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Vision Therapy

A Short History of Vision Therapy

girl glasses city 640×350You’ve probably heard about vision therapy – perhaps from another medical professional or others who’ve experienced the benefits firsthand. But questions remain.

That’s where we come in.

Below, we’ll shed light on what vision therapy is, what it isn’t, and how it came to be.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy (VT) is a subspecialty of optometry consisting of a series of individualized visual exercises to treat the patient’s specific visual needs. Sessions take place regularly, in-office, while under the supervision of an optometrist, and are combined with daily vision at-home exercises performed by the patient.

Vision therapy has been proven to successfully treat or improve the following eye conditions:

  • Strabismus (eye turn)
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Convergence insufficiency
  • Eye-tracking or focusing problems
  • Post-concussion vision problems

We use a host of tools and techniques to strengthen the eye-brain connection, including:

  • Prisms
  • Therapeutic lenses
  • Eye patches
  • Balance boards
  • Electronic visual stimulants
  • Auditory aids
  • Many other specialized tools developed for vision therapy

The goal of vision therapy is to help patients improve or develop visual skills or abilities in order to increase visual comfort and effectively process visual information.

What Vision Therapy Isn’t

VT isn’t meant to rid the patient of glasses or contacts, as it doesn’t correct refractive errors –such as myopia or hyperopia.

You can think of VT as a program that uses various therapies and exercises to retrain the neural processes of the brain thus improving the eye-brain connection. Ultimately, the goal of vision therapy is to teach the patient new visual skills in an engaging and motivating way until the learned skill becomes automatic. So while glasses or contacts are often used in addition to vision therapy, the goal isn’t for the patient to see 20/20 without them.

Who Can Benefit From Vision Therapy?

Adults and children with a vision disorder can benefit from VT.

Someone with a visual disorder may experience any of the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness while reading
  • Poor depth perception
  • Floaters
  • Poor memory
  • Head tilt
  • Blindspot
  • Blurred vision
  • Covering or closing one eye

Note that people with poor visual skills may act out, avoid reading, and consequently have low self-esteem. Improving their visual function will do more than just help with academic or work performance — it can change how they view themselves and improve their self-confidence and self-esteem.

How Did Vision Therapy Come About?

child reading 640×350Vision therapy has been used by practitioners for over 150 years! It was originally developed by ophthalmologists searching for a non-surgical alternative to treat strabismus (eye turn). These ophthalmologists created a series of visual exercises called “orthoptics”, meaning “straightening of eye”.

While orthoptics was effective in straightening the patients’ eyes, it didn’t improve other symptoms of visual dysfunction, such as tracking problems, poor depth-perception, focusing, and processing issues.

In the mid-twentieth century, an innovative group of optometrists realized that for vision therapy to be effective, vision must be viewed as much more than a simple mechanical neuro-muscular system. They then went on to develop and expand vision therapy into the successful method of visual improvement it is today. This new form of vision therapy has been giving patients a whole new way of interacting with the world.

History of Vision Therapy from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Call EyeExcel Vision at Downtown Vision Centre to schedule a functional eye exam and determine whether vision therapy can help you or your children improve vision skills for increased success and a higher quality of life.

Dr. Linda Medeski provides vision therapy and other services to patients in Vancouver, , Camas, Portland, Hillsboro, and throughout Washington.

3 Reasons Why You Should Kickstart the New Year With Vision Therapy

holidays mug blog imageIt’s that time of year again when we sit down with a pumpkin spice latte in hand and think of a resolution we can take upon ourselves for the new year. Here at EyeExcel Vision at Downtown Vision Centre, we believe that the best resolutions are the ones that positively impact other areas of our lives and enhance our overall quality of life. Vision therapy offers just that! This therapy is made up of a series of customized visual exercises designed to develop or regain visual processing skills.

Vision Therapy is highly effective in treating:

  • Amblyopia, (or “lazy eye”)
  • Strabismus, (or “eye-turn”)
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Focusing disorders
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Vision, balance, and memory problems associated with brain injury

Even those with 20/20 eyesight can benefit from vision therapy because perfect eyesight doesn’t mean perfect vision. Below are the ways in which vision therapy will help you kick-off the new year.

