Atlanta's Premier Vision Therapy Eye Doctor
Does my child or I need vision therapy?
Many children and adults suffer from binocular vision disorders or vision related learning disabilities.
Patients with these conditions are often undiagnosed and struggling with reading, comprehension, math or even sports. They get headaches and unnecessary eye strain, frequently lose their place, cannot focus for long periods of studying or reading, and sometimes experience double vision.
When these symptoms go unrecognized the manifestation can be tiresome. Fights to get homework done, stress with a child falling behind in their classes, and difficulty motivating the students to go beyond the minimum effort are not uncommon. For students most often the manifestation is frustration and avoidance. The conditions described above are not limited to children and struggling students; clear and comfortable visual function is necessary for people who work long hours at the computer, athletes, or adults who choose reading as a hobby. When our eye doctor in Buckhead, Atlanta recognizes these conditions, often a pair of glasses will not solve the problem. In fact, in many cases 20/20 eyesight is possible without glasses but the symptoms remain. Vision therapy is a proven treatment for many binocular vision disorders.
The Vision Therapy Process
A trained optometrist will design a program specific to the condition by first identifying the underlying cause and discussing the possible impact on the patient’s lifestyle. The vision therapy program is much like anything else that you learn for the first time. By teaching the patient eye awareness and exercises using lenses, prisms, filters, images and computers, we strengthen the focusing and movement muscles that are involved in vision. It takes practice, dedication and supervision.
Within several weeks to several months both the patient and family will begin to notice whether the program is positively impacting the home life and translating it into their school work, sports program or hobby. A good vision therapy program will be progressive, have measurable success and recognizable impact that will translate to reduced symptoms and improved visual performance.
If you think that you or someone you know may benefit from Vision Therapy, please contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions, and let you know more about our vision therapy services. Dr. Takei Locke answers the most frequent questions she receives from parents about Vision Therapy. Click to read.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision Therapy is a highly specialized focus of optometry whereby the patient uses customized activities to train the brain to work hand in hand with their eyes. Based on extensive research, vision therapy is a proven technique for improving vision when glasses or contacts are insufficient. One way to explain vision therapy is that it is similar to physical therapy for the eyes. In the case of vision therapy the therapist and optometrist will work with the patient using a variety of exercises in an individualized plan that adapts to their progress.
What Does Vision Therapy Treat?
- Accommodative Dysfunction (Problem with long term focus such as losing focus or over focusing)
- Eye Tracking Disorders (Difficulty with moving the eye from one point to another)
- Convergence Insufficiency (A tendency for the eyes to drift outwards when reading)
- Strabismus (Known as cross eyed, where the eyes do not work together)
- Binocular Vision Dysfunction (Different lines of sight between both eyes)
- Diplopia (double vision due to the eyes not working well as a team)
- Vision Information Processing Disorders (Dyslexia is one example)
What Are Symptoms That To Look For?
- Lazy Eye, cross eye, double vision
- Difficulty Reading
- Poor Classroom Performance
- Difficulty staying focused
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- Constant squinting/head tilting
- Uses fingers to read
- Favors one eye over the other
- Poor handwriting
- Difficulties with geometric shapes
Does Vision Therapy Help ADD/ADHD?
“Children with convergence insufficiency are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children without the disorder […] patients diagnosed with ADHD should also be evaluated for convergence insufficiency and treated accordingly”– Dr. Granet of the Children’s Eye Center
A meta study published in 2016 based on data of 75,000 children shows that children with visual problems not treated by glasses or contact lenses have double the rate of ADHD. While the exact causes of ADHD are unknown, the assumption of medical professionals and researchers is that it is a result of many different factors including genetics, and environment.
In some instances a child may be incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD due to the similarities in symptoms between visual developmental issues and ADHD. For example children with a short attention span during school or homework may be a result of ADHD or may be related to their difficulty focusing on reading and other visual tasks.
If your child is showing symptoms of ADHD our optometrist recommends having them come in for an eye exam to see if their symptoms are treatable with vision therapy.
Is Vision Therapy Also For Adults?
Does reading or doing paper work make you exhausted?
The most common misconception about vision therapy is that it is a treatment for children only. A fact that might surprise you is that vision therapy has been used extensively with professional athletes to improve their hand and eye coordination and give them an edge in competitive sports. In most cases vision therapy is actually more successful with adults then children, because adults are more motivated to make the treatment work. Over the years adults learn tricks to compensate for their visual problems, most adult patients who undergo therapy are blown away by the significant improvement to their quality of life now that they no longer have to compensate.