Vision therapy research highlights the need to pay attention to performance not just eye-strain
In our Gold Coast Vision Therapy practice, the majority of our vision therapy is for what are called “Visual Dysfunctions”. These are vision problems affecting both children and adults that involve difficulties with focussing, eye-teaming and eye-aiming. The symptoms however, are not as obvious as vision problems affecting sight, and are not always simply corrected with glasses. A new study highlights that not all symptoms of vision problems appear as those directly “eye-related”.
“Perfect Sight” and “Perfect Vision” are not the same.
It is not unusual for optometrists to assess children using a sight test using a distance letter chart, and to find they have “perfect sight”. And yet the same children may also have visual dysfunction that is having an impact on their ability to comfortably perform in their schoolwork.
In an education piece for optometrists, Professor Dom Maino highlights the need to “Ask the Right Questions”, and “Do the Right Tests”, when assessing children for vision problems because they will not necessarily complain of blur or double vision. This something echoed from a recently released study on the types symptoms experienced by children with symptomatic convergence insufficiency (CI).
Symptoms relating to Performance vs Eye-Related Symptoms.
The study looked at children successfully treated with vision therapy for CI, and found that the most common symptoms were ones not related to blur, double vision, headache or eye-strain. Instead the most common symptoms related to those that affect reading performance. These include:
- difficulties remembering what was read
- loss of place while reading
- having to re-read
- reading slowly
- loss of concentration
- getting sleepy while reading
This has an obvious impact on reading enjoyment and the ability to complete work easily and comfortably. Children, particularly younger children, won’t necessarily complaint of sight problems or discomfort. This highlights the need to make sure that the right questions are asked to identify the potential for visual dysfunction, and to include a thorough assessment of all aspects of vision, rather than just sight, when a child is suffering with reduced performance.
Vision Therapy Outcomes
Depending on compliance to a vision training program, these performance symptoms usually improve significantly once the CI is managed with vision therapy. The type of vision therapy with the highest success rate is office-based vision therapy, when compared to stand-alone home computer programs or basic push-up style “eye exercises”.