Nazima Sangha

Nazima Sangha

Spcial therapy brings vision into focus

Vision therapy helps children with learning, says optometrist

Stephanie Lanni is a focused young girl who enjoys learning, but it wasn’t always easy.

Since moving to Victoria from Ontario with her family two years ago, Stephanie, 8, had trouble keeping up with her classmates in terms of reading and writing.

Last year, her Grade 2 teacher at St. Margaret’s School noticed Stephanie was reversing letters and numbers and had difficulty with spacing between words.

Having read about vision therapy in a magazine article, Stephanie’s teacher recommended it to her mother, Lucy Reus-Lanni.

Vision therapy helps patients who have trouble focusing and tracking their eyes, as well as depth perception.

“We went for an assessment and they said it was something called exotropia, where one of the eyes was looking the other way,” said Reus-Lanni.

Stephanie started attending vision therapy once a week at Family Eyecare Centre in May. In addition, she gets help from the learning support team at her school two days a week.

“She has always loved school, but I was worried that something like this might dampen her enthusiasm for it,” said Reus-Lanni.

At school, Stephanie uses a slanted board on her desk to aid with her schoolwork.

“Research indicates that an angled desk at 20 degrees is actually optimal for handwriting and learning and reading,” said Reus-Lanni.

Stephanie has noticed the improvement.

“It helps with my writing so it doesn’t be all messy,” she said.

Reus-Lanni said Stephanie’s handwriting has improved dramatically, but there have also been other notable changes, including her physical capabilities. For example, Stephanie is now able to jump rope now since she is able to track the rope with her eyes and jump over it in time.

The biggest improvement Reus-Lannui has noticed in her daughter is an increased confidence to try new things.

Seeing patients improve like Stephanie has means everything to Nazima Sangha, optometrist at Family Eyecare, and the vision therapist she works with.

“My therapist and I have shed a few tears for sure,” she said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to feel like maybe we can help somebody.”

Sangha became an optometrist in 2003, but she has only had her vision therapy program for the last two years.

During her clinical rotations at the Pacific University of Oregon, she saw kids who were being mislabeled as having hyperactivity disorder or other issues, when it fact it was their vision causing problems.

“We’d get their vision to function more efficiently or more optimally – it changed their whole learning outlook,” said Sangha, adding that 80 per cent of learning happens through vision. “So you can imagine if there’s a problem with your vision, that can really affect how well we learn.”

Sangha looks at patients’ ability to focus near and far and their ability to track and coordinate eye muscles.

“When we do therapy we look at where there’s inefficiencies [and] we try to train those activities,” said Sangha.

Typically, classes are 45 minutes to an hour long and run for 12 weeks to a year.

“At the end of the day it’s about how the patient is functioning,” said Sangha.

Getting kids eyes tested between the ages of six months and three years is crucial, because of how much visual development happens in kids’ eyes during that time, said Sangha.

 

If problems are able to be discovered early they are easier to resolve, said Sangha.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read