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Vision Therapy

Functional Vision Exams
Functional Vision Exams

We renovated our building in 2021 to incorporate a vision therapy program into our practice. We realize vision therapy can make a huge impact in patient’s lives and we are very excited to be able to provide this service. Our team works with every patient to find the root cause of their visual difficulties and designs a treatment plan that is personalized to them.

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision is very complex and goes much beyond the ability to see 20/20 – vision happens in the brain. Optometric vision therapy is a rehabilitative program that is prescribed to treat dysfunctions of the visual system.

Vision therapy can be an effective treatment for many vision problems that cannot be treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses alone. It is an individualized program designed to enhance vision processing skills such as eye-tracking, focusing and eye teaming abilities, as well as hand-eye coordination and visual processing speed.

Exercises are completed in-office on a weekly basis and then the skills are solidified with at home practice throughout the week. Programs can vary in length, all depending on the patient needs and complexity of the visual problem.

The Facebook group ‘Vision Therapy Parents Unite’ contains more information and testimonials from patients and parents.

Who would benefit from Vision Therapy?

If you have a score greater than 20, you would benefit from a full functional eye examination.


Vision Related Learning Difficulties

• OVER 80% of learning is visual

• 3 in 4 children with reading disabilities also have under-developed visual skills

Most children with learning difficulties also struggle with the necessary visual skills for effective reading, writing, and learning. Children may display frequent loss of place, omission of words, skipping lines, slow reading speed, poor comprehension and/or a short attention span. If your child is having difficulty with learning, you should be sure to take them for a full functional workup to determine if there are any underlying visual problems contributing to their learning difficulties.

Does your child experience any of the following symptoms?

• Headaches or eye strain
• Blurred or double vision
• Losing their place while reading, skipping, or re-reading lines
• Reversing letters/numbers/words
• Poor hand-eye coordination
• Clumsiness
• Fatigue from school
• Squinting, rubbing or closing one eye while reading
• Poor word/letter recognition
• Poor spelling
• Poor handwriting skills
• Motion sickness
• Poor attention and concentration

Strabismus (cross-eye or eye turn)

Strabismus is a condition when the eyes are misaligned. The affected eye often appears as if it is turned inwards (esotropia) or outwards (exotropia). Strabismus treatment can involve glasses, vision training, prismatic correction and sometimes even require surgery. Uncorrected strabismus usually leads to amblyopia (see below).

Vision therapy can be a very effective treatment for strabismus. It can help correct the eye misalignment and trains the brain to use both eyes simultaneously. If we can correct the misalignment without surgery, the prognosis for good stereo-acuity (depth perception), is much greater. We feel strongly that vision therapy should be the first line of treatment – if we cannot get success, then surgery is required. If surgery is required, post-operative vision therapy can help improve the outcomes.


Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is a neurological developmental vision problem that occurs during infancy and early childhood. The brain starts ignoring the visual sensory information from one eye (or both), due to either one eye being misaligned or one eye having a significantly different refractive error compared to the other eye. Essentially one eye is always out of focus compared to the other eye and the brain learns over time to ‘turn off’ or suppress that eye. Children do not grow out of amblyopia; it normally requires glasses and vision therapy.

Traditionally, patching the better-seeing eye was the only method used to treat amblyopia. Vision therapy, on the other hand, works to get the eyes working together as a team and improve depth perception. The aim is to reduce suppression, where the brain ignores the image in one of the eyes. Sadly, many professionals may tell parents that nothing can be done once a child reaches the age of 7 because this is what they were taught in school. However, newer research has proven this to be false, which is very promising for patients with amblyopia.

Non-Strabismic Binocular Vision Disorders

Vision disorders in this category occur when the eyes struggle to work together properly. Signs of these disorders may include poor eye movement control, inability to properly focus, poor hand-eye coordination, and difficult with motor skills and eye teaming activities.

If you suffer from eye strain and headaches with near work, sometimes, an inefficient visual system can be at fault. Diagnoses such as convergence insufficiency, accommodative disorders, binocular oculomotor dysfunction fall into this category.

What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?

• Using a finger to read
• Difficulty Reading or avoiding reading
• Headaches
• Favours one eye over the other
• Poor handwriting
• Double Vision
• Intermittent blurred vision
• Headaches
• Movement of text on paper
• Poor classroom performance
• Difficulty staying focused
• Poor hand-eye coordination
• Constant squinting/head tilting
• Squinting, rubbing or closing one eye
• Loss of place, repetition, or omission of words while reading

I’m interested in vision therapy. What’s next?

A Functional Vision Assessment is the first step if you are interested in vision therapy. It consists of a series of in-office activities to evaluate visual performance, perception, and function to test a wide range of visual skills.

Some of your testing will be with Dr. Goods, and some will be with one of our trained vision therapists. Your evaluation will include:

- Eye Tracking (Ocular Motility) Testing – A measurement of fast, small eye movements called saccades, and smooth, fluid movements called pursuits.
- Eye Teaming (Binocular Vergence) Testing – A measurement of coordination, convergence, and divergence of the two eyes.
- Eye Focusing (Accommodation) Testing – A measurement of automatic eye focusing relating to the clarity of near vision and sustained near visual attention.
- Visual Discrimination – The ability to see similarities from differences.
- Visual Memory – The ability to visually remember the characteristics of a shape/object after a brief presentation.
- Visual Spatial Relationships – The ability to see the difference among forms based on orientation.
- Visual Sequential Memory – The ability to remember a series of forms in their specific order of presentation.
- Visual Figure-Ground – The ability to perceive a form visually, and to find this form hidden in a clutter of a distracting background.
- Visual Directionality and Laterality – The ability to identify language symbols based on their directional orientation.
- Visual Motor Integration – The ability to analyze visual information and reproduce the response in a paper and pencil task.

After all the assessment testing is complete, Dr. Kimberley Goods will see you back for a follow-up appointment to review all of your results and recommendations for vision therapy, if applicable. We will also provide you with a report detailing all your results and our recommendation. This is a relaxed visit and a great opportunity for questions and discussions.

Our Vision Therapy Program consists of weekly sessions led by our vision therapist, Maegan Fulton, under the supervision of Dr. Kimberley Goods. Therapy sessions are meant to be a challenge but aim to be fun and interactive at every increasing skill level. The exercises make use of lenses, prisms, filters, 3D computer software, and other equipment aimed at developing visual skills.

Following each therapy session, activities will be assigned for daily practice at home. These tasks will vary weekly, and the necessary equipment will be provided to you at no extra cost. For best success in the program, it is expected that 20 minutes of the assigned visual activities are completed each day at home. These at home activities are VERY important for successful therapy.

How Long Will It Take to See Results with Vision Therapy?

Programs can vary from 10 weeks to a year or more, all depending on the patient’s needs and complexity of the visual problem. Over the course of the program, follow-up appointments will be scheduled with Dr. Kimberley Goods to track progress. The decision to continue or complete treatment will be a decision we will make together. The frequency of sessions, the amount of home training, and the duration of the program depends on the severity of the problem, the goals of the patient, their age and their commitment/participation level in the program.

Summerland Optometry in action
Summerland Optometry in action
Summerland Optometry in action
Summerland Optometry in action