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Kalispell2

Office Details

580 N. Meridian Rd
Kalispell, MT 59901 view map

  • Mon, Wed, Fri :9:00 - 5:00
  • Tues, Thurs :8:00 - 5:00
Patient Resources

Patient Resources

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Kid's Care Program

At the Vision Clinic we have implemented several programs to promote and maintain kids eye health while trying to preserve Mom and Dad's pocket book.

1.  We provide a comprehensive eye exam that determines if glasses or contact lenses are necessary as well as monitor their eye health for "Lazy Eye" or eye disease.  We also provide a free retinal scan to children 16 years old or younger.

2.  Our Kid's See Free program allows any child that is 10 years old or younger, without vision insurance, to have a free exam as long as another family member has had an exam within the previous 30 days.

3.  All of our frames and lenses are warrantied for 2 years and we will provide a new set of lenses within the first year if the change in prescription is significant enough.

4.  We have a Guaranteed Fit program for contact lenses.  With this program we include a comprehensive eye exam and also a contact lense fitting. We will teach your child the proper techniques for lense insertion, removal, and care of the contacts. Also included are subsequent visits to make sure the fit is good and your child is doing well with the contacts. If your child decides not to wear contacts we will refund the fitting fee. 

As you can see we try to make your child's eyecare experience as hassle free as possible. 

Vision & Learning

My Child Is Near-Sighted. Will Glasses Correct His/Her Learning Problem?

There is controversy in the exact relationship of vision to learning. For example there is a negative correlation between distance refractive error and reading ability. Myopic or nearsighted children who cannot see clearly at a distance without glasses are more commonly good readers. Children who spend tremendous amounts of time reading become nearsighted. Before Alaska became a state myopia was rare. After becoming a state, more than 50 percent of the children in Alaska developed nearsightedness. Thus, correlation is such that nearsightedness or poor distance vision is highly correlated with success in reading. Restated another way, poor distance vision is associated with better reading abilities. Farsighted children statistically are poorer readers than myopic children.

What is the Relationship between Eye Muscle Problems and Learning?

Some of the mechanical visual skills which are related to reading include focusing or accommodation, and eye teaming, or convergence. Fatigue of one or both the systems may interfere with reading. There is also a relationship between eye movement skills such as saccades (whereby we change fixation from one target to the next) and smooth following movements known as pursuits and reading. Children who cannot make accurate eye movements are often found to skip lines and words while reading.

The visual system was originally designed so that the peripheral vision was responsive to motion detection (danger from the jungles) with a central portion for fine discrimination (to identify the source of danger; e.g., a lion.) In the school environment the child is expected to ignore the peripheral portion of their visual system and pay attention with the central portion. If the child can not ignore the peripheral portion, he/she becomes distracted. Improvement in eye movement skills often results in less distraction and fewer errors of skipping words while reading.

My Child Loses His/Her Place. Is That Related to the Eyes?

Reading requires very accurate saccadics, which are fixations from one spot to another. A second type of eye movement which involves tracking is, also, related to attention and reading. Children who have poor eye movements are easily distracted and loose their place. Remember, the eye movement system was designed so that peripheral vision detects motion and danger. Imagine what happens when the system works correctly in the class room. As soon as there is peripheral movement, the eyes move toward the source of movement. This results in the complaint of inattention. Thus, reflexive eye movement skills must be socialized so that they do not respond reflexively to peripheral information. In addition, speed and accuracy must be trained so that one does not lose one’s place.

The skills are easily improvable with vision therapy. Once the information is brought into the eyes, it must be sent back to the brain for appropriate processing. The information must be utilized and integrated with the sensory and motor areas of the brain. Defects in the perceptual (interpretation of visual system) and motor (the integration with output, e.g., hand-eye coordination) may interfere with the reading process. Perceptual motor skills are key in the early acquisition of reading skills. A deficit is important to identify very early on – i.e., five to seven years of age. Remediation of the skills at a later date, such as age 12, will be less effective on reading. Thus, early identification and treatment is essential. It is evident that there is more to good vision than 20/20.

My Child Reverses Letters and Words. Does He See Backwards?

It has been presumed that children who reverse letters or words see them backwards. This is false. They have directional confusion. In the real world direction has no meaning. For example, a chair is a chair no matter which way it is placed. Changing direction does not change interpretation. In the world of language direction changes meaning. Connect the bottom of a chair and it looks like a "b". Turn it 180 degrees it becomes a "d", flip it upside down and it becomes a "q" and flip it again it becomes a "p". Thus, direction changes meaning. The difference between "was" and "saw" is direction.

What Are the Other Visual Components Necessary for Academic Achievement?

As mentioned previously, we should correct all optical errors of the eyes (glasses); eliminate eye muscle problems; and create smooth accurate eye movements. In addition, we should make sure that we properly interpret what we see and use it appropriately. These are known collectively as perceptual skills and include form perception, size and shape recognition, visual memory, and visual motor integration (hand-eye coordination.)

Contact Us

Our professional eye care staff will be happy to assist you with your vision needs. We have treatment options available for everyone. Whether you are interested in making an appointment for a LASIK consultation, need an annual eye exam, or need fashionable eyewear, we can help! Contact us today using the form below, or call us directly at 406-755-5910.

Children's Vision

Did you know that 1 out of every 4 children suffers from vision problems that interfere with learning? Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, academically, socially, and athletically. High-quality eye care can break down these barriers and help enable your children to reach their highest potential! As a parent, make sure you are giving your children the eye care they need. Presented are guidelines from the American Optometric Association.

