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Visual Edge

  • Struggling With Reading

    "WE WERE TOLD OUR CHILD HAD 20/20 EYESIGHT.

    THE TEACHER THOUGHT THEY JUST WEREN'T TRYING HARD ENOUGH."

     

    vision problems in childrenAn eight year old child passed the 20/20 eye chart test with flying colors, yet she saw letters move around on the page, words and letters disappear, and print go in and out of focus. When asked if she had ever told her parents or teacher that this was happening, her replied was, "No, I thought books did that to everyone."

    Children with learning related vision problems rarely report symptoms. They think everyone sees the same as they do.  The fact is 1 in 4 people, adults and children, have a vision processing problem.

    Up to four children in every classroom see print this way!  They can’t control their eye movements at close distances, making reading and attention almost impossible.  As the print moves and blurs, they stumble over words, lose their place and can’t comprehend.  Out of desperation, they give up and quit. Is it any wonder they struggle in school.

    It is estimated 10 million children 10 and younger have a vision problem.  80% of what a child learns during the first 12 years is obtained through vision.  Children with a vision problem are typically associated with developmental delays and the need for special educational, vocational and social services.

    Vision is more than 20/20 eyesight. It is a complex process involving over 20 visual abilities and more than 65% of all of the pathways to the brain. Nearly 80% of what a child perceives, comprehends and remembers depends on the efficiency of the visual system.

    A child can't learn to read when the words get jumbled up on the page and he/she can't remember or make sense of what was just read.

    Every person adult and children that are struggling with reading should receive a comprehensive eye exam.  Please refer to College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) or Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc. (OEP Foundation) for a referral to a trained Developmental Vision specialist.

    College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD)

    215 West Garfield Road, Suite 200

    Aurora, OH 44202

    (330) 995-0718, (888) 995-0719, FAX (330) 995-0719

    Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc. (OEP)

    1921 E. Carnegie Ave., Ste. 3-L

    Santa Ana, CA 92705-5510

    (949) 250-8070

  • Eyesight vs Vision

    IS “20/20" REALLY ENOUGH?

    In this article you will learn of eyesight vs vision. Each key term will be explained and you will have a better understanding of what the differences are.

    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 skill, 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 eye care 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.

  • Glossary of Vision Terms

     Glossary of Vision Terms

    Acuity (Clearness of Sight): The ability to see clearly at near and far distances.

    Accommodation: The ability of the eyes to constantly focus for clarity and interpretation, with both eyes maintaining clarity regardless of changes in position, distance, or posture.

    Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): The condition in which one eye is not correctable to normal visual acuity with lenses; a lowered measured visual acuity in one eye compared to the other eye. This condition can result from strabismus, injury, or the student using one eye more than the other.

    Astigmatism (Eye Warp): The condition in which light rays reaching the retina are distorted and one experiences difficulty seeing clearly at any distance without excessive focusing effort on their part.

    Convergence: The ability to turn the eyes inward to track an object moving toward the body. The eyes must be converged any time a person reads or looks at something close. If the eyes do not converge correctly, double vision or the suppression of one eye or the other will occur. Convergence problems are fatiguing and the amount and efficiency of visual information processed is reduced.

    Developmental/Behavioral Optometrists: Have post‐doctoral training and certification in near vision diagnosis and treatment and usually practice optometric vision therapy in addition to general optometry.

    Eye Disease: The American Optometric Association has stated that school‐age children rarely have serious eye disease. However, it is still recommended that all children receive a thorough examination by an eyecare professional to rule out ocular pathology. Two common types of eye infections in children are sties and blepharitis. Blepharitis is the condition where lids become inflamed and crusty. This problem warrants a complete visual examination. "Pink Eye," or conjunctivitis, is contagious and the child needs to be sent home from school so he can be taken immediately to an eyecare professional for treatment.

    EyeHand Coordination: This is the ability of the vision system to coordinate the information received through the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands. A child with poor eye‐hand coordination will exhibit messy handwriting, get frustrated when trying to form letters and copy patterns, and sometimes performs poorly in sports.

