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  • Sysnopsis of Acquired Brain Injury Or ABI

    ama_brain_stroke_lev20_thebraineffectsstroke_01

    Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) can develop based on a variety of incidents, such as Stroke, a Tumor or Head Trauma. An ABI is a form of damage to the brain that ranges in severity from subtle to catastrophic which can include death. Severe ABI is the most conspicuously apparent and may be helped through treatment. The effectiveness of treatments will vary due to the uniqueness of the injury itself. A minor brain injury is by far the most difficult to detect. There may be no outward physical injury and no obvious debilitation on first notice.

    An ABI is broken down into two categories: External and Internal. The external injury is further broken down to a closed or open head trauma. The external trauma is usually obvious and diagnosis and treatment can be prescribed more readily. The internal brain injury can be associated some type of trauma, with a surgery, AVM or CVA. The internal brain injury will normally be detected through some sign of debilitation with the individual of concerned.

    AVM or Arteriovenous malformation is an abnormal connection between veins and arteries, unusually congenital. The most general symptoms include headache and epilepsy; with more specific symptoms occurring that normally depend on the location of the malformation and the individual. Such possible symptoms occurring include:

    • Vertigo (dizziness)
    • Difficulties of speech (dysarthria) and communication such as alogia
    • Difficulties with everyday activities, such as apraxia
    • Abnormal sensations (numbness, tingling or spontaneous pain)
    • Memory and thought-related problems, such a confusion, dementia or
    hallucinations

    CVA or Cerebrovacular accident is more commonly referred to as a “stroke”. A stroke is the rapidly developing loss of brain function(s) due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia (lack of blood supply) caused by thrombosis or embolism or due to a hemorrhage. As a result, the affected area of the brain is unable to function, leading to the following symptoms to occurring:

    • Inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the boy
    • Inability to understand or formulate speech
    • Inability to see one side of the visual field.

    TBI or Traumatic Brian Injury occurs when an outside force traumatically injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism (closed or penetrating head injury), or other features (e.g. occurring in a specific location or over a wide spread area). A “head injury” usually refers to TBI, but is a broader category because it can involve damage to structures other than the brain, such as the scalp and skull.

    TBI is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults. Causes include falls, vehicle accidents and violence. Many of our soldiers are developing TBI’s from the effects of shock waves from explosions. In the past many soldiers suffered fatal injuries, but due to better protective gear they are now better surviving bodily injury, but still being left with effects such as TBI.

    Prevention measures include use of technology to protect those who are in accidents with equipment such as seat belts and sports or motorcycle helmets. There are also efforts to reduce the number of accidents by encouraging safety educations programs and applying stricter enforcement on traffic laws.

    Brain trauma can be caused by a direct impact, typically classified as an accelerating injury. From the effects of a shock wave from an explosion, or a sudden stop, typically classified as a decelerating injury. The damaging effects to the brain are very similar between a decelerating injury and the exposure to an explosion. In addition to the damage caused at the moment of impact, brain trauma causes secondary injuries which could be a variety of events that take place in the following minutes, days and even weeks after the initial injury. These processes contribute substantially to the damage from the initial injury. The outcome from a TBI can range from complete recovery to permanent disability or death. TBI can cause a host of symptoms including:

    • Physical effects
    • Cognitive effects
    • Emotional effects
    • Behavioral effects

    Many times TBI’s go undiagnosed, particularly after an accident or incident where there is no significant physical injury. On the surface the individual appears physically fine and may complain of a minor headache or feeling dizzy, which is common to accidents so may be overlooked as a temporary physical symptom. It is important to remember that the brain is 85% water. If you remember from science classes, water does not compress. Therefore the 15% of brain tissue gets squished like a sponge. This brain squishing can easily go unnoticed during a decelerating type injury such as a car accident or a concussion from an explosion. This is particularly true if no physical bodily injury has occurred. Nevertheless brain damage may have occurred. The dynamic behind this apparent inconsistency of injury between body and brain it due to the physiology of the head. The brain is free floating in fluid encased in the skull. As the head is thrown forward or backward, the brain is slammed into the sides of the skull. The effect is very similar when a shock wave from and explosion impacts the body. Any number of issues will follow depending on the severity of the event and the individual. What is so deceiving about this type of TBI is the effect of the secondary injury(s).

