info on vision problems

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jannie, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Here is a link which describes some vision issues....There are many kids out there that are misdiagnosed with other issues when in reality are suffering with eye issues. So now I wonder is my child Learning Disability (LD)...does he need reading interventions or vision therapy?
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  2. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    We are dealing withthis right now. My son had an eye evaluation with a dr. that specializes in vision therapy and so on. I noticed his eyes don't track well and I have to constantly help him read by using my finger to point. For a long time I chalked it up to the adhd/lack of focus. Now that he is focusing so much more with concerta this aspect has not gotten any better.

    The evaluation was very interesting. Besides the typical eye exam she also went through a host of things that had to do with balance, Occupational Therapist (OT) type issues and then went on to the tracking part. The dr. put this eye equipment on him while he read a second grade passage. It tracked his eyes as he was reading. He then answered comprehension questions. It was amazing that he got 90% on comprehension because his eyes jumped everywhere. It was crazy how his eyes jumped from word 1 to 4 back to 2 then 3 over to 6 and jumped down lines. He comprehended at 90% but his efficency was about 10%.

    So, the reccomendation is glasses with prisms and vision therapy. He got his glasses on Wednessay and they asked him to read a 3 line paragraph. I could not believe my eyes. He read it without my pointer finger. I had him do it again and he did it.

    Then he read a book about amphibians with me the next day with his glasses. I had to hold my hands so as not to point at the words. He did it!

    He has not had a percpetual evaluation done in 2+ years so she will have her office do a perceptual and then he will start vision therapy.

    I never even thought about some vision problems being due to medications. I wonder if it has an impact. I do think that my son has had these problems prior to these medications and has been struggling with writing, balance, perceptual things since he was a tot.

    medications and vision is something to think about, but I am going to give glasses and therapy a chance.

    bugsy's mom
  3. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I have a friend whose son started school in Special Education classes. She was told, at various times, that he was MR, emotionally disturbed and, finally, Learning Disability (LD). He spent his entire elementary and middle school years in self contained classes, theoretically being taught to read. He couldn't read.

    One day I asked her what his learning disability was and were they teaching him with methods that accomodated his disability. Her response was "Huh?" Apparently our school district was warehousing Learning Disability (LD) kids rather than trying to teach around the disability. But since I brought it up, she began to wonder exactly what was wrong especially since it seems her husband had the same disability. Maybe it wasn't that they were Lazy and Dumb after all. Or as one Special Education teacher told her, not trying hard enough.

    So we started our quest to get a correct diagnosis for this kid. Because it was easiest and I knew who to call, first thing she did was have his eyes checked for convergence. Frankly I was pretty sure that's what was wrong because he had read for me and it was clear he was reading the first letters of a word, then guessing at the rest of it. I was sure he couldn't keep his eyes focused on the word long enough to complete reading it. When my friend told me about the exam, she was amazed. She said it would have been obvious to anyone who asked the boy to simply track a finger across his line of vision that there was a convergence problem. She had taken him for eye exams, the schools did eye exams. No one ever picked up on it.

    The boy started vision therapy the next week. He went for a year, IIRC. Once he could focus his eyes on the same point, he could read. He had learned how to read years ago. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that he was physically unable to read. The therapy corrected that. He was partially mainstreamed in 9th grade, fully mainstreamed in 11th grade.

    PS to bugsy's mom: My friend's son had the same balance problems. He couldn't skip (which led to his being identified as MR in kindergarten, for some reason) or ride a bicycle. He never liked playing video or ball games. It was all vision related.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    A former co-worker's granddaughter had severe reading issues. The SD did nothing, kept passing her along. She was failing all of her classes because of her reading. Turns out, she can read. It's her vision. She can't follow the line. She starts out, then it jumps down a line or two or three, then somewhere else.

    She was in the 6th grade and had fought with the SD for 3 years before this was detected. Same SD as my daughter, too, including same elementary school who insisted she had no problems at all. Imagine that.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Very interesting. Back when difficult child was younger the Occupational Therapist (OT) at school and the teachers felt he had tracking issues. Vision therapy was suggested but there was/is none available in our city. The closest is about and hour away and so we weren't able to pursue it. The Occupational Therapist (OT) did do a lot of work and felt it greatly improved. However, difficult child is dxd with-Dyslexia and not reading well at all (reading at a first grade level and he is going into sixth grade).

