Do You Need Vision Therapy?

Humans possess over 15 essential eye-coordination visual skills. When a child under performs due to one or more vision-related deficiencies, they are said to have a vision-related learning problem. These problems are often misdiagnosed as ADHD, behavior problems and/or reading disabilities. This is what happened with our youngest son, who is now nearing the end of a 3-month eye therapy program to correct the deficiencies.

Throughout his therapy, I have done my best to understand not only his visual challenges but also the steps for correcting the problems (thank God they are correctable). In this process, God once again proved Himself to be an Everyday God who shows Himself in the details of life. To that end, the following points not only teach about common vision-related learning problems, they also help illustrate some of the common reasons for vision problems in our spiritual lives too.

Convergence Insufficiency

This involves eye-teaming skills, which is the ability to coordinate the two eyes together. Symptoms include eye strain, fatigue, poor attention and avoidance of reading. Words overlap when reading, resulting in double-vision. Many kids with this problem don’t know that what they are seeing isn’t normal, and as a result say nothing about the problem.

James 1:8 tells us that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Just like convergence insufficiency leads to a child who struggles with stability (confidence) in reading, double-vision in a spiritual sense leads to avoidance of obeying God’s will. Like waves of the ocean, a double-minded man can be unpredictable and even volatile.

Accommodative Dysfunction

Eye focusing skills, such as the ability to focus for sustained reading and to shift one’s focus from near to far, fail to function properly with this dysfunction. Symptoms include miscalling easy words, complaints of headaches, tiring easily and poor attention and concentration when reading. Accommodative dysfunction is all about the inability to focus and results in blurred vision.

The Old Testament gives numerous examples from the lives of God’s people (the Israelites) of what happens when our focus moves from God to anything else. Psalm 1 also gets at this idea of focus telling us to be aware of the type of people we spend our time with for fear of them leading us down the wrong path. Blurred vision in our spiritual lives leads to fatigue at every level, inability to see God when He does speak to us and even failure to focus when we clearly know He is speaking.

Occulomotor Dysfunction

Occulomotor dysfunction involves eye tracking skills, which is the ability to point eyes on printed material and to move them from word to word. Symptoms include losing one’s place easily and needing a finger to keep one’s place when reading, slow reading, poor fluency and comprehension, inability to pay attention, and difficulty copying words. With this dysfunction, words appear to jump around on the page.

Luke 21:36 gets at the idea of constant alertness and paying attention since we don’t know the day or the hour when Christ will return again. Failure to have this alertness results in losing our way and wandering outside of God’s will, inability to pay attention when God gives us opportunity to move on His behalf, and struggle copying the example set for us by so many godly men and women. We jump around in life without any real focus or purpose when we fail to be constantly alert to the work God sets before us.

Vision-related learning problems affect more than just reading. My son’s ability to properly socialize, to keep focused in and out of school, and to enjoy much of life in general were compromised because of these dysfunctions. Vision-related spiritual problems have the same impact on our spiritual lives by negatively impacting our relationships, stealing our focus, and robbing us of joy.

My son needed vision therapy to correct his vision-related learning problems. Vision-related spiritual problems require vision therapy too. Next Friday, we will discuss what elements are involved with vision-related therapy.

DISCUSSION: What vision-related problems do you see in your own spiritual life?


9 thoughts on “Do You Need Vision Therapy?

  1. Kari,
    I can look behind me and see the consequences of my actions clearly but I have a problem looking forward and seeing clearly whats going to happen when I take certain actions. It is not that I can not see clearly but I let things fog up my vision looking forward until it is too late and I am running into the consequences and wondering how did that happen. Then I am like well duh….

    • I get what you're saying for sure. Seems like we can recognize our lessons from the past but struggle applying them to the future and preventing similar mistakes. Also, seems like we easily let life get away from us instead of intentionally keeping short accounts and diligently implementing a preventative maintenance program.

  2. I didn't know I was nearsighted until 6th grade when my science teacher noted I had difficulty seeing the blackboard and suggested I have my eyes examined (as opposed to my head). After I put on my 1st pair of glasses, I looked down the street from our house and saw distant trees clearly. Anyone who has his/her vision corrected usually notes seeing leaves on trees or individual blades of grass. For the seeing impaired, we don't know we have bad vision. We think blurry is normal.

    I note this because people who don't know Christ live blurry lives but they think it's normal. I need to remember to treat lost souls with greater grace, after all, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now see–and that thanks to the grace and mercy of God.

    Kari, you did a marvelous job of taking the eye/vision analogy and connecting it with sound spiritual truth.

    • Thanks! I remember the times I got new glasses and could see the details of leave and trees so clearly. Great analogy with the unsaved too. Love that application. It occurs to me that many Christians are still living blurry lives as well in that they are saved, but they fail to see beyond that to the unending blessing that the gospel has for all believers. Great points. Thanks for providing more clarity.

      • I remember the first time I got glasses and went to a basketball game and look at the score board and was amazed at all the information it had. I turned to my girl friend who is now my wife and asked her "have you always been able to see that! ?. Of course was her reply. I'm like wow.

  3. We've suspected that my four-year old is having some vision problems, so I've been learning a lot about this lately. Convergence insufficiency seems to be a very common problem – especially nowadays with handheld video games. The docs said just to keep an eye on him but hopefully he'll be OK. What symptoms did you notice for your son?

    • He was behind a couple of grade levels in reading, improving but still resisting, comprehension was very low, attention span was terrible, attitude problems during reading and homework time and flipping his b's and d's were the ones I initially noticed. He came to us behind, so I thought it was just because of his poor upbringing to that point. After two years, I just felt like I was missing something, so his teacher suggested checking this out. Her sister apprently had similar problems and had gotten help through vision therapy. So, I went on the web site to our closest therapist (an hour from our home), and the symptoms listed there seemed post on. I started questioning my son and discovered there were more symptoms he had but just hadn't said anything as he thought it was normal. I didn't even know eye therapy existed, but I know make sure others know about it. Hope this helps!

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