21st Century Lifestyle Demands

21ST CENTURY LIFESTYLE DEMANDS
MORE FROM OUR VISION THAN EVER BEFORE

Our visual system was not made for prolonged
periods of near point work like working on a computer.

  Our visual system was designed for distance work

It was made to hunt, fish, farm and locate danger.

 Many of us experience:

  • eyestrain
  • eye fatigue
  • headaches
  • blurred vision after using a computer for a short period of time

 THIS IS KNOWN AS COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME

 

COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME (C.V.S.) IS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING EYE HEALTH CONCERNS IN SOCIETY TODAY.

  Computers                                               and                                          hand held devices 

   have made their way

 into our everyday  lives.

Be it at work and/or at home, adults as well as children inadvisably push their eyes past the point of eyestrain. Excessive computer use and/or uninterrupted close work can induce eyestrain, headaches, and/or other visual difficulties, which can be effectively treated with Vision Therapy.

 Do you experience eyestrain, headaches or blurred vision after working at your computer?  You may have Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

WHAT IS COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)  defines computer vision syndrome (CVS) as “eyestrain associated with prolonged computer use.”

 The American Optometric Association (AOA)  expands on this definition, calling CVS “eye and vision-related problems related to near work which are experienced during or related to computer use.”

 Symptoms of CVS fall into three categories:

  1. vision problems
  2. eye problems,
  3. general discomfort


Vision problems can include:

  • blurred vision (both near and far)
  • difficulty changing focus
  • double vision
  • glare
  •  flickering sensations
  • temporary changes in color perception.

Eye problems can include:

  • redness
  •  burning sensation
  • soreness
  •  stinging
  •  itchiness
  • dryness
  • excessive tearing
  • eye fatigue
  •  eyestrain
  • light sensitivity
  •  contact lens discomfort

General discomfort symptoms can include:

  • headaches
  • neck tension or pain
  • shoulder tension or pain
  •  back pain
  • pain in arms or wrists
  •  excessive fatigue
  • irritability
  • drowsiness 

HOW COMMON IS CVS?

The American Optometric Association estimates that 70% to 75% of all computer users experience CVS symptoms.

 Approximately 95 percent of the population keeps both eyes aligned on the object of regard, as shown in the Figure below.

Even though most people work hard at keeping their eyes aligned when viewing an object, many individuals have difficulty maintaining this ocular alignment. The symptoms associated with phorias can be:

  • eyestrain,
  • double vision,
  • headaches,
  • eye irritation, and
  • general fatigue.

If the eyes do not naturally line up, as is the case for most people, then a constant neuromuscular effort is required to avoid the above mentioned symptoms.

Vision is our most precious sense. Our    are in constant use every waking minute of every day.

The way we use our    can determine how well we work throughout our lifetime.

Over 80% of our learning is mediated through our 

indicating the important role our vision plays in our daily activities. Vision disturbance is a silent enemy that only appears after a long period of continued stress.

Today, millions of children are using computers every day, at school and at home, for education and recreation. Visual demands in school require the integration of a number of different vision skills:

  • visual acuity (sharpness of vision);
  •  visual fixation (eye aiming);
  • accommodation (focusing);
  •  binocular fusion (forming a single image);
  • convergence (turning of the eyes);
  • field of vision (side vision); and
  • form perception (recognizing shapes).

These systems can be stressed and overworked if not used efficiently. Computer viewing is complicating how children use their 

in school because these visual skills are not yet fully developed in children—making any near-point activities that much more difficult.

TROUBLE ON THE JOB?

Many adults have vision problems, eye problems, headaches, visual difficulty using computers or doing close work, both on the job and on their own time.  The cause may also be a vision problem that can be addressed by vision therapy why put up with computer eyestrain when you don’t have to?

 VISION THERAPY

Vision is not static

 

 

Of all our senses-Smell, Hearing, Sight, Taste and Touch,

sight-vision  is our most developed.  It is our dominant sense and the means by which the average person receives the vast majority of their information and education. 

It has been shown that nearly 85% of all of the information that we gather in a lifetime is taken into our minds through our eyes.

The quality of our vision, how well and truly we are seeing, to a great extent determines the quality of our personal reality which shapes how we live our lives.

 

The information that we take in our eyes is the raw material from which we create our own sense of reality.  The context that is based upon past experiences determines our behavior in present circumstances.  Perhaps even more importantly, our eyes are the only organs of our bodies that are actually outgrowths of our brain.

 The eye’s retina is in reality, a specialized form of brain tissue.  This makes the interconnection and interrelationship between our eyes and our brain the most profound organic relationship on our body in our being. 

 The information taken in by the eyes is processed by the brain more deeply and completely, than the information that we receive through all our other senses.

 Eyes & Brain are a team

As we exchange our perceptions of what we can and cannot see, we can become more open to viewing the world as a whole new adventure.

We ride our bike down a country road watching for pot holes, frogs or sticks.  We end up maneuvering around these objects and adjust our speed, while visually monitoring our position.

