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VISION THERAPY: Offered at Artisan Optics

 

Vision therapy (VT) is a treatment modality used by many pediatric optometrists, developmental optometrists, and neuro-optometrists to effectively treat many vision conditions.  Vision therapy is a highly effective non-surgical treatment that improves, enhances, and develops visual performance through a prescribed treatment program that is designed to create and establish new neural patterns.  Neuroplasticity allows individuals of all ages to form these new neural connections and see improvements in visual skills such as:

  • Eye teaming 
  • Eye focusing
  • Control of eye alignment 
  • Visual perception 
  • Visual processing speed
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Visual-motor integration
  • Visual working memory

Vision therapy is best when performed under the direction of an optometrist with residency training in binocular vision, neuro-optometry, and vision therapy.  As with any type of therapy, vision therapy should be performed by a trained professional; such as an occupational therapist with advanced training in vision therapy. Only occupational therapists working under the direction of a developmental optometrist can perform vision therapy, which differs greatly from traditional occupational therapy.  The key to a successful vision therapy program is to train new skills and develop appropriate neural connections rather than embed bad habits with inappropriate training.  Working with a residency-trained optometrist and therapist with advanced training is the best way to ensure the program's success.

Who Can Benefit From Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is effective in treating a wide variety of visual problems.  This is possible when vision therapy is administered in a one-on-one environment and under the guidance of a residency-trained optometrist.  In a one-on-one environment, the therapy can be highly customized to help the patient achieve his or her goals.
 
Vision therapy is used to help:

When is Vision Therapy Indicated?

Vision therapy is prescribed by a developmental optometrist to improve how a person uses their visual system.  Dependent upon the training of the optometrist, vision therapy can be a successful treatment option for people with:

  • Vergence problems: Problems with eye teaming abilities. An example of this is convergence insufficiency, which is when the eyes do not work well together at near. Convergence insufficiency is one of the most common problems that can be treated with vision therapy
  • Convergence Insufficiency: This condition results in several symptoms during near work, including: eyestrain, fatigue, headaches, words moving on the page, and poor reading fluency.  Research has shown in-office vision therapy to be the most effective treatment option for convergence insufficiency.
  • Strabismus (Eye turn): Vision therapy provides both a cosmetic and functional treatment option for those with eye turns.  This means that vision therapy not only allows the person to keep the eyes aligned, but also improves how well the eyes work together and how the brain uses information from each eye.  This is why vision therapy can also eliminate double vision, eyestrain, headaches, lack of depth perception, and many other symptoms of strabismus.
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye): Amblyopia results in both reduced vision and reduced eye teaming abilities.  Vision therapy is used in the treatment of amblyopia to ensure that vision is improved and the brain is able to integrate input from both eyes.
  • Accommodative Disorders: Eye focusing problems result in blurry vision.  This blurry vision can occur in the distance, at near, or both.  The blurry vision may be constant, but can also be intermittent; made worse by sustained near tasks.
  • Ocular Motor Dysfunction: Often called “tracking difficulties”, ocular motor dysfunction is a condition that does not respond to treatment with glasses and will not resolve on its own.  Vision therapy allows treatment for people with tracking difficulties that result in poor reading fluency, re-reading of lines, and skipping of lines.
  • Visual Information Processing Disorders: Visual processing speed can affect how an individual performs in school, sports, or daily life.  The ability to quickly make sense of visual information is a skill that can be effectively enhanced using vision therapy and visually-guided interactive metronome therapy.
  • Visual Integration Difficulties: Vision guides much of what we do in daily life.  We use our vision to guide our motor actions when we judge distance, speed, and position in space (visual-motor integration).  We use vision to see words and objects that we speak about (visual-auditory integration).  For this reason, occupational, speech/language, and physical therapists work closely with vision therapists to help patients succeed.
  • Visual Perceptual Disorders: It is important that someone sees clearly, but this is only the beginning of the visual process.  Visual perception describes how the brain interprets the visual information that is taken in by the eyes. 
  • Visually-Related Learning Problems: 80% of learning occurs through vision.  Many children who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and learning disorders have visual or visual perceptual deficits that are contributing to the challenges at school.  Addressing the visual component of their struggles can make remarkable changes in the classroom.

