convergence insufficiencyConvergence insufficiency has long been linked to learning disabilities by Behavioural Optometrists like myself, but how does it relate to the child who is struggling to learn at school, and what is the mechanism that makes it so important?

What is Convergence Insufficiency and how is it Measured?

Convergence insufficiency is a condition where the convergence mechanism of vision, that is the ability to turn our eyes inwards in order to keep the near target single, is insufficient or underperforming.

This means that, for a distant object, the two eyes work well together, but it is a different story when it comes to looking at a near object such as a computer screen, a book, an ipad or a phone.? In this condition, the two eyes are unable to turn in sufficiently to do this near task, causing symptoms like eye strain, headaches and even double vision.? However, one of the most significant symptoms is poor concentration for reading tasks, and often reading and learning disabilities.

While many Optometrists do not even bother to test for this condition, Behavioural Optometrists spend quite a lot of time investigating this area and examining how it might be affecting learning and school performance.

 

What Happens During Reading?

 

As I have mentioned, convergence insufficiency means that our eyes do not turn in far enough, and have a great tendency to swing out at the earliest opportunity.? When a child is reading, they focus on a word, then they have to break their convergence to move to the next word.

What happens if, when they break and move, they eyes swing out?? Clearly the child has to? converge again onto the new word, and they have to do this for every word, reestablishing convergence time and time again.? This can slow a child?s reading to snail?s pace!

How do we Treat the Condition?

Convergence insufficiency can be treated in either of two ways? using reading glasses (also called support lenses) or using eye exercises.

Support lenses are the most popular way of treating this condition, because it is fast and usually very effective.? It?s simply a case of put the lenses on, and start reading.

Exercise on the other hand, take time and dedication to do, and most children find them boring.? That being said, I will frequently combine the two methods for maximum effectiveness, and we usually get a tremendous response from this type of treatment, especially when combined with other learning disabilities vision therapy techniques.

So if your child is struggling at school and if their learning and especially reading is poor, then a Behavioural Optometrist could hold the key.? Get your child assessed, and ask about the most effective ways to treat Convergence Insufficiency, because this is frequently an easy way to help a child with learning disabilities.

Vision Therapy ActivitiesVision therapy activities are used by Behavioural Optometrists around the world to help children develop their visual skills.? The aim is not so much to perform certain tasks in an office, but rather to help the child with learning disabilities or visual dysfunction and to aid them as they learn and develop through their schooling.

The big question is, ?Do vision therapy activities actually work??

What are the Vision Therapy Activities?

Concerned parents are always looking for ways to help their children, especially if their child is struggling at school.? Yet many so-called experts debate the effectiveness of vision therapy activities, without knowing what these activities actually entail!

As a behavioural optometrist for over 25 years, I have successfully used vision therapy activities to modify both the measurable visual performance of children and also their performance in the classroom.? However, I recognize that some activities suggested by optometrists hold little value for improving the school performance of children, even if they change our measurements.

Claiming that therapy activities do not work is like claiming piano lessons don?t work!?? We should not write off the entire profession because somebody did vision therapy activities and did not get a result.? I failed my piano lessons, yet clearly they seem to have worked for Billy Joel!

Why Most Vision Therapy Activities Cannot Fail!

There are definitely types of activities that cannot fail, and these are similar to guitar or piano lessons in that they teach children the skills they need to perform well in school.? What skills am I talking about?

I use vision therapy to train skills like eye movements and tracking, eye coordination and focus, visual memory for spelling, directionality for letter reversals and well known skills like sequencing, coding, etc.? These are used every day by people as they learn, and if they are underdeveloped for any reason, they the child is likely to suffer a learning disability.

These skills are developed naturally by school and learning activities over time, but what happens if they do not develop until Grade 8?? You have a child who might be very bright verbally but cannot read, write or spell very well.? They most often don?t have dyslexia or brain damage, they most often have simply failed to develop the skills they need to do the job properly.

Activities which concentrate on the visual skills every person in every culture uses to learn and read will definitely help a child with learning disabilities.? In fact, they simply cannot miss!

