Some visual conditions cannot be treated with glasses alone. Vision therapy uses principles of neuroscience and neuroplasticity to effectively treat conditions, such as crossed eyes, lazy eye, and poor hand-eye 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 Vision Therapy?

Children with visual problems often become adults with visual problems.
It is never too late for Vision Therapy! We can help both children and adults suffering from:


The Vision Therapy Institute is the only clinic in the Midlands area offering comprehensive vision therapy services. We have expanded our practice to include routine eye exams, corneal correction treatment, developmental vision, and vision rehabilitation. Patients can also purchase glasses, sunglasses, and accessories in our optical shop.

We see patients as young as 6 months old for eye exams! It is important to bring children in early as an undetected vision problem can have a significant impact on infant and childhood development and possibly lead to a learning and/or behavior problem.


Our optometrists emphasize a functional, developmental, and behavioral approach to vision evaluations. Our doctors and staff are friendly, they listen to you and will answer all your questions.

We only suggest glasses, contacts or surgery when it is in your best interest. There is no financial benefit or gain to our doctors if you buy your contacts or glasses from our office.


As developmental optometrists, we evaluate how your eyes move when reading, how well they work together, and how easily and quickly they can change focus from looking at a book to looking at a board across the room.

When people have trouble using both eyes together or can’t focus for great lengths of time, they do not simply grow out of these problems. Adults have as much need for this type of vision care as children.



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.


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 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
  • Treating conditions, such as crossed eyes, lazy eye, and poor hand-eye coordination

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy is an individualized and supervised treatment program designed to correct visual-motor and/or perceptual-cognitive deficiencies. Vision Therapy sessions include procedures designed to enhance the brain’s ability to control:

  • Eye alignment
  • Eye teaming
  • Eye focusing abilities
  • Eye movements
  • Visual processing

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
  • Balance boards
  • Virtual Reality


Read How Vision Therapy Has Changed Our Patients’ Lives.

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


- Wyatt


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


- Allie


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


- Ian

Family Developmental Optometrist
Dr. John Brinkley, OD, FCOVD
Dr. Brinkley is a family developmental optometrist, and has been practicing in Columbia for 27 years. He received his fellowship certification from the College of Optometrist in Vision Development in 1989. Dr. Brinkley is best known for his work with children. He has written many techniques on vision exercises. Dr. Brinkley is actively involved with helping children with learning difficulties, crossed eyes and lazy eye.

Vision Therapist

Shannon MacMillan

Shannon has been working with Dr. Brinkley as a vision therapist since 1993. She is a member of COVT. Shannon specializes in working with adults and children with developmental delays such as autism, and has an extensive background in working with the most difficult cases of strabismus and amblyopia.  As the programming therapist, Shannon provides each patient with an individualized therapy program to accommodate their specific visual needs. Shannon is married with three grown children and loves to travel and spend time with her family and friends outside of work.

Fellow in the College of Vision Development

Dr. Katie Davis

Dr. Katie Davis was raised in Columbia, SC. She graduated with Honors from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago in 2014. Dr. Davis serves as the new member director on the Membership Board for SCOPA and the Vision Rehabilitation Committee Chair. In 2017, she became a board-certified Fellow in the College of Vision Development. She is currently working on her board certification from the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. She is passionate about helping those struggling with vision problems in school, work or life whether while growing up and learning or after a traumatic brain injury.

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

Vision Therapist

Michael Whetstine

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Michael moved to South Carolina when he was one year old and has been working in the optometric field since high school. Michael has been a Vision Therapist for 6 years and enjoys working with people of all ages and 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. 

Vision Therapist

Santana Prescott

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.

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


1620 Browning Road,
Columbia, SC 29210

(803) 732-4099

Office Hours

Monday – Thursday: 9am – 6pm
(Closed for Lunch: 12am – 1pm)
Friday: 9am – 12pm

Saturday & Sunday: Closed