The Exceptional Vision Therapy & Learning Center In Palmetto Bay, Florida
Vision is all about the way in which the brain and eyes interact. Whether we’re reading words on the board, catching a ball, or tying our shoelaces, we rely on our visual system to work properly in order to succeed in these and other tasks.
Vision isn’t just about seeing well, but it’s about how we interpret and interact with the information in front of us. One can pass all vision screening exams and excel in reading the charts, but still struggle with dyslexia, have poor hand-eye coordination, diminished focus, strabismus, convergence insufficiency and amblyopia.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision Therapy, also known as neuro-optometric rehabilitation, is made up of various custom and individualized activities and exercises made to retrain the brain to effectively interact with the eyes and improve vision functioning. The aim of vision therapy is to enhance eye tracking, focusing and eye teaming abilities as well as hand-eye coordination and visual processing speed.
Vision therapy is not only for children, but can also be effective in adults, particularly if they are determined to improve their visual abilities and strictly adhere to the program.
Common Conditions That Vision Therapy Helps
Patients of all ages can benefit from vision therapy. Vision therapy helps those with Amblyopia, Strabismus, Convergence Insufficiency, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disability, Down Syndrome, Autism, Developmental Disorders, ADHD, Dyslexia and anyone seeking to reach peak performance in sports (Sports Vision Training).
What Is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia or “lazy eyes” is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood. Those with amblyopia tend to have reduced eyesight in one eye, even when wearing glasses or contacts. If left untreated, amblyopia can adversely impact a child’s success in work, school, sports, and friendships. This can, in turn, affect their self-image and mental health.
Research has shown that amblyopia is caused by the brain’s inability to use both eyes as a team. In fact, the brain actively ignores the incoming information from one of the eyes. Further to poor visual acuity, those with amblyopia are prone to difficulties with depth perception, eye movements related to reading, and visual decision making when driving.
Treatment For Amblyopia
Traditionally, patching the better seeing eye was the only method used to treat amblyopia. However, it is very uncomfortable, has limited results past a certain age, and does not develop the patient’s normal binocular vision or depth perception.
Vision therapy, however, can help improve the amblyope’s visual abilities by using a series of personalized exercises to improve eye coordination, depth perception and reduce suppression (where the brain inhibits --suppresses-- blurred or double vision by ignoring the image of one of the eyes).
At What Age Can Vision Therapy Treat Amblyopia?
Vision therapy is effective in treating amblyopia in both adults and children. Though vision therapy is slightly less effective in adults as compared with children, many cases have illustrated radical improvements in vision and binocular function after treating adult amblyopes with vision therapy.
What Is Strabismus?
Strabismus, also known as an “eye turn” or “cross-eye”, is a condition characterized by the improper alignment of the eyes. One of the eyes may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward, or downward. The eye turn may be consistent, or may only occur occasionally. Moreover, the straight and misaligned eye may every so often alternate positions.
Strabismus is a common visual problem among children, affecting over 4% of all children in the United States. However, it can also occur later in life.
Because of the misalignment, those with strabismus are unable to provide the brain with accurate visual information, which results in double vision, overlapping images and issues with depth perception (3D).
What Kind Of Strabismus Are There?
There are four kinds of strabismus, two horizontal and two vertical:
- Esotropia: one or both eyes turn in, relative to the other
- Exotropia: one or both eyes turn out, relative to the other
- Hypertropia: one eye turns up, relative to the fixating eye
- Hypotropia: one eye turns up, relative to the fixating eye
Treatment for Strabismus
Vision therapy is a very effective treatment for strabismus, as it helps correct the eye misalignment and trains the brain to use both eyes simultaneously in order to merge the images seen by each eye into a consolidated 3D image. Moreover, vision therapy strengthens neurological pathways that ensure eye teaming over a range of distances.
During infancy and childhood, the development of visual systems is highly active, and therefore providing vision therapy during that period increases the chances of permanent vision correction.