    Eye Movement Control: The visual skills needed to smoothly and accurately move the eyes while following or locating an object. These skills include eye‐tracking, eye‐jumps and near‐to‐far movements. When a child has difficulty with eye‐movements, he will lose his place while reading, have difficulty copying from the chalkboard or books and will be a slow reader.

    Eye Teaming (Binocular Vision): The ability of the two eyes to align and team together to enable a student to judge his/her orientation in space and have depth perception. The ability of the eyes to work together as a matched pair and act as one single unit. A student experiencing eye‐teaming difficulties can be observed to cover one of his/her eyes, blink frequently, exhibit poor desk posture, tire easily when reading or not be able to complete his assignments.

    Far Point: In a person with 20/20 eyesight this is a distance beyond 10 feet. Far point may be different for individuals with eyesight problems.

    Farsightedness (Hyperopia): The condition in which one sees more clearly and maintains this focus more easily at distance than at near points. A common condition in children that can be easily missed by routine screenings but which can be found during a professional visual examination and for which prescription lenses can be prescribed.

    Fixation: The extremely critical ability to point the eyes at an object and to voluntarily keep them on the target. Without good fixation ability, a child can become easily distracted and has difficulty concentrating. Words can also appear to move on the page causing near visual distortion.

    Focusing NeartoFar: The ability to make the eyes look quickly from near to far and back again without momentary blur, conscious effort or discomfort. The student experiencing a near‐to‐far focusing difficulty will get frustrated and have trouble copying from a book, and even greater difficulty copying from the chalkboard or an overhead projector.

    Fusion: The ability of the brain to combine the stimuli from the two eyes into a single visual experience. When fusion cannot be maintained, one eye or the other must be suppressed in order to avoid double vision. Problems in maintaining binocularity can cause a person to squint, close or cover one eye, and experience discomfort with close work. Whenever fusion is difficult, the efficiency of visual information processing is greatly reduced.

    Kinesthesia: The muscle sense that provides information to the person regarding the degree of relaxation or tension in the muscles. Through this kinesthesia, the person is able to estimate the amount of force3 of muscle movement that is required to make contact with an object. This estimate is used to determine the distance to the object.

    Learning Lenses: The proper prescription lenses needed to help maintain clarity at nearpoint. Near‐point lenses are also used to help train the eyes to focus properly and improve visual attention and the overall attention span. These are bifocals for classroom use by students.

    Nearpoint: A distance approximately 14 to 16 inches away from a person. Nearpoint also refers to an accommodating (focusing) demand of approximately 2.5 diopters (a measurement of optical units) that a person must contend with when doing desk work.

    Nearsightedness (Myopia): The condition in which one sees more clearly and easily at near points than at distances. In most cases this condition is easily screened for and prescription lenses can be prescribed. Good visual acuity is then attained at distance. Research studies have shown that often the "near‐sighted students are the best readers.

    Opticians: Technicians who are trained to grind lenses to prescription and fit glasses. The opticians attend technical school and are not licensed to prescriptions for glasses or to perform eye examinations.

    Optometrists (O.D.): Doctors of Optometry who have attended a minimum of seven years of college and professional graduate education on the study of the eye. They can perform eye examinations, are licensed to write glasses prescriptions, and in all states since 1998, prescribe some ocular therapeutic medications. They do not perform ocular surgery.

    Ophthalmologist (M.D.): Physicians who have completed a residency and specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases of the eye. They can perform eye examinations, are licensed to prescribe medication and write glasses prescriptions, as well as perform ocular surgery.

    Proprioception: The proprioception system is made up of receptors which is located in our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. These receptors give us information about the position of our body parts.

    Pursuit Movements: The ability to maintain fixation or visual attention on a moving object by moving the eyes at the same speed as the object, regardless of any changes in head or body posture.

    Saccadic Movements: The precise locating movements used, for example, when jumping from one word to another along a line of print. Saccadic movements are done with the eyes only, the head must remain stationary. They are critical for maintaining one’s place on a printed page.

    Scanning: Smooth eye movements enabling a person to maintain inspection of the words on a page or the lines in a design.