Vision therapies which focus on developing these essential visual skills almost always see improvement in a child?s learning ability.? In the same way that piano lessons will improve both a novice player and an expert, getting these skills right can have a major effect on a child?s ability to learn.

The great thing is that developing these skills is fun and enjoyable for the child!? I have produced activities which kids love doing, find challenging yet not overwhelming and have a fantastic success rate for helping children with learning difficulties.? They?re not weird, not boring and take around 6 months to help a child reach their full potential.? They don?t teach a child reading, but they provide the skills that child needs to be taught reading quickly and effectively.

Those which focus on developing the needed skills can be a powerful tool for helping your child learn more effectively.

 

Can Home Vision Therapy Help Learning Disabilities?

 

Vision therapy is becoming a popular way of helping children with learning disabilities.? The main problem with them is that they are prescribed by behavioural optometrists and are often very expensive (sometimes thousands of dollars).? They also often involve multiple and frequent trips to the optometrist to use sophisticated equipment.? Some simple activities are done at home, but questions are often raised about the effectiveness of home based therapies.

 

The Advantage of Home Therapies

 

I believe that home based therapy has several clear advantages over the in-office style.? Firstly, they can be done at any hour of the day or night, in any place in the world and do not require trips to the optometrist.? Secondly, they can be a lot less expensive because the valuable time of the optometrist or their assistants is not being used on a weekly basis.

But are they as effective as in office activities?

In some areas clearly they cannot be as effective because the advanced equipment is not available in your home. This is especially true for complicated eye conditions such as turned eyes or lazy eyes.? That being said, a simpler task performed every day is frequently more successful than a visit once or twice a week to an expert?s office.

The fact is that some therapies, notably those which help learning disabilities, can be easily and successfully done at home by parents, while others require greater expertise or equipment and should only be attempted by a behavioural optometrist.

So What Does Work at Home?

Some activities are extremely effective as home therapies, especially when it comes to learning disabilities and problems.? Tracking for example, which helps a child to move across a page correctly and not misread words or skip lines, is easily trained using home based techniques.? Visualization for spelling is another, as is directional training (to stop letter reversals), coding, sequencing and even focus and eye coordination.

As a behavioural optometrist myself, I have been effectively using these home based vision therapy activities to help children with learning disabilities for years and with the rise of the internet their effectiveness has become greater.

 

In my program I have utilized automatic emails to keep parents on track and gently ?nag? them into keeping up their schedule of therapies.? This has been very successful and can be reset at any time, helping to keep parents on track and children doing enough vision therapy activities to have a positive effect on their school performance.? Again, doing a lesser activity every day is often more effective that a complex one weekly.

When it comes to children with learning disabilities, a home based series of vision therapy activities is one of the most effective ways of helping because parents can do the therapies daily and at any time that works for them and their family.? Using the right activities more often can train the skills that a child needs to perform better in school, and I prove this with my patients on a daily basis!

When it comes to developing visual skills for learning, home based vision therapy activities are among the most effective tools I know for helping children with learning disabilities.

eye exercises for myopiaWith many internet sites claiming all sorts of things, you may be wondering if eye exercises for myopia really work.? Can we do eye exercises and affect the amount of myopia, or are all short sighted people condemned to a lifetime of glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery?

 

To understand the effectiveness of eye exercises for myopia we first need to understand a little about what myopia is, the causes and how we can treat it using eye exercises.

 

Myopia is short sightedness or nearsightedness, and it refers to a condition where near objects are clear but distant object appear blurry.? It is often corrected by optometrists using a minus or concave lens.

 

The cause is a little less clear (excuse the pun!).? While genetics and diet play a role, most experts believe that the main cause of myopia is excessive near work.? Hence the condition happens most frequently to those who spend large amounts of time doing concentrated near work.

 

Myopes tend to be people like book worms, computer geeks and students.? Accountants are frequently myopic, as are heavy internet users or computer gamers.? One recent phenomenon which has seen a massive spike in the number of shortsighted young people is the rise of hand held technology, including tablets, iPods, smart phones and the like.

