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What is Vision Therapy?          eye brain holding hands

Vision Therapy is a sequence of activities individually prescribed and monitored by the doctor to develop efficent visual skills and processing.

Unlike spectacle glasses and contact lenses, which compensate for vision problems, or refractive surgery that alters the anatomy of the eye, or eye surgery that alters the surrounding muscles, vision therapy aims to "teach" the visual system to correct itself.

Our Vision Therapy department povides an office/home therapy program, which is directed at the treatment of specific vision conditions diagnosed through a comprehensive Vision Assessment. Vision Therapy is prescribed after findings from a comprehensive eye examination has been performed and there is indication that vision therapy is an appropriate treatment option.

With almost 30 years of experience, Dr. Hook and team of vision therapists has been serving the community with this specialty by working to improve or develop fundamental visual skills and abilities for our patients.

Why Vision Therapy?

In order to understand Vision Therapy, one must realize that vision is more complex than what is commonly referred to as being able to see 20/20. Sight is the ability to see clearly whereas vision is the ability to not only see clearly but comfortably, without discomfort or stress. This is a case where spectacles glasses are just not enough.

There are two tracks under our Vision Therapy Clinic: Binocular Vision Therapy and Developmental Vision Therapy

What is the difference between Binocular Vision Therapy and Developmental Vision Therapy?

Binocular Vision Therapy:

The eyes must be healthy and work well together as a team with both eyes "turned on" and aligned. The children under Binocular Vision are those who seem to hav learned their basic math and reading facts but upon higher grade levels are unable to attend to extended periods of concentrated visual attention.

Developmental Vision Therapy:

Children in Developmental Vision Therapy are those assessed to have average or even above average abilities but school performance fails to match these predicted abilities. While not all learning difficulties are visually related, there are children who have a hard time interpreting their visual world with a history of poor achievement that can be tracked back in some cases to Grade one due to a lag in their visual perceptual or visual processing skills. These skills are those used when analyzing visual information, such as trying to make sense of complicated symbols, and being able to recognize and integrate external stimuli. Dr. Hook will determine if there are any underlying binocular vision problems contributing to the child's overall capacity for learning. Vision is a learned skill and a child should build good binocular vision and perceptual skills in the same manner as they develop their gross and fine motor skills, but some do not master all of the skills necessary to meet their potnetial under normal conditions.

What is required for a Vision Assessment?

Referrals are welcome from teachers, school psychologists, couselors, and colleagues.

Dr. Hook requests the summary from a recent eye exam, done with the family optometrist, and any reports from previous testing (educational and psychological) be forwarded to the office for her to evaluate and make recommendations, prior to scheduling an assessment.

What can be expected at the Vision Assessment?

The appointments are 1 hour, in the case of a Binocular assessment, and up to 2-2.5 hours for a Developmental assessment. Assessments are booked in the early afternoon on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

Dr. Hook will discuss with the parents/guardians at the consultation appointment the assessment results, the outline of the individualized program, and her prediction for the duration of vision therapy.

What is involved in the individualized program?

This is a difficult question to answer as it is a case-to-case basis and even then, the course of the individualized program can also change throughout therapy based on the patient's progress.

Generally, the office therapy sessions are either 30 minutes as in the case of young children, or more often are 45 minutes long, prebooked every two weeks on a Monday, Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday. The visits are done on a one-to-one basis with our Vision Therapists, Sharon or Liane, The time is used for assessing progress, in-office work, and assigning and practicing new home exercises.

Generally, the home therapy will typically demand 30-40 minutes of work, five times per week, with an adult required to supervise and assist. The therapy completed at home is critical as it simply is not possible to make adequate progress based on work done in the office alone.

Commitment to the schedule is vital to allow for feedback, making certain there are no difficulties with the exercises, to monitor the effects of VT, and to ensure continued progression through the program.

Who is Vision Therapy for?

Vision therapy can be effective for both children and adults.

Because visual skills such as tracking lines of text, coordinating the eyes, and focusing on close objects must be learned during development, these skills can also be improved later in life at any age.

It is estimated 1 in 10 children have a vision problem severe enough to affect their learning in schoo, but school vision screenings can miss up to half of these problems.

Some patients (both children and adults) may develop difficulties when their visual systems are strained, either occurring at near distance with close work like reading or distance tasks such as copying from the board or watching television. The individual may note blur or diplopia (double vision) with symptoms of eyestrain, fatigue or headaches. If clear vision is impossible to sustain, the patient may close one eye or present an unusual head posture; and in the case of a child, a parent or teacher may also observe excessive rubbing of the eyes, and when faced with an increased workload, frustration, avoidance behaviour, as well as other indications of distress.

 

For further information, please contact the office directly.

GLOSSARY

  • Strabismus: The eyes are not aligned. One eye turns either in, out, up or down. Referred to in lay terms as "squint" and as "wall eye" or "crossed eye".
  • Amblyopia: One of the eyes does not see as clearly as the other, even if corrective lenses are applied. Also referred in lay terms as "lazy eye".

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to provide comprehensive, personalized, vision care utilizing state of the art instruments and technology.

Vision Statement:

Our Vision is our patients, whose needs are met by a dedicated, enthusiastic team committed to providing the best professional service possible.

Our Goal:

Our goal is to educate our patients, about their eye health and visual needs for a lifetime.