Vantage Vision Program
- Our educational programs address hidden vision skills disabilities
- Professionals and parents can do the programs
- Cost effective and time effective
- Remediates vision tracking deficits and ties this directly to reading instruction…the combination is unique and powerful!
Vantage Vision Program
We “see” with our eyes, and this “seeing” begins a series of events that culminate in what we call Vision – the interpretation of what we see. Our visual system is our prime information gatherer, the dominant human sense in organizing knowledge, detail, time, and space. The eye has many specific duties it must do well for a person to read easily and fluently. This section outlines the vision and eye skills necessary for students to be successful at their reading. All of the systems mentioned interact with each other. Consequently, if one system is dysfunctional it alters the function of all of the other systems.
Our vision and reading program has an impressive success rate with non-reading and learning disabled children and adults.
Important note: These are screening techniques only. We are educators, and we depend on professional optometrists to verify screening results before the Vantage Reading Program begins. Optometrists trained in near vision skills work in partnership with educators in the best interests of students at risk.
Even though students may have 20/20 vision and can see perfectly, it is necessary to also have proper near vision skills to use their eyes efficiently from day to day.
To get a clear concise picture, each eye must aim at an object precisely enough that the light falls on the fovea – the receptors at the back of the eye. Even a small degree of deviation in one or both eyes will alter this acuity, the sharpness with which one sees.
Almost simultaneously with fixation, the eye adjusts its crystalline lens so that an object is clear, both at near point and at far point. Any dysfunction in this system causes blurring.
Using your eyes to look at an object up close is very different from looking at an object that is far away. When looking at an object up close, such as letters on a page, eye muscles must be able to work in partnership to pull the eyes in, or triangulate (convergence), so that the light still falls on the fovea in each eye. If the eyes do not work together properly, you will have double vision. In contrast, when looking at an object far away, eyes are parallel, and the eye muscles are relaxed. Success at seeing something up close or far away is also linked to the performance of the eye lens.
When looking in the distance, eye muscles are relaxed. When shifting to near point, the two medial rectus muscles make the visual axis converge or the two eyes triangulate. When shifting to far point from near point the lateral muscle make the axes parallel. Convergence and divergence are linked to lens performance. The two systems aid each other in function. Vision specialists refer to it as the AC/A ratio. A normal AC/A ratio is 1/3. If the ratio is off it indicates a malfunction of one system. Convergence must be held in position for all near point tasks or students may see double. If accommodation does not hold at near point students may see a blur.
If you close either eye, you can still see what you are looking at. If each eye sees on its own, why don’t we see two objects when we see something? Our eyes are made to focus and aim with extreme accuracy, and with this precision, the brain processes the information into one single object. This is called fusion.
Fusion and Steriopsis
When images fall close enough on the fovea of both eyes they have achieved fusion. The object of the focal point is the same whether viewed by the right eye, the left eye, or both eyes. Subtle differences are ignored or suppressed by the brain.
Eyes are placed geometrically in different positions. The brain measures the disparity of difference, and from it constructs a three dimensional image. This process provides us with depth perception. This ability is mature at five months of age.
In fusion, subtle differences are ignored; in steriopsis the brain recognizes subtle differences. Students who lack fusion and steriopsis cannot excel in sports that include fast moving flying objects, like balls or pucks. They cannot judge velocity. Instead they must rely on size perception, texture and perspective to judge distance. Night driving is difficult because in the dark their perspective and texture markers are gone.
During reading or scanning, eyes move in quick motions called saccades, but for very brief milli-seconds between these quick successive saccade movements, the eyes do not move. This stop time is called a fixation. When the eyes are fixating the vision system is partly responsible for storing pertinent information. If you have slow saccade function the eye’s ability to store information easily and well is altered. As well, difficulties with reading fluency and comprehension appear.
Eyes have perfect refractive ability if they are shaped correctly and if they are the right size. Perfect refraction is recorded in a ratio, as 20/20 vision. A standard test is given by vision specialists to determine acuity. The acuity test is given at 20 feet away from the subject. It is composed of a chart of letters. The letters in the chart are in rows; each line smaller than the line above. If a person can read the letters of the size considered normal for a person, his vision is expressed as 20/20. If, at 20 feet, he can he can read only the letters that the normal eye can see a t 40 feet, he has 20/40 vision. A person who can see letters from 20 feet that a normal person can see at 15 feet, he is said to have 20/15 vision. For perfect vision the distance between the cornea and the retina must be 24.4 mm. In order to see well at near point refraction must be perfect AND vision skills (eye muscles) must move together in harmony. Only one image will be generated on the fovea, while eyes are converging, diverging, tracking with slow pursuits, or when using the saccade function.