 

All of these strongly suggest that too much near work stresses the visual system to the point where it collapses, causing it to adapt by letting the distance go blurred to preserve near vision

 

But Do Eye Exercises for Myopia Control Really Work?

 

As a behavioral optometrist I use eye exercises as a means of helping to treat short sightedness every day.? If you understand that the root cause of myopia is excessive strain due to excessive near work, then you can look for the signs.

 

In my practice I can measure not only when myopia is happening, but also see the changes to a person?s focus and eye teaming abilities which accompany the onset on the condition.? If this is the case, I have a selection of eye exercises for myopia which are proven to work in the majority of cases, and all of these exercises have to do with reducing the stress on vision and especially focus and eye teaming abilities.

 

Here on this site you will find a number of eye exercises for myopia which you can try at home for free.? If you want to get really serious about stopping myopia, we also have a complete series of vision therapy for a fraction of what you will pay in an optometrist?s office.

 

As with all therapies, eye exercises for myopia require a level of commitment and small changes in the way you do things, but this is a small price to pay to stay out of full time glasses, isn?t it?

 

When you consider that the alternative is hundreds of dollars for glasses or contact lenses, or thousands of dollars for laser surgery, eye exercises for myopia control are extremely cost effective and, more importantly, they actually work.

behavioural optometryYou may be wondering what behavioural optometry is and what it can offer you as a parent for your child.

Behavioural Optometry is a mode of practice which seeks to go beyond the simple ability to see, helping patients to understand and interpret information in a holistic way.?? It is sometimes called developmental optometry because of its association with children and developing vision.

Behavioural Optometry was once viewed by traditional Optometry as being somewhere between reading tea leaves and reading palms!? When I started behavioural practice 25 years ago, I felt like my fellow Optometrists saw me as weird and strange, but much has changed since then.

The Rise of Behavioural Optometry

Now traditional Optometrists from across my area send me the children they do not understand or feel they cannot help!? In my area of the Sunshine Coast Behavioural Optometry is being embraced by traditional practitioners and recognized for what it is, a specific specialty or discipline within our profession which can provide real answers to children struggling at school.

Scientific studies are now finding results which support this powerful mode of Optometry, further enhancing its credibility within the profession.

Yet it does not stop there!? As a Behavioural Optometrist, I can now supply answers for many patients and many conditions, notably the efforts we are pursuing to stop the progression of short sightedness or myopia.? This means that we don’t have to sit by and watch our children’s prescriptions get stronger and their lenses thicker through the years!? Sometimes we can even reverse it, and the principles we build such treatment on are based upon longstanding Behavioural Optometry premises.

Another area which works well is in the treatment of turned eyes and lazy eyes, where traditional Optometry holds very few answers and a lot of frustration.? Helping the eyes to begin functioning together effectively is part of what we can now do as Behavioural Practitioners.

However, the real power and attraction of this discipline is in the area of learning disabilities, where we can not only increase concentration and

So now is the time when this branch of the profession is coming into it’s own!

There is a valid and powerful tool that can be used to help children with learning disabilities, turned eyes, lazy eyes and increasing short sightedness, and this tool is called Behavioural Optometry!

eye exercises for better visionAre you interested in doing eye exercises for better vision? Some eye care professionals ignore exercises and simply want to sell you glasses, but increasingly eye professionals are recognizing the use of eye exercises in some cases.

However, it must be stressed that doing eye exercises for better vision are no substitute for a proper eye test.? Eye doctors do more than just prescribe glasses, they also check the eyes for diseases, most of which would go undetected without an eye test.?? You may want to do eye exercises for better vision, but if you overlook a professional eye examination you may go blind due to undetected eye disease!