    The secondary injuries can occur hours to weeks after the original injury. These secondary injuries include a disruption of auto-regulatory physiological mechanisms and a release of neurotoxins, causing a cascade of biochemical reactions which lead to further brain damage.

    Following the initial accident, first appearances of symptoms can seem minor then major issues may seem to come out of nowhere weeks later due to the secondary injuries. The debilitation from a secondary injury(s) can range from unnoticeable to complete dysfunction. The two events may even appear to be totally unrelated, particularly if the events are separated by several weeks. This is what makes these types of injuries so insidious. The effects of a TBI will vary with the severity and well as the individual.

    One thing to keep in mind if you suspect you may have a TBI or you know someone that has had an accident, especially if typical behavior has changed since the incident, it is advised to get an expert evaluation. Children are particularly difficult to detect since some of their brain functions may not even be developed at the time of the injury and it is only until they are not keeping up with their peers, or not acting appropriately for their age, that you notice something is not right. Some of the issues you may notice are social integration/behavioral problems, both auditory and visual processing difficulties and coordination problems.

    All types of brain injuries will have a very high chance of affecting the visual system. Two thirds of all the nerves that enter the brain originate from the eyes. When there is injury there is often disruption of visual processing.

    Visual rehabilitation can help people overcome these devastating visual problems. One can often recover the ability to do things that they have always done in the past for themselves such as driving and reading through treatment.

    Close coordination between Vision Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Neuro-Psychology and your Physician allow for the best team approach toward recovery.

    FOR RESORCES IN YOUR AREA:

    Vision Therapy

    Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc. (OEP Foundation)
    1921 E. Carnegie Ave., Ste. 3-L
    Santa Ana, CA 92705-5510
    (949) 250-8070

    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

    SAN DIEGO CENTER FOR VISION CARE
    7898 Broadway
    Lemon Grove, CA 91945
    (619) 464-7713

    Occupational Therapy

    Sensory Integration International
    1602 Cabrillo Avenue
    Torrance, CA 90501
    (310) 320-9986

    American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
    4720 Montgomery Lane
    P.O. Box 31220
    Bethesda, MD 20824-1220
    (301) 652-2682

    Developmental Delay Registry
    6701 Fairfax Road
    Chevy Chase, MD 20815
    (301) 652-2263

    International Health Foundation, Inc.
    P.O. Box 3494
    Jackson, TN 38303
    (901) 427-8100

  • Palo Alto VA COVD Conference

    The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) held their Regional Conference at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, CA on the 15th and 16th of August.

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    Palo Alto VA Hospital

    This years subject was a continuation of last years conference as it focused on the visual consequences of Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI).   The featured speaker was Allen H. Cohen, OD, FAAO, FCOVD.  Dr. Cohen specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Acquired Brain Injuries.  The main focus of the conference was towards treating Veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan  with TBI injuries mainly due to IEDs.

    allen_cohen
    Dr. Allen H. cohen

    Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI)  and be classified into two categories, Internal or External head injury.   Some forms of brain injuries are also know as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) classified by the way the injury was acquired i.e. through some form of impact or shock wave from a blast.

    doctors_therapists
    Doctors and Therapist Attendees

    The main purpose of the Conference was to pass on knowledge and techniques obtained through Dr. Cohen's research to others so they may address this very misunderstood phenomena known as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).  It is the uniqueness to each individual of this type of injury that make so difficult to diagnose and treat.

    patient_evaluation
    Patient Evaluation Techniques Demonstrated

    Due to the insidious nature of TBI's,  extensive testing and evaluation may be required to determine if your symptoms are due to a TBI or some other cause.   Once it is determined that your injuries are due to a TBI a treatment plan needs to be worked up and implemented.
    patient_treatment
    Patient Treatment Techniques Demonstrated
    Every treatment plan for TBI patient is customized to each patient.  Every person is different, even if they experienced the exact same event.  This very debilitating injury is very insidious and commonly gets misdiagnosed as something else.  For Veterans this has been found to true when is comes to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   The Veterans have no sign of physical injury, however after returning from the war with a clear bill of heath, some months later they find they can no longer cope.  This delayed sign of symptoms is indicative  of a TBI.
    For more information and references for evaluation and treatment please go to COVD, OEP Foundation or the San Diego Center for Vision Care.

