If you're looking for a good summer read, here's a book full of tips you can use to help your child become a better student this fall. The book's title says it all: Visual Secrets for School Success: Read Faster, Write Better, Master Math and Spelling. To solve the nightly homework struggles of her children, developmental optometrist Dr. Brenda Montecalvo decided to use her knowledge as a Vision Therapy specialist to find a solution. The results were highly successful kids - and now a book that's available to help other parents have similar success.
Before reading this book think about this: society places a premium on efficient vision. Schools and most occupations require increasing amounts of printed and computer information to be handled accurately and in shorter periods of time. Vision is also a major factor in sports, crafts, and other pastimes. The efficiency of our visual system influences how we collect and process information. Repetitive demands on the visual system tend to create problems in susceptible individuals. Inefficient vision may cause an individual to slow down, be less accurate, experience excessive fatigue, or make errors. When these types of signs and symptoms appear, the individual’s conscious attention to the visual process is required. This, in turn, may interfere with speed, accuracy, and comprehension of visual tasks, and academic success can be impacted. Many of these visual dysfunctions are effectively treated with vision therapy. Please call and speak to one of our staff for more information and to schedule a Vision Therapy Evaluation with Dr. Vincent!
How does Vuity work for treating presbyopia?
Presbyopia is caused by stiffness in the lens of the eyes. The lens sits just behind your pupils, and this stiffness makes it harder for the lens to change shape in order to see things clearly up close. Vuity works by making your pupils temporarily smaller so they can better focus on objects that are close to you.
After Vuity is administered into the eyes, it usually begins to work within 15 minutes. It can continue working for up to 6 hours.
What are the known side effects of Vuity?
As with all medications, there are a number of possible side effects.
The most common side effects found were headache and conjunctival hyperemia — a type of eye inflammation. Conjunctival hyperemia can cause eye redness.
A less common side effect is retinal detachment, which is a sight-threatening eye problem that happens when your retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye) is pulled away and separates from supportive tissue.
Is Vuity a good option for me?
Vuity is available with a prescription after seeing an eye doctor and is not available over the counter (OTC). If you are interested in learning more about this new drop, please ask one of our doctor's at your next appointment. We will discuss if this new treatment is a good option for your seeing needs!
What is CVS? A temporary vision condition caused by prolonged use of electronic devices.
Most studies indicate that between 50% and 90% of computer workers have visual symptoms and problems.
Typical symptoms of computer workers are:
These symptoms may be caused by:
•Glare on the computer screen
•Improper viewing distances
•Poor seating posture
•Uncorrected vision problems (farsightedness and astigmatism)
•A combination of these factors
The treatment of CVS depends upon the diagnosis and the extent of the problem. The solution may involve:
Blue Light Contributes to Digital Eye Strain
High energy blue light rays are
difficult to focus – this unfocused visual
“noise” reduces contrast and causes fatigue. All electronic devices give off high-energy, short-wavelength, blue and violet light. Blue light impacts our life in the following ways:
•Disruption to sleep schedule – triggers brain to stop producing melatonin
•Affects memory and ability to learn
•More prone to
•More prone to
Digital eye strain affects kids, too…
80% of children experience burning, itchy or tired eyes after using electronic devices for long periods of time.
To prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain and exposure to blue light, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends the following:
Take frequent breaks. The AOA recommends following the 20-20-20 rule – take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
Please let us know if you have any questions regarding the steps you can take for good eye and vision health in the digital age!
Did you know there are 5.3 million-plus adults and children in the U.S. living with some sort of permanent brain injury-related disability? Many of these injuries are a result of stroke, infectious disease, and brain tumors. But these numbers also include mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), or what we call concussions.
Most of us never imagine that our lives could be impacted by a brain injury, but the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) reports that at least 3.6 million people sustain brain injury each year in the United States. Awareness is so important if we want to reduce the number of incidents and keep our brains healthy.To help increase awareness about brain injuries during Brain Injury Awareness Month, I wanted to share advice from my colleague, Dr. Vincent Schaller, a brain injury and concussion management specialist. Please read his informative blog post “Five Fast Facts About Concussions and Brain Health” below.
