School’s almost out for summer. While we know students could use the break from long days, homework and exams, just one more important test is in order: a Functional Vision Test. If it reveals a vision problem, summer is the perfect time to start vision therapy.
Functional vision involves more than just clarity of vision, or “20/20” eyesight. It encompasses a person’s ability to use their eye movements, eye teaming and eye focusing to accurately see for important tasks such as reading a line of text or tracking a ball flying through the air.
These visual skills are crucial for academic success. Functional vision problems include issues with eye teaming, tracking and focusing, all of which can translate to big problems in the classroom.
Besides academic struggles, there are many symptoms that can indicate a functional vision problem. While we don’t have enough room to list every symptom, here are some of the key ones to look for in your children:
* Short attention span with reading and schoolwork
* Excessive squinting, blinking and/or closing or covering an eye
* Headaches in forehead or temple region
* Places head close to book when reading
* Rubbing eyes when reading
One trickier aspect of functional vision problems, however, is that symptoms aren’t always so obvious. Many times, a child will unknowingly compensate for their vision problem, so issues don’t manifest until they advance to a more challenging grade.
It’s for this reason that every parent should schedule a Functional Vision Test for their child at the beginning of summer. But why the urgency?
Advantages of Functional Vision Testing at the Start of Summer
The only way to identify a functional vision problem is with a Functional Vision Test.
You might be wondering why we’re so passionate about testing in the summer. Eye exams are one of those appointments that people constantly delay. They don’t have time, they don’t think they’re important, their vision seems fine… the list of excuses continues.
Summer is generally far more flexible. You don’t need to worry about scheduling around school hours, fighting after-school traffic, or afternoon studying and extracurriculars.
Plus, if a Functional Vision Test reveals a vision problem (as it often does), summer is the perfect time of year to begin vision therapy.
Four Reasons to Begin Vision Therapy in the Summer
Vision therapy helps correct functional vision problems with a series of highly-customized activities and exercises, which incorporate lenses, prisms and other specialized equipment.
These activities aren’t limited to the eyes, however. Because vision is a neurological process that involves about 60 percent of the brain, therapy exercises improve the coordination between the entire visual system and the rest of the body.
Summer is the academic off-season, which makes it the ideal time for vision therapy. Here’s why:
1. More relaxed time of year - Vision therapy is a commitment. While treatment varies, most programs involve weekly in-office therapy paired with at-home therapy 5 days a week.
Between studying and extracurriculars, making room for this commitment during the school year can be tough. Summer provides a much-needed relaxed setting to get into the swing of things.
2. The problem won’t improve on its own - If your child struggled with school last year, the issue isn’t going to magically disappear before the new year starts. Interjecting now is the only way to get your child back on track for academic success.
3. Classes will continue to get tougher - Each new academic year brings more accelerated subjects, more reading and more homework. If your child’s functional vision problems aren’t addressed, academic performance may just get worse. Then, as they fall continuously farther behind, behavioral problems may begin to sprout.
4. They’ll hit the ground running next year - Vision therapy typically lasts 3-9 months. Even if your child doesn’t complete their therapy before the next school year starts, they will hopefully have begun making improvements, which will only continue over the course of the year.
Summer is almost here. While we hope your children enjoy everything that goes with it, we don’t want any struggling students to miss the opportunity for improvement. As the school year closes, schedule a Functional Vision Test for your child.