Advanced Vision Therapy
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Common Vision Problems
20/20 has always been the "holy grail" to the Optometric field. However, 20/20 is not enough, as many studies and successfully treated Vision therapy patients can attest too. Visual Acuity, 20/20, is just one of several areas we now know are responsible for sight, visual memory and visual discrimination.
How does our visual system work? Check out this cool video!
Common Vision Problems treated with Vision Therapy
The following is a list of the most common diagnosis found during a Developmental Eye Exam and remediated with Vision Therapy.
Convergence ProblemsConvergence - ability to merge two images (ie one image from each eye). Occurs when the eyes are misaligned; either too close-together or too-far apart, causing double or blurred vision and headaches. This condition does not result in eye-turns. Types are:
- Convergence Excess - too tight or aligned too close together.
- Convergence Insufficiency - eyes are aligned too far apart or too loose. (Read more about convergence insufficiency in this article)
- Information on Binocular Disorder Diagnosis from American Optometric Association
- Convergence Insufficiency Demonstration
Download this PowerPoint slide to see what it is like to have convergence insufficiency.56.99 K | 9/8/2016
Accomodative IssuesThis is the ability to focus and relax, a skill that is needed to see distance and near images clearly and without effort.
- Accommodation Excess - the focusing muscle is too tight, therefore looking at things up close becomes blurry when moving eyes from distance images to near images (ie the classroom is a perfect example, kids need to read the blackboard and write stuff down)
- Accommodation Insufficiency - the focusing muscle is too loose, therefore distance vision is blurry.
This occurs when eye tracking and teaming (eyes ability to work together) are not developed, or are developed improperly. This condition often results in reading comprehension disabilities, visual memory and visual discrimination deficits. Diagnosed using Readalyzer. When eye tracking/teaming malfunctions, the results usually are confusion and comprehension related. Science has discovered that the Magnocellular cells (Mcells), located in the area of the brain where visual processing occurs, can't process visual information properly because the information being sent from the eyes is jumbled, and not in the proper order. A simple sentence translation by the Mcells of the following sentence "the boy ran as fast as he could so he wasn't late for dinner" would look something like this: "Ran boy as fast as so he late for could dinner."
Oculomotor Disorder is also considered to be the root cause of most reading disabilities. Watch the video below to see an example.
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- Tracking Disorder Demonstration
For another demonstration, download this PowerPoint slide.53.87 K | 9/8/2016
This occurs in 5% of the population. Strabismus occurs when one eye is misaligned; lazy eye; eye turn and the brain actually sees double or turns off and ignores the images from the turned eye in order to stop the double vision. This also causes lose of depth perception or 3D vision. This condition is usually genetic, or environmental. Most patients are born with this condition. The latest studies show that surgery is usually not the best correction for Strabismus, unless cosmetic results are all that matter. In fact, vision therapy is 85% successful for Exotropes (eye turns away from nose) and 75% successful for Esotropes (eye turns in towards nose)l. Recent studies indicate that Strabismus surgery actually reduces the success rates of the Strabismus vision therapy by 25%. Why? Surgery only fixes the mechanical problem, the eye turn. It does not address the vision aspect. So, if surgery is done on a patient with vision disorders resulting from Strabismus, then vision therapy is the only way to regain proper vision in that eye, regardless of surgery.
AmblyopiaOne eye's visual acuity is uncorrectable to 20/20. May result in an eye-turn with or without suppression. Suppression of images from one eye is a result of the brains compensation mechanism to stop double or uncorrectable blurred vision.
Experts have estimated the eyes gather 80% of all information, so this will have a major impact on a person's functioning. That is why Amblyopia, if not treated with Vision therapy early in its diagnosis (not surgery, which only corrects the cosmetic eye-turn), will result in permanent visual system dysfunctions:
- Loss of Teaming or Binocular eye movement - eyes will not longer move in-synch, most often resulting in Lazy Eye (Strabismus)
- Loss of depth perception (3D vision 7 Convergence), resulting in clumsy or uncoordinated movements
- Loss of Bi-laterality - which can result in letter reversal
- Learning disabilities - reading, comprehension and near-work focusing (computer and reading)
Amblyopia can be treated with vision therapy.
- Eye Opening Facts about Amblyopia32.93 K | 12/20/2012
Traumatic Brain Injury
Concussions resulting in double or blurred vision, eye soreness and headaches. When a traumatic brain injury results in a Visual system disorder, like Oculormotor dysfunction or Convergence Insufficiency, it can be treated with vision therapy.
Reading Comprehension, visual memory and/or visual discrimination deficits.
In The News
- Learning To See In Stereo (January 8, 2009) written by Joe Palca in NPR
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20/20 is not enough
A person can have 20/20 eyesight, and yet have a visual problem which does not allow them to get meaning and understanding from what is seen.
Eye Alignment Disorders
Syntonics or optometric phototherapy, is the branch of ocular science dealing with the application of selected light frequencies shined through the eyes. It has been used clinically for over 70 years in the field of optometry and shows promising results for people with autism and other disorders. Learn more on our Syntonics page