    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 Foundation)
    1921 E. Carnegie Ave., Ste. 3-L
    Santa Ana, CA 92705-5510
    (949) 250-8070
    San Diego Center for Vision Care
    7898 Broadway
    Lemon Grove, CA 91945
    (619) 464-7713, FAX (619) 464-7668
     

  • Choosing The Right Books For Beginnning Readers

    By Angela Weeks

    beginning readers

    Much has been said in government and in the media about the need to improve literacy skills but a workable solution remains elusive. In order to improve global reading results, we need to focus on teaching reading skills explicitly. This includes the teaching of pre-literacy skills, such as rhyme, vocabulary, visual matching, and language comprehension. As these skills are developing and we begin to introduce reading skills, we need to maintain an emphasis on vocabulary, and explicitly teach word decoding skills and reading comprehension skills through example and practice.

    Research tells us that for most people with reading difficulties the underlying problem is a phonological deficit, a difficulty working with the sounds in words. The brain is malleable and particularly so in young children. We need to engage junior primary students in a powerful program, such as Jolly Phonics, that teaches them about the sounds in words and their relationship to letters. These are the foundation skills for reading. An introductory literacy program will be most effective if complemented by a phonics-based reading program.

    It also important to remember research has also shown that one in four children in every classroom have a vision processing problem. They cannot control their eye movement at close distances, making reading and attention almost impossible. As the print moves and blurs, they stumble over words, lose their place and cannot comprehend. Out of desperation, they give up and quit. Is it any wonder they struggle in school. For these children a comprehensive vision screening would be required. It is highly recommended that all children receive a comprehensive vision screening to eliminate any possibility of vision difficulties associated with reading. Please see COVD or OEP for a referral in your area.

    One of the major barriers to the teaching of phonics is the adoption of reading levels by schools. Leveled books are classified in different ways depending on the system. Criteria include degree of difficulty based on semantic difficulty and the complexity of the sentences. What this means is that a book with a leveled vocabulary can have mixed text in it with all kinds of spellings as long as they are within the level. As a result, students may find some books easy at a particular level and others too hard. These systems include a testing regime to determine when children are ready to proceed to the next level.

    My concern is that schools have adopted reading levels because they offer a convenient structure for a whole school reading program. Books classified according to a particular system can be grouped into ‘the red box, the blue box etc’ and the testing regime used to guide students through the levels. In many schools, there are expectations in terms of level for each grade. For example, students should be at Level 23 by the end of Grade 2. Because reading skills are not taught explicitly and systematically through these systems, students can find themselves at the same level for a whole year. This can have detrimental effects on their motivation and self esteem. The systems that level books now have a strong commercial base and schools prefer to buy books that fit into the leveling system they are using

    A few years ago, I visited an elementary school and asked if they would show me how the reading levels work. The reading levels coordinator showed me the manual with the tests the students are given. As I looked at level 1 with words like “painting’ and “climbing”, I commented that the words seemed hard for a beginning reader. “They don’t have to read the words,” I was told, “they look at the pictures. It’s a form of reading.” This approach to ‘reading’, I believe, is responsible for the strategy used by many elementary students who are not automatic readers, what I call, the ‘look and guess’ approach. They look at the picture and guess the word based on key letters. Using this strategy in one of the tests I use, “book” has been read variously as “ball” and “bird”. You see all the pictures start with the same letter! And then there’s the little boy who said to me as we progressed from test items with pictures to items without, “I can’t read that, there aren’t any pictures.”

    Choosing the right books

    To ensure that beginning readers enjoy success, it is important to explicitly teach them phonic skills. These are the foundation skills of independent reading as they provide students with the ability to decode words they have not seen before. Teaching starts with the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.

    Phonically controlled books

    Phonically controlled books have titles like The Pet Hen and The Owl and the Clown and follow two guidelines:

    1) They are written with a phonic rule in mind, i.e., short e and use mostly words that follow that rule i.e., The pet hen got the vet wet.

    You won’t find words like ‘cough’ and ‘Guy’ thrown in with ‘cat’ and ‘fat’. When reading phonically controlled books, you show the child the new words, teach them the new phonic rule and the student can read the book independently.

    2) Other words used are either words the student learnt in earlier books or new words that the author lists in the front or back pages of the book. Only a few are introduced in each book.