    Slant Board: A slopped work surface utilized in the treatment of vision processing problems. Critical to eliminate several deficiencies associated with reading at incorrect angle.

    Stereopsis: Depth perception. Use of both eyes as a team to form a single image with depth. Necessary for perception of the spatial orientation of the object viewed.

    Strabismus (Crossed or WallEyes): The condition that occurs when the two eyes do not align together resulting in double vision or the blocking of one eye’s visual image to the brain.

    Suppression: Cortical inhibition or the cancellation by the brain of the signals from an eye to avoid confusions and discomforts arising from problems of binocularity. It is a condition frequently found in those individuals having excessive visual stress, but can usually be reduced or eliminated through proper vision care and lens therapy. It is a common deterrent to academic progress. This symptom requires a clinical evaluation.

    Sustaining Clear Focus: The ability to see words on a page clearly over time. A child having difficulty maintaining sustained clear focus at near point can only read or concentrate on a near task for a short period of time.

    Tactile: information and interpretations derived from the sense of touch. This involves the skin’s contact with an object as well as sensations that approach the skin, such as pressure, wind, and temperature. The skin is the primary tactile organ and it has many different kinds of receptors for receiving sensations or touch, pressure, texture, temperature, pain, and movement of the skin hairs. The tactile system is the largest sensory system and it plays a vital role in human behavior.

    Vision: The primary tool used for the process of visual information in the learning process. Vision is the result of a child’s ability to interpret and understand the information that comes to him from sight. He must perceive the meaning of the visual information. Vision is the scope of a child’s understanding of his world and is based on what a child brings into the academic environment as well as what he derives from it.

    Vision Therapy: The carefully programmed series of visual activities, which may include the use of selected lenses and prisms that are applied in an effort to explore, extend, and enhance all the visual abilities and skills the human is capable of developing. These procedures are practiced most prevalently by developmental optometrists, and have been generated and validated by these professionals through clinical practice and carefully designed research. Such regimens have been very beneficial to students whose academic problems have some basis in visual inadequacies. Likewise, such vision care has been extremely beneficial in the attack upon the visual difficulties that originates through excessive stress in the classroom. Although there is continuing discussion of the validity and benefits of this special clinical care, such controversy is rapidly fading among those clinicians who take the time and make the effort to intelligently investigate these concepts and their applications. Many routines borrowed from the developmental optometrist by the special education teacher are now part and parcel of special education programs in hundreds of schools and colleges.

    Visual Attention: The ability to maintain visual fixation and concentration on a particular target or object. This skill is of critical necessity for school children and helps them maintain on‐task behaviors.

    Visual BiLaterality: The ability to project internal awareness of one’s own laterality out into space for use in discrimination of objects and symbols. Children with visual bilaterality difficulties can experience letter reversals, get confused with rights and lefts and exhibit poor coordination.

    Visual Form Perception: A developed skill that enables a child to accurately discriminate visible likenesses and differences so that comprehension can be immediately followed by appropriate actions. A child experiencing difficulty with visual form perception will frequently reverse words or letters or have poor discrimination when confronted with similar words or shapes.

    Visual Memory: The ability to visually recall learned facts. A child with a poor visual memory will have difficulty remembering reading material that was visually presented to him. The same child, however, might be able to recall the same information that was verbally read to him.

    VisualMotor Dysfunction: The inability of the eyes and hands to work together as a team. The child’s hands cannot do (or match) the action perceived through the visual system. This may involve visual‐tactile integration, where a child’s eyes and hands appear to be disconnected. In a broader sense, it is the inability of the visual system to monitor movements such as steering oneself through a room.

    Visualization: The ability to use the "mind’s eye" to visually conceptualize and manipulate thoughts and ideas. Frequently referred to as mental imagery it is recognized as a major component in memory and creativity. It is probably the most important of all the visual skills for achievement, performance, and survival in our culture because it is so closely related to reading, reading comprehension, spelling, writing and the skills of symbolic performance. Children with poor visualization skills are often poor goal setters and have a poor self image.

    Visual Stress: This situation is caused by excessive nearpoint work or inefficient movement or teaming patterns and results in visual fatigue. This tends to cause a decrease in performance or task avoidance. It is often confused with distractibility in children.

