It begins with the moment your child comes in the door from school. Your first thought is, “What do WE have for homework tonight?” How many hours of tears, yelling and complete frustration will it take in order to attempt to complete the work that the teacher says should only be taking 30 minutes at the most?

How many times will your child make excuses and leave the homework table to use the restroom, look off into space, need to be redirected and write a simple sentence?

You long for an evening that would include a peaceful family dinner and maybe a board game or family walk in the park. But you know that is not going to happen! You are just hoping to get it all done before it is time for bed and then agonize over the fact that it is highly likely that you will repeat this entire process again tomorrow.

So why is it that your bright child cannot get through homework, comprehend anything that is read and would never even consider picking up a book to read for enjoyment?

Maybe, Something is Awry with Vision

Maybe, just maybe there is something going on with his/her vision that goes way beyond the ability to see 20/20 on the eye chart.

What if it were physically painful to do near work?

What if the words were jumping around the page so much that it was next to impossible to follow across the line let alone have it make any sense?

What if while doing near work, especially at the end of the day, the words and letters went double?

What if the only way to correct that was to lay your head down on the table, cover an eye or turn your head in a way that you were only using one eye?

Would it not be easier to avoid the work or race through it just to get it done with no worry if it were neat or even correct?

If you had seen this way all of your life, would you even be able to tell anyone that this is happening? You probably think everyone sees this way.

So, What are these Eye Issues?

The two main culprits are Convergence Insufficiency and Pursuit/Saccadic Movement (Tracking) Deficiencies.

Convergence Insufficiency occurs when the two eyes are not able to turn in comfortably for near tasks. Think about reading and any near work. The eyes should naturally come together or converge. Many times they do not. Try holding a pencil in front your child about 12 inches from their nose. Slowly bring it toward the nose and watch the eyes. Do they follow it in all the way? Does an eye swing out? Does the child say it is uncomfortable or makes the eyes water? If the eyes are not turning in comfortably, a convergence insufficiency could be possible.

Pursuit/Saccadic Movement (Tracking) Now try having your child slowly track a pen or pencil as you move it very slowly first from side to side and then in a circular motion about 12 inches from the face. Are the eyes able to stay on the pen or pencil without jumping or looking away? Do this for at least a minute or two. If you see that the eyes are jumping or jerking, a tracking issue should be suspected. If the eyes cannot move smoothly across a page, or the eyes are unable to stay turned in comfortably for lengths of time, reading and comprehension becomes very difficult and sometimes impossible. Now, if this is how your eyes were working when trying to do homework, would it be reasonable to think that maybe it would take you much longer to get it done or you would want to avoid it at all cost?

Treatment and Solutions

Dr. Brodie is trained in Behavioral Optometry, and certified with the College of Optometrists and Vision Development (COVD). He performs all the tests and evaluations  needed to diagnose and treat convergence and tracking issues, and makes recommendations for treatment.  There IS hope for an end to homework wars!

Buy Local?  What’s the big deal?

Does it really make a difference where we buy our groceries, gas, household supplies and yes, even our eye examinations, glasses and contacts?


First, It is important to support the small, local businesses in our community.  These businesses employ over half the people in the community; according to some reports about 52% of all businesses nationally are categorized as small (100 workers or less).  Two out of three people will most likely be employed by a small company.  That is A LOT of people!  If we support these businesses we keep wealth in our community.  If we shop at stores owned by large conglomerates which are national or international in scope, we send much of that wealth out of our community.  Why does wealth matter?  If individuals make a good living with a small company, they will prosper and make a difference as they shop and invest in our communities.  The wealth cycle will multiply as people shop and invest in other small businesses.  Shopping local will provide more jobs for many of our friends, family and neighbors! 

Infographic from

Second, I believe customer service will be much better if we shop locally.  If we have a problem and the company is local, our problem will most likely be corrected much more quickly than contacting a customer service department out of state as we will probably deal with a human face-to-face and thus our satisfaction will be much higher.  It is ALWAYS better to deal with someone in person when purchasing something or when we have a problem.  A local business will usually go out of their way to assist us as they rely on word-of-mouth advertising and referrals for their business to continue and grow.  You will not be a number if you contact a local business and make a purchase or need assistance and odds are you will not need to jump through hoops to receive a refund or make an exchange. 

Local businesses tend to donate more money to local charities and causes such as schools, sports teams and events that support our community.  Most donations come from the Mom and Pop shops as opposed to a large, national chain.  If we shop at a local store, some of this money will come back in the form of donations and support from the business such as a school fundraising event for our kid’s school!  A local business owner will want to give back to the community which is a win for everyone!

If every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 a month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy.

As we head out this week to shop and do business, let’s remember our local companies and support them!  Not only will it help employ many people in our area, but it also will make us feel good about our ability to contribute!  We are part of our community so let’s do all we can to make it great!