www.mybaycity.com September 16, 2007
Ask The Experts Article 1878

Final Installment on Children's Vision Discussion

This Week: Children's Visual Disorders

September 16, 2007
By: Dr. Lee Newton, Eye Care

We have been discussing children's visual issues for several weeks. I hope it is apparent exactly how important it is to have children's visual needs addressed in a timely and professional manner.

In this column, I would like to discuss treating children's visual disorders

. Much of the time, these problems may be treated successfully optically (glasses or contact lenses). Now, keep in mind that "treating" a visual condition with glasses is not identical to "treating"an infection with an antibiotic. An antibiotic will hopefully eradicate the infection, while the glasses will stabilize the visual condition. Meaning that the condition will be controlled while the glasses are worn, but the glasses won't make the condition go away. Having said that, in some cases children do indeed outgrow some conditions.

There are several problems that may need more help than glasses alone. In these cases it is necessary to prescribe a regimen of vision therapy, a guided series of visual exercises that strengthen the deficient areas. Think of vision therapy as physical therapy for the visual system; they are very analogous.

As you can well imagine, there are some cases that require both glasses and vision therapy to provide the best functional solution to the problem. The important thing to remember is that if vision therapy is needed, the problem CANNOT be solved by glasses. Period.

Vision therapy is not as widely discussed as other optical services for many reasons:

First, it is not as widely available - only a small handful of doctors in the tri-city area provide this service. Second, it is not as glamorous - it is not as easy to promote this service as it is to promote the latest styles in eyewear. Third, not everyone needs it. Of the patients that do need vision therapy, every case is different and unique.

On a personal note, I wish more doctors offered this service. I feel this way because it would be much easier to explain why a patient needs the service and back up the recommendation with an extensive list of other professionals who would be able to either render a second opinion (if applicable) or from whom to receive the service. Especially if the patient has come a moderate distance to the office and there was a doctor in the patient's hometown that could provide the service.

Anyway . . .

Here's a link to a great article about vision therapy: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story-section=health&id=5643145&ft=exLg

Other useful links:

College of Optometrists in Vision Development - http://www.covd.org

My colleague's website - very good! http://www.visiontherapygroup.com

As always, feel free to contact me personally at drnewton@newtoneyecarecenter.com with any questions, concerns, or feedback.

Next week we'll answer questions from http://www.mybaycity.com readers!

Dr. Lee Newton

I invite your questions and feedback

Or Contact Dr. Lee Newton at:
3720 E. Wilder Road, Bay City, MI
(989) 667-9393

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