  • Fluorescent Lighting Can Trigger ADD/HD and Dyslexia

    Fluorescent lighting may do more harm than good. Long term clinical studies by the Irlen Institute and independent sources have found that reading difficulties aswell as academic underachievement may be related to fluorescent lighting. For example, a 2006 study by Capital E found that students in schools that had natural lighting instead of fluorescent lighting had 10 to 21 percent higher learning rates and test scores. Fluorescent lighting may cause pain and suffering for 12-14 percent of the world's population, triggering headaches, migraines, and other physical symptoms.

    According to U.S. Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), the long-term visual and perceptual effects of fluorescent lighting on Irlen Syndrome should be considered when drafting fluorescent lighting legislation.

    "Energy efficiency should be balanced with consumer protection and protecting the public health," she said “The long term effects of fluorescent lighting should be well studied and understood before Congress mandates that consumers use fluorescent lighting in their homes and businesses."

    Tens of thousands of people have sought help from the Irlen Institute because of difficulties with fluorescent lighting. These people are already at a distinct disadvantage because of the fluorescent lighting in their schools and workplaces. They stress and tire quickly. For many, reading ability quickly deteriorates and productivity suffers in the classroom and on the job. If forced to replace burned out incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones, these people may experience the same issues adversely affecting their lives at home, too.

    The following are just a few of the individuals who have been helped by the Irlen Method and no longer have problems directly resulting from fluorescent lights. But they are the lucky ones. Millions of other individuals are struggling to perform in a fluorescent lighting environment. We need to spread the word so that these individuals have a choice and are not forced to struggle in their homes, schools, and workplaces.

    • Sarah is 17 years old and in 11th grade, but not attending school. She was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and reading problems in second grade. She gets headaches daily when in school and migraines about twice a month. She was physically exhausted when she would come home and sleep for hours and was experiencing extreme anxiety. Her psychiatrist determined her problems were triggered by fluorescent lighting, placed her on Prozac, and recommended that she leave school. The negative affects of the fluorescent lighting have seriously affected her motivation, attention, and performance.
    • Bryce is 12 years old and in the sixth grade. He was getting poor grades in school, was unable to finish tests, could not finish his work in class, or focus. He was diagnosed with ADD and placed on medication, which was not helpful. Once it was determined that fluorescent lighting triggered poor attention and concentration, the problems were resolved using specially filtered lenses.
    • Tanisha is a third grader with reading problems who falls asleep in class under fluorescent lights. She also gets headaches when trying to read under fluorescent lights, because the words and numbers move around on the page.
    • Mariel is 29 years old and would always fall asleep in class even though she had enough sleep. For her, fluorescent lights are too bright, bothersome, and irritating. She is unable to concentrate and wants to turn them off. Fluorescent lights make her dizzy, tired, irritated, nervous, and anxious.

    The Irlen Institute has seen thousands of individuals like these who struggle trying to read and perform under fluorescent lighting. Individuals have been mislabeled with LD, ADD/HD, reading problems, and dyslexia—all as a result of having to perform under fluorescent lights.

    This is a little known problem that affects millions. Faced with a worldwide movement to ban incandescent bulbs, it is critical for all of us to be more informed and to raise the awareness of others. Energy efficiency should be balanced with consumer protection and protecting the public heath. I encourage you to share this information with others and visit the International Irlen website. Then take action by making your concerns known to your schools, employers, and legislators at the local, state, and national levels.

    By Helen L. Irlen, MA, LMFT, Executive Director, Irlen Institute International

  • The Proper Lighting for Reading

    proper lighting for readingHaving the proper lighting for reading will help you maintain the health of your eyes. Ensure that the type of light
    you use, the angle of the light fixture, and the brightness of the light allow you to read without straining
    your eyes.

    Effects of Inadequate Lighting

    Reading in improper lighting can give you headaches, cause your eyes to feel strained,
    and even cause vision to deteriorate. Harsh lighting, such as fluorescent lighting, causes
    some people to suffer from migraines. These problems can get worse over time.

