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Symptoms Indicating A Visual Efficiency Problem

Having a visual efficiency problem can present in many forms, from reading difficulties, to focusing issues to behavioral problems. Visual dysfunction can dramatically reduce a student’s ability to learn and can hinder one’s productivity at work.

Knowing and understanding which red flags to keep an eye out for can give rise to early detection and treatment of visual problems.

Below, we’ll explore several common visual efficiency problems and symptoms. Should you have any of them, we recommend you visit your eye doctor.

Eye Teaming Problems

In order to perceive the world around in a clearly way, your two eyes need to work in perfect unison and coordination. When your eyes don’t function as a team, the perceived images your brain creates may be confusing.

Two common eye teaming problems are convergence insufficiency and convergence excess. With the former, the eyes have difficulty focusing inwards on an object that is being held close to the nose. Convergence excess is the opposite—where the eyes can’t easily focus outward, leading to difficulties with distance vision.

Symptoms of eye teaming problems include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Tired or uncomfortable eyes
  • Difficulty reading
  • Eye squinting or rubbing
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor depth perception

Eye Tracking Problems

Eye tracking involves the smooth and effortless movements of the eyes. Efficient eye tracking helps us scan our environment and quickly gauge where we are and what our next move should be.

When eye movements are slower than normal, inaccurate, or require external cues (like following a moving finger), it may indicate an eye tracking problem. Three types of eye tracking problems include fixation dysfunction, deficiency of saccades, and deficiency or pursuits.

Individuals with an eye tracking problem may:

  • Often skip lines when reading, as the eyes can’t smoothly scan from one line to the next
  • Easily lose their place while reading
  • Omit or substitute words
  • Have poor hand-eye coordination
  • Find it difficult to spell words correctly

Focusing Problems

Every time our eyes shift their gaze from one object to another, they accommodate their focusing power so that each object appears crisp and clear. Focusing problems arise when the ciliary muscle—the muscle responsible for accommodating focus—can’t easily relax, tighten or maintain its position.

Symptoms of focusing problems include:

  • Holding objects close to the face in order to view them
  • Experiencing headaches during or after reading
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty reading or avoiding reading
  • Blurred vision when shifting focus from one object to another
  • Frequent eye rubbing

Learning and Behavioral Problems At School

Many children with vision problems are misdiagnosed as having ADHD or learning disabilities. However, these problems may really be rooted in vision dysfunctions – even if your child passed a vision screening test done in school! That’s because the vision test performed for a student only detects eye problems that involve visual acuity (seeing 20/20). Altogether, those types of visual disorders only account for about 5% of all eye problems!

Binocular visual skills such as eye tracking, eye coordination, and eye focusing may still not be functioning as needed to see and learn properly. Your child may have convergence insufficiency, meaning that the eyes do not team together for near vision – which is necessary for doing close work; for example, eyes may drift outward when reading or writing.

When a student cannot see well enough to keep up in the classroom, problems with behavior and grades may result. These issues can closely resemble the signs of ADD or ADHD. Yet in reality the child really has a learning-related binocular vision problem, which directly affects their ability to succeed in school. Once the visual dysfunction is treated, typically by vision therapy, the child can frequently overcome the associated learning challenges.

The following visual dysfunctions can all lead to learning disabilities and behavioural issues, and also often respond well to vision therapy:

  • Binocular dysfunction Also called eye teaming, binocular dysfunction is a problem with eye coordination. It is how we use our eyes to prevent us from seeing double.
  • Eye tracking A dysfunction with eye tracking makes it difficult to follow a moving object or look from place to place. When reading, it can cause kids to skip lines and words.
  • Convergence insufficiency This condition involves having poor binocular skills when using both eyes to see an object that is near.
  • Accommodation dysfunction Also referred to as having focusing problems, accommodation dysfunction makes it hard to shift focus from near to far and back again. Copying from a classroom board can be very challenging.
  • Visual-motor integration dysfunction Eye-hand coordination is compromised with this condition. Handwriting may be illegible!
  • Visual perception dysfunctions Trouble with visual memory and recall of what is seen and discriminating between different sizes and shapes are all signs of a visual perception dysfunction.

How a Vision Therapist Can Help

Vision therapy helps to develop and strengthen the eye-brain connection, which is often weak in a person with visual efficiency problems.

A personalized vision therapy program involves tailor-made visual exercises that forge new pathways in the visual system. By performing these exercises regularly, the patient will develop improved visual skills. Vision therapy may also involve the use of specialized prisms, filters or lenses.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time to have your vision evaluated. Call Village Eye Centre to schedule your appointment today.

Village Eye Centre serves patients in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.


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