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RightEye diagnostic testing is now available at Sightworks

Eye-tracking technology, which is both objective and non-invasive, captures pictures of eye movements (30-250) times a second. The test takes 5 minutes. right eyeThe data produced is quantitative—meaning, it allows physicians to identify issues in a measurable way. As therapy progresses, progress in eye teaming can be determined. This system can be used with athletes to measure visual skills important to their sport. Concussion or brain injury patients often have difficulty with eye teaming and the Right Eye can be used to diagnose any issues and monitor progress. This is not vision therapy, but a tool to measure and track progress.

Symptoms of poor eye teaming include the following:

  • Loss of place with reading
  • Skipping lines with reading
  • Excessive head movement when reading
  • Confusing one word with another
  • Careless errors
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Problems with attention while reading

 

Please talk to your doctor if you feel you may be having difficulty coordinating your eye movements.

Games and activities that will help develop basic skills!

Merry Christmas! Here is a list of favorite games and activities that will help develop basic skills for: visual processing, fine-motor, eye-hand coordination and much more.

Top 10 Toys/Games for 2018:

  1. Rainbow Loom
  2. Qbitz
  3. Blokus
  4. Rush Hour
  5. Swish
  6. Blink
  7. Set
  8. Tangoes
  9. Kendama
  10. Spot It

Other Great Games (by visual skill category)

Visual Processing:

Qwirkle Doodle Dice

Mastermind Brick by Brick

Chinese Checkers Boggle

Connect Four Hidden Pictures

Mancala Parquetry Blocks

Attribute Blocks Rory’s Story Cubes

Storybook Game Chess/Checkers

Dominoes Scrabble Flash

Serpentiles I Spy

Stare JR. Sherlock – Memory Card Game

Battle Ship Bop It

Right Turn, Left Turn Jigsaw puzzles

Card Games (Old Maid, Go Fish etc)

Memory

 

Fine Motor/ Eye-Hand Coordination:

Jenga Pick Up Sticks

Kerplunk Don’t Break the Ice

Perplexus Legos

Knex Lincoln Logs

Tinker Toys Erector Set

Origami Light Bright

Pegboard and Pegs Coloring Books and Activity books

Playdough/Silly Putty Bead Stringing

Sewing Cards Stencils

Models (car, airplanes, etc.)

Jacks

Eye-Hand-Body Coordination and Balance:

O-ball Ring Toss

Magnetic Darts Ping Pong

Ants in the Pants Operation

Ball (Nerf, bouncy, Koosh, sports, etc.)

Pitchback Ring Toss

Elefun Jump Ropes

Sit and Spin Trampoline

Twister

 

 

Can you read this paragraph?

A strong reader is able to read this paragraph fairly easily for three important reasons:

  1. Phonic decoding is clearly not highly involved. If phonetic decoding was necessary for word recognition as most people seem to believe, you would not be able to read this paragraph. You’d be tripped up by trying to process each word based on the sequence of letters, rather than looking at the word as a whole and understanding what it represents.
  2. As stated in the paragraph, visual recognition of whole words with particular emphasis on the beginning and end of the word is the primary word-recognition method used by strong readers.
  3. Reading fluency depends on our ability to predict what will come next based on the context of the paragraph. Fluency, speed, and reading comprehension typically increase as understanding of the paragraph’s content increases.

Essential reading skills include:

  1. Accurate and efficient eye movement skills
  2. The ability to visually recognize words
  3. Visualization or visual imagery

Decoding doesn’t fall anywhere on this list. And, yet, you’ll recall that this is what children with poor visual skills are stuck trying to do.

You want to be able to create a picture in your mind based on whatever you are reading. In order to do so, you first have to be able to recognize the words that you read, using visual memory. Vision therapy and visual learning in therapy are used to gain these essential skills.

