If you have any question about the influence of how we evolved on our health, I hope that the following information from The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Lieberman convinces you….
After writing his first book which was about the Johnstown flood, David McCullough decided that the stories that he wanted to research and share were about character. His books have shown what is good in people and what can be accomplished especially when people work together, while making sure that we can identify with them by showing that they were also human and, like all of us, had flaws.
He emphasizes that they did not live in the past; they lived in their present. The American Spirit is a selection of his speeches. Because they were spoken and because they were brief, the messages are explicit. The following are some of his words that caused me to stop and ponder. I hope that they have the same effect on you. Continue reading
What it Means to be Alive
By, Brian Christian
This is truly an unusual book written by an author who could be considered a young Renaissance Man or polymath. Brian Christian has a dual degree from Brown University in computer science and philosophy. He also has a MFA in poetry from the University of Washington. Alan Turing stated in 1950, that computers would be thinking one day. The impetus for Christian’s research and the book is the Turing test in which judges are challenged to distinguish who is human and “who” is a computer. An annual competition commenced in 1991, and the computers almost won in 2008. Brian Christian was chosen to be one of the humans competing in 2009. In trying to prepare to prove that he is more human than the computers, his preparation takes him into the area of language and also into the question of what it is that makes us human. The book is informative, insightful, and entertaining. Continue reading
How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education
Susan Wise Bauer
Susan Wise Bauer is qualified to write about school and education. She is the author of 13 previous books and co-author of another, all on learning and education. She was home-schooled and home-schooled her children. She has practical experience on how educational systems work. If you and your child are struggling within the system, Susan Wise Bauer has practical recommendations to improve the fit between your child and the system. As she states: “Schools exist to serve children, not the other way around.” She also shares recommendations on homeschooling if that is your choice. Continue reading
Times change but basic human needs remain the same. While parenting needs to adapt to changes over time, such as smart phones, it also needs to remain unchanged in its fundamentals. While western society is more focused on the individual than traditional eastern societies, children need to learn to grow up within a community and be able to contribute to that community. Continue reading
Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is the most common interference with maintaining precise binocular alignment in which a person’s eyes cannot be seen to turn. It is one of a class of conditions which produce similar signs and symptoms. Each of these conditions are treated with lenses, prisms, and/or optometric vision therapy. To be visually comfortable and efficient, binocular alignment must be within a ½ degree angle. Eyes that slip in, out, up, or down from this precise alignment compromise visual input. The effects are most obvious in reading due to the complexities of the task and the requirement for sustained ocular motor precision and speed. Eyes jump and stop to look four times a second while reading, or about 250 times a minute. When eye alignment drifts even minutely during these jumps, the eyes must realign at each stop or the degraded visual input will interfere with perception.
Because there is no obvious deviation of the eyes, these conditions are often overlooked. Problems are observed but it may not be realized that they are visual. Individuals, particularly children, may not report their visual disturbances because the disturbances are normal for them. A problem-focused history may bring them out. (See the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey at the end of this blog.) Diagnosis of these conditions requires additional testing, beyond what is usually considered to be a comprehensive examination. Examinations which do not include this testing tend to add to the confusion when patients are told that there is nothing wrong with their eyes.
Convergence insufficiency causes a person’s eyes to not triangulate accurately and automatically for reading, writing, and using electronics. The system may work for a limited time but not have the stamina to maintain comfort, attention, and accuracy.
Convergence insufficiency rarely occurs in isolation. It is almost always associated with difficulty focusing and is often coexists with poor tracking. Like other neuromuscular coordination problems which lead to compensations, it is subject to fatigue. The problem is exacerbated by prolonged eyestrain. This occurs as the school year proceeds or after additional eyestrain at work over a period of weeks or months. Staring is particularly stressful. This happens to children when they must stare to decode words as they are reading. It also takes place in the early years of writing before making letters and words become automatic and children must stare at their pencil point as they are drawing letters.
Avoidance is the most common sign in children. For adults who find avoidance impossible, eye fatigue, headaches, and sleepiness are most common. When the limits are exceeded, double vision, blurring, and apparent movement of print can occur. Convergence insufficiency is common with post-concussion syndrome and is associated with amplified symptoms in this population.
Lenses, prisms, optometric vision therapy, and modifications of workstations and lifestyle are necessary to treat binocular vision dysfunctions. There must be adequate rest. Each visual system has its own tolerance for how long it can stare at illuminated screens without symptoms. Many work stations are set up poorly and people often do not take sufficient breaks. Children often have excessive homework in the early grades.
Adequate treatment requires that eye alignment, focusing, and tracking become automatic and sustainable for extended periods of time. Being able to consciously align your eyes is not adequate. We cannot think about our eyes and simultaneously think about what we are doing. Analogously, I can still run, but ball sports do not work well when getting to the ball uses attention needed for deciding what to do and doing it when I get there.
Optometric vision therapy uses techniques to develop accurate eye movements and perception supported by practice at home to develop automaticity. Trying harder may work for a time, but performance will be inconsistent and cannot be sustained. When treatment is continued to completion and appropriate visual habits are maintained, these problems should not recur.
Other blogs you may find interesting:
Heike Schuhmacher, MD
Vision and Learning does an excellent job of explaining the complexities of vision. Dr. Heike Schuhmacher manages to do this with a light touch aided by wonderful illustrations. Continue reading