Archive for the ‘Do I have a vision problem?’ Category
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is being diagnosed with increasing frequency in both children and adults. Many of these individuals were previously labeled hyperactive or minimally brain damaged. It is estimated that over one million people presently have this disorder.
The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical (Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association, classifies three types of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive, and combined. Six of nine symptoms of inattention, and six of nine of hyperactivity and impulsivity are necessary for diagnosis.
In each case, the symptoms must be present for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level. In addition, some symptoms must be present prior to age seven, and in two or more settings (e.g. at school, work and home). There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social academic or occupational functioning, and the impairment cannot be caused by other disorders such as anxiety, psychosis or a pervasive developmental disorder.
Even though it is generally assumed that people diagnosed as having ADHD evidence a common set of characteristics emanating from a common etiology, little agreement is found among researchers regarding these symptoms. Some symptoms seen in children diagnosed as having attention deficits include:
Making careless mistakes in schoolwork
- Difficulty sustaining attention to tasks
- Not listening to what is being said
- Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Losing and misplacing belongings
- Fidgeting and squirming in seat
- Talking excessively
- Interrupting or intruding on others
- Difficulty playing quietly
These symptoms are also seen in both children and adults with learning-related visual problems, sensory integration dysfunction as well as with undiagnosed allergies or sensitivities to something they eat, drink or breathe. The chart that follows illustrates this graphically.
|Symptoms||ADHD (DSM-IV)||Sensory Integration Dysfunction (Ayres)||Learning Related Visual Problems (Kavner)||Nutrition Allergies(Rapp, Crook
|Inattention (at least 6 are necessary)|
|Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes||X||X||X||X|
|Often does not listen when spoken to directly||X||X||X||X|
|Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often does not follow through on instructions or fails to finish work||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks requiring sustained mental effort||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often loses things||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often distracted by extraneous stimuli||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often forgetful in daily activities||X||X||X||X|
|Hyperactivity and Impulsivity (at least 6 necessary)|
|Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often runs or climbs excessively||X||X||X||X|
|Often has difficulty playing quietly||X||X||X|
|Often “on the go”||X||X||X||X|
|Often talks excessively||X||X||X||X|
|Often blurts out answers to questions before they have been completed||X||X||X||X|
|Often has difficulty awaiting turn||X||X||X||X||X|
|Often interrupts or intrudes on others||X||X||X||X||X|
Physicians often recommend that ADHD be treated symptomatically with stimulant medication, special education and counseling. Although these approaches sometimes yield positive benefits, they may mask the problems rather than get to their underlying causes.
In addition, many common drugs for ADD, which have the same Class 2 classification as cocaine and morphine, can have some negative side effects that relate to appetite, sleep and growth. Placing a normal student who has difficulty paying attention in a special class and counseling could undermine rather than boost his self-esteem.
A sensible, multi-disciplinary, developmental approach treats underlying causes rather than the symptoms which are secondary.
TREATMENT OF ALLERGIES to pollen, molds, dust, foods and/or chemicals by eliminating or neutralizing them has also been shown to alleviate the identical symptoms, and without side effects.
VISION THERAPY improves skills that allow a person to pay attention. These skill areas include visual tracking, fixation, focus change, binocular fusion and visualization. When all of these are well developed, children and adults can sustain attention, read and write without careless errors, give meaning to what they hear and see, and rely less on movement to stay alert.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY for children with sensory integration dysfunction enhances their ability to process lower level senses related to alertness, understanding movement, body position and touch. This allows them to pay more attention to the higher level senses of hearing and vision.
The public needs to understand that some behavioral optometrists, physicians, educators, mental health professionals, occupational therapists and allergists are all addressing the same symptoms and behaviors. The difference is that medication, special education and counseling can mask these symptoms and behaviors, while vision therapy, occupational therapy and the treatment of allergies may alleviate the underlying causes and thus eliminate the symptoms long-term.
When making a choice about treatment for attention deficits:
- Consult a behavioral optometrist for a developmental vision evaluation
- Have a child evaluated by an occupational therapist with expertise in sensory processing problems
- Consult an allergist regarding possible reactions to foods or airborne particles
- American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lV), 1994.
