Eye Movement Problems (Tracking Problems)
What is an eye movement problem?
In order to see properly, the eyes must have the ability to move accurately, smoothly and quickly from one target to another. These skills are essential during reading. Moving from one word to the next methodically helps the child process the information he is reading.
In some cases, slow eye movements may interfere with reading comprehension, thereby decreasing overall school performance. A child may have good decoding skills and a normal sight vocabulary but still experiences reading and comprehension problems. If so, eye movement is one area that should be investigated.
Do you observe any of the following behaviors in your child?
- One eye drifts or aims in a different direction than the other
- He/she turns or tilts head to one side or another
- Squints or closes one eye
- Excessive blinking
- Poor visual/motor skills
- Has problems moving in open spaces, frequently bumps into things or drops things
While reading or doing near work, does your child exhibit any of these symptoms:
- Holds the book or object unusually close
- Closes or covers one eye with hand
- Twists or tilts head toward book to favor one eye
- Frequently loses place or fatigues easily
- Uses finger to guide while reading
- Rubs eyes during or after short periods of reading
Does your child frequently complain of:
- Only being able to read for short periods of time
- Headaches or eyestrain
- Nausea or dizziness
- Motion sickness
- Double vision
If your child exhibits any of the above symptoms, consider scheduling a vision therapy evaluation.
What are the problems and symptoms associated with tracking problems?
People who have tracking problems may exhibit the following:
- Frequent loss of place when reading
- Skipping lines
- Trouble copying from a blackboard
- Need to use a finger or guide when reading
- Normal decoding skills but poor reading comprehension
- Short attention span
Tracking problems that result in such symptoms have a significant impact on learning. Unfortunately, most school vision screenings are only designed to detect problems of visual acuity. Very few schools screenings test for tracking disorders.
How common are tracking problems?
Approximately five to ten percent of children and young adults have tracking problems that are significant enough to cause some of the symptoms above.
How are tracking problems treated?
Because eye movement problems are unrelated to the optics of the eye, eyeglasses are not an effective treatment approach. Vision therapy, a well-documented treatment approach is used to remedy this condition. Vision therapy involves weekly office visits wherein the patient is assigned selected sequenced activities designed to develop accurate and efficient eye movements.
Vision Therapy can be the answer to many visual problems! Don’t hesitate to contact our office with your questions. To read definitions of Vision Therapy by outside sources, visit children-special-needs.org.