"Your Eyes are Your Window to the World:" Vision Therapy
We have all heard someone say, “Your eyes are your window to the world,” and it’s true. From birth through our elder years, 80 percent of what we learn is through the visual system, so, it’s very important to have good visual abilities.
Research has shown that children who have trouble in school, such as with reading and writing, can have undiagnosed visual functioning problems. (These children may also have a learning disorder, ADHD, or be on the Autism Spectrum, while other children may have none of the above.) If the visual function is not working properly, then school performance will be negatively affected. I am not talking about visual acuity, or how well a child sees the eye chart, but instead, about how the eyes actually work together. A student may have 20/20 vision, but still have trouble with their field of vision, muscle function, balance, focus or depth perception (just to name a few).
The same can be said for patients who have had a head injury or stroke. Very often, after a neurological accident, our visual system loses the ability to perform everyday tasks. Once again, it is not a visual acuity issue, but a functional issue. Patients who have experienced a stroke often say, “Something is not right with my eyes, but everyone says I have good eye sight.” The patient might have a very difficult time explaining how his/her eyes are different. Many patients complain of newspaper print moving, difficulty walking and/or feeling unsteady. Problems such as these can be attributed to a visual functioning problem that is interfering with the vestibular pathways.
If the visual system is not working correctly, poor eye health can lead to other life-altering problems. For instance, in children we may see poor school performance, disruptive behavior and/or poor self esteem. In adults, we may see lack of focus, poor gross and fine motor skills and a defeatist attitude after a few short weeks of rehabilitation. But help is available!