Ayres, A. Jean, Sensory Integration and the Child, Western Psychological Services, 1979.
Crook, William G., Solving the Puzzle of Your Hard-to-Raise Child, Professional Books, 1987.
Gesell, Arnold, and Ilg., Frances L., Infant and Child of the Culture of Today, Harper) 1943.
Goodman, Gay, Poillion, M. J., The Journal of Special Education, “ADD: Acronym for Any Dysfunction or Difficulty,” Vol 26, No. 1, l992, pp. 37-56.
Kavner, Richard S., Your Child `s Vision, Simon and Schuster, 1985.
Rapp, Doris J., Is This Your Child?, Morrow, 1991.
Schmidt, M.A., Smith, L.H., Sehnert, K.W., Beyond Antibiotics: Healthier Options for Families, North Atlantic Rooks, 1994.
Smith, Lendon, Foods for Healthy Kids, Berkeley Books, 1981.
FOR RESOURCES IN YOUR AREA
College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc.
American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
Developmental Delay Registry
A nonprofit foundation for education and research in Vision
Self-Assessment Check List
This Self-Assessment Checklist Can Reveal Vision Difficulties
Your visual system can undergo tremendous stress these days. Students now read three times the number of textbooks their grandparents did. Adults constantly use their near vision at their work. And the growing use of computers has engaged a growing number of workers in prolonged, near-vision tasks.
Eye discomfort, headaches, blurred vision, lowered visual performance a wide variety of vision-linked problems are related to this heavy vision load in the neat, arm’s-length distance.
Human beings weren’t designed to do this stressful seeing less than arm’s length away. We have hunter eyes for survival, spotting game and enemies at a distance. Only in the last half century have so many people been forced to deal with sustained, near visual tasks. The result has been a constant stress on the visual system, producing many of the symptoms and problems described in this self test.
Many people who report these symptoms also have 20/20 eyesight at distance, yet just can’t handle the visual stress associated with near vision tasks. Visual stress is linked to the development of permanent vision conditions such as nearsightedness, astigmatism and other problems that affect how one lives and even behaves.
Effects of visual stress
When visual stress is present, people react in these ways:
- avoid the task by doing as little as they can get by with;
- experience pain or other symptoms (aches, visual and/or overall body fatigue, falling asleep when reading, etc.);
- suppress the sight of one eye (at the cost of reduced efficiency and understanding);
- develop myopia or astigmatism, or
- any combination of the above.
For most people, the response to stress is reduced achievement and understanding.
How To Use This Test
The questions in this self test cover the most common symptoms optometrists observe in their patients. If you experience one or more problems on the list, it may be time to contact a behavioral optometrist. Take this self-test with you on your first appointment. The results will help with the assessment of your visual problem.
Visual Function Self Test
|Do you wear glasses for your reading?|
|Do you enjoy reading?|
|Do you think you should be able to read faster?|
|Do you understand what you read as well as you’d like?|
|Is it an effort to maintain your concentration while reading? (Short attention span.)|
|Do you tend to skip words or lines of print while reading?|
|After reading, do you look up and notice that distant objects are momentarily blurred?|
|Does print tend to appear blurry after reading for awhile?|
|Do your eyes itch, burn, water, pull or ache?|
|Do words appear to float or move while reading?|
|Do you tend to lose your place while reading or copying?|
|Do you tend to use your finger or a marker to keep your place while reading or copying?|
|Do you have to re-read words or lines while reading?|
|Do your eyes feel tired at the end of the day?|
|Do you sometimes have to squint, close or cover one eye when reading|
|Do you ever experience headaches during or after reading?|
|Are you especially sensitive to sunlight or glare?|
|Are you aware of any tendency to move your head closer to, or away from what you are reading?|
|If you use a computer, does the video (VDT) screen bother your eyes?|
|How long can you read before you are aware of your eyes getting tired?|
|How many hours daily do you spend at a desk, or reading, or at other arm’s length vision distances?|
What Is a Behavioral Optometrist?