    Phonically controlled books are classified by difficulty, too, but the classification is based on the difficulty of the phonic rule introduced in the book. One of the best known series of phonically controlled books is the Fitzroy Readers, now available in hard copy and on CD.

    Regrettably, phonically controlled books are being relegated to the scrap heap because they don’t fit the system. As a result, children who need to be taught using the building blocks of reading (phonics) are failing. How many children might this be? Let’s look at the statistics.

    Assuming a normal bell curve, the IQs of 25% of students are below average. The majority of these children need explicit skills teaching to learn to read. When you add to this the 3-10% of children with an average IQ and dyslexia, we are now talking about 30% of children and this still doesn’t include children in neither of the above categories who might have a Language Disorder, Vision Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or Auditory Processing Disorder.

    If we are serious about improving reading skills, we need to spend time providing explicit skills teaching. The value of running records is ignored if they are used to decide on promotion to the next reading level rather than for their primary purpose which is to find out where the student is having difficulty and what they need to be taught to progress.

    That a minimum of 40 minutes/day be spent in junior primary classes on the explicit teaching of phonics, spelling rules and handwriting skills. At the beginning, this should be supported by the use of phonically controlled books. Once students’ reading skills take off, then they can move to leveled books with confidence and achieve success.

    Reference: Overcoming Dyslexia for Dummies by Tracey Wood, Med

    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

  • Recommended Vision/Learning Reading & Video List

    Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc.
    1921 E. Carnegie Ave., Ste. 3-L
    Santa Ana, CA 92705-5510
    (949) 250-8070
    FAX: (949) 250-8157

    READING
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    * Eye Q and The Efficient Learner Author: James Kimple, Ph.D. Kimple is an educator and father of four children with learning difficulties. Discusses the nature of visual development and the importance of the visual system to school success. Includes the role of the school, "red flags" list of symptoms, common sense parenting tips and school activities--games and exercises to enhance functioning in specific areas. 160 pages.

    cva

    * Classroom Visual Activities (CVA) Authors: Regina Richards, M.A., and Kristy Remick, O.D. Classroom activities for all ages to help develop visual skills. Objectives, success criteria and detailed instructions are included for each activity. 80 pages.

    2020

    * 20/20 Is Not Enough: The New World of Vision Authors: Arthur S. Seiderman, O.D., and Steven E. Marcus, O.D. Reveals the nature of vision, exposes the critical need for comprehensive vision testing and introduces new, effective treatment for learning related vision problems. 243 pages.

    * The Suddenly Successful Student: A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide To Learning and Behavior Problems - How Behavioral Optometry Helps Authors: Hazel Dawkins, Ellis Edelman, O.D., Forkiotis, O.D. Concise paperback explains the critical relationship between vision and academic success. 48 pages.

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    * Suddenly Successful - How Behavioral Optometry Helps You Overcome Learning, Health and Behavior Problems Authors: Same as The Suddenly Successful Student Expanded version of The Suddenly Successful Student. Topics include juvenile delinquency, vision and behavior, sports vision, vision imbalances and vision therapy in relation to all aspects of vision. 306 pages.

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    * Thinking Goes To School Authors: Hans G. Furth and Harry Wachs, O.D. Discusses Piaget’s theory and then illustrates activities and strategies to help a child with experiences best designed to develop his/her full potential as a “thinking” human being. 170 activities are included. 279 pages.

    * Vision and School Success Authors: George Spache, Ph.D., Lillian R. Hinds, Ph.D., and Lois B. Bing, O.D. Written for those involved with children's learning. A broad concept of vision, including its sensory, motor and central processing dimensions. Helps educators recognize the visual demands of the classroom, the behavior of students who are experiencing stress because of their vision problems and ways and means of alleviating this stress. 57 pages.

    * Developing Your Child For Success Author: Kenneth A. Lane, O.D. Designed to help children avoid early school failure. Over 100 activities to help. 323 pages.

    * Your Child's Vision Author: Richard S. Kavner, O.D. A guide to inform parents how to protect and foster their child's visual development. Dr. Kavner details the stages of visual development from birth to age five. It discusses causes, prevention and treatment of common visual problems. 251 pages.