1. Concussions Happen More Often Than You Think.
According to the BIAA someone in this country will experience a brain injury every nine seconds. That’s a lot of cases! How this happen so often?
Sudden bumps or jolts can cause the brain to bounce back and forth in the skull, causing injuries of varying degrees. Concussions are TBIs that can cause functional changes in the way our brains work. Concussions most often occur as a result of blows to the head during:
2. Concussion Symptoms Aren’t Always Obvious.
When they happen, concussions may or may not present themselves in obvious ways. TBIs can cause the symptoms you might expect, such as:
advanced screening tools to help facilitate early diagnosis of concussions. Promptly assessment means that we can establish individualized brain injury rehabilitation programs to maximize patient outcomes.
3. Older Adults Are at Higher Risk for Concussions, and Preventive Measures Should Be Encouraged More.
We tend to think about head injuries as they relate to youth sports and professional athletes, but older adults also face high risks of concussion, often simply from falling. Harvard Medical School reported that head injuries from falling are a common cause of hospitalization and even death among individuals over age 65. And the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, from data collected as recently as 2014, a full four in five TBI-related emergency department visits in older adults (aged 65 years and older) were the result of falls. In addition, hospitalization rates stemming from TBI-related emergency room visits were highest among persons 75 years of age and older.
Helping Seniors Prevent Falls and ConcussionsMAC Alliance encourages seniors and their families to take all possible steps to avoid potential concussion-related falls in their households. Why not honor Brain Injury Awareness Month at home by taking a moment to make senior spaces a little safer? Proactive steps can include:
Helmet-wearing should become second nature to children so they develop this good habit for life.
5. Screen Time Impacts Concussion Recovery.
In October of last year, we reported on new research from the University of Massachusetts that supported reducing screen time for post-concussion patients to help reduce recovery times. The findings suggested that avoiding screen time in the first 48 hours of acute-concussion recovery may greatly shorten the duration of concussion symptoms. To allow for important cognitive brain rest following a concussion, Medical director and founder of Mid-Atlantic Concussion (MAC) Alliance, Vincent Schaller, MD, DABFM, CIC, prescribes reduced electronic screen time with little brain stimulation for all his post-TBI patients. Beyond stimulating the injured brain too much, screen use can hamper the initial concussion-recovery process in another way too. For instance, the rapid eye movement involved with watching continually-refreshing LED screen pixilation can cause eye muscle strain for someone who has just suffered a TBI. In addition, backlighting from most screens and the loud noise from some electronic devices may also cause other negative symptoms in post-concussive patients, such as headaches or nausea.
Learning More About the Brain and ConcussionsThe Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) provides detailed information on the complex parts of the brain and how each has its specific task, controlling how we walk, talk, eat and balance, make decisions, process information and more. If you’re interested in learning more about brain injuries, including about treatment, diagnosis and support for patients and families, visit www.biausa.org or call the organization at 1-800-444-6443.
Find a Concussion Diagnosis & Treatment Center in the Mid-Atlantic Region.There are many MAC Alliance Concussion Centers throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia—and we offer telemedicine in New York too. We provide traumatic brain injury assessment via today’s most comprehensive brain-testing tools, as well as rehabilitation therapy, treatment protocols and long-term care management. For your convenience, we offer both in-office and secure telemedicine options for treatment services.
Has your child been diagnosed with myopia? What does this mean for their future and what can you do to help? It's time to learn important facts about myopia, its progression, and the newest treatments.
What is Myopia?
Myopia, aka nearsightedness, is a common vision problem causing blurry distance vision that usually starts in childhood. For clear distance vision, light focuses on the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is a light-sensitive lining in your eye. In a myopia eye, the eyeball grows too long. This means light focuses in front of the retina, making distance vision blurry.