Improve Existing Vision Skills

You’re good at what you do, be it at work, school or sports. But can you do better? By training the eyes and brain to work in unison, you increase your potential for greater performance. Not only will you be more efficient, but performing tasks will become more enjoyable. This especially applies to school-aged children, as their brains are still in rapid development. Vision therapy effectively enables the brain to correctly process information for optimal academic success.

Learn New Skills With Ease

Many people make it their resolution to learn a new skill in the upcoming year but an underlying vision problem can interfere with that. Since learning is 80% visual, vision therapy offers an excellent opportunity to gear up for success! Undiagnosed or untreated vision problems related to convergence and focus can cause memory and reading problems and hinder learning. Dr. Linda Medeski will use an array of tools, such as prisms, specialized lenses, filters, balance beams, and computerized visual activities to train the eye-brain connection and help you learn more efficiently in almost any area that requires vision.

Gain The Confidence You Crave

Whether you’re a pro-athlete or a 4th grader struggling to read, improved vision skills will boost your confidence. This confidence will surely trickle into other areas of your life leading to increased self-esteem.

Start 2020 by empowering yourself or your child with vision therapy. Call EyeExcel Vision at Downtown Vision Centre to book your appointment today.

EyeExcel Vision at Downtown Vision Centre serves patients in Vancouver, Camas, Portland, and Hillsboro, and throughout Washington.

Is My Child Too Young for Vision Therapy?

Preschool Children Vision TherapyThe first years of a child’s life are crucial in ensuring the healthy and normal development of various body parts, especially the visual system. As a child’s body grows, so do the eyes. This can cause changes in vision. Keeping a close eye on, well, your child’s eyes, can help ensure that they are developing in a healthy way.

It’s important for parents and teachers to be on the lookout for problems with visual processing, as they can interfere with a child’s academics, social life, and extracurricular endeavors. This is especially evident during the school years when reading, writing, homework, and after-school activities become a part of their normal daily routine.

Even if a child has no refractive errors (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness) and has 20/20 vision, he or she may still have difficulties with visual processing or focus. These types of visual complications are often more difficult to detect, but may still impact various aspects of a child’s development.

When a child’s visual difficulties hinder their learning or social interactions, it may be time to try vision therapy.

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a personalized regimen of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions. Each patient has unique needs and different degrees of visual health, which is why Dr. Linda Medeski and the team at EyeExcel Vision at Downtown Vision Centre create a customized vision therapy program to get the best results for your child.

Vision therapy is compared to physical therapy, only for the eyes instead of the entire body. The techniques and exercises can teach the eyes to improve specific areas of vision, such as focus, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, and visual tracking, among other skills. The doctor may include prisms or special eyeglasses to boost the therapy program.

Most children’s vision therapy takes place in our office and usually once a week. You’ll be instructed to continue some of the exercises at home for 15-20 minutes daily, which will support the in-office treatment.

At What Age Can Children Begin Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is offered to children as young as 6 years of age. Kids can develop problems with visual perception and clarity that aren’t always detected with a standard vision exam or school screening. Of course, every child is different, and the best way to know if they’re ready for vision therapy is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Linda Medeski.

Does Vision Therapy Really Work?

Vision therapy has been proven to improve visual skills and functions in both children and adults. It is an approved treatment by recognized organizations in the medical community, such as the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

Keep in mind that it can take several months to notice significant improvement. Consistency is key. Young children, especially in the toddler years, need a steady routine to achieve the best possible results.

It’s important to note that vision therapy does not fix your child’s learning abilities or correct any refractive errors. The goal is to improve their visual function so that their skills in reading, writing, schoolwork, and social activities are strengthened for a better quality of life.

Contact Dr. Linda Medeski and the knowledgeable staff at EyeExcel Vision at Downtown Vision Centre to schedule a consultation and see whether vision therapy is right for your child.

Dr. Linda Medeski serves patients in Vancouver, Camas, Portland, and Hillsboro, and throughout Washington.