    * How To Develop Your Child's Intelligence Author: G.N. Getman, O.D. Vision is a learned skill that is a dominant factor in human development. “Parents and teachers can set the stage but only the child can act thereon.” 128 pages.

    myth

    * When Your Child Struggles - The Myth Of 20/20 Vision Author: David Cook, O.D. Written for parents about their children's vision, how to detect if their child is struggling unnecessarily and where to turn for help. The author uses case studies to illustrate the various vision disorders described in the book. 173 pages.

    VIDEO CASSETTES

    * Vision In The Classroom A two part information video based on the popular pamphlet, Educators Guide To Classroom Vision Problems.

    * Part One: Development of Vision---outlines vision development and learning problems associated with classroom tasks.

    * Part Two: Using the Educators Guide to Classroom Vision Problems---instructs viewers in the use of The Educators Guide for identification of signs and symptoms of visual problems in the classroom. Each part is 17 minutes long. Purchase price includes 100 copies of the pamphlet Educators’ Guide to Classroom Vision Problems.

    * The Hidden Disability - This pamphlet alerts parents, educators and other professionals that there is more to vision than 20/20 eyesight. It highlights the importance of prevention, early detection and correction of vision problems. It supports behavioral/developmental approach to vision and promotes comprehensive learning related vision screenings and exams. A checklist of symptoms is included. 100 for $15./1000 for $120. plus 15% shipping/handling with a $3.50 minimum charge on all pamphlet orders.

    NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH!!

    * “Vision Alert: 20/20 Is Not Enough” is narrated by Allison Ross. The purpose is to raise national awareness of the crucial relationship between vision and achievement and to alert parents, educators, and others about learning related vision problems. It includes interviews with parents, teachers, children and behavioral optometrists. Each tape includes a long version 27 minutes 54 seconds and an edited speakers’ version 15 minutes 42 seconds.

    * “Vision Alert: 20/20 Is Not Enough” edited speakers version only of 15 minutes 42 seconds.

    * “Some Heroes Are Small” is a 26 page read-together book for children and adults about learning related vision problems and vision therapy. Size 8.5” x 11”; professionally illustrated, saddle stitched with bright red cover.

    NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH!!

    Other Sources

    * "How Difficult Can This Be?" Rick Lavoie's *F.A.T. City Workshop videotape/discussion guide. * - Frustration, Anxiety and Tension are emotions all too familiar to the student with a learning disability. Informative video allows viewer to look at the world through the eyes of a learning disabled child. Purchase from: The Connecticut Association for Children with Learning Disabilities 25 Van Zant Street, Suite 15-5 Norwalk, CT 06855-1729 Phone: 203-838-5010 Fax: 203-866-6108

    * "A Nurse's Guide to Children's Vision and Learning" by American Foundation for Vision Awareness. Written by a Registered Nurse, includes teaching outline and illustrations of how vision is skewed by learning related vision problems. Call: 800-927-AFVA. Write: 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd; St. Louis, MO 63141.

  • Have You Heard This Before?

    "WE WERE TOLD OUR CHILD HAD 20/20 EYESIGHT. THE TEACHER THOUGHT THEY JUST WERN’T TRYING HARD ENOUGH."

    An 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.

    blurry text reading symptoms

    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 the text they are trying to read.  Out of desperation, giving up and quitting is a frequent outcome. With reading and vision problems, school can be a struggle to children, and for parents who may not recognize these symptoms.

    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 should receive a comprehensive eye exam that are struggling or have struggled with reading. 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

  • Visual Edge Reading Slant Board Testimonial

    At Visual Edge we frequently get touching testimonials, stories and praise about how our board has either helped someone, or how we offer such a quality product.  Here's another one from the "Center of Vision Care" and as always thank you for your support.

    san_diego_logo

    "I'm sure it's fine to pass this article on to everyone you know -- and even people you don't know! My purpose in sending it was to inform as many people as possible about the subject of vision and learning. Thanks for spreading the word!! Speaking of vision and learning, did you happen to catch Dr. Hillier's interview on the CW TV Network yesterday? It was quite good!

    A quick aside here: A new boy (8 yrs. old) started vision therapy today and I was working with the boy and his mother for their intro to the VT routine. We always give patients your slant board at their first appointment, so I told this new boy that I had a slant board I wanted him to use and was about to open the box and unpack it when mom said "Oh that's okay, we already have a wooden one that the school loaned us." I said they might just like our new, state-of-the-art slant board and that they were welcome to take it home, try it out, and compare it to their old one. When I actually got the box open and took out the board, both mom and son were wide-eyed and they both said "Omigosh! This is sooooo much better than that heavy old clunky board we have! We already know we'll like it better". They were impressed, to say the least!! Thought I'd pass their admiration on to you."