 

Moments later we might get into our car, drive to the grocery store past fields with turkeys, ducks and geese always judging where we are relative to other vehicles and the flow of traffic. We arrive at our destination having made numerous conscious and subconscious judgments with varying degrees.  Whether it is shopping for groceries, watching a ball game or reading the news paper our vision plays an essential role in each of these activities through the collaboration of eyes and brain.

Vision occurs neither in the eyes nor in the brain, but emerges from the collaboration of the eyes, the visual pathway and the brain. Vision is a pervasive aspect of our existence which permeates all of our activities. Vision develops and, due to neural plasticity, can be enhanced. Optometry is the discipline dedicated to the care of all aspects of the visual process.

                                         Eyes are ruled by the brain

Seeing takes place in the our brain, not in our eyes.

Being able to understand esophoric and exophoric behavior opens up a window into how we experience our world. What one sees, how we perceive, interpret and react is all a result of our individual inner world.

Esophoria (Eso)- (clinical condition) a tendency of the eyes to want to turn more inward than necessary when an individual is viewing an object at near or at distance, which may cause the individual to experience eyestrain and other symptoms.

The esophoric child uses many references to him/herself with I’s and me’s.  He/she asks of every test, “How did I do? Did I do it well?  Did I do it right?”

Esophores tend to:

  • Be introverted.
  • Look closer and judge space incorrectly.
  • Receives information better from the printed (seeing) word than from the spoken (auditory) word.

 

 

  •  Dislike being corrected.
  • Make careless mistakes.
  • Read word for word.

 Symptoms:

  • Headaches.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Eyestrain.
  • Intermittent double vision.

 Exophoria (Exo)- (clinical condition) a tendency of the eyes to want to turn more outward than necessary when an individual is viewing an object at near or at distance, which may cause the individual to experience eyestrain and other symptoms. 

  The Exophoric Child tends to relate his/her space world as a complete totality with him/herself as part of it in his alignment which is an outwardizing movement. His/her performance should be complimented rather than him/her as an individual.

 

 Exophores tend to:

  • Not center in.
  • Not sustain near point attention, but tend to look away.
  • Daydream.

 

 

  • Have lower identification skills.
  • See where something is and not what it is. 
  • Miss detail.
  • Jump from field to field to take in information.

 Symptoms:

  • Eyestrain.
  • Headaches.
  • Blurred vision distance and near.
  • Double vision at far and near.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Difficulty concentration on reading material.
  • Decreasing comprehension over time
  • Pulling sensation around the eyes.
  • Print appears to move.

Handwriting and Learning Disabilities

HANDWRITING AND LEARNING DISABILITIES

Many children with learning difficulties also have writing difficulties.

Ernest J. Kahn, O.D., discovered after administering the “copy form” tests to many of his patients that:

  1. Practically all nearsighted children held their pencil no more than a quarter of an inch from the tip.
  2. Almost all children with learning difficulties exhibited some form of unusual pencil grip and fine motor in co-ordination.
  3. In all instances of improper pencil grip, the fingers blocked the line of sight from the eye to the pencil tip, causing the writer to bring the head to the side and/or down closer to the page in order to see what was being written.

Many of those who work with learning-disabled children have found that these children, in addition to having problems with reading, also have problems with handwriting.

 

Awareness of the problem is the key to change

CORRECT POSTURE

Correct handwriting posture is very important.

  • Both feet should be on the floor.
  • For right-handed the body should be slightly turned to the left.
  • For left-handed the body should be  slightly turned to the right.

 

The position of the paper is also very important.

 In many cases, just learning how to correctly orient the paper may help poor handwriting.

  • Right-handed writer should have the paper turned so that the bottom left-hand corner points directly to the navel.
  • Left-handed writer should have the bottom right-hand corner pointing to the navel.
  • The paper is aligned in such a manner that the sides of the paper are parallel to the writing arm when it is resting on the paper.

 

  The non-writing hand is not just a “paperweight.” 

  • The non-writing hand has the role much like that of a typewriter roller as it moves the paper up to prepare for writing on the next line.
  • The non-writing hand plays a very important role in paper orientation while writing. 
  • The non-writing hand should be kept resting on the side of the paper, with the elbow on the table.  This allows an open view for writing and puts the body in balance to keep the paper from moving, while writing. 
  • The elbow and forearm of the writing hand must lie on the desk. It is better to keep the elbow in place and move the paper upward as writing is done. The writing hand moves across the page from left to right and line to line.
  • The distance from the eyes to the writing or reading material should always be the distance from the elbow to the middle knuckle,  aka  “The Harmon Distance.”

 

 The way students hold a pencil or pen to write, the manner in which they orient their paper, heir posture while writing, and the way in which they form their letters will be carried over to adulthood.

Copying and Reproduction Skills

Many parents are concerned with their children’s handwriting abilities.  Graphomotor performance is related to visual analysis, motor planning, and spatial organization. 

