Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) is a condition in which one eye does not see as clearly as the other eye. This condition develops in early childhood and is easily reversible if caught early, but for many it goes undetected until it has become established. In amblyopia, the better seeing eye takes over and actively inhibits the other eye from seeing. The accepted medical treatment is to patch the “good eye” in order to make the “bad eye” stronger. Parents often find that getting the kids to wear the patch is extremely difficult and shortly after the patching treatment is finished, the eye returns to poor vision. We understand amblyopia as the brain’s inability to make sense of both eyes so it “shuts off” one eye. Our treatment approach involves teaching the brain to use both eyes at the same time without penalizing one eye. Through guided activities, the brain learns to use both eyes equally with the reward being not only good eyesight but depth perception as well.
We have successfully treated amblyopia without the need for patching and in persons of all ages. Others will tell you it can’t be treated past the age of 8-10 years. We say it is never too late.
Strabismus (Eye Turn) is an eye that either “turns in” or “turns out”. Sometimes this is also called a “crossed eye” or a “wall eye”. Most strabismus develops in infancy or early childhood. The standard medical treatment if an eye doesn’t straighten with the help of glasses is to surgically straighten the eye. Surgery is based on the premise that the eye muscle is “weak”. Based on our understanding of how vision develops, we approach the strabismus as an eye teaming problem. When the brain was unable to make sense of the information from both eyes, it moved one out of the way in order to more easily ignore it. Our treatment approach involves helping the brain to use the information from both eyes and to develop coordinated eye teaming. The reward is eyes that are aligned perfectly and depth perception (3D).
Many of our patients have already had strabismus surgery. For some, they have had multiple surgeries, because surgery rarely results in perfectly aligned eyes that work together. We can help those who haven’t had surgery and those who have. For those patients who are planning on surgery, we can prepare the visual processing prior to surgery and follow-up after surgery to ensure the best possible results.
Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is an eye teaming problem for near visual tasks such as reading or computer work. It is characterized by the eyes inability to converge (or point both eyes toward the near task) and maintain a clear, single image. It manifests as headaches, eye fatigue, poor concentration and print that moves, looks shadowed or is double. CI can be found in both children and adults and can be the cause of children being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Convergence insufficiency will not go away on its own. Instead, the individual learns avoidance, or compensating behaviors such as covering an eye. The most effective and consistent treatment is office based vision therapy to train the eye teaming. This was demonstrated by a 2008 National Eye Institute Study which compared various treatment approaches.
Our patients have experienced dramatic changes in work performance, and school performance following therapy for convergence insufficiency.
In their book, The Mislabled Child, Drs. Brocke and Fernette Eide discuss how visual problems can masquerade as ADD or ADHD. We understand that good attention and the ability to concentrate are a function of a well developed visual system. Brain science has demonstrated that 80% of the fibers feeding into the brain’s attention center called the RAS (Reticular Activating System); the area effected by medications for ADD/ADHD come from the visual system.
Many parents are surprised to find that during the course of a vision therapy program, their child is able to pay better attention in school and stay focused to complete homework in a timely fashion. We do not treat ADD/ADHD, but through the development of a properly functioning visual system, patients will find that that attention and concentration improve.
Humans are not born with Vision; only limited eyesight. Vision is learned through development and through movement to eventually become our dominant sensory process. For those who are delayed developmentally, have sensory processing difficulties, or have physical restrictions; vision will also be affected. We work to help these individuals develop and use their vision more effectively and to integrate it with the other senses.
Parents eagerly share how their child responds more readily to other therapeutic interventions and how it has impacted their child’s daily lives.
If a child is smart but having difficulty learning to read, has poor handwriting, can’t line up digits in a math problem, or memorizes words for a spelling test and then misspells them later, they may have a vision related learning problem. It takes 16 visual skills for learning in a classroom. These skills include tracking, focusing, visuo-motor integration (eye/hand coordination), visual memory, visual imagery and many more which have to work together efficiently for the gathering and processing of visual information. We take a developmental approach to therapy, helping our patients to learn to move their eyes with precision, coordinate them with the rest of their bodies, and to think visually. Our patients finish their therapy programs with increased confidence, better school performance, and the skills needed to succeed.
Vision is pervasive which means that there are connections to vision in every area of the brain. As a result, injuries or degenerative processes in the brain will have devastating effects on normal function. Those suffering from a brain injury or a neurological disorder will often experience headaches, dizziness, double vision, light sensitivity, motion or pattern sensitivity, an inability to read or work on a computer comfortably, poor balance and many other difficulties that limit their ability to return to normal daily activities such as work or school. Their eyesight will be normal, and the eyes are healthy, but everything is not OK.
We understand Brain Injury. Each injury or neurological insult is as individualized as the patient who has it. Using the science of nueroplasticity, balanced with experience and compassion, we structure a program that meets the needs of each individual.