Myth vs Reality
MYTH – There is no difference between sight and vision.
REALITY – Sight and vision are actually two very different things. While seeing is the physical process of focusing light within our eyes, vision involves the ability to understand what is seen.
MYTH – If you have 20/20 eyesight, you have perfect vision.
REALITY – If a child has 20/20 visual acuity according to the Snellen Test, it does NOT mean he or she has good vision. The Snellen Test, or eye chart used by most schools for visual screening, assesses if a child is able to identify letters at a distance that a child with normal vision would be expected to see – 20 feet. This is what is called visual acuity and has nothing to do with how the child interprets or understands what he or she sees. In addition, the test does not assess visual skills such as seeing close-up, focusing, depth perception, peripheral vision or eye coordination.
MYTH – If a child has a chronically short attention span and has behavior problems, that child likely has ADD/ADHD.
REALITY – Children with vision problems are unable to concentrate on their work and therefore often exhibit a short attention span. In addition, many children are embarrassed by their difficulty reading or performing other activities and act out as a diversion. Before a drastic diagnosis or ADD/ADHD is made and medications prescribed, parents and teachers should first consider a comprehensive eye examination for their children. Much is at stake in the event of a misdiagnosis.
MYTH – The effectiveness of vision therapy is not scientifically proven.
REALITY – Numerous scientific studies published in Optometry and Vision Science, Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association, American Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics, Documenta Ophthalmologica, and American Journal of Ophthalmology show that vision therapy is an effective treatment for vision problems including eye focusing, eye coordination, amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes).
MYTH – Those eye exercises I see marketed in magazines, on the radio or TV are the same thing as vision therapy.
REALITY – Most of those programs offer eye relaxation procedures that do not correct specific vision problems. Vision therapy is performed by professionally trained optometrists who use proven methods and technology to customize effective treatments for each individual. Vision therapy programs are prescribed to treat specific diagnosed vision problems and can provide noticeable improvement in each patient within weeks of commencing treatment.
MYTH – Kids who are already busy with homework and after-school programs don’t have time for vision therapy.
REALITY – One of the goals of vision therapy is to make schoolwork and homework easier for students. Poor visual abilities are often a reason that completing assigned tasks takes so long. Following vision therapy, children are able to complete their assignments more efficiently and do not have to devote as much time to homework as before.
MYTH – Adults cannot be treated with vision therapy.
REALITY – It is never too late for adults to receive vision therapy. Numerous executives, office workers and administrators who spend a lot of time reading or in front of computers consistently suffer from headaches and eye fatigue. Thorough examination by a developmental optometrist often reveals these individuals have suffered from life-long errors in the way their eyes work. These people can usually be far more productive when they have been trained to use all their visual abilities more effectively through vision therapy.
MYTH – Children with crossed eyes will eventually grow out of them.
REALITY – Untreated, this condition (also known as strabismus) can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye). Unfortunately, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss if untreated. With amblyopia, one eye becomes stronger than the other, suppressing the image of the other eye until eventually the weaker eye becomes useless.
MYTH – If a child has problems seeing, they will tell a parent or teacher.
REALITY – Unfortunately, children with vision problems usually don’t tell a parent or teacher they have a problem. They don’t realize they are supposed to see letters, number, objects – the world – in a different way.