Updated: May 21
Looking for ways to help your child who struggles with reading? Vision therapy with a trained eye doctor is just one possible solution you may not have thought of.
Covid-19 has changed a lot about the world we live in. One of those things, for good or bad, is that schools have closed and parents have found themselves trying to help educate their children at home. You probably started without much knowledge on what to do to help guide your children with their online education and learning from home. You probably learned plenty of new systems, tips and tricks along the way to help your children (and maintain your own sanity). While some things have become easier, it is likely that some things are still a struggle, and you may find yourself stumbling along the way.
One of the fundamental building blocks to your child’s education is the ability to read. Did you know that your eye doctor may be able to help? Even children who have no problems seeing and may not even need glasses can still struggle with focusing on words on a page, or numbers in math. This has to do with ocular strength and muscles in the eyes. The proper eye care and vision therapy could help strengthen those muscles.
How do you know if it’s time to see an eye doctor? If your child struggles with reading, numbers, or looking at things up close, vision therapy could be right for them. A likely indicator your child may be struggling with their vision (if they are otherwise unable to vocalize it to you themselves) is that while they pick up on learning that is hands on, or abstract, giving them something to read or focus on in front of them causes frustration. This may be a sign that the ocular muscles in their eyes are not as strong as they could be and straining the eyes to focus at different depths could be frustrating. Your child will try to avoid this activity and move away from wanting to focus on the book in front of them. An eye doctor who specializes in vision therapy can help determine whether this may be the case and whether or not vision therapy could be a potential solution for your child.
Just like physical therapy strengthens parts of the body that have become weak, it is possible that your child’s ocular muscles could be weak, making reading difficult, even with perfect sight. The majority of eye doctors agree that children can start benefiting from vision therapy as early as age seven, but it is possible for some to benefit a little sooner depending on their individual circumstances. Vision therapy can still be beneficial to children up through high school.
By visiting your eye doctor, you can schedule a screening to evaluate whether or not your child could potentially benefit from vision therapy. If your child can benefit, your eye doctor will schedule routine vision therapy treatments (similar to physical therapy) for a designated period of time depending on the specific needs of your child.
Doctor Melton at Choice Eye Center is one of the few optometrists in Utah to also specialize in vision therapy. If you have any more questions about vision therapy or want to know more, visit our Vision Therapy page that has a list of frequently asked questions and answers. You can also call or email to schedule a consultation with our eye doctor, Dr. Melton, OD.