Some vision problems have simple fixes. Wearing glasses may not be your kid's favorite thing, but if it allows them to see the blackboard in school, learn to read, watch TV, and play on a computer game, most kids will adjust to them pretty quickly. However, some problems are less easy to solve, like amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), and convergence insufficiency (when the eyes don't work together properly). Kids suffering from these visual disorders are often prescribed eye patches and some sort of vision therapy, which may be performed in a doctor's office, at home, or both. If your child is set to start vision therapy, you may find it challenging to keep them interested in some of the repetitive visual tasks. Take a look at a few ways that you can make vision therapy more fun and engaging so that your child will be a more active participant in improving their vision.
Pencil push-ups are a common visual exercise that involve moving a pencil up and down, left and right, and in circular motions while your child works to keep their eyes focused on the tip of the pencil. Your doctor will most likely have your child perform this exercise with and without a patch over one eye. It's a good way to help your child hone their ability to focus their eyes, but it's about as interesting as you might expect eyeing a pencil tip for minutes on end would be.
You can make it more fun by using a light-up toy for your child to focus on, like a toy wand. If the toy is capable of flashing multiple colors, all the better. Change up the direction you move the toy in (and the color, if you can) to make the exercise more visually interesting. If your child responds well to rewards, you might try using a lollipop as well – if they focus throughout the exercise, they can eat the treat when you're finished.
Another exercises involves attaching a ball to a string and suspending it a few feet above the ground. The child lies on the floor and tracks the ball, trying to use just their eyes and not move their head.
For this exercise, choose a ball about the size of a tennis or racquetball. Draw letters or numbers on the ball to help your child zone in on one particular focus point as you move the ball in circles and horizontal lines (this is a great time for small children to get some number or alphabet recognition practice). As long as you hang it in a place where you child can swing the hanging ball safely, letting them stand and hit and catch the ball with their hands, or bunt it in a particular spot with a dowel, you can also help them practice tracking with their eyes.
There are a number of different games that can help your child practice focusing. Print out mazes and let them find the right path with brightly colored crayons. Play I Spy. Use books that ask the child to find a particular figure in a crowded picture, like the Where's Waldo books.
Believe it or not, video games can also be helpful. Despite generations of parents warning children that getting too close to the television or computer screen will hurt their eyes, there are virtual reality games that have helped patients correct double vision or see in 3-D. Some doctors also use specially-chosen cartoon movies to help children with vision problems. It's worth asking your child's doctor if there are computer games or movies that will help your child, especially if they've grown frustrated with other exercises.
Make sure your child's doctor approves of any changes to their at-home therapy that you want to make. Helping your child become more engaged in their vision therapy will ensure that they get more done and improve their vision at a steady rate.
For more information, contact Absolute Vision Care or a similar location.Share