VISION THERAPY INSTITUTE

Our mission is to transform lives through vision, wellness and relationships. We strive to empower people to experience their true potential.
 

TRY VISION THERAPY FIRST

Vision is a neurological process that happens in the brain. Our eyes serve as light receptors that transfer information to the brain.  Therefore, many visual conditions that affect how we FUNCTION in the world cannot be treated with glasses alone. Optometric vision therapy uses principles of neuroscience and neuroplasticity to effectively treat conditions such as crossed eyes, lazy eye, vision-based learning problems and poor eye-hand coordination in children and adults. Our comprehensive approach incorporates coordinated movement, balance, visual processing, and cognitive abilities to establish and strengthen the neural connections between the brain and the visual system. Our doctors, therapists, and staff provide a personalized approach to help patients develop the necessary visual skills to improve their quality of life in the classroom, workplace, and home.

Who Benefits from Optometric Vision Therapy?

It is never too late for Optometric Vision Therapy! We can help both children and adults experiencing:

In addition, we offer Sports Vision Training to provide athletes with advanced visual skills to gain a competitive advantage in their respective sports.

OPTOMETRIC VISION THERAPY

Vision therapy helps patients live happier lives and perform better in school and at work.

Our highly trained staff provides a skilled team approach to help children and adults develop necessary visual skills through a personalized, non-invasive program. Often times, Vision Therapy may eliminate a possible surgery that had been previously recommended.

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Why Vision Therapy?

Visual skills are learned during early childhood development but can be improved at any age with practice and training. An increasing amount evidence-based research has shown Optometric Vision Therapy to be successful in:

  • Helping patients develop or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities
  • Improving visual comfort, ease, and efficiency
  • Changing how a patient processes or interprets visual information by enhancing or developing visual procesing
  • Treating conditions, such as crossed eyes, lazy eye, and poor eye-hand coordination
  • Rehabilitation of visuo-spatial deficts
  • Retrain the visual system to help eliminate visual symptoms after a brain injury
  • Establish multi-sensory integration

What to Expect?

Each patient works on a one-to-one basis with our doctors and therapists. The frequency and length of treatment vary with diagnosis and depend on the individual needs and goals of the patient. In each therapy session, the patient is guided through a series of visual challenges that often incorporate the use of:

  • Therapeutic lenses
  • Prisms
  • Filters
  • Electronic targets with timing mechanisms
  • Optometric Phototherapy (Syntonics or Photobiomodulation)
  • Balance boards
  • Virtual Reality
  • Sanet Vision Integrator
  • Techniques that integrate movement, balance, auditory processing and cognitive abilities

What is Vision Therapy?

Optometric Vision therapy is an individualized and supervised program, prescribed to treat developmental and/or neurologically induced dysfunctions of the visual system. The American Optometric Association defines vision therapy as a sequence of neurosensory and neuromuscular activities individually prescribed and monitored by a doctor to develop, rehabilitate, and enhance visual skills and processing.

Optometric Vision Therapy sessions include procedures designed to enhance the brain’s ability to control:

  • Eye Alignment
  • Eye Teaming
  • Eye Focusing 
  • Eye Tracking and Movements
  • Visual Processing (Including visual-spatial skills, visual memory and visualization)
  • Visual-Vestibular integration (Visual Vertigo)
  • Visual Cognition

Optometric Vision Therapy helps overcome the delays or dysfunctions in vision. Vision Therapy involves what is referred to as neuro-adaptive learning and perceptual learning. Neuro-adaptive learning arranges for the patient to learn how to coordinate the input into his or her brain by learning to coordinate the muscles of his or her eyes. Once this happens efficiently, then therapy progresses to perceptual learning; that is, learning how to accurately perceive and process the information that arrives from the eyes to the brain.

Research

According to research, the most effective model of care for optometric vision therapy is office-based vision therapy, conducted under doctor supervision. While there have been attempts to simplify and provide a “self-help” home-based model of care with periodic office visits, as a basic level of care for patients, the research has proven these home-based models of care ineffective.

SUCCESS STORIES

Read How Vision Therapy Has Changed Our Patients’ Lives.

We’re not the only developmental optometrist helping improve people’s lives through vision therapy. Check out these links to other vision therapy success stories!

Vision Therapy is the start of a new beginning..

Wyatt now has the ability to print legibly. His penmanship has improved 100%. He is self motivated and his grades have improved. His teachers have noticed the difference. We feel like this is the start of a new beginning for Wyatt that will lead him to success in school & life. We are forever grateful to Dr. Brinkley and his staff.

- Wyatt

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- Wyatt

Wyatt now has the ability to print legibly. His penmanship has improved 100%. He is self motivated and his grades have improved. His teachers have noticed the difference. We feel like this is the start of a new beginning for Wyatt that will lead him to success in school & life. We are forever grateful to Dr. Brinkley and his staff.
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Improvements! Very pleased with the care and quality of service. Thank you!!

The vision in Allie’s “lazy eye” has not only been dramatically increased, but she is now also able to use both eyes together. We were surprised to see such dramatic results in just a few months. We have been very pleased with the care and quality of service of the staff at vision therapy. Thank you!

- Allie

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- Allie

The vision in Allie’s “lazy eye” has not only been dramatically increased, but she is now also able to use both eyes together. We were surprised to see such dramatic results in just a few months. We have been very pleased with the care and quality of service of the staff at vision therapy. Thank you!
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He’s now happily reading books a full grade level above

Ian’s reading has improved. Before vision therapy, he had a difficult time keeping his place. Now, he can read books a full grade level above his current grade. He is actually enjoying reading – which is a big change!