What causes Myopia?
Family history, lifestyle, or a combination of both. When both parents are myopic, there is nearly 1 in 2 chance your child will be myopic. When one parent is myopic, there is nearly 1 in 3 chance your child will be myopic. When neither parent is myopic, there is still nearly a 1 in 4 chance your child will be myopic. Today's lifestyles may also have an impact on the chances of your child developing myopia. These factors include less time spent outdoors; reading, working, and gaming on close-up digital devices; and poor lighting.
Signs of Myopia
-distance vision becoming blurry
-moving closer to the TV
-underperforming at school
-often, there are no symptoms at all
How can Myopia affect my child?
As your child grows, their eyes continue to grow meaning their myopia will likely get worse. This can have a significant impact on their everyday life and possibly lead to future eye health problems. This is because the retina stretches as the eyeball grows longer, and may become vulnerable to disease later in life. Problems may include retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy.
Vision Correction Options
Regular glasses and contact lenses will help your child see clearly, but do not slow down the progression of myopia. Your child may need a stronger prescription as they continue to grow, meaning frequent glasses updates and thicker lenses.
Are there any other options that will slow down the speed at which myopia develops?
Yes! This includes MiSight 1 day contact lenses, which are the first and only contact lens FDA approved to slow the progression of myopia in children age 8-12 at initiation of treatment. Another option is low dose atropine drops instilled in the eyes at bedtime. Ask about myopia management at your child's next eye appointment.
To help parents pick out the toys that will enhance a child’s visual development, we’re offering up our 2021 list of 131 optometrist-approved children’s toys! We’ve also labeled the toys with age-appropriate designations.
Before we dive in, we're going to spend some time on the #1 most-cherished gift you could possibly give a child:
The Most Important Gift You Can Give a Child is Your TimeRead Together
Reading to your child is not only fun, it can have a significant positive impact on their developing reading skills and school performance. Have fun choosing which books you will read together and shoot for reading at least one book each day.
Playing with your kids makes them feel loved and important. It is also a great opportunity to encourage creativity and imagination and guide their learning of academic and social skills. Take the time to play whatever they would like, just make sure to make it extra silly and fun.
Take the time to show your child all of the wonderful alternatives to screen time by getting outside and recreating with them. A simple game of catch provides exercise and improves eye-hand and eye-body coordination as well as depth perception.
Consider giving your child coupons or play money that can be exchanged for you to stop what you’re doing and spend time with them. Your child will love it, we promise!
Ok...on to the List!Obviously, your kids need to play on their own as well. Our vision-friendly gift list includes a list of toys that will enhance a child’s visual development, particularly their functional vision skills.
Functional vision is how your entire visual system -- the eyes, the brain, the visual pathways -- work together to help you interact with your environment. Functional vision includes the visual skill areas of eye teaming, eye focusing and eye movement.
With each toy listing, you’ll find how these toys can improve your child’s functional vision.
Matching Toys to Developmental AgeWhen selecting a toy or activity, be sure to align the gift with their developmental age, rather than their actual age. We've listed the developmental age appropriate to each toy to help narrow down your choices!
If your child has a functional vision problem, you should always consult with your developmental optometrist to choose toys that will enhance your child’s treatment.
Building ToysDevelop eye-hand coordination and visualization/imagination.
Building Blocks (Ages 1+)
Mega Bloks (1+)
Lincoln Logs (3+)
Tinker Toys (3+)
Erector Set (8+)
Pindaloo (9+)Meet Pindaloo! The latest, perfect skill toy set to stimulate brain, eye, and hand activities. Challenging and fun juggling, ball toss-and-catch play based on a simple loop principle. But not too easy! Once you master the basics, you'll find endless throwing and catching tricks for cool interactive and educational play.
Design and create unique one-of-a-kind builds with Magformers. Build your very own castles, racecars, robots and many more items with Magformers patented “always attracting” technology. Magformers is the industry leader in magnetic construction toys. With over 30 different geometric shapes, Magformers promotes creativity, imagination and constructional play.
