We all can benefit from more efficient vision.
Certain individuals will especially benefit from this type of care such as:
- Those who use their near vision a great deal at work or school such as those that spend many hours every day on a computer, reading small print, examining small objects, ect.
- Students who have been diagnosed as ‘learning disabled’
- Individuals who have suffered from brain injury or other head trauma
- People who are myopic (nearsighted), hyperopic (farsighted), have astigmatism, and/or have presbyopia (similar to farsightedness that begins usually after the age of 40)
- Anyone interested in improving their vision naturally
Will I have to do vision therapy forever?
No. Once your eye muscles and visual system have been reeducated, they remember their new skills and automatically use them all the time.
Can I wear glasses to avoid vision therapy?
Usually, no. This is not a seeing or eyesight problem, but an eye muscle problem –a problem controlling the eye muscles that usually can’t be helped by eyeglasses alone.
What is computer vision syndrome (CVS)?
It’s a condition recognized by the American Optometric Association that affects users of computer monitors and causes eye strain symptoms, such as blurred vision, dry or burning eyes, delayed focusing and headaches. It can arise from failure of the eye muscles to work properly.
Vision therapy –like a physical therapy for the Eyes and Brain
Vision Therapy is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems such as lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), double vision, convergence insufficiency and many reading and learning disabilities. Many patients who have been told, “it’s too late” or “you’ll have to learn to live with it” have benefited from vision therapy. Eyes that are too tired to read after dinner, feeling sleepy when reading, reading too slowly and afraid to drive at night are just a few of the many reasons adults decide to improve their vision through vision therapy.
Feeling eyestrain and the need to do visual exercises is becoming more relevant these days with the dramatic onset of computer use, and overall close-up work required daily for students and professionals. Visual exercises help maintain healthy vision, reduce or eliminate the effects of eyestrain, and ultimately help to preserve eyesight. In the case of learning disabilities and attention problems, vision therapy is specifically directed toward resolving visual problems that interfere with reading, learning and educational instruction.
What is accommodation?
The ability of the eyes to focus clearly and sustain focus on objects of various distance.
What is convergence?
The aiming of the eyes inward toward an object.
What is fusion?
The process by which what is seen separately, by each eye, is integrated into a single perception.
What is stereopsis?
The learned ability to perceive relative depth– due to each eye having a different vantage point– commonly called 3D vision or depth perception.
Is Eye Strain from Binocular Vision Problems related to Learning Difficulties?
Often, yes. Children who tire easily from eye muscle problems have a greater workload when reading or using a computer. This additional load may make it harder for them to learn. Read more on our Vision and Learning page.
What is vision therapy?
Vision Therapy it is a program of therapeutic activities designed for improving visual function including eye movement coordination, accommodation (eye focusing), binocular fusion (eye teaming) and visualization. It works on the eye-brain connections involved in visual coordination and visual processing and consists of a series of visual, and visual sensory-motor activities of progressive difficulty, performed several times a week until symptoms are resolved and a more efficient visual system is developed.
Who needs vision therapy?
People who have eye muscle problems that cause eye strain symptoms- such as blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, concentration difficulty- including computer vision syndrome and vision-related learning problems as well as people who want to get more done with less energy, less effort, and more efficiency.
Why does this happen?
Our eyes are not made to fixate on two-dimensional written pages or computer screens for hours at a time. Our eyes are more geared for distance vision activities, and the constant demand of near work puts stress on the eyes leading to a less than efficient visual system.
How much time do I have to spend doing vision therapy?
That depends on how quickly your eye muscles and your visual system can learn the needed skills. A Vision Therapy treatment program can last anywhere from a few months to nearly a year depending on the severity of the vision problem as well as patient motivation and compliance. In most cases, significant benefits can be seen in a less than month.
At Nebraska Visual Integration Center we dedicate all of our time in helping patients of all ages with visual issues that impact their lives. We are proud to offer Vision Therapy to the Omaha, Council Bluffs and surrounding metro areas. Please contact our office at (402) 502-0043 or email [email protected] with any questions or to see if an evaluation is necessary to determine if Vision Therapy can help you.
WHAT IS A BRAIN INJURY?
An Acquired Brain Injury is an insult to the brain. It can result from trauma to the head, stroke, or neurological dysfunction. This may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness and may result in impairment in cognitive abilities, sensory processing and/or physical function. Impairments may be mild or severe; most are amenable to rehabilitation. A concussion is medically defined as a mild form of brain injury, but often times the symptoms and issues are not so mild. A concussion will typically not be detected by standard brain scans, but that does not mean there was no damage or disruption to brain functioning.
CONCUSSION AND VISION
HIDDEN VISUAL PROBLEMS
Visual problems resulting from concussion and more severe brain injury are often overlooked during initial treatment of the injury. Frequently these problems are hidden and neglected, lengthening rehabilitation and impairing full recovery. Vision is one of the most important sources of sensory information, consisting of a sophisticated complex of subsystems involving the flow and processing of information to the brain. Because there is a close relationship between vision and the brain, a concussion will often disrupt the visual process, interfering with the acquisition and processing of information, and resulting is a brain-based vision problem. These problems go beyond normal eyesight and impact many life skills.
