Vision Therapy for Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is a disorder caused by a duplication of part or all of the 21st chromosome. The extra genetic material leads to physical and developmental issues in people who have the condition.

People who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome (DS) typically have a higher risk of vision issues which can affect the development of important visual skills.

Vision Therapy for Down Syndrome in Hixson

Amplify Eyecare Chattanooga

How do Vision Issues Impact Children with Down Syndrome?

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, over 60 percent of children with Down Syndrome have vision problems. They also tend to be in the higher range of astigmatism (both regarding far-sightedness and near-sightedness), and often require special lenses. But even with the assistance of corrective lenses, reduced visual skills in other areas can negatively impact the overall quality of their vision.

When Should an Eye Exam be Conducted?

Due to the numerous ways in which Down Syndrome can impact the development of the eyes and visual skills,it is important for children with this condition to have regular comprehensive eye exams starting from when they are 6 months old.

Due to the fact that conducting eye exams on children with Down Syndrome can be more difficult, it is a good idea to choose an optometrist who has experience working with children who have down Syndrome or other developmental issues.

What Sort of Vision Problems are Experienced by People with Down Syndrome?

There are a wide range of vision issues which can affect people with Down Syndrome at higher rates than the general population. According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus, the most common visual condition associated with Down Syndrome is Strabismus affecting 20%-60% of people with Down Syndrome. 

Other visual conditions include:

  • Strabismus-Misalignment of the eyes
  • Amblyopia- One eye is weaker than the other
  • Refractive errors- Poor visual acuity from Myopia, Presbyopia and Astigmatism
  • Cataracts- Hazing of the lens
  • Glaucoma- Damage to the optic nerve
  • Keratoconus- Damage to the structure of the cornea
  • Nystagmus- Repetitive uncontrolled eye movements
  • Blepharitis & Conjunctivitis- Conditions that cause red, itchy, watery eyes
What Sort of Vision Problems are Experienced by People with Down Syndrome?
How are Vision Problems Detected in Down Syndrome Patients?

How are Vision Problems Detected in Down Syndrome Patients?

It can be a challenge to detect vision issues in people with Down Syndrome, largely because they are unlikely to complain about the issues or may not realize there is a problem. For this reason, it is important that parents and other caregivers pay attention to signs that may indicate a vision issue, and bring them up with a developmental optometrist. Due to the high prevalence of strabismus in this population it is highly recommended that all people with Down Syndrome schedule a developmental eye exam.

Symptoms to look out for include: 

  • Squinting
  • Difficulty reading
  • Blurry vision
  • Sitting too close to screens
  • Head tilting
  • Closing one eye
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Ptosis (drooping eyelids)
  • Tearing or discharge from the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Crossed or wandering eyes
How are Vision Problems Detected in Down Syndrome Patients?

How Does Treatment Work?

Following the developmental eye exam, our developmental eye doctor will formulate a personalized vision therapy treatment plan designed to address any vision issues detected. The treatment process includes exercises designed to help develop and improve vision skills, as well as the use of specialized vision devices. Additionally, if the patient has a severe enough astigmatism to also need corrective lenses, those can be provided.

Vision therapy works to enhance vision skills, which include:

  • Eye movement
  • Eye alignment
  • Eye focusing
  • Eye teaming
  • Visual processing

We understand that it can be more difficult to work with a child who has Down Syndrome. Our staff has experience working with special needs children, so we can provide them with the best possible care.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

Length of treatment varies on a case-by-case basis, depending on the patient’s vision issues. Treatment can run as little as a few weeks, or many months. Our doctor will be able to give you an estimate following the developmental vision exam.

Dr. McBryar cartoon

Summary

Down Syndrome is a condition which impacts a child’s development in many ways, and people with Down Syndrome often suffer from vision issues which may be hard to detect, given the nature of the condition. Once the problems are detected, however, vision therapy is an effective method of treatment to improve their quality of life. If your child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and is showing symptoms of a vision issue, contact us today to schedule a developmental eye exam. To schedule a developmental eye exam, please call (423) 710 3965. Patients with developmental issues such as down syndrome visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.

Testimonials


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.


Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.


Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!


Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!


Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!


Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!


Alice M.
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