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Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children

Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children

Because 75% to 90% of what a child learns enters through their eyes and travels down the visual pathways to the brain, it stands to reason that any obstruction in their visual system may keep a child from achieving their full potential.

If your child struggles to read, it may be rooted in an undetected visual dysfunction. To read seamlessly, one needs to possess strong vision skills, such as excellent binocular vision, visual fixation, saccades, accommodation, and convergence. As mentioned above, a deficiency in any of these visual functions can result in reading difficulties, which, in turn, hinders learning and academic success.

Fortunately, the vision therapy program offered at Vision Therapy Center At Valley Vision Optometry can help improve your child’s visual skills, thus improving his or her reading abilities and scholastic achievements. Call us to set up a functional vision evaluation with to assess your child’s visual skills.

The Difference Between Good Eyesight and Good Vision

Basic vision screenings offered in schools only check for visual acuity — meaning, how clearly your child can see objects situated 20 feet away. This is usually referred to as 20/20 eyesight. However, 20/20 eyesight doesn’t mean that the child has perfect vision. Children may have 20/20 eyesight, with or without prescription glasses and may still experience trouble reading, learning or seeing the board due to reduced visual skills.

Which Visual Skills are Necessary For Reading and Learning?

  • toddier reading bookVisual fixation – the eye’s ability to aim accurately at a given target. Static fixation refers to the eye’s ability to aim and focus on a stationary object, such as a word on a page. Whereas saccadic fixation is when the eyes move rapidly and accurately across a page to read a line of print.
  • Accommodation – is when the eyes adjust their focus as the distance between the individual and the target shifts from near to far. One’s ability to maintain focus at near distances is critical for reading and writing.
  • Binocular fusion – the brain’s ability to form a single, integrated image with the information received by each individual eye. Poor binocular vision tends to result in double or blurred vision, confusion, or reading avoidance.
  • Saccades – rapid eye movements, such as when the eyes move from one word to the next when reading a text.
  • Convergence – the eyes’ ability to turn towards each other to maintain a single image, which is vital for reading.

How Can Parents and Teachers Spot a Child’s Visual Dysfunction?

Detecting a visual problem can be difficult — especially in children — as they may not complain about their vision, or simply lack the verbal skills to effectively communicate what they’re experiencing. By undergoing a functional vision assessment with Dr. Shaun Golemba, the optometrist will determine whether visual dysfunction is at the root of their difficulty. In addition to reading problems, poor visual skills can manifest in several ways:

  • Children with reading difficulties may exhibit behavioral issues associated with frustration
  • Reading below school grade level
  • Excessive fidgeting or low attention span could indicate a vision-related problem
  • They may resist going to school or doing homework
  • In the classroom, they may shy away from reading out loud or avoid reading altogether
  • They may struggle to summarize or remember what they’ve just read
  • Teachers may notice the child taking frequent bathroom breaks during reading-related activities
  • When looking at distant objects, such as a blackboard, they may cover one eye, tilt their head, or frequently blink their eyes

If you notice a child displaying any of the above behaviors, it may be time to call Vision Therapy Center At Valley Vision Optometry for a functional vision evaluation.

How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Skills?

reading bookVision is a learned skill — meaning, it can be trained and often responds well to training due to the brain’s neuroplasticity. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities found that 12 vision therapy sessions significantly enhanced reading abilities among sixth graders with subpar reading levels. Results indicate that after undergoing vision therapy, their attention processing abilities and reading improved by an impressive 220%.

The vision therapy program offered at Vision Therapy Center At Valley Vision Optometry can provide similar outcomes for your child. If visual dysfunction is the underlying cause of your child’s reading and learning struggles, our tailor-made vision therapy program will target and improve his or her specific visual skills. The process may involve various aids and tools, such as prisms, filters, eye patches, balance beams, and digital simulations.

Because reading issues can have multiple causes, a multidisciplinary approach incorporating other health care professionals and educators will help ensure that your child reads at the expected level.

If you suspect that a vision problem may be preventing your child from reaching his or her potential, contact Vision Therapy Center At Valley Vision Optometry to schedule a functional eye evaluation today. Invest in your child’s future with vision therapy and see the results for yourself.

Dr. Shaun Golemba provides vision therapy and other services to patients from Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan, Kootenay’s, and throughout British Columbia.

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We are currently offering in-office care by appointment only.

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COVID-19 UPDATE

The following is a summary of the steps we have taken to protect your safety.

Physical Distancing Measures:

o Reducing density of people: We have adopted a schedule which will reduce the amount of patients in our facility at one time.

o We will have some of our team working from home operating a call centre and tele-medicine pre-screening.

o Spacing stickers have been placed on our floor.

Engineering controls:

o Forms have been digitized and will be emailed to patients in advance of the appointment to minimize contact.

o A “For Payment" button has been installed on our website, valleyvisionoptometry.ca for patients to be able to pay from home to minimize contact.

o Plexiglass barriers have been installed at all 3 Front Desk stations

o Our doors will remain locked during Phase 2, opening the door to let in scheduled patients only.

o A dropbox has been installed for patients to drop off glasses in need of repair.

o Contact lens sales are administered through our webstore.

Administrative controls:

o Cleaning protocols have been written. Staff training on these protocols has been scheduled.

o Clear rules are posted on our front door and throughout all of the stations in our office.

Personal protective equipment:

o Patients will be required to wear a mask upon entry to the office and throughout their time with us. Those who do not have a mask will be supplied a surgical mask upon entry.

Policies around sickness:

o Employees and patients with cold or flu symptoms will be required to stay home.

Frequent hand washing:

o Patients, Doctors, and our Team will be required to wash hands upon entry and exit in to the exam rooms.

o Eyewear Consultants will wear gloves when handling eyewear and performing adjustments.

We currently are operating a reduced schedule, so are triaging patients to ensure those with the highest needs are prioritized.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shaun Golemba

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As of May 19th, we have re-opened by appointment only. Our current hours are Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm. Please call our office to schedule an appointment. Read about our safety protocols here.