The sense of vision comes from an automatic focusing system that enables us to see objects clearly at any distance. Our eyes must constantly change its focus quickly and accurately in order to keep things clear. Many people are unaware that their eyes are constantly focusing in and out. Usually, the focusing system operates so well that objects or targets instantaneously appear in focus.
However, a focusing adjustment is made every time we look from one target to another. These focusing adjustments are made through the ciliary body/muscle in the eye. For example, when a child looks from the board to his textbook, these ciliary body muscles contract, which simultaneously changes the shape of the lens in the eye, thus allowing the child to see the print in the textbook clearly. When the child looks back at the board these muscles will then relax allowing the vision to be clear in the distance once again.
This rapid transition occurs within seconds and several times throughout the day. An eye focusing problem occurs when the child is unable to quickly and accurately constrict or relax the muscle, or if they are unable to sustain this contraction/relaxation for an adequate period of time.
An eye focusing problem can occur in children or in young adults and comes in four various types. The most common eye focusing problem occurs when an individual loses the ability of their focusing muscles to contract for adequate period of time. This eye focusing problem is known as accommodative insufficiency. The second common eye focusing problem occurs when the focusing muscles go into a muscle spasm and are unable to relax. This eye focusing problem is known as accommodative spasm.
The third eye focusing problem occurs when the focusing muscle over-contracts when looking at a near stimulus. This eye focusing problem is known as accommodative excess. The final type of eye focusing problem occurs when the individual has difficulty with both contraction and relaxation of the muscle. This is known as accommodative infacility.
Eye focusing problems can be indicative from the above-mentioned symptoms. This eye focusing problem can have a significant impact on a child’s learning and development capabilities. If you or your child exhibit any signs or symptoms that are associated with eye focusing problems, then please contact our office to book an appointment today with one of our optometrists.
Usually there are two prime modalities of treatment for eye focusing problems. Eyeglasses can be prescribed to provide relief from visual complaints associated with eye focusing problems. The glasses are typically prescribed to be used for near visual tasks. Normally eyeglasses alone are insufficient to completely relieve focusing problems. Although glasses may provide some relief, the underlying problem and symptoms may persist. Vision therapy is the other alternative treatment that consists of weekly office visits to the optometrist.
Vision therapy is a specialized or custom-tailored treatment program created by the optometrist to help train the eyes and the brain in working together. This therapy is very similar to physical therapy. During each visit, the patient is given carefully selected and sequenced exercises along with homework exercises that will need to be done following their next appointment. The treatment is specifically designed to help the child reach efficient visual skills and eliminate visual complaints associated with eye focusing problems.