    Solutions

    Using a personal lamp with a bendable neck will help you to read more comfortably. A
    flexible lamp allows you to angle the light to exactly where you need it, while reducing
    glare. It usually provides better lighting than overhead lights, while also conserving
    energy by not requiring you to light up the entire room. Many experts agree that most
    people should use a 100-watt lamp for reading. If this feels uncomfortable to you, ask
    your eye doctor what may work better.

    New Technology

    NASA played a role in developing a new bulb to provide better reading light, says the
    article "Save Sight with More Light" on the PsychCentral website. It has a frosty finish to
    minimize glare, and scientists believe it may help to alleviate some eye problems such as
    macular degeneration, says the article. This bulb, called the Eye Saver, provides 40
    percent more surface light than the standard incandescent bulb, the article notes, helping
    to prevent potential eye problems as well.
    As LED lights are becoming more popular for their longevity, many people are using
    them as reading lamps as well. These types of lights come in many different strengths, so
    test them to find out what works well for you. Be aware that their light may gradually
    fade over time, and replace the batteries when the light starts to grow dimmer.

    What to Avoid

    Fluorescent lights are the worst form, Leo Angart says in his book, "Improve Your
    Eyesight Naturally: Easy, Effective, See Results Quickly." They put forth a distorted
    spectrum of light (producing less red and blue violet) and often flicker. Even if you work
    in an office with fluorescent light, says Angart, you can reduce strain on your eyes by
    using an incandescent or halogen desk lamp.
    Also, reading from a computer, or any screen with a glare, can give you what doctors
    now term Computer Vision Syndrome, says the Total Vision Care website. The constant
    shifting of pixels on the screen strains your eyes, says the website, which provides
    information about addressing this condition. You may want to avoid reading from a
    computer whenever possible during your leisure time as well.

    Conclusion

    No matter how old or young you are, or whether you currently have any vision problems,
    ensuring the best lighting conditions will keep your eyes as healthy as possible. You'll
    make reading more enjoyable, too, by minimizing the strain on your eyes.

    By Valerie Madison

  • How Does Lighting Affect Learning?

    Focus
    According to a 1999 University of Georgia study on academic achievement in children,
    lighting was shown to be a major factor in the brain's ability to focus. Students that
    lighting affects learingattended class in brightly lit rooms received higher grades than students in dim rooms.
    The study reports that poor lighting does not cause damage to eyes, but can reduce how
    effectively the brain collects information. If the pattern of learning in poor lighting
    continues over time, the brain can become slower at absorbing new information.

    Visual Clarity
    Dim lighting can negatively affect learning by making it more difficult to clearly see
    words when reading new information. The University of Georgia study reported that poor
    lighting affects a student's ability to read accurately on a paper or chalkboard. This can
    cause wrong information to enter the brain or affect new information being stored.

    Psychological
    Lighting is also a factor in psychological health when a person is in one room for the
    majority of the day. According to the University of Georgia study, bright light has been
    used as a depression treatment; conversely, spending a significant amount of time in a
    dimly lit room can negatively alter mood. A person suffering from depression has
    difficulty concentrating or completing tasks. If a person's learning environment is dimly
    lit and ends up affecting his psychological well-being, the ability to learn will be
    negatively affected.

    Off Task Behavior
    A 1995 study that Dr. Ellen Mannel Grangaard presented at the Association for
    Childhood Education International Study Conference and Exhibition found that
    fluorescent light contributed to off task behavior, such as daydreaming, playing with
    objects instead of listening, and talking to others during a lesson. Students whose learning
    environment had a softer, more natural lighting had an easier time staying on task and not
    becoming distracted. The University of Georgia study supports Dr. Grangaard's findings.
    It found that fluorescent lights can make hyperactivity behavior more severe and prevent
    learning at the fullest extent.

    Best Lighting
    Both studies were in agreement that the best lighting type for maximum productivity and
    learning is as natural and soft as possible, while still being bright enough to see clearly.
    Lighting that is too dim can cause difficulties in learning, like affecting brain focus and
    visual clarity when reading. It also can lower psychological well-being over time.
    Conversely, lighting that is overly bright and fluorescent was shown to contribute to off
    task behavior and making hyperactive behavior worse.