So here are our Top Five Eye Exercises for Better Vision

Eye Stretches

Eye stretches involve you moving the eyes up, down, left and right in a Union Jack figure, and each time looking at far as you can, really stretching the muscles.? This breaks up what is call proprioception, which is the unconscious perception of movement or position from within the muscle itself.? This can relieve stress on the visual system and serve to break up ?bad habits? your muscles may be doing.

Push Up Convergence

Convergence is the eyes turning in together to keep your vision single when you look up close.? So in this exercise, you look at a pen tip at arm?s length and move the pen closer slowly until it splits into two images, then push it out again until you can regains single vision.

Two Finger Jumping Convergence

This is similar to the above exercise, except that they eyes do not converge in a gentle manner but ?jump?.? Hold the index finger on one arm at arm?s length, and the index finger on the other arm at around 12 inches from your nose.? Look at the more distant one, then jump to the closer one.? Go back and forth, and over time try to bring the closer one much closer to your nose.

Near-Far Focus Changes

In this exercise, take a book and hold it at around 12 inches from your nose.? Read one line from the book, the lift your eyes to get a distant object clear (something beyond 10 feet), such as a TV.? Repeat the process, bring the book closer to you until you can no longer get it clear.

Palming

This is a simple exercise that promotes relaxation.? After reading for a time, sit back and cover both eyes gently with your palms.? Try to imaging seeing through your palms.? Do this for several minutes, then read for several minutes, repeating the pattern over and over.

So if you are considering doing eye exercises for better vision, these are a good start because they can be easily performed in and around your workplace, and easily incorporated into your current lifestyle.? Many people fail to do exercises for their eyes if they are too disruptive, of if they require special materials, but these are quickly and efficiently done by most people.

In summary, make sure you have a proper eye test for eye diseases.? After that, you can often easily do these eye exercises for better vision the natural way.

home vision therapyThe effectiveness of home vision therapy for the treatment of learning disabilities is often debated by professionals, but as someone who has worked with learning disabilities for over 20 years, I am absolutely convinced of the power that home vision therapy offers to help the frustrated and disillusioned parents of a struggling child!

What Is Home Vision Therapy?

Home Vision Therapy is the term given to a series of vision training exercises that are able to be adequately performed at home by parents.? With careful and complete instruction, many vision exercises can be performed by parents at home, with the big advantage that they can be done every day rather than making a special trip into the behavioral optometrist, orthoptist, occupational therapist or the like.

The power of doing a task every day rather than once or twice a week has been well documented, with the accumulative effect of daily exercises being the major reason for home vision therapy.? The big question is, can the parents do what the professional can?? If the exercises are well thought out and explained, in many cases the answer is, ?Yes?!

How Can Our Vision Therapy Help is more effective in certain areas of vision training than in others.? Some types of training require a higher level of skill, observation or equipment that the parent simply does not have, and professionals have paid thousands of dollars to obtain the equipment and training necessary to perform these tasks.? Other tasks, however, are a lot easier to incorporate into a home vision therapy program.

The great news is that the types of therapies which are easily performed at home and require equipment most parents have are very often the most effective techniques for improving learning in children struggling to read, write and spell!? It is not easy to incorporate therapies for focus, eye coordination or binocular problems into a home vision therapy program, but visual skills necessary for learning, such as visual memory, sequencing, coding, hand-eye coordination and left-right awareness can easily be performed at home by a parent who has been given concise and detailed instructions.

What is the Most Effective Home Vision Therapy?

For home vision therapy to be effective it must have certain characteristics.? It must be simple and easily taught to parents.? It must have simple equipment that can be sourced in or around the home at very little expense.? It needs to be clearly and concisely detailed to the parents so that they understand exactly what they need to do, and also what they need to observe in their child as they do the exercises.

Above all, for Home Vision Therapy to be successful it has to be fun for both the children and the adults!? I cannot overemphasize this point because unless there is enjoyment the chances of the program being pursued to the end are very small.? In fact, I have had many parents tell me that the activities in my home vision therapy are not only fun, helpful and extremely powerful, but they have also resulted in quality time being spent by parents with the children!? If you can invest time into something that makes sense and is fun, the compliance from children skyrockets and the effectiveness of the program increases accordingly!

