by Min-Jae’s mother
My family is living in the USA. My son was 10 years old when I was told by a pediatric ophthalmologist that my son’s eyes are slightly turned inward. I didn’t take account of it much, because my son seemed to be normal in his appearance. Several years later, my son, Min-Jae, complained of blurry vision, and so we went to see a behavioral optometrist. We learned that Min-Jae had vision issues, but they could be treated with vision therapy. In those days, Min-Jae had difficulties with his school activities, and had problems with socializing with friends. He didn’t like school. We decided to take a break in Korea, and were fortunate enough for Min-Jae to have therapy with Dr. Shin, who formed the COVD Korea International Chapter.
My son had poor stereo acuity. He used only one eye when he looked at distant objects. At age 10, Min-Jae’s visual perception was that of a 5-7-year-old. We then realized why our our son was struggling in school despite being verbally talented, why he was a fast runner, but was never good in baseball and soccer, and didn’t enjoy playing those sports activities. We understood why he loved when I read to him, but didn’t want to read on his own; why he had poor handwriting, and struggled with drawing. We eventually understood that all of my son’s difficulties were related to poor visual function. Thanks to the outstanding care of Dr. Shin and others, Min-Jae really enjoyed and benefited from optometric vision therapy. It was an additional bonus that his visual acuity which was 20/60, improved to 20/20, even without eyeglasses.
My son is back at school in the USA, and has been so busy in day-to-day life that we often completely forget about his previous need for vision therapy. When he was in 6th grade, we transferred our son from public school to private school to enhance the quality of his education. Min-Jae was overwhelmed in his early days at the new school due to the loads of daily assignments and frequent quizzes. However, it didn’t take long for him to adapt and find his place in the new school system. He gets along with classmates, and everything has been going smoothly. Most of all, Min-Jae excels in academics.
The last day of 6th grade, my son was awarded a medal for First Place in overall academics in the entire school. On top of that, Min-Jae won 3rd place in the Spelling Bee competition. My husband and I are still amazed at his accomplishing this feat, as we know our son didn’t prepare for the competition beyond simply glancing at words. Min-Jae memorizes and understands things quickly and easily; he studies only 10-30 minutes per subject during final exams, and can answer most of the questions. Before vision therapy, our son had some problems with studying, especially subjects that required good memory. Now, during lunch break or between classes, he completes assignments that should take over an hour at home. It’s clear to us vision therapy made it possible for Min-Jae to reach this new level of ability and success.
My husband and I are surprised by how our son can study so well with less effort. Sometimes his classmates ask him to tell them his secret to studying, and my son says, ‘I don’t have any secret to tell you, but I just can understand and get it.’ Of course, his classmates think my son is hiding some secret. When I visit the teachers, their universal comment about my son is that ‘Min-Jae is such a focused and detail-oriented student.’ One teacher even told me that my son is a gifted student in academics.
Min-Jae has earned the nickname “Little Leonardo da Vinci” at school, due to his detailed works. His handwriting is amazingly well-organized and pretty. Min-Jae’s visual perception has greatly improved, and we now understand that this has greatly elevated his memory ability and brain functions, relative to visual information processing. Now our son loves to play soccer and baseball, and he occasionally hits a home run.
During this summer semester break, we visited Dr. Shin in Korea for a regular check-up and were glad to find that Min-Jae’s visual functions remain the same after completion of therapy three years ago. Vision therapy is well-known among parents in the USA, and I anticipate that many children in Korea may have vision problems like my son. I hope numerous children with vision problems fulfill their dreams through vision therapy just like our precious son, Min-Jae.
Thank you to Min-Jae’s family and Dr. Shin in Korea for sharing this amazing story! If your child is struggling in school, they could be experiencing an undiagnosed vision problem, just like Min-Jae. Locate a Doctor near you for a comprehensive vision exam!