    By Allison Boelcke

  • Howl for Happy Holiday Eyes

    The ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves and your garden variety monsters will be out in full force this, and every, Halloween. This is one of the many reasons we love and treasure this unique holiday: the encouragement to dress up as someone (or something) else and escape your mild-mannered self entirely…if only for an evening. However, as with every celebration of the extraordinary, we must protect ourselves, from ourselves.
    This year, the “in thing” is cosmetic contact lens. So-called “white outs,” “red outs” and “cat eyes” do, as the name suggests: they make the wearer’s eye monochromatic or mimic the slits and color of an animal eye. These cosmetic contact lens have been around for years but have become popular again recently because of Lady Gaga’s famous “Bad Romance” video, in which her iris’s were either digitally altered or she donned a pair of “circle vision assistancelens.”
    The United States Food and Drug Administration prohibits the sale of over-the-counter contact lenses as they are considered medical devices regardless of their corrective properties. In fact, most states require a patient to have a prescription in order to buy contact lenses of any kind. In most cases, a merchant faces a fine of up to $11,000 per case for selling contact lenses to a customer without a prescription.

    Non-prescription cosmetic contact lenses pose serious risk to the eye. In the best scenarios, they can cut off oxygen supply to the cornea resulting in itching, dryness and discomfort. More serious cases have resulted in pink eye, cornea scratching and sometimes permanent vision loss.

    Prescription lenses are fitted by an licensed ophthalmologist and are specially designed to fit the size and curvature of an individual eyeball. Over the counter contact lenses are “one size fits all,” meaning that the incredibly trendy cat eye you buy from the drugstore may be too tight and not move with your eye. This can cause vision problems and sometimes disease and permanent damage.

    So this Halloween, please err on the side of caution when it comes to flashy eyewear. There is no problem with contacts that do not provide vision assistance, as long as they are prescribed by a physician. Purchase over the counter contact lenses at your own risk.

  • Now Introducing: New Products

    The new and improved Visual Edge Slant Board is here! The new Slant Board positions your reading material at the same 22 degree angle ideal for achieving the Harmon Distance as the original Visual Edge Slant Board with a few added conveniences. You will recognize the collapsible legs that make the Visual Edge Slant Board both portable and inconspicuous as well as the the paper catch at the bottom and the top-mounted paper clip. Both the original Slant Board and the new model help readers with vision processing difficulties improve comprehension and memory.

    reading aide

    The board of the new Visual Edge Slant Board is thicker and sturdier. This makes the board more durable and better suited to handle everyday stresses like backpack transportation, harsh storage conditions and the wear and tear of belonging to a school child. In addition to the thicker dry erase board, the new Visual Edge Slant Board includes two parallel lines of Velco backing, mobilizing the paper catch at the bottom and creating an easy mounting mechanism for attachment to the new Visual Edge Lap Pillow - one of three new Visual Edge Slant Board accessories.

    reading aide

    The Visual Edge Lap Pillow offers a convenient way to achieve the same 22 degree angle as the legs of the Slant Board should a flat surface be unavailable. The Lap Pillow provides a soft surface for your lap as well as all the visual processing benefits of the slant board. Two parallel Velcro strips make Slant Board attachment quick and easy. In addition, the Lap Pillow works great for your laptop, iPad, Kindle or any other reading device.

    reading aide

    Taking notes has never been easier with our new dry erase markers. Multicolored packs of 4 provide all the benefits of traditional dry erase markers with a twist. The cap can be used as both an eraser and as a magnet so your markers will never be far from your board. Make important notations, work math problems or simply doodle with these four great markers.

    reading aide

    Last but not least, Visual Edge is introducing the 42 piece Color Match Magnet set. Play games, create intricate designs and engage your child's imagination with these unique six sided magnets. Interaction with these magnet sets have been proven to improve hand-eye coordination and vision processing. Attach them directly to the Visual Edge Slant Board or any other magnetic surface for hours of fun, healthy and beneficial fun.

    reading aide

    With all of our long awaited new products, your Visual Edge Slant Board is now an all encompassing learning experience. With the new model and the addition of the Lap Pillow, Markers and Color Match Magnets, your Slant Board becomes more than a reading aide and becomes and all around teaching device. Check out our new products and great pricing today!