Blue Light and your Visual System

Sunlight contains all different colors of light. Blue-violet light has the shortest wavelength and the highest energy output, and this is the wavelength that is emitted from electronic devices. Like UV light from the sun, blue light has benefits and dangers. Blue light is emitted from the sun and electronic devices. Visible blue light from electronic devices has a blueish hue and is noticeable. The amount emitted from these devices is a tiny fraction of what is emitted from the sun. While your eyes structures are efficient at blocking UV light, the eye structures are not able to block blue light, so this blue light hits the retina in the back of the eye. The eye is not designed to function well with long-term and repeated exposure to blue light. People that spend a large amount of time in front of electronic devices every day OR that are outside all day can have negative consequences to their eye health, and considerable fatigue to the visual system and the blue wavelength is the culprit.bluelightglasses

There are treatments that can protect your eyes from too much blue light. The blue light with a shorter wavelength does scatter when it hits the eye which makes it harder for the eye to focus. For this reason, the eyes feel more strained and fatigued when working on electronic devices, even if you are wearing your proper power in your glasses or contact lenses. The blue blocker treatments applied to lenses can greatly reduce scatter. In addition, there is some support that supplements with the over-the-counter antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein can aid in reducing glare, improvement in contrast sensitivity and improved recovery from bright light. These antioxidants are found highly concentrated in the macula and are also prevalent in green leafy vegetables (kale and spinach) and other green and yellow vegetables (and egg yolks).

As mentioned, some blue light is HELPFUL to our bodies. Blue –turquoise wavelength is helpful for the pupillary response and your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle). This wavelength can be used to treat mood disorders and in sleep therapy.bluelight

Overall, blue light is something you must be aware of. A certain amount is required for good health, but at unknown elevated levels, it can cause lack of sleep and destruction to the macula and permanent vision loss. Laboratory studies show that blue light does hit the retina, but scientists are not sure at what level damage occurs. If you spend hours on electronic devices on a daily basis, it is worth your investment to have a blue wavelength blocker. The result will be improved long-term health and more comfortable vision. We look forward to future studies on this topic and the recommendations that will result from it.

Gross motor play is so much more than letting out energy!

When your child’s body engages in any physical experience, his senses are engaged and his brain records it, building a bank of knowledge over time. With enough repetitive experience, his brain cells begin to connect and create associations. They are learning problem solving skills and how to interact with others. This helps them understand the world and where they are in the world. In our clinic, we are very concerned with gross motor skill development because it is the building block for fine motor and oculomtor development.

Below is a list of activities to get your child to move, even inside on a cold day:

*Create roads for the kids to drive cars along: Using Tape, bubble wrap, chalk

*Play Balloons: bounce, play badminton, dodgeball

*Go on a hunt: Scavenger hunt, string hunt, or search for favorite toys

*Balance: Balance beam, walk a line or make it a relay

*Move like a ___________: Insert your favorite animal (snake, monkey, cheetah, etc.)

*Make an activity or obstacle course: crawl around or over pillows

*Hopscotch: make it a contest with or without a beanbag

*Simon Says: Kids repeat your command or multiple commands to make it more challenging

*Relay races: wheelbarrow races, 3 legged races

 

Be creative and let the kids add in their own suggestions. Often, kids may resist at first, but have a blast once they get moving.

It is too costly NOT to do Vision Therapy!  

The truth is that Vision Therapy is comparable to many other services. Families spend thousands of dollars on years of tutoring services. If there is an underlying visual issue, tutoring serves as a band-aid and does not treat the root cause of learning-related visual problems. Tutoring, if still needed, would be much more efficient after the visual skills needed are in place. After vision therapy, skills gained often stay for life and can be built upon as the child progresses through school.

Let’s face it; there are many expenses in every family, from sports camps to tutoring services, vacations, health clubs, braces and more. But the benefits of Vision Therapy are invaluable. If your child has oculomotor skills that are deficient or a visual processing dysfunction, this could be preventing them to be able to reach their academic potential. Vision therapy will allow them to gain the skills needed to achieve their highest potential in school and carry into their career.

Prevention is better than the cure!

At the beginning of my career as an eye doctor, I was fortunate enough to see the majority of the children in our private practice. Once I started examining a large number of children, I realized that binocular vision problems are present! I was amazed at the frequency and variety of deficits that I was seeing. The only consistency was that all of the children were struggling in school. Grades were not always poor, but these children were working really hard to achieve academically.

Why is Vision Therapy So Important?

Vision therapy is a non-surgical therapy that involves a number of eye exercises, advanced optometric devices and vision-enhancing techniques. All of these techniques have the ability to address and cure any common vision problem your child may have. If your child undergoes vision therapy sessions early on, this will significantly limit progressive worsening of the problem and the resultant delays in learning.

