What if you saw letters like this?

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Today we discovered that our patient sees any print within arms reach as though it is overlapped. And no one ever knew. She has had eye exams before, but her specific difficulties and diagnoses were not discovered until she came to see Dr. Jacobi for a comprehensive eye exam with a developmental optometrist. She sees 20/20 and her sight is fine, which is why other eye doctors did not diagnose her with any vision difficulties. But when she reads she has to pick which word makes more sense in the context and not surprisingly she HATES writing. I realized this when she couldn’t read anything with both eyes open within 12 inches of her face. With one eye covered, she can read the letters, but with both eyes open she would squint her eyes, tilt her head, close an eye…She said it looked blurry like black blobs… so I had her draw exactly what she saw. This is what she drew.

Can you imagine being a young child in a classroom trying to keep up when this is how things look?? And these kids are often labeled as lazy, ADD, etc. These are the kids who are quick to give up and say they can’t, who tell me they just want to be smart, who cry when we tell they they are smart-we just need to help their eyes work better together. These are the moms that cry in the therapy room because they feel so bad they never knew. These are also the kids who learn during vision therapy that they can achieve great things- who gain confidence and success. The kids who make me fight back tears on their VT graduation day while mom cries and we discuss how far they’ve come. The good news is we can definitely change her life. This is why we work so hard and this is why we are so passionate about what we do!

Vision Therapy is truly life-changing. Kids often don’t know how to describe what they see, and they often think everyone sees that way. This is why it is so important to take your child to a developmental optometrist. If you are not in our area, go to covd.org and search for a board certified optometrist who is a fellow at the college of optometry in vision development.

Eye Exam VS Vision Screening…Tomato Tomahto?

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Is a vision screening the same as an eye exam…. or a “online eye exam?” This is a common question. Many schools and pediatricians perform vision screenings…does your child still need an eye exam in-person with an optometrist?

The answer is 100% YES, because a vision screening is not the same as a comprehensive eye exam, and neither is an eye exam done online. Vision screenings at the school or pediatrician’s office are designed to detect obvious problems with SIGHT. As you have learned from our previous blog posts, sight is only one component of vision. Children who pass vision screenings often have vision problems that affect their learning. It is better to have an optometrist examine your child, and BEST to have a developmental optometrist perform the exam. This is because developmental optometrists, like our very own Dr. Jacobi, are certified in vision and learning development and test for vision issues that vision screenings as well as other optometrists often miss.

Another important thing to mention, is that vision screenings do not check the health of a person’s eyes. A vision screening is the first step to detecting an issue, but a comprehensive eye exam with a developmental optometrist will provide you with much more information in regards to the performance and health of your child’s eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months old, and (providing that there are no issues), again at age 3, just before starting Kindergarten, and annually thereafter. Because we believe in the importance of this, we offer free comprehensive eye exams for children who are entering Kindergarten.

Summer is a great time to schedule an eye exam for your family! Make sure that your children begin the school year ready to learn. Should your child need to begin vision therapy, getting a head start over the summer is very helpful! And don’t forget about yourself – whether you have a family history of eye disease, dry eyes, allergies, need specialty contacts or vision therapy – we are your friendly and knowledgeable eye care professionals.

Vision Therapy for the patient with TBI

So you know that Vision Therapy can be life changing for children and adults with vision related learning difficulties…but did you know that it can also be life changing for a person with a traumatic brain injury? This includes someone who had a concussion, stroke, car accident, fall, etc…and Vision Therapy can make a dramatic difference!

Our Chief Vision Therapist, Amanda, spent the weekend at a workshop learning more about how we can best serve our patients with TBI. It is best to seek treatment sooner than later, but even if your injury was years ago and you are still experiencing symptoms, Vision Therapy may change your life!

A person who has experienced a TBI may have many unfortunate vision-related symptoms including headaches, dizziness, double/blurred vision, poor balance and coordination, bumping into things, and often just a feeling that something “isn’t right.” Sometimes Vision Therapy alone is enough to help someone feel “normal” again. Other times, we will work with occupational therapists and physical therapists to form a cohesive team to help the person experience the most rehabilitation possible for them. No matter what your age, studies have shown that it is possible to create new neurological pathways and “retrain the brain.”

The human body is an amazing thing and it’s fascinating how all of our body systems are connected. Vision Therapy can have a profound impact on a person in ways that can be surprising and wonderful.

Congratulations Delaney!

Miss Delaney graduated yesterday! Her growth throughout the program has been AMAZING. She has gained a huge boost to her confidence and independence and she went from missing 23 reversals on her initial evaluation to missing ONE on her final eval. On her final evaluation, she tested WAY above average on nearly everything! Her mom mentioned that she is more independent and confident, she can READ, and she is doing things that she could never do before. What an amazing girl and an amazing transformation. Delaney we are so proud of you! Keep up the hard work and remember YOU CAN DO IT!

Congratulations Fernie!

Fernie was 4 years old when she started our Vision Therapy Program 9 months ago.

She was scheduled for surgery for her eye turn, but when her parents found our website and information about vision therapy, they brought her in to see Dr. Jacobi one week before the surgery was scheduled to be performed.  She was prescribed 9 months of vision therapy. Fernie came every week to see her vision therapist and worked hard at home with mom and dad. Surgery was cancelled and today we are celebrating her graduation!

Fernie has successfully learned how to control her eyes so that they do not turn out and are able to work well together to give her great vision! As she has said, she is now able to control whether she sees 1 of her dad, or 2! Her parents report that she is much happier and has grown so much. She is ready to start school in the Fall!

Congratulations Fernie, we are so proud of you!

Can I do Vision Therapy instead of surgery???

The short answer is…YES YES YES.

People with strabismus (also known as an eye turn, or “lazy eye”) are often told they will need surgery to correct the problem. While some more extreme cases may in fact require surgery, many eye turns can be cured with a great vision therapy program; designed by a developmental optometrist and implemented by a vision therapist. In those extreme cases where someone does need surgery to correct the problem, they will also almost certainly need vision therapy in order to teach the eyes and the brain to work together correctly. Often times, we see children who have gone through eye surgery…only to have their eye turn return, or their vision continue to be impeded; even if they look “normal” cosmetically. This is because cutting the muscles in eye surgery does not TEACH the eyes and the BRAIN to work together, as is done in vision therapy. It is important to be seen by a developmental optometrist to determine what is needed for the individual patient.

Here is a great article written by a woman who went through quite an ordeal with strabismus. She describes her difficulties in school and work, less than desirable experiences with some doctors, as well as how vision therapy changed her life.

http://www.betsyyaros.com/the-cost-of-eye-surgery-vs-vision-therapy/

 

Eye teaming-> Reading-> Learning

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FIRST a child learns how to use his eyes together as a TEAM.
THEN he applies those visual skills to learn to READ
EVENTUALLY the child reads in order to LEARN

For a child with vision related learning difficulties, the first step may never have happened; making it hard to read and impossible to comprehend and learn.

As a part of our therapy program, we build our patient’s skills up from the ground level. We teach the eyes how to function alone, then as a team, then involve more difficult skills such as visualization and visual memory. Both fine and gross motor are also incorporated. By the end of our individualized therapy program, the patient has all of the necessary tools in their vision skills toolbox, as well as the knowledge and self awareness to know when to use a specific tool they have now gained!

If your child is not achieving her academic potential, have her evaluated by a developmental optometrist like our very own Dr. Jacobi. Most optometrists only check distance sight, but children spend the majority of their time looking up close while reading and writing. This is why so many vision related learning difficulties go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.