Can autism affect eyesight?
A spectrum of complicated neuro-developmental diseases known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is known for their repetitive behavioral patterns and difficult social interactions. As early as the first six to twelve months, children can start to exhibit symptoms. The diagnosis can be challenging at times and won’t be achievable until the child is older, though, because symptoms can be delayed.
It refers to the range of symptoms which include Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. People have heard of autism but they might not know what is behind that and what involves in it because it is a complex condition. Talk to a child psychologist or an online counsellor to know more Autism and its effect on physical and mental health of an individual.
Symptoms of autism may vary in the severity. Some common symptoms of autism are:
- They are not able to adopt to new routine
- They have repetitive actions
- They cannot make eye contact
- They have problems with other people
- They don’t like physical touch or physical affection
- There have delays in language
Eye exams in autistic children
Children with autism frequently experience eye issues, yet these issues can frequently go untreated. Parents must be aware that children with ASD require routine eye exams to evaluate their visual abilities, ocular health, and eye sight.
Eye doctors usually recommend some functional visual evaluation in the form of:
- Eye movements
- Eye teaming
- Visual processing
- Visual-spatial judgment
- Central/peripheral vision
Common behavior among autistic children
- Poor eye contact
- Looking through or beyond objects
- Extreme aversion to heights or a lack of a healthy aversion to heights
- Inability to follow moving objects with accuracy.
- Irregularities in ocular alignment (eye turns)
- A lazy or bifocal eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Head-turning (looking at objects from the side of the eyes)
- Eyes rolling
- Stimulating the eyes (flapping fingers in front of eyes)
Common eye problems with autistic children
It is unclear what causes autism exactly. Therefore, it is also unclear why vision problems arise. However, it is clear that visual issues are a common symptom in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. One issue could be any of the following:
Peripheral and central vision coordination issues:
Issues with side or central vision may make it difficult to follow an item with the eyes. For instance, a person with autism might gaze over to the side rather than keeping their eyes fixed on an object.
Eye movement issues: People with autism frequently experience eye movement disorders, such as crossed eyes. Crossed eyes, also known as strabismus, happen when the eyes are uneven and point in different directions. One eye may be pointing upward and the other inward, for instance. According to research published in the journal Strabismus, individuals with autism spectrum condition had a higher prevalence of strabismus than people in general.
Visual defensiveness: People with autism frequently react to stimuli with hypersensitivity. Loud loudness, for example, could be uncomfortable. The same thing can apply to vision as well. Some people are sensitive to visual information because they are visually protective. It could involve difficulty establishing eye contact, which results in constant eye movement and scanning of the visual environment.
Problems with spatial visual processing: Problems with spatial processing can cause repetitive visual activities, such as blinking repeatedly or viewing spinning objects.
For people with autism, treating visual difficulties is frequently a component of a comprehensive therapy approach. To identify the precise concerns that need to be addressed, a vision assessment must be completed as a first step. Even a vision evaluation alone may create some difficulties. Despite having a wide range of special needs, individuals with autism may find it challenging to participate in a visual examination. The best candidate to conduct the tests is typically an ophthalmologist who has experience completing thorough examinations and visual evaluations with individuals and children who are nonverbal or have special needs.
A treatment strategy can be created following an examination. Gaining greater eye coordination and enhancing visual information processing may be part of a therapeutic approach. Autism spectrum disorder-related visual impairments might be difficult to treat, although they can be improved. Typically, vision therapy is suggested as a solution to issues. Activities to enhance eye mobility, such as eye tracking, may be a part of therapy.
Enhancing visual abilities and the neurological connections between the eyes and the brain are the goals of vision therapy, it is a very effective and individualized therapeutic approach. A vision therapy is programmed in such a way that it can help children with ASD to interpret all the visual information more effectively, which will ultimately help them to comprehend their surroundings. This can then reduce their anxiety and improve their capacity for communication and social interaction. Each therapy plan is customized to the child’s individual requirements and includes exercises and activities that are suitable for their age.
The following are typical improvements for children with ASD who get vision therapy:
- Spatial organization with images
- Binocular perception
- Information processing using images
If you or your child is facing problems related with autism, talk to nearest child psychologist and ask for their advice on how to manage problems associated with it. You can also take help from an online counselling session where a professional can guide you and psycho-educate you about autism and ways to take care of a child having autism.