Sun City Vision Clinic
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Vision Therapy

This page is split into three sections. The first two sections describe the two types of vision therapy we offer at the office. Most patients need some of both types of therapy. The third section discusses how we conduct vision therapy in our office.

Why is VT Important?

1 out of 4 children has an undiagnosed vision problem interfering with their ability to read and learn. Is it really ADHD? Is your child really just 'average' in school? Why is paying attention to homework so difficult for your child? You won’t know until you have had a Vision Therapy evaluation with a qualified optometrist. When a child appears inattentive in school, our medical system is quick to medicate children and label them with ADHD. Teachers may say they are 'slow', 'poor readers', 'inattentive', or exhibit poor handwriting. Visual Deficiencies are learning disabilities not solved by a pill. The solution: Vision Therapy. And studies show that it could improve your child’s symptoms, school performance, and overall well-being.

Section 1: Introduction to Visual Efficiency Therapy at Our Office

Visual Efficiency disorders are a type of learning disorder characterized by a patient, typically a child, unable to control their eyes as a team. When attempting to shift their gaze to a target, they may consistently over or undershoot their eye movements. When attempting to look a near object, they may not be able to bring their eyes together (converge). When looking into the distance one eye may drift inward. Their eyes ability to focus may not be developed. These problems controlling one’s eyes are not directly obvious by parents or teachers, but are extremely distracting to a child attempting to engage in learning activities, often leading to a concurrent diagnosis of ADD.

Nearly all humans are born with the potential for good eyesight, but vision- the ability to identify, interpret and understand what is seen- is learned and developed starting from birth. In learning to walk, a child begins by creeping, crawling, standing, and finally walking unaided. A similar process from gross to fine motor control takes place in the development of vision. One visual skill builds on another, step by step. But many people miss a step, or do not complete a step, or must begin to perform in school or other visually demanding tasks before an acceptable foundation of basic visual skills is in place.

Science indicates that we do not ‘see’ with our eyes alone. Rather, vision is the reception and processing of visual information by both the eyes and brain. Training the brain is both possible and important. So important that many athletes take visual training for improved performance in their sport. But for some, even a basic foundation of visual skills is missing.

Vision Therapy, or VT, is the standard of care for developing, improving, and enhancing people’s visual performance when lenses alone are inefficient. Behavioral optometrists have developed vision therapy in combination with appropriate glasses to:

  • Develop visual skills needed to achieve for effectively at school, work, and play
  • Enhance functioning on tasks demanding sustained visual effort
  • Compensate for vision and eye problems which have already developed

The Visual Efficiency Skills – To Be Assessed during VT Evaluation

  1. Visual Acuity
  2. Fixation
  3. Tracking Objects
  4. Focus Changing (Accommodation)
  5. Eye Teaming (Binocularity)

What Problems can Visual Stress Cause?

  1. Headaches
  2. Poor school performance
  3. Double Vision
  4. Eye Discomfort & Fatigue
  5. Eye Suppression
  6. Strabismus & Amblyopia

Can a visual efficiency deficit be fixed?

Yes. Especially in children under 12 years old, we can improve your child’s vision and performance in school. Depending on the condition, 10-30 45 minute therapy visits will be necessary. In rare cases, eye muscle surgery will be necessary to realign the eyes, and that will be discussed during your initial evaluation. 


Section 2: Introduction to Visual Information Processing Therapy at Our Office

Visual Information Processing disorder is a type of learning disorder characterized by a patient, typically a child, unable to quickly and reliably interpret what their eyes see. When looking at an object, they may not be able to differentiate the object from its background. Telling similar objects apart may be difficult. Remembering what things look like may be difficult. The patient may flip or reverse their letters, which could be misdiagnosed as dyslexia. The patient may be slow to read, and reading is so difficult that it will affect their comprehension of the material read. The patient may have difficulties with fine motor control, such as writing, and knowing their lefts and rights. Recent Studies indicate that being unable to fully concentrate on a single visual stimuli may lead a visual information processing disorder to be misdiagnosed as ADD.