Vision therapy will lead to visual improvements such as better visual comfort, confidence, efficiency with reading and computer work, clarity of vision, depth perception (3D), eye-hand coordination, and physical appearance.
What Is Convergence Insufficiency?
Convergence Insufficiency is characterized by a decreased ability to converge the eyes and maintain binocular fusion when focusing on a near object or target. This can lead to double vision or a halo effect around words or objects.
Convergence insufficiency (CI) is when the eyes struggle to work together while focusing on an object that is nearby. The typical symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, headaches, eye strain, and difficulty reading and concentrating. However, it is important to note that these symptoms generally take place when tired or when you have close visual work to do.
This condition, which affects over 20 million people in the U.S., can be easily diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. Convergence insufficiency cannot be corrected with glasses, lenses, or surgery.
People with convergence insufficiency experience any (or several) of the following symptoms while performing near work:
A study of almost seven hundred 5th and 6th graders indicates that convergence insufficiency is much more common than previously assumed— an astounding 13% of students have convergence insufficiency. The study also demonstrated that of the children who showed signs of convergence insufficiency, 79% were classified as having accommodative insufficiency as well.
Rouse, M et al. (1999). Frequency of convergence insufficiency among fifth and sixth graders. The Convergence Insufficiency and Reading Study (CIRS) group. Optometry and vision science : official publication of the American Academy of Optometry. 76. 643-9.
Treatment For Convergence Insufficiency
Vision therapy for convergence insufficiency trains the eyes to coordinate with one another in order to provide accurate feedback to the brain. As eye teamwork improves, vision therapists can also work on convergence insufficiency treatment methods to recover depth perception (3D) and clear vision.
A developmental optometrist and vision therapist will tailor a vision therapy plan according to the severity of the convergence problem. The eye doctor and therapist will then guide you and monitor your progress to determine what changes or adaptations need to be made throughout the program.
Convergence insufficiency treatment exercises may use specialized equipment and tools such as prisms, lenses and computerized technology to stimulate the brain and eye muscles of each eye simultaneously.
The vision therapy results depend on your active participation and compliance with the program, whether in-office or at home. Overtime, the more you train your brain, the easier and more automated the exercises will become. Gains can be experienced from as little as a few weeks to six months.
We encourage you to schedule a meeting with The Exceptional Vision Therapy & Learning Center at the first sign of convergence insufficiency in your infants and toddlers. Dr. Pino at The Exceptional Vision Therapy & Learning Center will be happy to help you or your child regain healthy vision and lead a higher quality of life.
Other Vision Therapy Subjects
Dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, & Learning Disabilities
There are various solutions available to help students with learning or attention difficulties perform better in school - from prescription drugs and behavioral therapy to audiobooks and noise-cancelling headphones. What many don’t realize is that many of these kids may have an undetected vision problem which either contributes or is entirely the cause of the learning difficulties or “ADHD”.
If your child displays poor attention in school, don’t automatically assume that it’s a learning disability, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Visual problems in any of the following areas can have a significant impact on learning:
- eye tracking skills - eyes following a line of print
- eye teaming skills - two eyes working together as a synchronized team
- binocular vision - simultaneously blending the images from both eyes into one image
- accommodation - eye focusing
- visual-motor integration - eye-hand coordination
- visual perception - visual memory, visual form perception, and visualization
We’ve seen many instances in which a child diagnosed with a learning disability, ADD, or ADHD, had all the symptoms of the disorder. However, after a thorough eye evaluation, concluded that the issue wasn’t in fact ADHD, but rather a functional vision problem.
At the , we successfully treat children who have been misdiagnosed with learning disabilities or ADHD by using an individualized vision therapy program.
Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, MS And Concussions
Acquired Brain Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries, such as strokes and concussions, can disrupt the visual process and interfere with the flow and intake of information, leading to blurred vision, reading difficulties, sensitivity to light, and double vision, and other symptoms. Because more areas of the brain are used to process vision than any other system, traumatic brain injuries often result in vision problems.