Is Vision Therapy The Same Everywhere You Go?

Like many forms of therapy, different providers perform vision therapy in different ways.  So how do you decide the best fit for you?

Whether you think of vision therapy as learning a new set of visual skills or as a type of physical therapy for your eyes, it is best done in a one-on-one environment.  Parents often complain of class size because they want their child to receive more one-on-one time with the teacher.  People love having a personal trainer at the gym because they see better results faster. The fact is, one-on-one attention from a trained professional in any area of life is ideal because it allows the program to be customized to you.  This environment allows you to progress at your own rate, target areas that need improvement, and allow you to achieve the personal goals you have set for yourself.  Some vision therapy programs are performed in a one-on-one environment while others are performed in a group setting.

Question to ask:  Is the vision therapy performed one-on-one or in a group setting?

We work with the experts at Advanced Vision Therapy Center to provide vision therapy in a one-on-one environment.  The vision therapists at Advanced Vision Therapy Center are occupational therapists who have completed additional, highly specialized vision therapy training. Our patients benefit from receiving therapy with a board certified, licensed occupational therapist who has chosen to expand their training and expertise into the field of vision rehabilitation.  At Advanced Vision Therapy Center, vision therapy is conducted in-office in a one-on-one environment, allowing each session to be designed to meet the individual treatment goals and objectives of that particular patient.

Question to ask:  Are all vision therapy sessions performed with a licensed therapist?

Some programs use computer programs and group settings for much of their vision therapy.  At Artisan Optics and Advanced Vision Therapy Center, group classes with computer programs are NOT used for a number of reasons

  • Research has shown that in-office vision therapy with a vision therapist to have the highest success rate while the computer-based program in the study had the lowest success rate of all treatments.  Read the research here.
  • Many of our patients have vision conditions that create headaches, eyestrain, and other visual symptoms at the computer; using a computer is the source of their complaints, not the solution.
  • Many of our patients have diagnosed conditions such as ADD/ADHD, autism, or other conditions that make it unrealistic to ask them to sit at a computer and maintain focus during the activity.
  • Many of our patients have been unable to find success in group settings, such as a classroom, and therefore benefit from a one-on-one environment.

Question to ask:  Has the optometrist completed residency training in vision therapy?

It is within the scope of practice for any optometrist to administer a vision therapy program.  However, not all optometrists have pursued a residency in vision therapy.  A residency-trained optometrist has received the additional training in the area of vision therapy to provide accurate diagnose and has both the knowledge and experience to design an effective vision therapy program.

Do you suspect an undiagnosed vision problem?

Dr. Ryan C. Johnson: Neuro-Optometrist

A native of Boise, Dr. Johnson graduated from Boise State University with a bachelor's of science in kinesiology. Dr. Johnson graduated from Southern California College of Optometry before pursuing a residency in binocular vision, vision therapy, and neuro-optometry at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Johnson is Idaho's first residency trained optometrist in neuro-optometry, binocular vision and vision therapy. With his residency training, Dr. Johnson's clinical experience and expertise is in the areas of strabismus, amblyopia, binocular vision dysfunction, acquired brain injury, vision rehabilitation and the visual system as it relates to brain function.

Dr. Johnson also combines his knowledge of exercise science from his undergraduate work with his understanding of the visual system to provide sports vision training to enhance visual performance for athletes of all ability levels - bringing vision rehabilitation and sports vision training to Idaho.

Dr. Johnson is a member of the American Optometric Association, Idaho Optometric Physicians, College of Optometrist in Vision Development (COVD) and the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). He also serves as clinical director at Advanced Vision Therapy Center.


Accepting new patients.

 

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Ryan C. Johnson or call us at 208.377.8899.