Symptoms indicating a neurological vision problem following concussion are:
Tired, achy eye
Headaches with visual tasks
Loss of visual field/peripheral vision
Difficulty with balance, vertigo, car sickness
Sensitivity to light, photophobia
Reading difficulties; words appear to move
Attention and concentration difficulty
Difficulty with memory
Good visual skills are necessary for efficient information processing. When there is a deficiency in processing visual information, one may “try harder,” thus straining without even knowing it as the effort is subconscious. If the visual system is inefficient, every task can seem difficult, using more energy than required.
Visual skills affected by Concussion and Brain Injury include:
Tracking: the ability of the eye to move smoothly across a printed page or while following a moving object.
Fixation: quickly and accurately locating and inspecting a series of stationary objects, such as words while reading.
Focus change: looking quickly from far too near and back without blur or delay.
Depth perception: judging distance of objects – how far or near they are relative to self.
Peripheral vision: monitoring and interpreting what is happening in the surrounding field of vision.
Binocularity: using both eyes together as a team – smoothly, equally and accurately- allowing for appropriate distance spatial estimates and depth.
Sustained attention: keeping focused on a particular activity while interference, such as noise, may be present.
Visualization: accurately picturing images in the “mind’s eye,” and storing them for future recall in cognitive processing.
Near vision acuity: clearly seeing, inspecting, identifying and understanding objects viewed within arm’s length.
Distance acuity: clearly seeing, inspecting, identifying and understanding objects viewed at a distance.
Visual perception: gathering appropriate information from what is seen allowing for accurate understanding and meaning
OPTOMETRY AND CONCUSSION REHABILITATION
Few in the health care professions, including head trauma rehabilitation centers, are adequately aware of visual problems resulting from Concussion and Acquired Brain Injury and the visual-perception consequences. Unfortunately, this creates a gap in rehabilitative services, resulting in incomplete treatment and frustration for the patient, as well as the family and treatment team. The vision care professional can play an incredibly important role in the rehabilitation effort. Through vision rehabilitation therapy, an optometrist specifically trained to work with concussion and brain injury patients can help improve the acquisition and processing of information between the eyes and the brain. Vision therapy can be very practical and effective. After examination and consultation, the optometrist determines how a person processes information after an injury and where that person’s strengths and weaknesses lie. The optometrist then prescribes a treatment regimen of vision therapy incorporating lenses, prisms, and specific activities designed to improve control of a person’s visual system and increase visual efficiency. This in turn can help support many other activities in daily living and allow for optimal rehabilitation.
WHAT IS NEURO-OPTOMETRY
Neuro-optometry is based on the core principle that vision is a learned process and can be rehabilitated at any age following concussion or brain injury. Eye doctors working with concussion and brain injury patients have advanced education in the use of lenses, prisms, and vision therapy to enhance a patient’s visual capabilities, reduce visual stress, prevent and rehabilitate vision problems. As a member of the rehabilitative team, neuro-optometrists have extensive experience treating the vision problems stemming from concussion and brain injury.
Nebraska Visual Integration Center is a specialty vision care office in Omaha that provides vision therapy / rehabilitation to patients following concussion and brain injury. Our eye doctors have extensive training in providing the best rehabilitative vision therapy to patients of all ages. Dr. Gates serves as the Director of Vision Rehabilitation at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals and is a rehabilitative optometric consultant to various other brain injury rehabilitation centers in the Omaha and Lincoln area.
If you or a loved one has suffered a Concussion or Brain Injury and may have undiagnosed neurological vision problems, please contact our office at (402) 502-0043 or email [email protected] so we can provide the necessary information to begin the steps to vision rehabilitation recovery.
Vision is more than seeing clearly! It’s the ability to obtain meaning and understanding from what we see with our eyes. Vision is a complex combination of learned skills including eye movement coordination, binocular fusion (eye teaming), accommodation (eye focus), and visual form perception.
Visual Skills for the Classroom, Learning & Life
Eye Tracking – the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another, moving the eyes along printed page, or following a moving object like a thrown ball.
Eye Teaming – the ability to coordinate and use both eyes together for spatial orientation and to be able to judge distances and see depth (3D Vision).
Eye Focusing – the ability to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision when looking from the board to the desk and back. Eye focusing allows you to easily maintain clear vision over the time like when reading a book or writing a report.
Eye-Hand Coordination – the ability to use visual information to monitor and direct the hands when drawing a picture or trying to hit a ball.
Visual Perception – the ability to organize visual images and ideas and to understand what is seen by the eyes.
Please feel free to contact our Omaha Vision Therapy office at (402) 502-0043 with any questions. We love to explain how vision goes way beyond 20/20.