Infant's Vision

Infant's VisionYour baby has a whole lifetime to see and learn. But did you know your baby also has to learn to see? As a parent, there are many things that you can do to help your baby's vision develop.

When your baby is about six months, you should take him to your doctor of optometry for his first thorough eye examination. Things that we will test for include excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, lack of eye movement ability, as well as other eye health problems. These problems are not common, but it is important to identify children who have them at this stage. Vision development and eye health problems can be more easily corrected if treatment is begun early.

During the first 4 months

Your baby should begin to follow moving objects with the eyes and reach for things, first by chance and later more accurately, as hand-eye coordination and depth perception begin to develop. To help, use a nightlight or other dim lamp in your baby's room; change the crib's position frequently and your child's position in it; keep reach-and-touch toys within your baby's focus, about eight to twelve inches; talk to your baby as you walk around the room; alternate right and left sides with each feeding; and hang a mobile above and outside the crib.

From 4-8 months

Your baby should begin to turn from side to side and use his or her arms and legs. Eye movement and eye/body coordination skills should develop further and both eyes should focus equally. Enable your baby to explore different shapes and textures with his or her fingers; give your baby the freedom to crawl and explore; hang objects across the crib; and play "patty cake" and "peek-a-boo" with your baby.

From 8-12 months

Your baby should be mobile now, crawling and pulling himself or herself up. He or she will begin to use both eyes together and judge distances and grasp and throw objects with greater precision. To support development don't encourage early walking - crawling is important in developing eye-hand-foot-body coordination; give your baby stacking and take-apart toys; and provide objects your baby can touch, hold and see at the same time.

From 1-2 years

Your child's eye-hand coordination and depth perception will continue to develop and he or she will begin to understand abstract terms. Things you can do are encourage walking; provide building blocks, simple puzzles and balls; and provide opportunities to climb and explore indoors and out. There are many other affectionate and loving ways in which you can aid your baby's vision development. Use your creativity and imagination. Ask your doctor of optometry to suggest other specific activities.

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Pre-School Vision

During infant and toddler years, your child has been developing many vision skills. In the preschool years, this process continues, as your child develops visually guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills, and the visual motor skills necessary to learn to read.

preschool

As a parent, you should watch for signs that may indicate a vision development problem, including:

  • a short attention span for the child's age
  • difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination in ball play and bike riding
  • avoidance of coloring and puzzles and other detailed activities

There are everyday things that you can do at home to help your preschooler's vision develop, as it should. These activities include

  • reading aloud to your child and letting him or her see what you are reading
  • providing a chalkboard, finger paints and different shaped blocks and showing your child how to use them in imaginative play
  • providing safe opportunities to use playground equipment like a jungle gym and balance beam
  • allowing time for interacting with other children and for playing independently.

By age 3

Your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure your preschooler's vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor can prescribe treatment including glasses and/or vision therapy to correct a vision development problem.

Here are several tips to make your child's optometric examination a positive experience:

  • Make an appointment early in the day
  • Allow about one hour
  • Talk about the examination in advance and encourage your child's questions
  • Explain the examination in your child's terms, comparing the E chart to puzzle and the instruments to tiny flashlights and a kaleidoscope

Unless recommended otherwise, your child's next eye examination should be at age five. By comparing test results of the two examinations, your optometrist can tell how well your child's vision is developing for the next major step. . .into the school year.

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School-Age Vision

A good education for your child means good schools, good teachers and good vision. Your child's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. So when his or her vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. The basic vision skills needed for school use are:

  • Near Vision: The ability to see clearly and comfortably at 10-13 inches.
  • Distance Vision: The ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arms reach.
  • Binocular coordination: The ability to use both eyes together.
  • Eye movement skills: The ability to aim the eyes accurately, move them smoothly across a page and shift them quickly and accurately from one object to another.
  • Focusing skills: The ability to keep both eyes accurately focused at the proper distance to see clearly and the change focus quickly.
  • Peripheral awareness: The ability to be aware of things located to the side while looking straight ahead.
  • Eye/hand coordination: The ability to use the eyes and hands together.

If any of these or other vision skills is lacking or does not functions properly, your child will have to work harder. This can lead to headaches, fatigue and other eyestrain problems. As a parent, be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or School-Age Visionvisual processing problem. Be sure to tell your optometrist if you child frequently:

  • Loses their place while reading
  • Avoids close work
  • Holds reading material closer than normal
  • Tends to rub their eyes
  • Has headaches
  • Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
  • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Uses finger to maintain place when reading
  • Omits or confuses small words when reading
  • Consistently performs below potential

Since vision changes can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the optometrist at least every two years, or more frequently, if specific problems or risk factors exist. If needed, the doctor can prescribe treatment including eyeglasses, contact lenses or vision therapy. Remember, a school vision or pediatrician's screening is not a substitute for a thorough eye examination.

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Protective Eyewear

Please don't overlook the importance of safety eyewear when playing sports. Each year, hundreds of men, women, and children are injured when playing sports. To help prevent sports eye injuries, athletes should use protective athletic eyewear whether or not prescription eyewear is needed. One choice is a sports frame with prescription or non-prescription polycarbonate lenses is another choice. Baseball or softball players who are hit in or near the eye, or suffer a blow to the head, should seek immediate care at a hospital emergency room or from an eye care professional.

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Children & Contact Lenses

The important thing for parents and their children who wear contact lenses to remember is that contacts are prescribed medical devices. Contact lenses are not a cosmetic accessory. While the wearer may be happy about his or her new look, it's extremely important that the lenses be properly cleaned and worn according to the instruction of the optometrist.

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