    All the best,
    Linda S.
    Center for Vision Care

  • Do You Have Visual Stress?

    Your visual system can undergo tremendous stress these days. Students now read three times the number of textbooks their grandparents did. Adults constantly use there near vision at their work. And the growing use of computers has engaged a growing number of workers in prolonged, near-vision tasks.

    visual stress

    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.

    TELL A FRIEND TODAY!

  • Visual Function Self Test

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    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.

    HOW TO USE THIS TEST

    YES NO QUESTIONS

    • 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?
  • COVD Features Visual Edge In Reading and Writing Ergonomics

    COVD is the "College of Optometrists in Vision Development" who focuses on providing meaningful and useful information on the prevention, enhancement, and rehabilitation aspects of learning, vision therapy and more.  In their Volume 39 and Issue 3 article, the importance of visual-motor integration (VMI) is discussed along the various aspects of how hand mechanics affect writing and how the reading angle affects how our eyes see text on a page.  As an dynamic tool in reading, the Visual Edge Slant Board is featured in this article showing how the board supports proper reading and writing ergonomics.

    For more information on COVD and vision therapy please visit www.COVD.org

    visual_edge_covd_article

  • What is Optometric Vision Therapy?

    WHAT IS OPTOMETRIC VISION THERAPY? -- The College of Optometrists of Vision Development

    Optometric vision therapy is an individualized treatment program designed to improve visual function and performance. It is an approved treatment modality for disorders including, but not limited to:

    * Ocular motility dysfunction/eye movement disorders

    * Vergence dysfunction/inefficiency in using both eyes together

    * Strabismus/misalignment of the eyes

    * Amblyopia/lazy eye

    * Accommodative disorders/focusing problems

    * Visual information processing disorders

    * Visual sensory and motor integration

    * Visual rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury or stroke all of which result in inefficient visual information processing.

    Most people who visit an optometrist know that any eye health problems will be detected and managed and that glasses or contact lenses will be prescribed if indicated. That picture is incomplete because there are visual conditions that are best managed by optometric vision therapy. This therapy enables an individual to learn more efficient ways to perform visually. It is an art and science of vision care that complements the prescription of eye glasses, contact lenses and the treatment of eye disease.

    Optometric vision therapy, also referred to as visual training or orthoptics (CPT 92065), is an established, medically necessary therapy when prescribed by an optometrist. Optometric vision therapy can improve visual function much like physical therapy can improve general motor function. Clinical tests with associated normative values are administered by an optometrist to determine the presence of visual deficiencies. If optometric vision therapy is indicated, the optometrist recommends a specific treatment plan.

    Optometric vision therapy typically invokes a programmed combination of office treatment and home therapy. Lenses. prisms. optical devices, and specially adapted computers are some of the devices through which one learns to use vision more effectively. The specific materials are less important than the feedback provided to the patient to enable change. Visual skills need to be developed until they become automatic and are subconsciously integrated with the other skills. The extent of success is also linked to patient compliance.

    The benefits of optometric vision therapy, which include improved visual information processing and the ability to sustain visual function over time, are as applicable to the child in the classroom as they are to the adult using a computer or reading a book. Without efficient visual skills the act of reading can be frustrating. Some of the common symptoms relieved through vision therapy include eye strain, visually induced headaches, inability to concentrate when doing visual tasks, and errors such as loss of place or reversals. More often, individuals have no recognized symptoms due to their avoidance of visually demanding tasks or an adaptation that decreases their performance. Optometric vision therapy also facilitates appropriate visual development, and serves as a component of the multi-disciplinary effort following stroke or head injury.

    Members of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) have post-graduate education in the diagnosis and management of conditions for which optometric vision therapy is an appropriate treatment. Fellows of the College are certified in providing this vision care. For further information, contact COVD or consult with your COVD optometrist.

    Dedicated to the Enhancement of Vision

    Permission to reprint the contents of this C.O.V.D. White Paper granted to Visual Edge, Inc ® - 4/15/09 by:

    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

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