- Ian

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- Ian

Ian’s reading has improved. Before vision therapy, he had a difficult time keeping his place. Now, he can read books a full grade level above his current grade. He is actually enjoying reading – which is a big change!
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Dr. Katie Davis, OD, FCOVD
Dr. Katie Davis (she/her) was raised in Columbia, SC. She graduated with Honors from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago in 2014. In 2017, she became a board-certified Fellow in the College of Vision Development. She serves on local and state optometric boards, as well as chair of the SC ACT 251 Learning Disorders Task Force and on the Brain Injury of SC Safetynet Task Force.  Additionally, she has lectured across the state on topics relating to vision and concussion. 

In our practice, she focuses on optometric vision therapy for all ages, specialized contact lenses and myopia management. 

Additional Awards & Recognitions Include:

  • The Gas Permeable Lens Institute Award for Clinical Excellence, 2014
  • The Good-Lite Pediatric Equipment Award, 2014
  • Optometric Horizon Award by the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association (SCOPA), 2016
  • Young Optometrist of South Carolina, 2020

Curriculum Vitae

Patient Care Coordinator
Raigne Kirton
Raigne has worked in the optometric field since 2013. She has experience in practice administration, reception, optical, paraoptometric tech, billing and management duties. Raigne is married to her childhood best friend and they have 3 cats, 3 dogs and a slew of other animals. They enjoy spending time outdoors as much as possible on their little farm. 

Patient Care Coordinator
Misty Mack
 

Patient Care Coordinator
Beth Moon
 

Vision Therapist
MaryEmma Fraser

MaryEmma (she/her) was born and raised in Massachusetts and moved to South Carolina about 5 years ago. She enjoys the excitement and reward that comes with being a Vision Therapist. She loves to work with patients of all ages and help eliminate the vision issues that hold them back from achieving their full potential. Her goal is always to help the patient reach their goals, and have fun while doing it! She is engaged to be married and lives in Columbia with her fiancé and furbaby. MaryEmma loves to help people and animals alike, spending most of her free time helping rehabilitate and release wildlife with the Carolina Wildlife Center.

Ophthalmic Technician
Karen Kiernan-Casillo
Optical Leader
Melissa Gunter
Melissa was born in Frankfurt, Germany and moved to South Carolina at age seven.  She has worked for Dr Brinkley since 2005 and has worked in our optical boutique since 2011. She enjoys helping people see the best they can while still being fashionable. She has been married since 2007 and has three wonderful kids. In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching her kids excel in baseball, basketball, and gymnastics.
Optician
Geneva Huggins
Geneva was born in Manhattan, New York, and moved to South Carolina at an early age. She is a happily married mother of three. Prior to her introduction to the optical field in 2008 as a vision center manager, she worked in retail. She began her career with Dr. Brinkley at Vision Therapy Institute in 2015 in our optical boutique. She enjoys interacting and getting to know people in our optical and helping them meet their lifestyle eyewear needs. Her hobbies include painting and jewelry making.

Office Leader

Shannon MacMillan
Shannon (she/her) has been working as a vision therapist since 1993. Shannon specializes in working with adults and children with developmental delays and/or brain injuries. She also has an extensive background in working with the most difficult cases of strabismus and amblyopia. Shannon is a firm believer in treating the patient, not just the diagnosis and has formed lifetime bonds with many of the patients and families she has helped over the years. 

 

Shannon was born and raised in Columbia, SC and has a large, close knit extended family.  She is married to her amazing Canadian husband. They have a total of 5 grown children and 6 pets. Outside of work Shannon enjoys spending time with family and friends, being in nature and traveling as often as possible.

Ophthalmic Technician
Natalie Hawkins
Natalie began her career in eyecare in 2007 while living in North Carolina. In 2016, she returned to Lexington. She loves spending time with her husband and son, Jaxson. When not at the office you can find her enjoying family time on the lake or by the pool.  She can be found in our office by following her sounds of laughter and she always appreciates a good dad joke.
Certified Vision Therapist
Santana Prescott, COVT
Santana moved from Virginia to Newberry, South Carolina at a young age. After graduation, she moved to Lexington, SC where she married and became a mother of three. She started at Vision Therapy Institute in 2014. She enjoys working with her patients and helping them succeed in therapy, school, and life. Santana’s favorite hobbies are spending time with her children and family, coloring, and listening to music.
Certified Vision Therapist
Michael Whetstine, COVT
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Michael (he/him) moved to South Carolina when he was one year old and has been working in the optometric field since high school. Michael has been married to his high school sweetheart since 2014.  He has been committed to being a Vision Therapist for 6 years and enjoys working with people of all ages and types of vision problems. Michael challenges patients with new and creative techniques to better their vision. He is an avid reader, and a huge fan of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and science fiction.

Call to Book an Appointment Now!

If you have questions about our services, would like more information, or would like to book an appointment, please call during office hours: 803-732-4099. If it is after office hours or you prefer to send an email, we will be in contact the following business day. Thank you!

Vision Therapy Institute

GET IN TOUCH

1620 Browning Road,
Columbia, SC 29210

WE WILL BE MOVING ON AUGUST 18, 2021 TO

3618 Sunset Blvd, Suite A

West Columbia, SC 29619

visiontherapy@vtisc.org

Ph: (803) 732-4099

Fax: (803) 227-8992

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Office Hours

Monday: 9am – 6pm

Tuesday: 10am – 6pm

Wednesday: 9am – 6pm

Thursday: 9am – 6pm

Friday: 9am-1pm

Saturday & Sunday: Closed