    Sara-He sounds a lot like your friend's child in that he always gets the first letter and then guesses at the word.
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    difficult child has gone thru vision therapy, that while expensive, was great. His eyes were not working together, he had very poor depth perception, and many other things. He took forever to learn to ride a 2 wheeled bike, was never too good at catching balls, hated reading, had a hard time tying his shoes, and the list goes on. After vision therapy many of these things improved. He still needs glasses, which he won't wear so I won't buy, but he can see to read and the teachers have been good about letting him go up front to read the board if he needs to .
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've mentioned this before - I was coaching kids after school and got a couple of kids, siblings, with dyslexia due to tracking issues. I developed an exercise for them which I'm happy to share.

    It's cheap. It DOES require specialised equipment - you need to buy a ball. Not just any ball - get one of those balls which are actually a second, weighted ball floating in fluid (usually water) inside a clear ball. The look - it's usually looking like an eyeball that always looks up at you. You roll the ball and while the clear outer ball rolls, the inner, coloured and weighted ball, merely floats inside and due to the weight, always stays the same. The ball seems to slide across the table, like Tom Cruise in his socks in "Risky Business".

    Now for the exercise - take your "eye" ball and roll it from left to right across the table. Roll from the left, catch it with the right. maintain eye contact with the ball. Then pass the ball back to the left hand, UNDER the table, and roll it again to the right hand.

    Do this exercise multiple times a day, at least five to ten times each time.

    This needs repetition. The more repetition, the more you succeed in training your eyes to track from left to right. [Note: if you live in a culture which reads from right to left, then roll the ball back the other way instead. But if you DO live with such a language as your first language - then how come are you reading this? But I digress.]

    When we read our eyes should track across the text. But the tracking is not smooth, we do it in short steps. If you put electrodes on someone's eye muscles and then give them a book to read, the trace will show the short, jerky movements. These are called saccades. While the eye is actually moving, your vision does not pick up the blur. Your brain actually switches off the input for a split second. But when your eye stops moving, your brain collects a snapshot of the words on the page. Not the whole line, but for most people the brain would collect a couple of words, about a sixth to a quarter of the line depending on the length of the line and the individual. My boss used to wire me up to demonstrate saccades to medical students and it used to rile him when I switched into speed reading mode - then, the saccades are far less obvious and often indetectable. And I also noticed - in speed reading mode, my comprehension also goes down. I can really only speed read if I'm scanning the text for key words, or if the text is very familiar to me. There really is a direct correlation between good saccades and comprehension.

    Someone with a tracking problem - their eyes aren't making these jumps (saccades) evenly. Or the snapshot is of too short a sequence. Or too long a sequence with no understanding. Or they're not properly remembering the previous sequence (which is an attention thing affecting memory tracks being laid down). Or maybe their eyes are jumping randomly all over the page, so what sequence the brain picks up is jumbled.

    This is why training the eye to track left to right in a single line is what is needed. It could cost you a fortune. Or you could buy one of these balls (a couple of dollars) and practice, practice, practice.

    If the problem is eyes not working together properly, get a "Magic Eye" book. Maybe photocopy pages from the book every so often, laminate the copies and use them as placemats at the dinner table. This encourages regular practice. Swap them around as he gets the knack.
    The thing with Magic Eye is it encourages you to toe your eyes out slightly, as if you're looking into the distance. But your eyes must work together to make the optical illusion work.
    Kids who do a lot of close work such as reading or computer games need to do this exercise to overcome the constant 'toe in' of their eyes.
    With Magic Eye, you need to stick with it. Your eyes will seem to have 'got it' but actually, there is probably even more to the image. I've stared at these things, thought, "Is that all?" and been about to turn the page, when it leapt out at me - there was another pattern lurking in there and suddenly I could see more detail, like a wide vista reaching out of a flat page.

    Behind the toilet door is another good place for these, if your child needs to practice them.

    Again, not expensive. But great for working on eyes working together and also on depth perception.

    So there you go - two really good eye exercises, very inexpensive and lots of fun.

  8. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Thanks Marge for two great ideas !!
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A note of caution to anyone reading this thread: Before trying to diagnosis or treat your child yourself, you absolutely need an evaluation with a qualified pediatric vision specialist. Convergence and tracking issues are different and require different interventions. I had a convergence problem as a child (diagnosed at age 2), which required prescription glasses and patching of the strong eye to force the "lazy" eye to work harder. My brother had a similar but more serious problem that required surgery at age 2.

    I would also encourage any parent concerned about a child's vision problems to see an ophthalmologist, who is a medical doctor and can evaluate for any diseases of the eye that can cause problems.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good point, smallworld. We hunted around to find an optometrist who specialised in kids with learning problems. He was worth searching for. In our case, he was also a lot cheaper - in fact, he is free, with our health system. We usually think of taking such problems to an ophthalmic surgeon but in this case it's not what really fits.

