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All About Vision

Kids’ Vision & Learning

children rely on good eyesight to do schoolwork - Glassboro, NJ optometristThere's More To Children's Learning Than Just 20/20 Vision

Even if your child doesn't need corrective lenses, he or she may be experiencing vision problems. These eye conditions can cause learning problems and substandard educational results. A child's visual acuity (how well s/he can see the wall chart) is an essential aspect of good vision but there are other factors which may prove more important. You may already be aware that a nearsighted child has little trouble reading or that good grades in school can be acquired even if much of the teacher's board cannot be seen by the student.

Questions Related to Eyesight and Learning

Eye movement skills:

Do your child's eyes move across the page in a book smoothly and accurately?

Eye focusing abilities:

Does your child change focus from near to far and back again - between reading text from a far-away white or black-board and writing on paper?

Eye teaming skills:

Are your child’s eyes working together as a focus unit - do they come together for proper eye alignment for reading?

Binocular vision skills:

Are your child’s eyes blending visual images from both eyes into a single, three-dimensional image?

Visual perceptual skills:

Does your child identify and understand what s/he sees, co-relating importance, connecting with previous visual memorized information?

Visual-motor integration:

Is the quality of your child’s eye-hand coordination balanced?  Visual-motor integration is important not only for legible handwriting and the ability to efficiently copy written information from a book or board but also for sports. Deficiencies in any of these can be detrimental to a child’s learning ability and/or school performance.

Vision Problems Do Affect Kids Learning

Undetected learning-related vision problems in children are common.  A child with an untreated vision problem may be misdiagnosed with behavior problems or ADHD/ADD when in reality they have a vision problem. Vision problems, in extreme cases, ignored or misdiagnosed, can become the true root cause of a child becoming the victim or aggressor in a school bullying tragedy.

Left untreated, vision problems will hinder your child's learning in school. Studies have shown that at least 13% of children between the ages of nine-thirteen suffer from moderate to severe convergence insufficiency, the ability to bring one's eyes together, which is crucial for good reading. Studies demonstrate clearly that 1 out of 4 school-age children suffer from at least one learning-related vision problem.

Learning-Related Vision Problems

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the most common roadmap symptoms of learning-related vision disorders are:

  • Double vision, particularly during or after reading
  • Poor handwriting
  • Hyperactivity or recklessness during class
  • Word and letter reversals
  • Easily distracted during reading
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Poor overall school performance
  • Circumventing of reading
  • Blurred vision, especially after reading or working closely
  • Eye Strain or frequent headaches

Call us to schedule a comprehensive child’s vision exam if your child exhibits one or more of these signs or symptoms and is exhibiting these types of problems in school.

Comprehensive Child Vision Exam

A comprehensive child's vision exam includes tests performed in a routine eye exam, plus specific additional tests for detecting learning-related vision problems.

Extra tests would include accommodation, binocular vision, and ocular motility testing. In addition to these, depending on the type of problems your child is displaying, we may recommend other testing, either in our office or with a child’s vision and/or vision development specialist.

Patients with Down Syndrome are often at risk for particular visual complications that require specialized attention and assistance.

Vision Therapy

Special reading glasses or vision therapy may help your child if s/he has a learning-related vision problem that cannot be corrected with regular glasses or contact lenses. Vision therapy entails eye exercises and other activities specifically tailored for each patient to improve vision skills.

Learning Disabilities and Vision

Although children with learning disabilities may also have vision problems that are contributing to their difficulties in the classroom, vision therapy is a treatment for vision problems; it does not correct a learning disability. A child's learning ability and school performance may indicate learning disabilities and/or vision problems.

Once your child’s comprehensive vision exam is completed, our doctor will advise you about whether a program of vision therapy could be helpful. We will refer you to a children's vision or education/learning specialist if we do not provide the specified additional services your child needs.


What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Tears are essential for healthy eyes and vision.

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome, or DES, is a condition caused by a lack of naturally producing tears. Tears are an essential aspect of eye health because they lubricate the surface of the eyes, keeping them moist and comfortable. When the body is unable to produce an adequate amount of tears, the eyes can begin to dry out, leading to itchy, red, and painful eyes.

At Accent on Eyes, we are leaders in treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome patients in Glassboro, New Jersey. If you or a loved one suffers from DES, speak with Dr. William S. Berger and schedule a consultation to learn how we can help.





What Are Tears Made Of?

Tears are more than just fluid in the eye; they have a chemical makeup comprised of water, enzymes, proteins, metabolites, lipids, and mucins.

Tears are important because they keep your eyes well-lubricated and protect them from foreign bodies or dust particles, which can cause irritation. When an insufficient amount of tears is produced in the tear ducts, Dry Eye Syndrome occurs.

