Autism

Image of a child's hand wearing an autism bracelet.

Symptoms and Problems Caused By Autism

Autism is a neurological disorder in which the person has difficulty processing and reacting to information received from their senses. The individual also has trouble communicating and interacting socially.

Signs of autism include:

  • Lack of shared social interaction
  • Postponement in development
  • Untimely response to sensory information

As a result of the condition, autistic people commonly have visual problems, including:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Gazing at spinning objects or light
  • Short-lived peripheral glances
  • Side viewing
  • Difficulty using visual information efficiently
  • Trouble staying visually focused
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Crossed eyes
  • Problems with motor skills and depth perception
  • Troubles with eye-hand coordination
  • Sensitivity to light

In addition to the above complications, there are often challenges with coordinating central and peripheral vision. So, for instance, if asked to track an object with their eyes, an autistic person generally will not look directly at the target. Rather, they will glance over or look off to the side of the object. On the other hand, individuals may disregard peripheral vision all together and stay fixated on a specific spot for extended periods of time.

The inability to merge both peripheral and central vision can result in problems processing and incorporating visual information. And when visual processing is inhibited, motor, speech, mental and perceptual capabilities could be impacted.

Testing for Autism

Many times, autistic people are visually or tactually defensive. As it specifically relates to vision, this means that the person tends to continuously scan visual information as a way of trying to process its meaning.

A primary care physician will and can diagnose autism, but an optometrist can evaluate vision and perform tests that examine the individual’s visual abilities. Tests usually consist of having the person perform actions—like sitting, standing, walking and throwing a ball—while wearing specialized lenses and/or yoked prisms. By doing this, the optometrist is able to inspect their postural adaptations and how they see and react to visual stimulation.

Once information from the tests is gathered, the specialist can prescribe lenses to help with astigmatism, farsightedness or nearsightedness. Vision therapy may also be recommended and can be used to encourage visual stimulation, eye movement and awakening of the central visual system. All forms of treatment are intended to help autistic individuals establish visual space, increase peripheral stability, improve central vision, have better eye coordination and enhance how the person processes visual information.

A follow-up examination will likely be scheduled every three to five weeks to evaluate progress.

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Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I had such a great experience today! It was hands down the most personable and informational eye exam I have ever had and I have been wearing glasses nearly my entire life! Highly recommend!"
    MP
  • "Dr. Wegener was so great with my daughter! She had a previous experience at another optometrist's office that left her feeling pretty scared about eye exams. Dr. Wegener was patient, explained everything in detail, completed her exam without any surprises or scares, and was very encouraging when she was picking out frames. She left with a huge smile on her face, excited to start wearing glasses. Will definitely be bringing the rest of the family! Thanks, Dr. Wegener!"
    BH
  • "It was an amazing experience and they explained everything very well. Everyone made me feel super comfortable and made sure I understood what they were explaining to me. Will definitely refer everyone I know to them and I am definitely making this my permanent eye doctor office."
    CS
  • "Doctor Wegener goes above and beyond for his patients. I can't say enough good things about him. He responds extremely quickly even after hours through their Facebook page and even met us after hours for an emergency. I refer everyone I know to him."
    JJ
  • "Recently visited Dr. Wegener for our 7 year old son. We had a great experience! Dr Wegener was patient with our son's wiggles, but communicated clearly with him, in order to get a thorough exam. Dr. Wegener took care to fit our son's glasses well, which doesn't always happen at larger eyewear stores. I also appreciated all the education Dr Wegener provided. Ashley, the receptionist, is friendly and helpful, and the entire office is calm and welcoming."
    Amy H.
  • "I can't say enough great things about Doctor Wegener. He fit my son in short notice for an eye issue and met my husband on a day the office was closed for what we considered an emergency. He's incredibly kind and cares about his patients. I will recommend him to everyone"
    Joleen J.
  • "Dr. Wegener and his staff are amazing. We saw him for a second opinion and couldn't have been happier with our experience. He was extremely thorough and really got to the root of the problem. We have loved every aspect of our care and will definitely be regular patients from now on."
    Christine M.
  • "Staff is so friendly & helpful and there is a calm feel to the office which is so nice. You don't feel like you're in a cattle call waiting for your number. Dr. Wegener equally brings a relaxed, calm, yet thorough and knowledgeable experience. He is the first in all my years of eye exams and eyewear fittings who took the time to actually educate me on my eyes and care for them. You get a personal feel and know you've been heard.

    For those who avoid making phone calls to another human being for appointments - fear not! You can use messenger or texts to talk to them!

    Great experience, highly recommend!"
    Heather O.