Can vision therapy help my child? Unless you have a full understanding of what vision therapy can do, or what conditions it can treat, you cannot answer that question.
Vision therapy is described as a method of developing visual skills and abilities, enhancing visual comfort, ease, and efficiency, and changing the visual processing and/or comprehension of visual information.
Typically, vision therapy programs consist of both supervised in-office treatment and at-home exercises spread over a few weeks or several months. The process can be compared to physical therapy.
The easiest way to determine whether vision therapy is appropriate for your child is to think about the types of symptoms that you might see them exhibit.
The physical symptoms can include eye strain, eye pain, headaches while reading, and double vision and words moving around on the page. Children may also lose their place frequently when reading, skip words or lines, or reread or substitute words. These are more of what are considered physical symptoms, and they could indicate an underlying vision problem that could be helped by vision therapy.
The second set of symptoms we want to examine more are called performance symptoms. We may have a child whose cognitive potential seems excellent, but yet there seems to be a discrepancy between where we think they ought to be performing and where they are performing at. It could be a problem with remembering sight words, compared to phonetic words. It could also be a problem learning letters and numbers and just remembering them after repetitive practice.
A child may have difficulty with reading comprehension, which means not being able to understand what they read. This child may perform better when they are read to versus when they have to read something themselves.
They may also have difficulty spelling, among other academic difficulties.
Thus, if your child is experiencing any of these physical or performance symptoms, it is likely that there is an underlying vision problem that would greatly benefit from vision therapy.
Many different vision issues can be treated with vision therapy, including strabismus (conditions in which the eyes do not align properly when looking at an object), amblyopia (lazy eye), eye movement disorders, and focusing disorders. Additionally, it can help with vision problems caused by developmental disabilities or acquired through brain injury (for example, from an accident.)
At our pediatric specialty clinic located in Hixson just outside of Chattanooga we offer developmental eye exams that examine the full scope of your child’s functional vision. Our office is led by Dr. Heather McBryar, and is focused on advanced vision care for children. Dr. McBryar is a fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and is the leading pediatric eye care center in the Chattanooga area. Call our office at (423) 710 3965 to schedule a developmental eye exam today.