A feeling of success is the greatest motivating force of classroom activities. Sadly, students who have come to anticipate failure in their efforts to perform the tasks expected of them in the classroom will have no particular motivation because their effort will not produce the reward of praise and the joy of feeling they are succeeding. For children with visual information processing deficiencies, their initial failure is guaranteed at a young age and that failure becomes a downward spiral leading to misdiagnosis of ADD and simple labels like ‘slow’. We will help them learn the visual skills required for school achievement. This will greatly increase the probability of success in all scholastic areas. We like to consider vision therapy ‘learning to learn’- the fundamental ability to interpret what our eyes see quickly and efficiently- something that is required in every classroom.

The Visual Information Processing Skills – to be assessed during second VT evaluation

  1. Visualization
  2. Figure-Ground
  3. Visual Attention
  4. Visual Memory
  5. Laterality and Directionality
  6. Ocular-Motor

What Problems can Visual Processing Deficiency Cause?

  1. Difficulties Learning
  2. Poor School Performance
  3. Poor Hand-Eye Coordination
  4. Poor Memory

The Link Between Visual Efficiency and Visual Information Processing

Most Visual Information Processing disorders are linked closely to Visual Efficiency disorders. Being able to control your eyes (visual efficiency) is a foundation for learning to interpret the visual information your brain receives (visual information processing). For that reason, most children will dramatically improve their Visual Information Processing naturally once Visual Efficiency is improved. As your optometrist, I will take some initial data on your child’s ability to process visual information, then as your child’s visual efficiency improves with therapy, we will monitor and consider adding visual information processing therapy to their visits.


Section 3: About Our VT Program

This page will provide you with more detail on how our VT program operates.

VT Evaluation

Your first appointment will not be a therapy appointment, but a longer appointment to gather information on your child’s condition.

Therapy Appointments

A forty-five minute appointment time will be reserved for you at the most convenient time available every week. This appointment time will be reserved for you throughout the therapy program. Since your therapy is progressive (gets more difficult as we go), it is important that treatment be continuous. Make up sessions are scheduled for missed appointments. If circumstances require a prolonged absence, we will discontinue the program and reschedule at the earliest available opening. Weekly, the therapist spends time consulting with the doctor and planning your prescribed program. The doctor may sit in or conduct therapy as they feel necessary.

Home Assignments

Home therapy assignments will be given every appointment. These assignments are the most crucial piece to your child’s success. Vision Therapy is exercises for your eye muscles and for your brain. If you only exercise once a week, you will make little progress. We expect our therapy patients to engage in therapy 4-5 times a week for 25-45 minutes each session.

Equipment

Equipment will be reserved for you to use in the office and to take home. Make sure to bring your loaned equipment in each week because often your child will be ready to move on to the next type of equiptment, and we limit how much can be at home at any time in case of accidental theft. If equiptment is not returned, or is returned in an inoperable condition, you will be charged for the instrument at wholesale cost. If you wish to purchase an instrument, we will help you do so at wholesale cost. We are sure you will find many of these instruments interesting and fascinating!

Prizes

To encourage children taking Vision Therapy to do their homework, we will supply them with tickets which can be converted to prizes every week. Do not hesitate to remind us to provide you with tickets if we forget :o) We are looking forward to having a lot of fun as we work!

Fees

We ask that you pay at least one therapy session in advanced to cover the equiptment sent home with your child. For more information on our financial policy, ask for a financial summary or visit our website’s VT Fee page by clicking here.

Read More About Vision Therapy On this Blog

Scientific Research and Studies on VT
Visualization Skills
Other Visual Information Processing Skills
The Eye 'Teaming' Skills: Vergence
The Eye 'Focusing' Skills: Accommodation
The Eye Movement Skills: Fixation, Pursuit, and Saccades
Eye Turns in Children: Strabismus

Read More About Vision Therapy On the Web

EYEcenter Optometric Sacramento's Introduction to Vision Therapy
American Optometric Association's Vision Therapy Portal


Lysle Shaw-McMinn, O.D.

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Written for Our Blog on Oct 25, 2014

                                                                                                                                                                           






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