No one can deny the importance of sight. More importantly, no one can deny the importance of healthy eye development in children. When something goes wrong, kids can have a tough time in school, sports, or any other activity that requires sight.
Vision therapy may be a good option when it comes to children with vision conditions. School can be tough enough without adding the extra stress of not being able to see. If your child is having trouble seeing, even if it isn’t a serious condition, vision therapy may be the way to go.
Eyesight in the Classroom
Sight is the most used sense when it comes to learning. School curriculums are almost always based on visual learning (with the exception of specialized schools that work with blind, deaf or mute children). In fact, learning begins as soon as infants begin to play and crawl.
Building blocks with letters on them are a classic tool used in visually learning the alphabet. This foundation will help with reading and writing. Fast forward a few years when your child begins school, but can’t quite make out the blackboard, or what’s on the pages in front of them.
This sort of frustration can make learning difficult. It can often discourage kids from even wanting to learn. The worst part about this is that these children can’t learn because of something that isn’t their fault. Most of them don’t understand this and ultimately misconstrue vision problems to be a lack of intelligence.
These vision problems in children can cause both learning and self-esteem issues. No one so young should have to deal with what so many adults have problems dealing with.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a natural way to teach your child’s eyes to correct themselves. Much like eye exercises, vision therapy is used as a healthy substitute for glasses, contacts, eye surgery and any other type of temporary corrective methods.
That is one problem with glasses and contacts. Corrective lenses provide a temporary solution to a seemingly permanent problem. This limits children in all sorts of ways especially when it comes to sports. Sure, prescription safety goggles are available to buy, but they don’t come cheap.
Surgery on the other hand is something very dangerous for young eyes (or any aged eyes) to go through. To go in and alter the anatomy of a child’s eye doesn’t seem to make much sense. An eye that is still developing needs time to develop naturally. Who knows, maybe by the time their eyes have stabilized they will have outgrown their eye condition.
Vision therapy works based on the principle that children’s eyes can be improved through a series of training type exercises. Vision therapy uses an array of tools and techniques to achieve corrected vision in children.
Some tools used are special lenses, prisms, metronomes, visual computer aids, as well as non-computer visual aids. These tools only work if everyone involved is dedicated to helping your child; that means the doctor carrying out the treatment, you as parents and your child.
Studies have shown that vision therapy can indeed help children with vision conditions that prevent them from efficiently reading and writing. It can also help reduce eye strain and headaches due to digital eye strain (tip: this works on adults too!).
Here are some of the most common conditions that can be treated with vision therapy:
- Amblyopia (or lazy eye)
- Strabismus (or crossed eyes)
- Eye movement disorders
- Other vision problems associated with eye misalignment that aren’t as severe as amblyopia and strabismus
Who Needs Vision Therapy?
Not all children will need vision therapy. If your child is in perfectly good eye health, there isn’t really a reason for therapy. Feeding healthy eyes the right nutrients can help maintain eye health, so there’s not always a need to splurge on a series of vision therapy sessions.
Children who need it most are of course those suffering from the aforementioned list of vision disorders. If your child is diagnosed with any of them, consider vision therapy as an alternative to glasses or contacts. They will benefit a lot more from it, especially in the long run.
Children who may also benefit from vision therapy are those with learning disabilities such as ADHD. These vision training techniques are meant to work the eyes and strengthen them, but as well to work on learning to focus. Vision training hasn’t been proven to treat learning disabilities, but they could help your child learn to focus more on one task at a time.
We’ve been talking a lot about children, but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from vision therapy. Mom and dad could learn a thing or two as well! We talked about digital eye strain, which is something very common in our digital age. Parents are not exempt from this.
A report found that 64 percent of caregivers and parents spend upwards of five hours a day using a digital device. More than five hours a day on a screen every day is bound to take a toll on anyone’s eyes.
Parents who work long hours on a computer five days a week will most definitely benefit from a vision therapy session. It will alleviate digital eye strain symptoms (some of which can be painful and uncomfortable) and strengthen your eyes to fight age-related vision conditions such as presbyopia.
If your child is in need of glasses or surgery or any other sort of eye correction tools, see if vision therapy is for you. It’s hard to say what sort of techniques will be used since vision therapy is really a personalized activity.
Doctors will work with your child to ensure the best vision therapy techniques for their individualized condition. No child is the same, so why should the eyes be treated generically like a scrape on the knee?
If vision therapy is something you think your child may benefit from, speak to your doctor about getting started on the right path.