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Adults or children lacking in these critical functional visual skills will have problems reading, writing and may even have exhibit behavioural issues. All of which can lead to emotional, physical and visual barriers to long term academic success and stress free visual work day.
Is there a relationship between binocular vision problems and academic success?
Several published studies suggest that the answer is, "yes"
A 2010 study journal BMC Ophthalmology by Dusek at al. investigated the visual functioning of two groups of school-aged children in Austria . The study found that the group of children with reading difficulties was statistically more likely to have visual problems such as poorer distance visual acuity, and binocular problems such as slower reading speeds
The study confirmed the importance of a full assessment of binocular visual status in order to detect and remedy these deficits in order to prevent the visual problems continuing to impact upon educational development.
A similar study conducted by the prestigious Mayo clinic concluded vision therapy benefited for children's suffering from binocular vision disorders. http://newswise.com/articles/view/545210
It should be noted that rehabilitative vision therapy is not limited to children, adults gain great success with vision therapy as well. For adults, learning and cognition is delayed after a traumatic brain injury such as concussions or strokes. The success rate of rehabilitative vision therapy is high due to the high motivation factor of adults as they are more in tune and aware of their visual Furthermore, therapeutic vision therapy benefits for adults is in the areas of sports vision and rehabilitative vision therapy is well documented to help to enhance and fine tune oculomotor control for clear comfortable vision.
Rehabilitative vision therapy is a prescribed doctor-assisted, non invasive treatment used to improve, enhance and/or develop visual function so that the visual system runs more efficiently and automatically. This is done by building strong, faster, more connected neural pathways along our visual vestibular auditory integration. This neural integration can take place regardless of age of treatment. Patients learn to use their visual abilities in new or more enhanced ways by participating in various vision training exercises that utilize the use of lenses, prisms, filters, patches and other materials and equipment. Therapy treatments are designed to enhance a set of skills to conscious awareness, practice using those skills to mastery so they become automatic.
How improvements in Visual Skills are related to Learning?
For children, rehabilitative vision therapy offers the ability to treat a child’s core visual processing skills that are directly related to a child’s academic performance and behaviour in school. Rehabilitative vision therapy bridges the gap between what the eyes allow us to see and how the brain interprets that information otherwise known as a ‘Vision Performance Assessment’. In other words, Rehabilitative vision therapy addresses the barriers to academic performance despite seeing 20/20 or not requiring glasses for kids with functional academic problems for kids labelled with learning related disorders, ADHD, and developmental delays.
Where to start?
During your comprehensive 12 step ocular health eye exam, our doctors will assess based on the visual signs and symptoms if an individual is in need of an additional Visual Performance Assesement (VPA) to assess an individual’s higher order functional visual skills that goes beyond a routine comprehensive eye exam. A Visual Performance Assessment of functional visual skills will require 2.5 hrs to administer. The performance assessment exam includes a visagraph reading analysis of an individual’s oculomotor efficiency eye control and fixation.
Further higher order functional tests to evaluate one’s visual processing skills are also evaluated. They include the following tests:
Visual Performance Assement
The fee to administer and evaluate this advanced visual performance assessment is $375 and requires an additional visit after the annual eye examination. The time and costs to administer and evaluate this test is not included in your comprehensive eye exam. This advanced diagnostic testing goes beyond the scope of basic OHIP insured services. Following the visual performance evaluation, the doctor will counsel if rehabilitative visual therapy would benefit the individuals visual deficiencies. Rehabilitative Visual Therapy sessions are booked in 45 min in- office therapy sessions. Along with in office therapy sessions, at home supportive therapy activities will be given to strengthen the foundations of the visual skills learned from the office.
Advanced Vision Rehabiliative Solutions
Visual therapy results will vary depending on the severity of the condition, and compliance of the home supportive therapy activities. Expect at least 20 weeks to 40 weeks of therapy needed to rehabilitate the various visual dysfunctions. Please speak to your doctor for further details on prognosis and follow up treatments as needed.
Depending on your insurance carrier and coverage rehabilitative vision therapy treatment may be reimbursed through your third party private insurance. Please inquire with your insurance carrier for coverage limits. