As many as 27 per cent of adults in their sixties have an actual binocular vision or eye movement disorder. This number rises to 38 per cent for those over age 80. About 20 per cent of the general population suffers from a binocular vision disorder, which affects depth perception and therefore may increase the risk of falls.
A research team from the University of Waterloo, led by Dr. Susan Leat, has linked abnormal binocular vision with age, general health, and antidepressant use. Data included age, general and ocular history and symptoms, use of antidepressants, a habit of smoking, refraction, visual acuity, BV and eye movement status for the most recent full visual examination, and an examination 10 years prior. The researchers discovered the prevalence of any BV or eye movement abnormality was 41 percent, 44 percent, and 51 percent in the 60 to 69, 70 to 79, and 80-plus age groups, respectively.
Although the study suggests that the rate of binocular vision disorders in older adults is higher than expected, there is good news.
- Eye Tracking Problems, exist when one or both eyes do not move smoothly, accurately, and quickly across a line or from one object to another. Additionally, this includes the inability to fixate (lock ones’ eyes) onto a single target (like a word on a printed page)
- Eye Focusing Problem or Accommodative Dysfunction
- Eye Teaming Problem, Binocularity, Convergence: The ability of both eyes to work together to process visual stimuli is called eye teaming, and when compromised, hinders the ability to concentrate on close work, makes reading difficult, and may also affect physical coordination in sports, play and other daily activities.
- Perceptual Problems (Visual Information Processing Deficits): When there are tiny micro delays in how this information is processed – perceptual problems may be encountered. People see through two specific mechanisms, fixation and saccades. Fixation occurs when a single eye, or both eyes, are focused on an object at any given distance. Saccades are rapid movement of the eyes as they shift from object to object, laterally (as in moving from one word to another), or changing the line of sight from near to far, far to near, etc.
- Lazy Eye, Amblyopia: A neuro-visual processing disorder which results in the patient perceiving a blurred image from one (or occasionally both) of their eyes which is not correctable with glasses or contact lenses, and is not caused by ocular disease or ocular structure anomolies.
- Strabismus, Crossed Eye, Wall Eye: occurs when one of the eyes turns in, out, up, or down.
Many binocular vision disorders are treatable with glasses, vision therapy, or in some cases surgery. Keeping your glasses up-to-date through regular eye examinations to avoid large prescription changes is one way to maintain good vision, decrease risk for falls and maintain a good quality of life as you age. Vision therapy exercises provide natural, non-invasive correction for certain eye conditions that affect visual acuity, eye movement skills, depth perception, focusing ability and eye teaming functionality.
- Pencil push up therapy
Pencil push up therapy is the eye exercise most commonly prescribed by ophthalmologists. It is an eye exercise in which a pencil is held directly in front, at arm’s length. The pencil is then drawn slowly towards the nose. The exerciser follows the pencil with his/her eyes, trying to keep it in clear focus. When the pencil starts to appear as a double image, the pencil should be drawn away from the nose again. The exercise is repeated several times per session, for several sessions per day. The aim is to correct binocular visual disorders, in particular strabismus.
- Lens fixation
Lens fixation is an eye exercise conducted with the assistance of an ophthalmologist, using a series of lenses of different strengths. The patient views an object through these lenses to train the eyes to adjust to different visual fields.
- Prism fixation
Prism fixation is an eye exercise conducted with the assistance of an ophthalmologist in which the patient looks into a series of prisms with specific orientations. The orientation of the prism will depend on the condition being treated.
- Shifting fixation
Shifting fixation is an eye exercise conducted with the assistance of an ophthalmologist in which the patient is required to change focus from near to distant objects. It is used to train the eyes to adjust to different fields of vision.
Patching is the practice of covering one eye with a patch to encourage the patient to use the alternate eye. In some instances the patient will be asked to carry out exercises, such as focusing on distant letters, while the dominant eye is patched. It is typically used as a treatment for amblyopia.
Last , but not the least, breathe……. really breathe. Our body and even the eyes suffer from want of oxygen and breathing deeply will supply it to them. Remember healthy, bright, sparkling eyes look beautiful.