Does blurry distance vision mean you are short sighted?

Behavioural Optometrist Sally Adams shares Vision Therapy case notes. 

Paul, aged 8 years, came to see me because he could not read what his teacher had written on the board, and he was having headaches. His eye examination showed he was not short sighted, even though his  vision was blurry to the extent he would have failed the driving vision test, and his 3D vision was reduced.

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Paul’s focus was not flexing normally and his eye movements for reading were not smooth. So he was not focussed on where he was looking, making reading a struggle.

Vision therapy for Paul was two fold; he started using reading glasses to reduce focusing stress, combined with vision exercises to improve the flexibility and accuracy of his focusing and eye tracking system. Within only a few weeks Paul’s distance vision returned to better than 20/20, his 3D vision returned to normal, and his headaches had reduced.  The next step was to help him maintain this improvement so he would not suffer with the same problems again. He worked through 12 sessions of vision therapy with me for 30 minutes each week, while at home he completed 10 to 15 minutes of vision activities each day. With practice and commitment Paul’s vision system is automatically working efficiently which means he sees clearly and comfortably.

Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Behavioural Optometry Update

In July Sally attended the Australiasian College of Behavioural Optometrist Annual Conference. It was two days full of new research and updates and she came back full of enthusiasm for her Vision Therapy work.

One speaker was Dr Sue Cotter,  Professor of Optometry at the Southern California College of Optometry. Dr Cotter gave an update on eye patching to treat 'lazy' eyes. Lazy eye is the common term for amblyopia, poor vision which occurs in childhood. Amblyopia is often due to a difference in focus between the eyes, when one eye has clearer vision. Vision in the good eye develops normally while the poor eye lags behind. 
Many people are familiar with amblyopia treatment, an eye patch covering the good eye. In the past patches were recommended for long periods each day. New research has shown a different approach which can give better results, especially for binocular 3D vision development.

Now we start with prescription glasses alone and closely monitor vision. We are watching for an improvement in the size of letters the weak eye is able to read on our chart. Research has shown glasses alone can be as effective as patching the good eye for 2 hours each day. This is very positive; a young child is more receptive to wearing glasses than an eye patch. If glasses alone do not improve vision enough, then eye patching is still recommended. But by this time the weak eye has improved clarity, which helps children accept wearing a patch.

Newer treatments aim to stop the good eye dominating, and allowing binocular vision to develop as fully as possible. Patching does not help this process but we can enhance binocular vision with Vision Therapy. Other options include Virtual Reality games.

Dr Cotter also spoke about treating amblyopia in children older than 7 years of age. It was previously thought that after this age intervention would not have any positive effect. Evidence has shown there is still time to have a positive effect. Improvements in vision may be slower in older children so we still want to detect problems early.

If you have any questions about children's vision development, or would like to know more about Behavioural Optometry please contact us.


Helping Your Child Develop Good Vision Habits - How Behavioural Optometry Works

Vision is more than eyesight – it is how your child interprets, understands and acts upon the information coming in through their eyes. Many children have normal 20/20 eyesight yet struggle in the classroom. This can be due to problems with:
● Eye movements
● Eye teaming
● Eye-hand coordination
● Visual form perception
● Long-sightedness

Sally Adams B Optom Cert OcPharm PG Dip Sci

Sally Adams B Optom Cert OcPharm PG Dip Sci

Visual skills normally improve over time as a child develops. If there are areas where your child is not progressing or school performance is declining, we recommend a full vision assessment with Sally Adams. Sally has completed three specialized Behavioural Optometrist Extension courses. Behavioural Optometry is described as special interest in vision beyond the eyeball. An assessment  with Sally can identify vision problems which can be improved with glasses and Vision Therapy. 

What you can do to help your child develop good vision habits:

● Check your child keeps both eyes the same distance to the page or screen, at a distance at least a forearms distance from their chin for reading, or arms distance for computer screens. 

● Reading or writing is best on a 20 degree slope rather than flat on the desk.

● Encourage your child to look up and refocus in the distance after every page they read, and at regular intervals when using a screen.

● Sit in a balanced upright position, both feet on the floor; this reduces distraction from fatigue and discomfort while doing homework, reading, drawing, using a computer or tablet.

● All students of all ages and abilities work better in short bursts of 10 minutes or less, especially those with vision problems. Make sure your child gets up and moves around, ideally goes outside to play after each 20 - 30 minutes of reading, writing or computer / screen time.

● Encourage your child in sports and outdoor activities. This improves eye-hand co-ordination, spatial and other visual skills as well as improving concentration.

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact us.