 





What are tear elements and why are they important?

Enzymes are proteins that cause a chemical reaction inside the body

Proteins are molecules containing amino acids that are found in tissues in the body

Metabolites are small molecules that are related to metabolism

Lipids are molecules with an oily substance which contain healthy fats

Mucins are glycoproteins that helps cells stick together





What Are Common Symptoms of Dry Eye?

The most frequent types of Dry Eye symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Soreness
  • Watery eyes

It may seem ironic, but one symptom of DES is watery eyes. This occurs when the body attempts to self-soothe the dryness by producing excessive tears, a condition known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). The tears lack a sufficient amount of water, so although these tears may provide temporary relief, the excessiveness of the tear production isn’t healthy.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Girl with red hair


Who Is at Risk for Developing Dry Eye Syndrome?

Like other diseases and eye conditions, there are some people who are more susceptible to developing DES. Age, gender, medical conditions, even the environment can contribute to sensitivity to dry eyes.





Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can make Dry Eye more prevalent. Patients with any of the following diseases may notice signs of DES symptoms:

  • Arthritis, an inflammation of the joints
  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid, usually caused by skin conditions such as dandruff or rosacea
  • Diabetes, a condition causing high blood glucose levels
  • Glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve, which causes vision loss
  • Hypertension, high blood pressure in the arteries
  • Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes damage to healthy tissue
  • Thyroid Disorder, when the tissues that surround the eyes become swollen or inflamed
  • Vitamin A Deficiency, when there is an insufficient amount of Vitamin A, which normally helps protect the cornea

Environmental Factors

People who live in areas with heavy winds or with dusty or dry air may find that their eyes often feel dry. Being around smoke or hair dryers can cause the same reaction. Being in direct aim of a heater or air conditioning unit can also dry out the eyes.





Gender

 

Women are more prone to DES because of hormonal changes due to pregnancy, birth control, and menopause. Women over age 50 have a 50% greater risk of developing Dry Eye than men of the same age. Additionally, women tend to visit their doctor more often than men and at earlier stages of discomfort, so diagnosing the condition in women is more common.





Age

According to the National Eye Institute, the risk of experiencing DES goes up with age. That’s because the natural tears of the eye decrease over time, which is a natural part of aging. As the patient’s tear production diminishes, signs of Dry Eye increase.


Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome

Dr. William S. Berger treat patients from all over Glassboro, New Jersey who have Dry Eye. Our staff has the experience and knowledge needed to help give you relief from DES symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Depending on your specific case, we may recommend artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to produce tears to moisten and make your eyes feel more comfortable. Prescription drops can help stimulate tear production and, in some cases, steroids can provide significant short-term relief.

For patients with more severe DES, the doctor may suggest the use of punctal plugs. These tiny devices are placed inside the tear duct to block tears from draining. As the natural moisture is prevented from leaking out, it remains in the eye and coats it properly, keeping it lubricated and comfortable.

Scleral lenses can provide effective relief, as well. These are custom-designed rigid contact lenses with a large diameter that cover the entire sclera (the white part of the eye) without touching the cornea. Scleral lenses contain a tiny pool of water, providing constant moisture to dry eyes.

Rain drops on a leaf

Medicine bottles on a shelf





Short-Term Effects of Dry Eye Syndrome

Many symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome last for the short term, meaning, they can fade with proper treatment or sometimes, on their own. Blurry vision, itchy or red eyes, and stinging can be treated effectively and perhaps eventually disappear.

 





Long-Term Effects of Dry Eye Syndrome

Some symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome have long-term effects, which means that they can last for months or even years. These may include:

  • Corneal abrasions or ulcers
  • Long-term inflammation
  • Vision impairment

Corneal abrasions can become serious if left untreated. They often heal on their own, but in more severe cases, prescription creams or bandage contact lenses may be needed for more efficient treatment. In cases of vision impairment from Dry Eye Syndrome, we can help.

These long-term effects of Dry Eye can negatively impact your life. Sensitivity to light and difficulty driving are 2 primary examples of everyday tasks that can become restricted with severe Dry Eye Syndrome. This leads to a lower quality of life.


Medications and Dry Eye

All medications include warnings of possible side effects which some patients may experience. There are certain categories of medications that are known to decrease natural tear production, such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Anxiety medications
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Decongestants

If you are taking any of these medications and feeling any signs of Dry Eye, speak with Dr. William S. Berger about some alternative medications or treatments to alleviate your symptoms

If you suffer from Dry Eye and are ready for a solution to your painful symptoms, contact Dr. William S. Berger and the staff at Accent on Eyes. We are here to help you experience better vision today.