Saturday, September 17, 2011

Children's Vision and the New Classroom Technology

...Today's teachers make full use of computers, interactive whiteboards, digital devices, and even 3D technology to enhance the learning environment. Forty percent of teachers use computers for instruction, and at least one computer is in 97% of all American classrooms. That adds up to a lot of screen time for kids who also watch TV or play on the computer at home. But is it harmful to a child’s vision?... Read more by clicking here.

The eyes have it: Some find life-altering results in [optometric] vision therapy

......."Before Matt had vision therapy, there was no way he could read that and do it," declared his dedicated mom, who used to spend hour after frustrating hour trying to help her son slog through homework. "Even if he had an open book for an exercise in class, it was useless.".....

Northern Ireland Optometric Association: Eye Care Liaison Service

Information from our optometric colleagues in Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Optometric Association. DM

Eye Care Liaison Service (ECLO)
 Charles Bonnet Syndrome

Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a common condition among people who have lost their sight in which a person experiences visual hallucinations - or sees things which are not really there. They may be simple images such as grids and patterns, or elaborate, complex images of objects including animals, people or landscapes. 

The condition is named after the Swiss naturalist and philosopher Charles Bonnet who reported the hallucinations of Charles Lullin, his 89 year old otherwise healthy and cognitively sound grandfather, who was blind owing to cataract and yet vividly saw men, women, birds, and buildings.

CBS can be distressing, but the hallucinations are usually not permanent. Many people experience hallucinations for a year to eighteen months before they become less frequent. There are thought to be more than 100,000 cases of CBS in the UK. Some research suggests that up to 60 per cent of individuals who are experiencing serious sight loss may develop it.

What causes Charles Bonnet hallucinations?

While the hallucinations are not completely understood a partial explanation may be that from the moment we open our eyes, the nerve cells in our retina send a constant stream of impulses to the part of the brain which processes our vision. If the retina is damaged this stream of impulses obviously reduces. It might be expected that if the messages to the brain reduce then the activity of the brain will also reduce.
However, in some people, the response of the brain is not to reduce its own activity but rather to increase the cells firing. We know from brain scanning experiments that it is this increase in the cells firing that causes visual hallucinations (this effect can sometimes be produced in people with normal vision who are blindfolded or in the dark for a long time.)
What a person hallucinates depends on where in the brain the increased activity is happening. If the increases are located in the part of the visual brain used to process and see colours, the hallucination will be of a colour. If it is in the part of the brain used to process or see objects, the hallucination is of an object.

If the increase is in the area of the brain used to process or see faces, you will have a hallucination of a face.

There is currently no medical cure for CBS. The most effective form of treatment can be reassurance that it is not a mental health disorder or a symptom of another disease. Knowing that CBS usually improves with time (even if it doesn't go away completely) might also help cope with the hallucinations.

Some helpful tips
§  Getting up and moving about can often dispel the images
§  Changing the lighting conditions, making it brighter if it is dim and vice versa. 
§  Blinking
§  Reduce isolation and increase interpersonal contacts.

For more information contact:

RNIB  40 Linenhall Street  Belfast  BT2 8BA  02890329373
South Eastern - Lee Topley    email: [email protected]

Belfast RVH  - Susan Caskey email [email protected]
Belfast Mater and Macular clinic  - Claire Bowes Email [email protected]

Southern  - Diane Hudson  Email [email protected]

Northern - Eimear Barbour-Mulholland  Email [email protected]

Western - Mary McGrory  Email [email protected]

MRI Shows Differences in Autistic Brain Brain

MRI Shows Differences in Autistic Brain: Brain Imaging Could Prove Useful for Diagnosis

.....researchers say they have identified key differences in the brain gray matter of children with and without autism.....that could potentially prove useful in the diagnosis and treatment of the developmental disorder.....

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vitamin A Supplements For Children - 600,000 Lives Could Be Saved Per Year

Vitamin A Supplements For Children - 600,000 Lives Could Be Saved Per Year

...... children in low and middle-income countries should receive vitamin A supplements to prevent death and illness. Researchers believe further trials to be unethical as the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation is extremely well documented and press the need to provide supplements for all children at risk of deficiency ..... Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for the body, must be obtained through diet. Deficiency in children means they are more vulnerable to infections like diarrhoea and measles and can also lead to blindness. .....

Vision Therapy Videos: Patient's Perspectives

Vision Therapy Videos: Patient's Perspectives

WebMD Vision Therapy Video

Optometric Vision Therapy Improves Reading for those with CI

Atzmon D, Nemet P, et al.A randomized prospective masked and matched comparative study of orthoptic treatment versus conventional reading tutoring treatment for reading disabilities in 62 children. Binocular Vision & Eye Muscle Surgery Quartrly, 8(2):p. 91-106, 1993.

Abstract: Controversies remain whether orthoptics and/or “visual training” can remedy reading disabilities. Therefore, and to extend our prior studies, we under took a comparative and controlled study. One hundred and twenty children with reading disability were tested extensively, matched and randomly divided into three groups: orthoptic, conventional (reading tutoring), and no-treatment control. Unfortunately, participants in the control group were unable to adhere to no-treatment and were deleted. Each of the 40 children in the first two groups had 40 sessions, 20 minutes daily.
Orthoptic treatment was directed to markedly increasing fusional convergence amplitudes for both near and distance to 60 D. The two treatments were also carefully matched in time and effort. Sixty-two children in 31 matched pairs completed the course of treatment and testing. The results were equal and statistically significant (P< .05) marked improvement in reading performance in both treatment groups on essentially all tests.
Orthoptic treatment, to increase convergence amplitudes to 60 D, is as effective as conventional in-school reading tutoring treatment of reading disabilities. An advantage of orthoptic treatment was that subjective reading and asthenopic symptoms (excessive tearing, itching, burning, visual fatigue, and headache) virtually disappeared after orthoptics. We recommend orthoptic treatment as: 1) an effective alternate primary treatment; 2) adjunctive treatment for those who do not respond well to standard treatment; and 3) as primary treatment in any case with asthenopic symptoms of /or convergence inadequacy.
Letter regarding the study above:
Dr. Firmon E. Hardenbergh, Chief of Ophthalmology and Ophthalmologist to the Harvard University Health Services wrote a letter on March 29, 1991 regarding orthoptic treatment and convergence insufficiency. This letter appeared in the journal of Binocular Vision and Eye Muscle Surgery Quarterly in the Spring of 1993.

"I have reviewed the report by Daniela Atzmon and Professor P. Nemet on the subject of the results of a study on the effect of orthoptic exercises on the academic performance of learning/reading disabled children with convergence insufficiency. In my opinion, this prospective study was well planned and is essentially double blinded since the reading testing was not administered by either the tutors or the orthoptists.

The results support the proposition that application of orthoptics to all learning/reading disabled or deficient children who manifest convergence insufficiency should be the first line of therapy. If reading ability does not improve significantly within four to six months, other interventions should then be instituted.

Vision's Impact on Learning Conference

I am in the Ozarks getting ready to talk for the next 3 hours to a group of OT's, PT's, Speech/Lang therapists, special educators and doctors about the patient with special needs and learning related vision problems during the Vision's Impact on Learning Conference. I had a chance to listen to David M. Pierce, O.D. and Amy Vaughan OTR/L last night giving a presentation and found out that one of ICO's students is in his office as an extern. This promises to be a great conference. I will keep you posted.  The photo to the left is a view from my room of the lake. It is very early and very cloudy! DM