If the distance between the cornea and retina is longer than 24.4 mm, a person is near sighted. Students with this problem can see at near point but are unable to see in the distance. Most near sighted students are able to read without the aid of glasses.
If the distance between the cornea and the retina is shorter than 24.4mm., a person is far sighted. He can see in the distance, but cannot see at near point. Students who are far sighted have extreme difficulty reading because they see blurred letters.
Astigmatism causes blurring at near and far point. It causes nausea and headaches as the student tries to work against the blur. In this case the front of the eyeball is misshapen. The cornea of the eye is shaped like a 3/4? ball bearing. If, instead, it is shaped like the side of a football or is otherwise deformed, it causes blurring to occur according to a grid. The front of the eye tends to be unstable and frequent vision examinations are required to keep acuity sharp.
The lens refracts light, and acts to assure light falls on the fovea. This clear elastic organ is located behind the pupil, and is encapsulated with a clear membrane. Attached to the membrane are zonal fibres that in turn are attached to ciliary muscles. If the eye is focused in the distance, the lens is at rest because the light entering the eye is parallel and reaches the fovea without blurring. If the eye is focused at near point, there is a light scatter. To direct the scattered light to the fovea the ciliary muscles must pull, releasing the zonal fibres and rendering the lens concave. This concave position must remain while doing all near point tasks. It changes from a narrow disc when looking in the distance to a concave disc when looking at near point. Any malfunction of the lens causes blurring.
Each eye moves with the aid of six muscles: four recti muscles and two oblique muscles. Both eyes possess a total of 12 muscles that must be teamed and timed exactly. Teaming is essential for exact images to be projected to the brain. This synchronous movement is called conjugate movement. The two eyes always move together and keep the same image focused on the fovea. This system is as important to near point tasks as visual acuity, the ability to see.
Problems Caused by Poor Vision Skills.
We have looked at the many functions an eye has that most of us take for granted. All are critical for a student to learn to read smoothly and efficiently. The following are more general effects on learning when a student’s vision system is not working properly.
- If the visual system is dysfunctional it causes poor spatial awareness. This in turn affects motor control, causing clumsiness with locomotion and manipulation. Students with poor visual systems fail to pay attention visually. Their systems react in a more primitive and inefficient way causing flawed storage of facts in their memory systems.
- If the visual system does not function efficiently visual attention is not secure. Working at near point – for example, seatwork at school – is extremely uncomfortable and young children can only stand this kind of stress for a short time. This often leads educators to think the child has an attention deficit.
- Copying from a textbook or worksheet to a notebook may be very difficult if a student has poor fixation skills or poor accommodation. Copying from a board is sometimes impossible because of the crystalline lens’ inability to adjust to the different distances.
- Writing or printing properly and neatly may be affected because eyes guide the hand in writing. With poor vision skills, students often print with awkward lettering. They have difficulty keeping their work in between the lines on a page, and they are slow to complete work.
- Reading is affected the most by poor vision skills. Students often have no accurate left to right eye movement, a skill necessary for reading books. Words and even lines are skipped, words are misread, and students do not understand what they read. Because all school subjects depend heavily on reading, a student is in jeopardy even though he may have a normal intelligence.
- Behavior difficulties arise because of reading and writing problems. Teachers and parents often look for a psychological reason for poor work production and poor behaviour, while the cause may be near vision skills.
Typical behaviours of students with poor near vision skills are:
- Avoidance of reading or writing,
- Indications of frustration,
- Excessive blinking and eyestrain when working at close range, or “near point”,
- Disruptive behaviours in class, aggressive behaviour in groups,
- Good attention to auditory learning,
- Distrust of adults who admonish them to work harder for succeed, and
- Poor social skills.
From Kindergarten to grade three, students with Vision problems may:
- Fail to remember letter forms,
- Fail to remember simple three letter words,
- Use exaggerated auditory closure to read each word,
- Have trouble with spatial concepts on paper,
- Have poor visual attention,
- Have poor printing form and reversals persisting even up to Grade Three,
- Have work production slow down as grades get higher, and
- Fail to respond to remediation classes.
From Grades Four and up, students with Vision problems may:
- Fall behind their peers in reading by two to three years,
- Have their work production decrease markedly as school demands increase, and
- Show disruptive behaviour, daydreaming, behaviour excesses, and avoidance techniques. They may proceed from tension relieving activities to intentional disruption. Many students by Grade Six have hardcore behaviour problems.
Information gathering now is dependent on reading to learn. As these students are still striving to learn to read they begin to fail.
Screening for Vision Difficulties
The Vantage Reading Program has screening methods to assess the following:
- Slow pursuits
- Saccade function
- Hand eye co-ordination
- Stereoscopic vision.
These are screening techniques only. We are educators, and depend on professional optometrists to verify screening results before the Vantage Reading Program begins.