  • Avoid Eye Fatigue with These Simple Tips

    As you read this computer screen right now, ask yourself: When was the last time I looked up from the computer? If the answer is more than 20 minutes ago, it is probably time for a short break. In this blog, we have discussed the potential harmful effects of gazing at an electronic screen for long periods of time. Eye fatigue, dryness and headaches are all common symptoms of constant computer focus that can eventually lead to long term degradation of eyesight. While it is near impossible to avoid computer and cell phone screens altogether in our increasing tech-dependent society, there are a few things we can do to protect our eyes. Here are a couple short exercises and easy practices so you can ease up on those baby blue...or browns or greens or hazels.

    1. Light Your Desk Properly and Avoid Glare. Position your computer so that light does not hit it directly or come from straight behind it. Make sure that your office lighting is about half as bright as regular offices by using incandescent or halogen floor lighting if possible. Try to avoid fluorescent bulbs altogether.
    2. Adjust your Computer Screen. Upgrade your screen to an LCD monitor that is easier on your eyes; old-fashioned CRT screen exhibit an, albeit imperceptible, flicker that can contribute to eye strain. Make sure the brightness of the computer screen matches the surrounding light; white screens should not be a light source. Turn up the contrast so the characters stand out from the page and are large enough to read comfortably.
    3. BLINK. This may seem self-evident, but it has been proven that humans blink less when their eyes are highly trained on something for a long period of time. Remember to blink to avoid dryness and irritation.
    4. Reset Your Eyes. Every 20 or so minutes, focus on something at least 20 feet away for 15-20 seconds. This helps your eyes “remember” how to focus at a distance. You can also cover your eyes completely with your hands for a few moments to rest them or squeeze them shut and reopen them at few times to lubricate.
    5. Take Breaks. A break from your computer needs only last a few minutes and won’t interrupt your workday if done properly. Instead of two 15 minute breaks, take multiple 5 minute breaks. Or go on a walk outside for lunch. Make sure your eyes are getting enough time away from the screen to focus in different settings and at a variety of distances.

    Of course there are countless precautionary measures you can take to protect your eyes - these are just a few. Hopefully, you’ve found something you can implement to reduce your own eye fatigue. Also remember to get plenty of exercise and eat right; those practices will not only nurture your vision but will ensure you are healthy and happy for years to come.

  • Protect Your Eyes From Macular Degeneration. There’s An APP For That.

    We all know that there is an “app” for everything. There are apps for finding the cheapest gas within a certain radius. You can buy anything: clothes, flowers, software, movie tickets and even your next meal. You can play games or plan trips and you can social network your way to from lowly shepherd to full-fledged cowboy, even if it’s only for your own private Farmland. Now, there will be an app for tracking your health too – myVisionTrack allows users to quickly and easily monitor their eye health.

    The University of Texas Southwestern has developed and is testing an application for the iPhone that monitors vision using a self-explanatory, simple vision test. myVisionTrack displays three circles: two perfect and one slightly disfigured. Users distinguish and touch the odd-shaped circle and are then presented with another set. This time, the disfigurement is less apparent. The process repeats until the user can no longer discern which circle is different. The application then saves the score, rendering cumbersome manual recording unnecessary. When score inconsistencies are detected, the app alerts the user to visit the doctor.

    myVisionTrack was developed by ophthalmologists for eye patients with Diabetic Retinopathy or Macular Degeneration but can also be used to track vision in healthy eyes. The idea is, if a patient can detect a vision change soon enough, steps can be taken immediately to avoid unnecessary vision loss or eye damage. Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Degeneration are the leading causes of blindness in adults and because the diseases progress quickly, they require constant monitoring, which means time-consuming and expensive doctors visits. With this simple application, patients can administer self-checkups in only 90 seconds.

    With the development of health tracking technology, practicing good health will only become easier and more efficient. Hopefully it will only be a matter of time until comprehensive healthcare is easily accessible as well.

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