IDEAL FAMILY EYE CARE specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease and visual system disorders in children and teens. From general eye exams to evaluation and treatment of complex eye diseases, we can address any of the concerns you have about your child’s eyes or vision. Dr. Sylwia Szewczyk is a certified Orthokeratologist that can help your child see the world better by wearing contact lenses only at night.
Visit our website www.chicagovisioncorrection.com to learn more about this great and safe method!
PRE-SCHOOL VISION Your child’s preschool years have significant importance when it comes to the development of vital vision skills and learning how to see. In the infant and toddler years this process advances while your child develops visually guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and the visual motor skills necessary to learn to read. As a parent, you should watch for signs that may indicate a vision development problem. Eye diseases most often develop at early childhood stages. Number of children with visual impairments is growing from year to year at an alarming rate. The most common vision disorders include hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism and strabismus. In your child’s development stage diet play a very important role. It affects the proper growth of the entire body, including the organ of vision. You should also pay attention to your child’s proper eye hygiene. Parents should teach their children that they should not rub your eyes; faces should be washed daily with clean water and wiped with clean towels. One of the most important tips is the need for thorough washing of hands after being in public places, in order to prevent the risk of being infected with parasites and bacteria responsible for various diseases. Parents should also control the conditions under which the child does homework, draws or reads. It is important for the proper lighting of the work space, the direction from which it falls, desk and table setting in relation to the window. It is also very important to control the time your child spends watching TV and using the computer. Too long and frequent eye work at close range is associated with eye muscle tension, which inevitably leads to the formation of myopia, which can be reversible if diagnosed early. Therefore, it is reasonable to visit the your eye care professional at least every six months, especially when the child begins to complain of worse vision at a distance. By age three, your child should have a thorough eye examination to make sure your preschooler’s vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor can prescribe treatment including glasses and/or vision therapy to correct a vision development problem.
SCHOOL-AGE VISION Undetected vision defects such as astigmatism, myopia or hyperopia in children of school age may cause problems with learning. Any treatment to improve vision makes the most sense in children of 13 years and younger; when the cerebral cortex development ends. Later, it is not as effective, so it’s important that any defects are detected early by your eye care professional so necessary therapy steps can be taken. The basic vision skills needed for school use are:
- Near Vision. The ability to see Clearly and comfortably at 10-13 inches.
- Distance Vision. The ability to see Clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach.
- Binocular coordination. The ability to use both eyes together.
- Eye movement skills. The ability is aim the eyes accurately, move smoothly and shift them quickly and accurately.
- Focusing skills. The ability to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance and to change focus quickly.
- Peripheral awareness. The ability to be aware of things located to the side while looking straight ahead.
- Eye / hand coordination. The ability to use the eyes and hands together.
Symptoms to watch for that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem! It is important to let us know if you notice your child frequently:
- Loses their place while reading
- Avoids close work
- Holds reading material closer than normal
- Tends to rub their eyes
- Has headaches
- Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
- Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
- Uses finger to maintain place when reading
- Omits or confuses small words when reading
- Consistently performs below potential
SPORTS VISION If there’s one thing that seems to be a key to success in sports, it’s vision. But did you know you could improve your performance by improving some aspects of your vision? It’s easy to recognize problems, and even easier to solve them. The following are some aspects of vision, which can be the difference between victory and defeat, and some exercises to improve performance.
- Dynamic Visual Acuity Defines the ability of the eye to visually discern fine detail in a moving object. To improve dynamic visual acuity, cut out letters, stick them to a record turntable, and try to identify the letters at different speeds.
- Visual Concentration Visual Concentration is the ability to ignore distractions and focus on the target. To improve your concentration, practice a sport while a friend is making distracting motions.
- Eye Tracking Eye tracking is the ability to follow the ball of your opponent with minimal head motion. Smooth and accurate eye tracking is important in most sports. One way to improve eye tracking is by following the flight of a ball or objects with a book balanced on your head.
- Eye-Hand-Body Coordination Eye-Hand-Body Coordination is how your hands and your body reacts to what it sees. It affects both timing and body control. To improve your eye-hand-body coordination, try jumping up and down on a bed while someone tosses a tennis ball to you from a variety of unpredictable angles.
- Visual Memory Visual Memory is when you’re making a fast break up the basketball court, running a play in football, or pitching a golf ball over a sand trap; you need to recall the image in your head. It helps you remember the spacing of the field and positions of your teammates and opponents. One way to improve your visual memory is to look at a page of a magazine, textbook, or newspaper, close it, wait 5-10 seconds and try recreating it in your head.
- Peripheral vision Having proper peripheral vision means to clearly see what’s happening outside of your central field of vision; so anything that’s left, right, above and below you. In sports it’s important to increase your ability to see what’s happening around you without having to turn your head. To enhance your peripheral vision, try watching television with your head turned to one side or the other and noting if you can still follow what’s happening.
- Visual Reaction Time Visual reaction time is what allows a batter to hit the ball or a tennis player to return a serve. It is the speed with which your brain interprets and reacts. To improve your visual reaction time, stand with your back to a friend and have them throw a ball to you and yell, “Now!” When you hear the yell, turn around and try to catch the ball. By repeating this exercise, you can teach your brain to react more quickly.
- Focus Flexibility Focus flexibility allows a quarterback to quickly focus on his receivers even though they are at varying distances. To improve focus flexibility, post written words, newspaper headlines on a wall at eye level about 15 feet away and hold a different piece of paper in your hand. Focus first on the headline on the wall and then try to quickly change to focus on the page that you’re holding and keep changing focus back and forth. This will improve your ability to change focus quickly.
- Depth Perception Depth perception is the ability to see objects in three dimensions; it allows us to judge their distance. For an athlete, it is important to have the skill toassess at what distance the ball/opponent/team member is or will be. To improve depth perception, have a friend point a straw at you, parallel to the ground, with the straw about two feet away from you. Try making it harder by doing it faster and timing yourself.
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