So, if carefully arranged and instructed by a skilled professional, Home Vision Therapy can be extremely helpful in the treatment of learning disabilities and offers the advantage of being able to be used every day for maximum effectiveness.

eye test for kidsMany optometrists claim that they can do an eye test for kids, but are they all really the same and do they offer the same level of expertise and service?

And I test the kids is not the same as an examination for an adult, because for a children?s exam we need to look beyond simply whether a child can see into how they function in their school environment, and how they take in visual information, process it, and go about their learning task.

As a behavioural optometrist, I have spent years developing what I believe is the right protocol for examining children, especially children with learning disabilities. I use specialised equipment and spent a lot of time testing the balance of a child?s vision not on a chart 6 m away, but rather up close, where they do the majority of their learning.

Most importantly, kids require not only special testing but also specialized ways to treat the problems they have, especially when it comes to learning difficulties. Glasses may be useful, and we have special frames and the latest lenses for children, but you cannot put reading glasses on a child and expect them to spell better, for example.

This is why, in addition to the best and most comprehensive eye test for kids in my area, I have at my disposal a specialised type of therapy called vision therapy. This is a program that I?ve designed myself, specifically to target the visual skills children use when they are learning to read, write and spell.

As we learn, we develop the skills we need to do the job. Skills like well-controlled eye movements, well-balanced focus and the teaming of the eyes, sequencing, coding, visualisation and directional concepts, need to be developed as we grow and learn.

These are areas that regular optometrists fail to examine, and this is where a behavioural optometrist offers an eye test for kids but is far more comprehensive, and has the power to incredibly impact a child?s learning ability.

So if your child is struggling with learning, or if not concentrating on their school work, then having a comprehensive vision examination by a behavioural optometrist should be a priority. A standard eye examination is not going to reveal the kind of visual problems that 80% of children with learning disabilities exhibit.

So if you really care for your child, don?t just have a regular eye examinations and think that everything is okay. Take your child for a comprehensive vision assessment with a behavioural optometrist and make sure that vision is not holding them back in their learning.

And if you live on the Sunshine Coast, we?ll see you at Eye CU for the very best eye test for kids, guaranteed!

eye test for childrenIf you have a child you may be looking for the best eye test for children in your area.? Before we consider this, we need to recognize that children are not miniature adults, but rather need to be tested with the right instruments in a way that is designed exclusively for their eyes, while it centers on how they use their eyes in the classroom.

Most Sunshine Coast optometrists are great at testing adults and looking for ocular disease, but an eye test for children is a completely different situation.? Kids don?t always process visual information the same as adults and their method of dealing with the pressure and stress on their vision is completely different, especially when we consider how much time they currently focus on near tasks like computers, tablets and smart phones!

The right eye test for children must include the standard tests like measuring their prescription (whether they are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism) and their ocular health, but any eye test for children cannot stop there!

It is vitally important that children see a behavioural optometrist, and make sure that things like the focus, how the eyes team together, how they move across a page, convergence and 3-D perception are measured.? If the child has learning difficulties such as dyslexia, further tests can be done dealing with how the child takes in and processes the information they obtain via vision.? This includes visualization, direction skills, coding and sequencing.

This is why a behavioural optometrist like myself does more in an eye test for children than any other optometrist, and why I use not only special lenses, frames and glasses but also offer exclusive, specialized exercises called vision therapy to help them, which centers on learning.

So on the Sunshine Coast or anywhere else, the best eye test for children may not necessarily be the nearest!? My patients travel from far and wide to have their vision exam, because they know that I will work hard to offer them ways to treat their presenting problems, while helping them save money on the frames and glasses we offer. This is especially true for learning disabilities where I use special techniques that centers a child?s specific vision needs when learning, and also in myopia or short sightedness treatment, where keeping children out of full time glasses is a priority.

So if you care for your child, don?t just get a regular vision exam or check up!

Visit a family behavioural optometrist and get the best eye test for children in your area.