place, and they have difficulty remembering what they read. Focussing disorders cause the vision to either stay blurry for near work, or cause difficulty maintaining clear vision. Eye coordination disorders cause words to move on the page, jump around and cause confusion when reading, frustration and dislike for reading.
These disorders are not fixed by glasses, instead children with these disorders are often treated using vision therapy at a behavioural optometrist’s office. Vision therapy involves weekly visits to the therapy center, and exercises to be done home. The activities help improve tracking, focussing, and eye coordination, and involve tracking balls, reading exercises, phonetic exercises, and so much more.
If your child has a learning disorder, is delayed in reading or writing, has a speech delay, or is delayed in development, make sure you see an optometrist. Symptoms of an eye movement disorder involve: headaches, eye strain, decreased interest in reading, words moving on the page, difficult retaining information, and difficulty maintaining focus on one task.
We would love to see your child for their next eye exam. If there are any concerns we will set up a follow up appointment to run tests on their eye movements. And we are excited to announce that we will be offering vision therapy at our office starting this summer.