The vision complications that develop following a concussion are not related to visual acuity (20/20) but rather to eye teaming, focusing, and tracking. This can result in difficulties in reading and playing sports.
Fortunately, Vision Therapy is very effective in resolving a range of post-concussion or traumatic brain injury vision problems. The goal of vision therapy is to retrain the visual system and eliminate the visual symptoms arising from concussions.
Vision Therapy, often referred to as Oculomotor Therapy or Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation, is a personalized treatment regimen for those with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries, physical disabilities or other neurological issues. It is made up of individualized exercises, which, when done over a period of time rehabilitate visual, perceptual and motor disorders, thus helping the patient regain his or her vision.
Neuro-Optometrists diagnose and treat vision problems that result from brain injury.
After performing a diagnostic exam, the neuro- optometrist will then prescribe an individualized treatment plan for the patient. The patient will typically visit the clinic for a 45 minute in-office vision therapy session once a week for at least 12 weeks, or as needed.
Dr. Pino will use a variety of tools and exercises to train aspects of the visual system in order to improve vision accuracy. The functional skills the doctor works on includes eye tracking, focusing, and eye teaming, as well as visual discrimination (the ability to discern b's and d's), handwriting, and spatial awareness. During the course of the treatment, the patient will be assigned a series of home exercises with specialized equipment. Follow-ups will be regularly scheduled for the optometrist to assess progress.
These Visual Issues..
These visual issues affect how someone is able to function on a daily basis.
The good news is that patients typically gain more from neuro-developmental vision therapy than they do from other therapies, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or cognitive therapy, etc.
Vision Therapy For The Special Needs Community
Vision Problems and Developmental Disabilities
Vision and perception problems have a higher incidence rate among children with special needs than the average population. If undiagnosed or untreated, visual dysfunction will only add to the child’s challenges and affect their behavior, interfering with reading and learning, and reducing their ability to perform routine tasks.
The vision disorders typically affecting kids with special needs include nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (presbyopia), as well as other eye-coordination disorders such as eye turns (strabismus), eye movement dysfunction, “lazy eye” (amblyopia), and poor eye teaming and coordination. This can cause the child to experience a distorted sense of what he or she is viewing, difficulty with depth perception and other visual information-processing problems.
Vision Therapy and Special Needs
Certain Special Needs children can find it difficult to sit still through a regular eye exam, and this can result in an inaccurate or incomplete evaluation. Furthermore, because children don’t know how they are supposed to see, they rarely verbalize if something isn’t working right, which can leave certain vision problems undetected for many years.
As time goes by, the condition can become increasingly difficult to manage.That’s where our expertise comes in. has extensive experience in treating special needs children and is uniquely qualified to diagnose, treat, and manage your child’s visual difficulties. Our standard of care and gentle approach yields excellent results and a positive vision therapy experience.
Vision Therapy and Autism
Many people on the autism spectrum have specific vision problems, which include difficulties tracking, integrating peripheral with central vision, and making eye contact. Strabismus (eye turn) and amblyopia (lazy eye) are also more common among autistic individuals than in the general population.
In fact, research shows that issues with saccades, the rapid eye movement between two points, which is essential for reading. Saccades are particularly prevalent in people with autism.
Compete At A Higher Level With Sports Vision Therapy in Palmetto Bay
What Is Sport Vision Therapy?
20/20 eyesight and good hand-eye coordination are not enough to maintain peak performance when playing sports. We tend to underestimate the complexity and challenge posed to our visual system when we try to hit a ball moving at 65-80 miles per hour. Sports Vision Training uses the principals of Vision Therapy in research-backed therapy that improves sports performance through honed skills, such as:
- Better hand-eye coordination
- Improved depth perception and estimation
- Faster reaction times
- Vision and balance
- Precise eye movement and tracking
At The Exceptional Vision Therapy & Learning Center, we provide cutting-edge sports vision training to athletes from Palmetto Bay, Miami, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest.
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