Behavioral Optometrists spend years in post- doctoral education to master the complex visual programs prescribed to prevent or to normalize -visual problems and enhance visual performance. Behavioral optometry is an umbrella term which also includes developmental and functional optometric practices. Not all optometrists practice behavioral optometry. To find one who does, call or write OEP Foundation for a referral list in your area.
Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc.
Pamphlet Copyright © 1989, OEP Foundation, Inc. – A nonprofit foundation for education and research in Vision. Permission to reprint the contents of this brochure granted to P.A.V.E ® – 12/6/96 by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc.
The following symptoms may indicate that YOU or your CHILD has a VISION PROBLEM:
What does your optometrist mean when he or she says you are seeing “20/20”? It means that when standing at a distance of 20 feet from the eye chart, you can see the same row of letters that the average person can see at this distance. It is a measure of the sharpness of sight, but does not tell you anything about how your brain is processing what you see.
In fact, there are over 20 different skills visual skills that an eye chart does not detect. The visual system is so complicated, it utilizes 65% of ALL our brain pathways. “20/20″ eyesight represents only a very small part of this process.
Behavioral optometrists differentiate between the terms “sight” and “vision”. “Sight” is the ability to see and the eye’s response to light shining into it. “Vision” is the ability to interpret and understand information that comes through the eyes.
The visual system is a significant part of how we process information and a key factor in how we learn. 80% of what you perceive, comprehend and remember depends on the efficiency of the visual system.
Vision is a learned skilled, just like walking and talking. If vision does not develop efficiently, even a bright child can have difficulties with reading, writing, spelling and math.
One out of four children has a vision problem which interferes with their ability to learn efficiently and achieve in school.
Most school screenings only check how clear a child sees. Unfortunately, most of the kids impacted by inefficient visual skills pass this type of school screening. The children who fail school screenings actually tend to be the high achievers in the classroom.
Treatment for inefficient visual skills can be in the form of lenses, developmental guidance or an individualized vision therapy treatment program. Vision therapy re-organizes neural pathways by building new synapses, thereby affecting the patterning of the brain.
According to the California Department of Youth Authority, 70% of juvenile delinquents tested have vision problems affecting learning. When optometric vision therapy was performed on incarcerated youths, recidivism reduced from 45% to 16% at the Regional Youth Education Facility in San Bernardino, CA.
The best way to treat a problem is to prevent it before it occurs.
A developmental vision problem can be diagnosed during the pre-school years and can often be corrected before the child enters school. Children do not grow out of vision problems. Children with vision problems become adults with vision problems.
The Vision Council of America recommends that children’s vision be examined before the age of 1, again at age 3 and 5 or before starting school. From the age of 6 through adult, everyone should have an annual exam.
Remember, not all eye care professionals emphasize the function of vision. You want to be tested for both “eyesight” and “vision” to determine not only eye health, how clear you see and if you need glasses, but how efficient your visual system is working. Ask your eyecare professional if they evaluate at least the following visual skills:
- Eye tracking (eye movement control)
- Focusing near to far
- Sustaining clear focus up close
- Eye Teaming Ability
- Depth Perception
- Visual Motor Integration
- Visual Form Perception
- Visual Memory
Authored by: Mary McMains, O.D., M.Ed., F.C.O.V.D.
It is currently estimated that 1 out of 4 school age children and 7 out of 10 juvenile offenders suffer with undiagnosed vision problems that effect performance in school and in life.
According to the American Foundation for Vision Awareness, vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in the United States and the most prevalent handicapping condition in childhood.
70% of what a child learns in school is processed through the visual system. Even a minor visual processing problem will interfere with a child or adult performing to their potential
Did you know that visual perceptual and visual efficiency problems, which interfere with learning, can be permanently resolved?
Yet, according to the Better Vision Institute, only 14% of children have had a comprehensive vision exam by first grade. Based on research, the National PTA and the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness estimates 10,000,000 students suffer with undiagnosed vision problems in our schools and that good visual skills are necessary for successful learning.
- Can a bright child do poorly in reading, writing, spelling, math?
- Can a bright child have low self-esteem and feel he/she is “stupid” and disappointing to parents and teachers?
- Can a bright child spend hours struggling to complete school assignments?
- Can a bright child be smart in everything but school?
If the child has anUNDETECTEDVision Problem!