Writing and copying skills principally relate to the following visual skills:

  1.  Fixation – the ability to direct and maintain steady central visual attention on a target.
  2. Ocular motor skills – the neuro-muscular control skills which point the visual system on a moving target (pursuit eye movements) or jump from one object to another as in reading (saccadic eye movements).
  3.  Accommodation – the vision skill which involves focusing.
  4.  Binocularity – the ability to team the eyes.  This allows for coordinated eye movements as targets move from distance to near.  This skill has a sensory and motor aspect, information on location (depth perception) and allows both eyes to remain on the target as it moves closer and further from the eyes.

 Children have been asked to write meaningful material before they have learned to write.

    

We often hear the term “reading readiness”

(a time when the child is developmentally ready for reading).

We seldom hear of “writing readiness.”

Reports show that children with learning disabilities, in addition to having reading problems, tend to reverse letters, invert letters, place letters and numerals on their sides, mirror their writing; in general have numerous handwriting problems.  These errors have been reported as “additional problems.” Such writing however is the cause of vision problems.

Mistakes, wrong moves, incorrect sequence, etc. have been shrugged off as unimportant.  As a result, many early handwriting problems have been permitted to become established as habit.  This, we contend, is responsible for many of serious reading problems from which 15% of our children suffer.

Life after stroke

NATIONAL STROKE ASSOCIATION

TYPES OF REHABILITATION

There are three primary means of rehabilitation.

Physical therapy (PT) helps restore physical functioning and skills like walking and range of movement. Major impairments which PT works on include partial or one-sided paralysis, faulty balance and foot drop.

Occupational therapy (OT) involves relearning the skills needed for everyday living such as eating, toileting, dressing and taking care of oneself.

Speech language pathology is another major rehabilitative therapy. Some stroke survivors are left with aphasia, an impairment of language and speaking skills in which the stroke survivor can think as well as before the stroke, but is unable to get the right words out or is unable to process words coming in. Aphasia is usually caused by a stroke on the left side of the brain. Speech language pathology can teach the aphasic stroke survivor and his or her family members methods for coping with this frustrating impairment. Speech language pathologists also work to help the stroke survivor cope with memory loss and other “thought” problems caused by the stroke.

Vision Therapy (VT) Many stroke survivors have visual problems following their strokes. To be able to see well, the brain and the eyes have to work together. Because part of the brain is damaged in a stroke, vision problems can be partial or complete loss of sight. Stroke survivors may also experience blurred vision, confusion or difficulty in performing visual activities, and eye strain. For stroke survivors with vision problems, it’s harder to go back to work or even perform simple household tasks. As soon as possible after a stroke, stroke survivors should have a complete eye exam to find out if their eyes are healthy. This exam will uncover any stroke-related vision problems. Opthalmologists or optometrists are important members of a stroke patient’s rehabilitation team. They can diagnose specific problems and recommend a treatment plan. Different types of vision therapy are available to retrain, strengthen, or sharpen vision following stroke. One new form of therapy, NovaVision VRT(TM), uses a computer-like device to help improve eye sight after stroke. The goal of the therapy is to train healthy parts of the brain to perform the work of the part of the brain damaged by stroke. According to research, neither the age of the patient nor when the stroke occurred makes a difference in the effectiveness of this type of therapy

Early intervention for CI

Early intervention critically important in children’s vision problems

September 7, 2010 by D Fortenbacher, O.D.,FCOVD

When is it OK to “wait and see” if the problem goes away on it’s own?

What if your 6 year old child has been diagnosed with a binocular vision problem that appears to be interfering with her learning to read? You are seeing behaviors that look like she can’t concentrate on books. Her teacher is spotting some signs of trouble but can’t be sure that it is “her eyes”. You take her to an eye doctor who makes the diagnosis of a binocular vision problem called convergence insufficiency but dismisses treatment “for now” and opts for monitoring the problem. But, is it really ok to just wait and see?

As strange as it may sound, an outdated approach often recommended by many eye doctors when faced with a young patient (often 4-7 years old) diagnosed with certain forms of eye coordination problems, such as convergence insufficiency, is to simply monitor the condition and see if it goes away it’s own. In other words, no treatment is recommended.

In response to this and other vision problems in children, the University of Oregon Brain Development Lab has just produced this video on vision and the developing brain. See what the neuroscientists and the research is showing about the importance of early intervention.

Then check out the story of a mom (below) who wouldn’t accept ”NO” for an answer when told that her 6 year old daughter (with convergence insufficiency) was too young to be treated.

Find out how a persistent mom dealt with this problem with her own 6 year old daughter. Read the heartwarming and inspirational story from Paige Melendres in Albuquerque, who was not comfortable with the “wait and see” recommendation by her first doctor.  Her story can be found by clicking on  CI:The Private Eye Goes Public -Part 1 and scroll down to comment #8. Her story has a happy ending and good advice for parents who may have a child who is struggling.