Roller Coaster Challenge (8+)Roller Coaster Challenge - Build an amusement park in your living room! In this thrilling engineering challenge, players get to build their very own roller coasters. Start by choosing a challenge card and setting up the pieces to match. Then, players use the remaining pieces to build a working roller coaster that meets the build conditions on their challenge card. Roller Coaster Challenge incorporates elements of a logic puzzle, while also allowing for the creativity that stems from free-form building. Once you have solved each challenge, you get to watch a real coaster car glide down the track, complete with dips, curves, and loops! Roller Coaster Challenge earned American Specialty Toy Retailer Association’s (ASTRA) Best Toys for Kids Award in the Logic Skills winner.
VEX Robotics (8+)VEX Robotics is a highly-versatile construction that allows students to build whatever they can imagine. It allows students a platform to immerse themselves in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through the fun of building robots.
Fine Motor Skill ToysDevelop visual-motor integration and fine motor skills.
Finger Paints (1+)Kinetic Sand (1+)Pegboard and Pegs (3+)Coloring Books and Crayons (3+)Dot-to-Dot Activity Books (3+)Play-Doh/Modeling Clay (3+)Chalkboard Easel (3+)Large Bead Stringing (3+)Lacing Cards (3+)Lite-Brite (4+)Silly Putty (4+)Rainbow Loom (5+)Jacks (5+)StencilsSpirographOrigami Sets (8+)Paint or Color By NumbersBead Craft KitsModels (Car, Airplane, Ship, etc.)
Space Perception ToysDevelop depth perception and eye-hand coordination.
Within arm’s length:
Jumpin’ Monkeys (5+)Jumpin’ Monkeys will have you jumpin’ for fun! This cute game has been beloved for years. Players catapult all of their monkeys into the tree first to win! Introduce a new generation to this wonderful game today! For 2 to 4 players, ages 5 and up.
Don’t Break the Ice (3+)Ants in the Pants (3+)Egg and Spoon Race (4+)Fishin’ Around (4+)Flippin’ Frogs (5+)Pick-up Sticks (5+)Marbles (5+)KerPlunk (5+)Operation (6+)Door Pong (7+)Jenga (8+)
Beyond arm's length:
Ball (any kind!) (All ages!)Elefun (3+)Frisbee Rings (3+)Dart Games (velcro) (3+)Nerf Basketball (4+)Box & Balls (5+)Frisbee (5+)Ring Toss (5+)Toss Across (tic-tac-toe) (5+)Cornhole Bean Bags
A classic! You can’t go wrong with a set of cornhole bean bags. We found these at the Cornhole-store.com. (Naturally you’ll need a bean bag toss board to go with it!)
Oball (good for kids who have difficulty catching balls) (6+)Ping Pong (6+)Badminton (8+)Bowling Zombies (8+)Cuponk (9+)Pitchback
Visual Thinking Toys and GamesDevelop visual perceptual skills including: visualization, visual memory, visual discrimination, pattern recognition and sequencing. These skills are important for academics including mathematics, reading and spelling.
Gears!Gears!Gears! (3+)Taking apart and rebuilding things encourages a real understanding of how things work. Gears! Gears! Gears!® building sets feature optional building ideas while also fostering creative, open-ended play.
Thinkfun Laser Chess (8+)
Laser Chess is a “Beam Directing Strategy Game” for two players that combines the spatial thinking skills of chess with the high-tech fun of laser beams. Promotes STEM learning, light and reflection physics. Winner of multiple awards, including a National Parenting Product Award, MENSA Select and Parents’ Choice Silver Honor.
Thinkfun Shadows in the Forest (8+)
Shadows in the Forest is a “Play in the Dark Strategy Game.” This thrilling, immersive play experience brings a distinctive twist to game night – you play in the dark! Promotes cooperative play, strategic thinking, light and shadow physics. As seen in Polygon and TrendHunter. Winner of a Techlicious Best of Toy Fair and National Parenting Product Award.