    It was actually this optometrist who endorsed the "Magic Eye" book for the kids' eye toeing in problems. He also said this is an increasingly common problem because very few people these days get enough balance in their eye use during the day, of looking into the distance and also close vision. We're almost all doing mostly close-up stuff, and he reckons it's not good.

    As far as I have been able to determine, neither of the two exercises I presented here should cause problems in themselves. However if you have concerns that there could be a vision problem with your child it is important to get it professionally checked out so that you aren't neglecting something that needs professional treatment.

    If you're already seeing someone for your eyes, check out with them before you undertake these exercises.

  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    We had an experience with vision therapy when difficult child 2 was in his last year of preschool (he was reading a few words by then). He apparently had tracking problems which were identified by an Occupational Therapist (OT) who had evaluated him for sensory issues. We were referred to a pediatric optometrist who also specialized in helping kids through vision therapies. difficult child 2 had occular motor deficits which she felt would respond well to her program, so we signed up. Our insurance does NOT cover this treatment, so we paid out of pocket.

    difficult child 2 started the therapy sessions, and in the mean time he also started medications for ADHD about 1/3 way through the program. At the 1/2 way mark, he was to be re-evaluated to monitor his progress. The optometrist found him to be "cured" and was shocked at how much of a change had occurred in such a short period of time with him. Consequently, he was discharged from the program early.

    Fast forward a couple of years, and he was having problems again 1) with attention 2) with handwriting and 3) with tracking. We hooked up with another optometrist closer to home who also did vision therapy and whom our pediatrician recommended. However, this person was a charlatan in hindsight (I should have reported her to the Better Business Bureau). I had all the kids' eyes checked and she prescribed glasses to two of them who I later found out did not need them at all, and told me the one who did need glasses was fine! She was pushing me to continue difficult child 2's therapy even after he had improved (which again coincided with a medication adjustment). Even her therapist who was ready to discharge him felt the "doctor" was being manipulative because of her greed. She rarely examined difficult child 2 for progress and relied only on what the therapist said. Finally, the therapist said enough was enough and she was going to insist on the discharge. I totally played into it when we met with the "doctor" and claimed difficult child 2 was "cured", I thanked her, and we got the heck out of there and never looked back.

    So my point here is to check the references VERY closely of anyone you take your child to for vision therapy. It does have a use and can be helpful for some problems. But also know that for some people, medications can help some of these problems, depending on what's going on.
  12. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Interesting article. It makes me think. My son has an astigmatism but also has problems with many of the areas mentioned in the article, might be worth more investigation.

    Thanks for posting,
  13. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    The one doctor in the optometrist office where my son had his vision therapy hung Magic Eye posters in the waiting room. Oddly, I see the images backwards. Things that are suppose to appear to stand out from picture go into it instead. No one could figure out why.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sara, the images that should stand out go into the picture if your eyes are toeing in instead of out. It CAN work that way but is harder to control, which is why for most people it's easier to relax the eyes and let them toe out - the more 'normal' position for eyes in a world where people aren't always playing computer games or doing close work.

    That's what we were told by the kids' optometrist, anyway. When difficult child 1 couldn't see the magic Eyes (because his eyes don't toe out as they should) the bloke said to try to see them the other way, to at least get the idea of what he should see. Then to work on seeing them come out the other way.

    In the days before Magic Eye there was another eye exercise which was basically made form a piece of card (you could make one yourself). You had draw a line on both sides of the card, so the line was in exactly the same place on both sides. YOu then had to accurately mark some large dots or X along the lines, so the dots would match up on either side of the card. Each side had to be a perfect mirror image of the other.

    To do the exercise - you held the card on edge vertically at 90 degrees to your nose, so one eye saw one side of the card and the other eye saw the other side. You then focussed on the furthest dot and did your best to see it in perfect focus with both eyes working. As you got better, you brought your focus forward and learned to fix and hold your focus at different lengths. I suspect tis is an exercise you could do easily, Sara.

    Magic Eye takes your convergence back the other way.

  15. alikay

    alikay New Member

    :D Hi All,

    I was one of the first children to have vision therapy in the 1970's. Not to date myself or anything. I was in the first grade when I was told that my learning problems were so bad that I would not amount to anything. (How wrong of a judgment). Anyway my children also have vision related learning problems. I am starting a blog on the subject If any of you have time please check it out. If it is not useful then I don't want to waste people's time. Feedback is most welcome. I would like to help parents so that they can assist their kids in developing vision skills. Hopefully it all works out. Meanwhile - We will be doing another round of vision therapy.

    Thanks much,