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.

 

 

Just Posted

Two people rescued after falling from lifeboat at Ogden Point

Crew members of the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship fell into the water Thursday night

Saanich pedestrian incidents reflect recent trends

76% of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections

Online blasting video helps ease Sooke residents concerns

Complaints of dust ongoing since 2017

Son of missing Oak Bay woman asks for continued public support

‘Because she is still out there, somewhere’

BCAM slated to get one of last remaining Lancaster bombers

Approval seems certain despite emotional Torontonian appeals

BC Games’ Athletes Corner: What’s your favourite pump up song?

Check out what’s playing in the earbuds of BC Summer Games athletes before they compete

Zone 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

BC toddler with ‘allergy’ to sun waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment for damage caused by rare disorder EPP

Most Read