Challenge yourself with this award-winning, brain-twisting game. Kanoodle contains more than 100 puzzles, perfect for hours of solo play. Just place the pieces shown in the puzzle book, and decide where the rest of the pieces go to complete the puzzle. Varying levels of difficulty will help develop problem solving, strategic thinking and spatial reasoning skills. For a more challenging game, try Kanoodle Genius or Kanoodle Extreme. For an easier version, Kanoodle Jr. offers the same great game concept for players as young as 4.
UNO is a number and color matching game of cards that's fun and easy for kids of all ages. UNO can be played with 2 to 10 players and is appropriate for ages 7 and over. The player who plays first must match a card in their hand to the card on the discard pile. Play continues until one player uses all of their cards. A classic!
Spot It! (7+)
Spot It! is also a number and color matching game of cards that's fun and easy for kids of all ages. The concept is simple: each of the 55 cards in the deck feature eight symbols, and there is always exactly one matching symbol between any two cards in the deck. Your goal is to be the quickest to find the match between two cards.
Color Blocks and 1” Cubes (1+)Wooden form board puzzles (2+)Jigsaw puzzles (3+)Dominoes (3+)Tactilo (3+)Old Maid Card Game (3+)Bingo (3+)Go Fish Card Game (4+)Parquetry Blocks (4+)Tumble Trax (5+)Tangrams/Tangoes (5+)Color Code (5+)Attribute Blocks (5+)Make N Break Jr. (5+)Checkers (5+)Blokus (5+)Rush Hour Jr.(5+)Perfection (5+)Mathlink Cubes (5+)Smart Games IQ Puzzler Pro (6+)Guess Who (6+)Mancala (6+)Chinese Checkers (6+)Set (6+)Math Dice, Math Dice Jr. (6+)Qwirkle (6+)Connect Four (6+)Battleship (7+)Thinkfun Cat Crimes (8+)Bop It (8+)Blink (8+)Racko (8+)Q-bitz (8+)Rubik’s Cube (8+)Color Cube Sudoku (8+) Kanoodle (8+)Rory’s Story Cubes (8+)Amaze (8+)Bejeweled Board Game (8+)Tetris Bop It (8+)Labyrinth (8+)Connect Four Shots (8+)Perplexus (8+)Rush Hour (8+)Sort it Out (12+)Memory GamesDevelop visualization and visual memory
Guidecraft Memory Caps (3+)Memory Game (5+)Loopz (7+)Hyperdash (7+)Simon (8+)Chicken Cha Cha Cha (4+)
Chicken Cha Cha Cha is a fun and fast twist on the memory game. The players' chickens move around the barnyard when the correct facedown tiles are chosen. If your chicken leaps over another player's chicken, it gets to steal its tail feather. When one player collects all the different tail feathers, they win!
Balance and Coordination Toys and GamesDevelop gross motor skills, laterality and bilateral coordination.
Sit and Spin (1.5+)Hoppity Hop (3+)Foam pogo jumper (3+)Walkaroo Stilts (4+)Hoola hoop (4+)Jump Rope (5+)Slip ’n Slide (5+)Pogo stick (5+)Twister (6+)Balance Beam/Walking RailBalance Board Mini-trampoline/TrampolineBicycleSnowboardSkisHappy holidays!
Did you know that refractive error (the need for glasses) is much more common in children with Down syndrome than in the general population?
Getting regular eye exams is very important in children with Down syndrome because eye disorders are so common and are difficult for the pediatrician to diagnose. Because the examination can be difficult for both the child and the doctor, it is best to have the examination done by an eye doctor skilled in dealing with children with developmental delays.
Please listen to this informative interview with our pediatric specialist, Dr. Vincent, and Beth Parillon, mother of Gabby, who is a patient of Dr. Vincent's: https://podcasts.apple.com/.../vision-care/id1552564611...