The Vision Therapy Institute follows a long history in the profession of optometry helping people see better and succeed in their life.Our office originally started as a place just for vision therapy. Now, we have expanded to include routine eye exams, specialty contact lenses, and we even have an optical shop to purchase glasses, sunglasses, and accessories!
As part of the national InfantSEE program, we see patients as young as 6 months old for eye exams! It is important to bring children in early to avoid bigger problems as they get older.
Why do VT first?
Developmental vision therapy and vision rehabilitation is a process of establishing and strengthening the neural connections between the brain and the visual system. Working one-on-one with our doctors and optometric vision therapists, we help our patients develop increased efficiency and control of their visual system through advanced therapy techniques.
Vision is one of the most important aspects of school success, sports performance and most daily activities. Vision problems are relatively easy to diagnose and treat compared to the complex problems associated with learning disabilities. If a child is struggling in school, treating the vision problems first will prevent unnecessary, complicated and expensive alternative treatments that may just compensate for the vision dysfunctions.
For strabismus (crossed eyes), our office emphasizes all aspects of therapy and other noninvasive treatments before the surgeon is allowed to cut muscle tissue and create permanent changes to the structure of the eye. Try vision therapy first.
Before the assessment of visual skills can be evaluated, the patient should be wearing their most recent pair of glasses or contact lenses. The first visit to The Vision Therapy Institute may include a check up for glasses and eye health, but usually that has been done beforehand. BRING YOUR CURRENT GLASSES even if you don’t wear them regularly.
Bring any information from previous eye exams that might be helpful. Bring reports from the school or a school psychologist. Bring grades or tests scores. Be prepared to ask any question that you or a close family member might have. Bring a list of any past or current medications. Know the dates of past medical procedures or surgeries to the eyes.
Being well rested and fed will ensure you or your child has the energy to concentrate on the tests and activities that will be performed. There is no right or wrong answers; so doing your best and telling us what you see is all that is needed. These tests and exercises will help us determine how you are using your visual system in school and life. We welcome any questions so that you confident in your medical decisions.
A thorough explanation will be given on the same day of the evaluation to help you understand which eye problems directly relate to school problems – like reading comprehension, handwriting, spelling and concentration. We have administered over 10,000 of these evaluations and the process will be easy. We relate our findings to the problems you or your child are experiencing and make a plan to remove the roadblocks to visual success.
Vision Therapy treatment
The process of vision therapy has been perfected over many decades. We have performed close to 100,000 sessions with thousands of different children and adults. We generally work with people once a week for 30, 60 or 90 minutes at a time.
Vision therapy sessions at our office will vary depending on the individual needs and goals of the patient. After identifying the causes of a person’s visual struggles, our therapists help the patient bring awareness to the problem and then correct that problem through individualized therapy techniques while being “coached” by the vision therapist. The end result is a person who can perform all the visual skills necessary for binocular achievement naturally and easily.
After one of our board-certified optometrists performs the evaluation, the general categories of procedures that are required for successful treatment are identified. The sessions are conducted one on one with a trained vision therapist. A vision therapy programmer (case supervisor) reviews each therapy session in conjunction with the patient’s goals and directs exact vision therapy procedures for the therapist to carry out. The vision therapist conducts the session with the patient making “at-the-moment” decisions to give the patient a WIN for each activity and session.
Home Reinforcement Activities
The patient will develop new skills with their visual system during the vision therapy session. These new abilities will be reinforced with similar procedures to do at home. These will be the same procedures the patient may do after completing the program to keep highly efficient vision.
Other benefits from doing individualized home procedures include faster results, better stamina and increased visual skill flexibility. With home activities being done on a regular basis, the end result may far exceed the expectations we had for that patient. In 2008, the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded that in-office therapy supported by home based exercises provide the best results. That is exactly what we our office has been achieving for decades.
One of the best reasons to do progress checks is to tell the parents and patient how they are doing and for the parents to give us feedback. Another is that as the therapy progresses, other problems can become more evident. Example: the child really was smart after all and how he wants to read. He may need a tutor or need to get extra assignments form the teacher.
The patient may need improvement in their glasses to help them with the next part of the program. It is a good time for the parents to ask fresh questions they now have about their child the progress they are making.
We can always make someone’s eye a little bit better, so how do we know when we are finished? The progress checks are the time to find out if the patient is ahead of schedule or falling behind. Our goal is to obtain the maximum results that we were looking for with a reasonable program length. Many parents wish their child to do an extra short program at the end to enhance perceptual skills. Young children or children with developmental conditions will take periodic breaks to allow the child to grow and develop and then do more on the program at later time. Difficult cases, like ones that have already had muscle surgery and cases that were started much later in life, will require the program be done in stages and breaks can be scheduled in.
Vision therapy should not only correct the problem, but prevent the same condition from returning. The vision therapist and the doctor will suggest when the program should be over. Rarely is this longer than six months. Feedback from the parents and the teachers will be helpful. The end point of a program is pretty easy to determine as the child will be doing so much better in many ways.
Vision therapy teaches the person how to use their visuals system more efficiently. Because newly developed skills are more efficient, the person will continue to use them. The follow up visits ensure that improvements are continued. The more significant the original condition, the more the need for close monitoring after the completing the vision therapy program.
Since we are not directly dealing with muscles like in physical exercise, constant exercises are not needed like a fitness program. The person may encounter more difficult school work in the higher grades that require follow up to ensure another problem doesn’t come up. The follow up visit is another chance to reaffirm the wins and further correct anything else that now shows up.