Tag Archives: accomodative facility

Philip Nicholson, O.D.

Q&A With Dr. Nicholson: Will my child outgrow vision problems without vision therapy?

Untreated vision problems nearly always last a lifetime. When a child is diagnosed with a vision problem by a developmental optometrist who specializes in functional vision care, it is important for that child’s long-term success and self-confidence to receive the best possible treatment. At the Visual Learning Center in Olney, MD, we provide a unique vision therapy treatment program for each patient’s individual needs to ensure optimal improvement and lasting results.

Without vision therapy, unfortunately, your child will most likely not outgrow vision problems, but instead struggle throughout school and eventually learn accommodation techniques to adapt to their environment and meet their needs.

Coping skills appear different, depending on the specific eye movement disorder or visual processing skills deficiency each child has.

For example, your child may use avoidance tactics, such as listening to auditory books rather than having to read text.

If your child has problems with accommodation — changing focus from near to far at will, which is an essential skill for copying notes from a board — he or she may ask for notes from a teacher or classmate.

If your child suffers from frequent eye strain or headaches from looking at material at near-point, he or she will learn to take a visual break and allow eyes to rest every few minutes. Head tilting, squinting, or moving the paper or book around are also common coping behaviors.

Children are naturally adaptable and resourceful; so many will take the necessary steps to avoid embarrassment and perform at their best. It is also important to remember that if the child is not aware that he has a vision problem, he may not even be conscious of coping behaviors.

While these examples may seem like good solutions for troublesome issues, they are like placing Band-Aids over much more serious underlying problems. Your child will most likely never be able to perform at his or her true potential when these detours slow them down; and when it comes to academic performance, what parent does not want their child to achieve their best?

Take a look at our vision therapy success stories to learn more about how vision therapy can lead to significant and lasting improvement in a relatively short period of intensive treatment.

If you suspect your child might have a vision problem that would benefit from vision therapy, and you are in the Olney, MD area, convenient to Silver Spring, MD, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

 

My child has “20/20” eyesight but still has trouble copying off the board at school. What could cause that?

You probably remember struggling from time to time to see the blackboard in school when you were a child. Maybe you sat in the back of the classroom, behind the tall kid, or someone with big hair sat in front of you. Perhaps you needed your first pair of glasses before you could easily make out the letters and numbers on the board without squinting.

If you remember those brief periods of frustration, you understand how some children with certain vision problems feel throughout the day while struggling to copy from the board, even with 20/20 eyesight.

Modern classrooms include whiteboards, ActivBoards, and Promethean Boards. Students spend a lot of time looking at boards, and then back at their desks, during a school day. If a child has a vision problem, it may be difficult for the child to copy off the board and follow the lesson.

A child may have “20/20” clear eyesight but may also lack the ability to refocus from near to far and from far to near. As the child looks down at his paper to read or write, he may see clearly. After he is looking at the board for some time, he can see clearly too. However, looking up and down, back and forth, from the board to the paper might be where the difficulty comes into play.

The focus mechanism in the child’s eyes might be weak, slowing down the adjustment period as he looks from one point of site to the other. In functional optometry, focusing is called “accommodation.” A full functional vision exam tests “accommodative facility,” which is the ability to sustain clear vision and to shift focus.

Weak accomodative facility (focusing) is not detected during most normal vision screenings.

Another vision problem that would make it difficult for your child to copy from the board at school is poor eye teaming. Eye teaming, known in functional optometry as “binocular vision skills,” refers to the ability for the two eyes to work together as a team. If both eyes are not moving at the same time in the same direction, a child will struggle to look up at the board, down at her paper, and back again without experiencing visual fatigue and tiring quickly.

Your child could also have poor eye movements, such as tracking and pursuits. Tracking eye movement skills help the child “locate” the words on the board and then locate the space on the paper where they are to place their print. A child with poor tracking skills loses her place often, and getting lost frequently is frustrating and tiring.

Poor teaming and tracking skills are not detected during most normal vision screenings.

If your child has been complaining that he is having trouble copying from the board, or your child’s teacher complains that he is not copying down the lessons or assignments as instructed, a vision problem could be to blame.

Even if a school vision screening or visit to your family vision care clinic indicated that your child has 20/20 eyesight, problems with focus, eye teaming, or eye tracking might be interfering with his or her ability to copy from the board and learn efficiently alongside his classmates.

Find an optometrist in your area who specializes in developmental or functional vision care. If you live near Olney or Silver Spring, Maryland, schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicholson’s Visual Learning Center for a full visual analysis.

The good news is intensive vision therapy can improve eye teaming, eye tracking, and focusing skills. Within the next few months, your child could experience significant improvement, and copying from the board can become easier.