Tag Archives: Convergence insufficiency

An Eye Teaming Problem Could Be The Reason Your Child Struggles to Read

The Visual Learning Center offers 
developmental optometry & vision therapy
in Olney, Maryland,  convenient to Silver Spring.

Have you noticed that your child or a child you work with tries to avoid reading? Do they look away from the text often, rub their eyes repeatedly, or claim that they are tired every time they sit down to read?

This observed behavior could be caused by an eye teaming problem that might be interfering with their ability to learn and read effectively.

When a child is doing close work, such as writing, reading, or using a tablet, mobile device or computer, they must be able to keep both eyes turned in to point at the same position long enough to complete the task. This vision function–the ability to move, turn, and point the eyes together–is called eye teaming or binocular vision skills.

To learn more how vision can affect learning, download our free guide here and watch our pre-recorded webinar here.

Signs that your child may have an eye teaming problem include:

  • covering or closing one eye while reading
  • rubbing eyes excessively
  • complaining that words are blurry even with “20/20 eyesight”
  • having double vision
  • attempting to avoid reading or homework
  • declining performance over prolonged spans of close work
  • seeming to have a short attention span
  • tiring quickly while reading or doing close work
  • losing place while reading
  • frequent headaches

When a visual deficiency prevents both eyes from moving precisely in the same direction at the same time, reading can be challenging and the extra effort required to perform basic tasks can cause fatigue quickly.

Reading requires our eyes to aim in together at the same point on the page. Our vision is only clear, single and comfortable as long as both of our eyes are aiming at the same point.

Children with poor convergence or divergence skills have difficulty with eye teaming. Their eyes move somewhat independently of one another, which causes double or blurry vision, distorted depth perception, and sometimes dizziness.

They find it difficult to maintain the inward eye aim that required for reading. As their eyes get tired, they move inward or outward, pointing at different places on the page. Even a slight variation that isn’t noticeable when casually observing can cause a significant problem. The result is blurred vision that looks like double print.

vlc-eye-teaming

A typical eye exam by your family eye doctor or during a school vision screening does not test for eye teaming skills. If a child has an eye teaming disorder, he may be able to fixate on the vision chart in a typical eye exam and see it clearly long enough to see clearly for a moment. But maintaining proper eye turn for a sustained period of time can be a problem.

If you suspect that a child might have an eye teaming problem, it’s important that they undergo a comprehensive vision exam by a developmental optometrist who specializes in functional vision care and vision therapy. Studies have shown that as many as 78% of kids with reading and learning problems cannot track or team their eyes properly.

The good news is intensive vision therapy can improve binocular vision skills significantly and even eliminate eye teaming problems. See our vision therapy success stories.

For vision therapy in Olney or Silver Spring, Maryland contact Dr. Philip Nicholson’s Visual Learning Center today.

Does your child complain of dizziness while reading?

Has your child ever complained of feeling dizzy while reading? Dizziness can have many causes, and it’s a symptom that should be taken seriously. But if you’ve noticed that your child tends to complain of mild dizziness, queasiness, malaise, or nausea, specifically when reading or doing homework, it could be due to an undiagnosed functional vision problem that can be treated with vision therapy.

If your child says, “I don’t feel well,” too often at homework time, you may assume it’s an excuse to avoid work in favor of play time. However, most parents and teachers would not know to associate complaints of dizziness while reading with a vision disorder, particularly because learning-related vision deficiencies almost always go undetected in typical vision screenings or eye doctor exams.

Click here to read 9 signs that your child could have a learning-related vision problem that may cause headaches.

Click here to watch a pre-recorded webinar to learn more about vision problems in children.

We often think of dizziness as something that stems from an inner-ear problem. Many people are aware that the inner-ear and brain work together to control balance. So you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find that your child has fluid or an infection in his ear or a problem in the vestibular system when complaining of dizziness.

In a healthy visual system, our brain and eyes also work together to maintain a stable and even visual plane, which we need in order to read efficiently. When we point our eyes at text, we need to be able to fix and maintain our gaze so that the page and the text remains steady and still. If you have a properly functioning visual system, you can do this without extra effort. But for someone with a functional vision problem, the text may be misaligned or blurry, or it may seem to move, jump, go in and out of focus, appear wavy, or slide down the page. Experiencing any of these effects can cause dizziness while reading.

Children with poor convergence or divergence skills have difficulty with eye teaming. Their eyes move somewhat independently of one another, which causes double or blurry vision, distorted depth perception, and sometimes dizziness.

Children with an eye tracking problem strain to accurately control eye movements. Instead of their eyes moving smoothly across a line of text while reading, their eyes skip or jump, which makes it challenging to read without feeling disoriented and sometimes dizzy.

Children with accommodative dysfunction, or trouble focusing, have difficulty sustaining focus on text or maintaining a clear image for a reasonable length of time. Reading is challenging because the texts grows fuzzy or blurred, and straining to keep the text in focus can contribute to dizziness.

The only way to know if your child’s dizziness while reading is caused by an underlying vision problem is by scheduling a comprehensive vision exam by a developmental optometrist who specializes in functional vision care.

The good news is, learning-related vision problems that cause dizziness when reading can be treated effectively with vision therapy. Students often experience remarkable improvement in a short period of time.

If you are looking for vision therapy in Silver Spring or vision therapy in Olney, Maryland, and you suspect your child’s complaints of dizziness could be related to a functional vision problem, make an appointment with developmental optometrist Dr. Philip Nicholson at The Visual Learning Center today.

Does homework in your household drag on for hours? Convergence insufficiency could be the cause

If your child spends hours completing homework each evening, your initial frustration might be with his teacher. You may complain that too much homework is being assigned and worry that the school is to blame for interfering with family time, play time, or outdoor and extracurricular activities; but over time, you eventually realize that your child is taking much longer to complete his homework than his peers.

You know that your child is bright, so why is he struggling to complete homework in a timely manner? You could suspect a learning disability or attention deficit disorder, but your child could actually have a vision disorder, even if he was found to have “20/20” eyesight during a vision screening at school or an exam by your family’s eye doctor.

Vision disorders and poor visual processing skills are sometimes to blame for “homework wars” and poor performance in the classroom.

As a parent, it is important to pay close attention to your child’s symptoms. You might be tempted to dismiss complaints as excuses and urge your child to push forward and try harder. However, if your child has a vision problem such as convergence insufficiency, his symptoms could be presenting significant challenges to performing well on school assignments.

Convergence–the ability to aim ones eyes at a near distance–is a required skill for reading and other schoolwork. Children with a healthy visual system are able to aim their eyes naturally and easily.

Convergence insufficiency is a medical condition in which the brain has trouble accurately, efficiently, and comfortably coordinating the eye muscles to see properly for a prolonged period of time at reading distance.

If your child often complains of headaches or claims that his eyes hurt, feel like they are pulling, tired, or uncomfortable, this could be a sign of convergence insufficiency. Difficulty concentrating or remembering what he has read could be symptoms as well. A child may also complain of double vision, or say that that words float, swim, or move in and out of focus. He may read slowly, lose his place, or read the same line more than once.

If your child is having difficulty in school or completing homework, and you notice any of these red flags, schedule an evaluation with a functional or developmental optometrist, trained to detect and treat learning-related vision problems, as soon as possible. If diagnosed with a vision problem such as convergence insufficiency, the good news is vision therapy can treat and improve your child’s convergence problem significantly and quickly.

If you are in the Olney, MD or Silver Spring, MD area, contact the Visual Learning Center today to schedule a comprehensive evaluation with Dr. Philip Nicholson and his staff.