College students and adults can also benefit with vision therapy.
The true story below serves as an example of the benefits of including eye doctors as part of the medical team, whenever learning difficulties are present.
Names have been changed for privacy protection.
David struggled with an undiagnosed vision problem for 10 years.
By the time David, a 20 year-old college student, saw a vision therapy eye doctor his mother reported that he had previously seen all kinds of specialists. However, none had been able to solve David’s academic challenges.
David is a very bright and diligent student, enjoying his school and academic pursuits, but somehow his grades have never matched his efforts.
Throughout David’s childhood eye surgeons told his mother that his eyes were ‘perfect’ and to merely monitor the left eye frequently to make sure that a cataract was not growing and his vision was developing normally.
David was diagnosed with hyperopia (farsightedness) in one eye, however there was no discussion as to whether the two eyes were working together as a team.
David’s visual skills were never evaluated, so there was no way to know how the two eyes were learning to work as a team and if this was impacting his school grades.
Throughout primary school and high school, David’s work ethic at school was unfaltering. He always tried to do his best and achieve high grades, but his test scores never truly reflected his intelligence.
If you have any concern regarding you or your child’s school grades, contact an eye doctor near you to receive a comprehensive eye exam of their visual skills.
SEE RELATED: Effective Treatment for Convergence Insufficiency
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David finds a solution
Only at the age of 20, after suffering for over 10 years, David eventually saw a vision therapy eye doctor.
David mentioned that after reading for just 1 to 2 hours, he would experience eye strain, headaches, tiredness, and even sometimes blurry or double vision.
The eye exam showed that David had considerably reduced visual skills, and that it was difficult for his eyes to function as a team.
The specific visual skill deficit that impacted David’s eyes was Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
If CI remains undiagnosed for years, this often leads to a serious eye condition known as ‘intermittent suppression’ of the left eye. This condition causes the brain to frequently shut down or switch off the left eye, mainly when reading or working on a computer.
If left untreated, eventually the switching off of the left eye can result in a lazy eye, causing irreparable vision loss in one eye. Lazy eyes could also permanently impact the ability to read and succeed at school, college and even as an adult.
Convergence insufficiency meant David’s left eye was not able to turn inwards and focus clearly for reading, computer use or at any other time David needed to focus on anything close.
David started a customized program of vision therapy and his optical prescription was changed by adding a small amount of prism for the left eye.
Through vision therapy, David’s two eyes have learnt to work as a team – reducing the eye strain and fatigue, allowing him to enjoy his college years.
In David’s case the many specialists that he had seen previously were initially eye specialists, but because his eyesight wasn’t seriously impairs, he was eventually referred to learning specialists. These well-meaning professionals were puzzled by the discrepancy between his intellect and learning performance, but could not find or offer a solution.
David suffered the consequences of an undiagnosed vision problem for 10 years.
Whenever David’s mother inquired about his vision, she was reassured that it had no bearing on his learning. That is, until David saw a vision therapy eye doctor, a specialist in children’s vision and vision therapy, and his life was changed forever.
David now loves reading and completing assignments without the added stress and fatigue.
He and looks forward to enjoying his upcoming college education.
LEARN MORE: Vision Therapy for Children
If you have any concern regarding your child’s school grades, contact an eye doctor near you to receive a comprehensive eye exam of their visual skills.
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