The most common signs of vision problems that may be affecting your child are:

  • children learning.pngAbnormally long time taken when doing homework
  • Interpreting letters such as ‘b’ as ‘d’ while reading or writing after the age of 8
  • Display of poor reading/writing/spelling ability
  • Re-reading or skipping of lines when reading
  • Short attention spans when doing schoolwork or reading
  • Blurriness and headaches
  • Excessive rubbing of eyes with extended near work
  • Display of frustration with schoolwork

These signs could be present in your child due to an underlying vision or visual processing deficit that is affecting the way in which your child reads or learns. Please contact us for information on how we can help.

 

Autism: The World From A Different Perspective

Our vision therapy clinic has the pleasure of working with children of varying ages that have autism spectrum disorder. Multiple therapies are often offered to these families, so let’s review vision therapy a little more specifically.

Observing a child’s behavior will often tell you how they are functioning, so behaviors (constructive and destructive) are very important. Many patients with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty with:

  • ribbon puzzle pieceseye/hand coordination
  • fine motor skills
  • large motor skills
  • eye contact
  • sensitivity to light
  • impulse control
  • understanding one’s physical place within an area
  • depth perception (causing clumsiness)

Many of these symptoms can be caused by undiagnosed vision issues such as eye teaming disorders, strabismus, or other visual/perception disorders. Some children with autism use visual information inefficiently. They have problems coordinating their central vision with their side vision. When asked to follow an object with their eyes, they usually do not look at it directly. They scan or look off to the side at the object. These individuals may have difficulty maintaining visual attention. They do not trust the visual input that is coming in and have difficulty making sense of the visual information.

Visually defensive children avoid contact with specific visual input and may have hypersensitive vision. They have difficulty with visually “holding still” and frequently rely on a constant scanning of visual information in an attempt to gain meaning. Once central focus is gained; they ignore side vision and remain fixated on a task for excessive periods. Since the visual system relates to motor, cognitive, speech, and perceptual abilities, these areas may also be affected when the visual processing is interrupted.

Eye teaming and the processing of visual information are skills that are not tested at your routine comprehensive eye exam or at your pediatrician exam. Developmental optometrists are equipped to measure, observe behaviors and develop an individualized plan that understands your child’s needs. Please seek an evaluation if your child struggles with any of these issues.

Summer Fun!

brainSummer is a fun time to enjoy a variety of sports. At Sightwork, we have the pleasure to work with athletes on several different levels. Sharpening athletic skills by improving visual performance and rehabilitation following a brain injury are two of the ways we can help athletics.

Brain injuries and rehabilitation: Concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury. After sustaining a brain injury from a blow to the head (including sports related, falls or motor vehicle accident), patients often have a variety of lingering symptoms. Life altering symptoms include confusion, headaches, disorientation/dizziness, vomiting and/or nausea, unsteadiness, light sensitivity, blurred vision, double vision and photophobia. These symptoms results in academic problems such as loss of place when reading slow reading and trouble with comprehension.

sports silhouette

Optimal visual performance improves athletic skills: Well above average visual skills are hallmarks of elite athletes. Eye-hand coordination, fixation, tracking peripheral awareness and many other skills must be well developed to meet the demands of most sports. An individualized vision therapy plan is designed to meet the demands of each athlete’s sport.

Vision therapy is not instituted to simply strengthen eye muscles, but rather is done to treat functional deficiencies in order for the patient to achieve efficiency and comfort when using the visual system. Both sports and academics are optimized when the visual skills are in place.

Improved Academics and Beyond

At our vision therapy clinic, we have important goals for our patients:

Improving reading speed

Improving comprehension of written material

Gaining the ability to complete work in a timely matter

Less fatigue with near work

Improvement in grades

Let’s review some of the additional benefits that we have personally experienced with our therapy patients. Distracting behavior during near tasks can be eliminated, such as blinking, shaking of the head, rubbing their eyes and/or watering. This is because the visual skills for tracking, focusing and eye teaming are able to accomplish the task much more efficiently. Everyday skills, such as tying shoes and riding a bike become easier. In one particular child, she no longer got lost in a crowd. Another no longer suffered from motion sickness and was able to ride all the way to Florida without getting sick. Coordination and body balance improves when your visual system is functioning accurately.

Probably the most touching benefit that we see is improvement in a child’s self-confidence. Children stand taller, make better eye contact and converse more naturally. Their social skills improve as they feel confidence and feel equal with their peers. By the end of a vision therapy program, children not only have the “ingredients” to complete the recipe for successful learning, but they also have the increased confidence to apply and use the skills. After therapy, we are all smiling!