About Vision Therapy Offered At Visionary Eye Care
What is Vision Therapy?
Do you and your child have “homework wars?” Do you struggle to get them to read or to finish their school assignments? It’s possible that they have a vision issue holding them back from achieving their full potential. Homework and reading may be discouraging and frustrating to a child who does not properly see the page. Because they don’t know any differently, your child may not tell you that something is wrong with their vision. Instead, they may be misidentified as lazy, a slow learner or having ADD/ADHD.
Vision Therapy is an effective, nonsurgical treatment for many vision problems that cannot be fully resolved with glasses or contact lenses. Your child works one-on-one with a member of our highly trained therapy team to improve their visual skills. Each 50-minute therapy session occurs once or twice a week, and home therapy is done daily for about 10 minutes. Dr. Michael Cook, O.D., F.C.O.V.D., who is board certified in Behavioral Optometry and Vision Therapy, guides each individual’s therapy program.
In addition to therapeutic activities, our therapy services inlcude specialized medical equipment, eyeglasses and contact lenses that are prescribed to improve reading efficiency. With commitment, Vision Therapy can often permanently resolve vision problems that reduce a child’s ability to read, learn and pay attention.
Who Needs Vision Therapy?
Good vision is more than being able to read an eye chart. In fact, many children with 20/20 eyesight still require vision therapy because other issues affect their vision. Therapy can help treat an array of vision problems, including deficiencies in:
- Eye focusing (needed for up-close viewing)
- Eye teaming
- Eye tracking
- Depth perception
- Eye turn (also known as strabismus)
- Ambylopia (also known as lazy eye)
- Processing of visual information
- Eye-hand coordination
In addition, these symptoms may indicate the possibility of a learning-related vision problem:
- Frequent loss of place
- Needs finger or marker to keep place
- Adds words, omits words or rereads words or lines of text
- Good with math when numbers are involved, but struggles with word problems
- Confuses similar looking words
- Failure to recognize the same word in the next sentence
- Poor reading comprehension; reads a whole page of text and cannot recall what they read
- Whispers to self for reinforcement while reading
- Letter or word reversals
- Poor spelling
- Book held too close to the eyes
- Headaches that increase with near work
- Wiggles or fidgets while reading or doing homework
- Head tilting or closing one eye when reading
- Fatigue, frustration, and stress while doing close up work
- Short attention span while doing close up work
- Labeled as “smart in everything but school,” “working below potential,” “lazy,” “ADD/ADHD”, “Learning Disabled,” “behavioral problems,” or “Dyslexic”
A specialized eye examination with Dr. Cook can help detect vision problems early, so that your child can work to their best potential.
Click here to download a simple checklist. A score of 20 or higher may indicate that a vision problem exists, and an evaluation is recommended. Please call us if you have any questions or would like more information.
Our Vision Therapy Process
Step by Step
The first step to any Vision Therapy program is a comprehensive eye examination. Our doctors will examine your child’s ocular health, determine if they need spectacles for near or far visual tasks, and evaluate how their eyes and brain work together as a team. Whether your child complains of poor eyesight or simply exhibits slow learning, don’t delay their eye exam! What you thought was a learning disability could simply be an inability to see the whiteboard, which in most cases will be helped by corrective lens.
If issues are detected where glasses alone won’t help, our doctor will recommend an in-depth Binocular Vision Examination to evaluate how well both eyes are working together, their focusing and tracking abilities, depth perception and visual processing and perceptual skills. The functionality of your child’s visual system will determine whether they can benefit from Optometric Vision Therapy.
If Vision Therapy is the recommended program of care, the next step is a Perceptual Evaluation. Performed with one of our vision therapists, this evaluation will help us determine the specialized program of care that best addresses your child’s specific needs.
Using the information gathered from both the Binocular Vision Evaluation and the Perceptual Evaluation, we will present you with an in-depth Binocular Vision Report that breaks down your child’s specific visual abilities and skills. We will provide you with an understanding of how the deficits in their visual system are impacting their everyday life. This report can help explain to teachers, counselors and employers why your child may require educational accommodations while going through treatment.
Each patient’s vision therapy program of care is specially designed by Dr. Cook and the visual therapy staff to meet each patient’s specific needs. No two programs are the same. Time and commitment from the patient, the family and the staff are necessary for success. The vision therapy sessions range from 45-50 minutes in length and are scheduled either once or twice weekly, depending on the doctor’s recommendations and your child’s compliance with home therapy.
Your Child’s Overall Eye Health
We recommend bringing your child in for an eye exam at 6 months, age 3, and then during the summer before 1st grade. Less than 15% of kids have their eyes examined before they start school. This is shocking when you realize that up to 80% of all learning occurs through vision! Knowing this makes you realize how critical good vision is for your child to learn and progress in a regular classroom setting.
(l-r) Dr. Cook, Madison (happy graduate) and Regan (vision therapist)
Vision Therapy Success!
Check out this TED talk at the link below on why vision disorders are often mistaken for learning disabilities!
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s vision, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Visionary Eye Care online or call us at (813) 425-9596 .