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Undetected Vision Problems

vision-problems2Brittany was in the lowest reading group in her class. Jon was continuously striking out in Little League. Allison was afraid to try out equipment on the playground. Alex was struggling with homework.

What do all these kids have in common? Undetected vision problems. Dr. Lawrence D. Lampert, a developmental optometrist in Boca Raton sees cases like theirs everyday.

“Many parents assume that if their child checks out with 20/20 sight during a routine eye exam that he or she has perfect vision. But ‘sight,’ the ability to see a chart at a certain distance and ‘vision,’ the ability to interpret and understand the information taken in through the eyes are two different things,” says Dr. Lampert.

The children saw dramatic improvements after their problems were detected and treated. And, the treatment was totally non-invasive.

The key is finding an optometrist who checks for vision processing problems and is trained to detect them. Few doctors in the world have Dr. Lampert’s certification. As an authority in the field, Dr. Lampert’s patients fly in from around the world for consultations and evaluations. He recently returned from the Olympics, serving as part of an elite team of doctors measuring athletes visual attention skills, hand-eye coordination and depth perception. In addition, Dr. Lampert does vision rehabilitation with brain-injury patients at Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital in Delray Beach.

Current research indicates that almost one out of four children has a vision problem that is interfering with their academic success or extracurricular achievements in athletics or the arts.

Because symptoms are often subtle, many problems go undetected because no one ever checks for them. Most children do not report signs that could indicate a learning-related vision problem. They think seeing double, having letters move around on their paper or disappear while they are reading is normal because that’s all they’ve ever experienced. They think everyone perceives things that way.

Visual problems can manifest themselves in different ways. It’s not unusual for children who spill their drinks or bump into things more than usual to have a visual problem.

“A lot of times, kids come in demoralized,” Dr. Lampert says. “They’ve been labeled lazy, learning disabled, troubled, clumsy or dyslexic and told they are not trying. Yet, they have been working to the best of their ability.”

Dr. Lampert observes subtleties while the child is reading, including posture and how he or she focuses from blackboard to paper. Then he does a visual perception exam to see what the brain is doing with the visual information it receives. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment calls for prescription or preventive “stress-relieving” lenses, visual-training exercises and activities in his office, or both.

“There’s a long list of symptoms that can be cured or greatly improved if children are taken to the proper specialist.,” Dr. Lampert says. “The biggest complaint I hear from people is that they wish they had known about this type of option sooner. But it’s never to late to see dramatic results.”

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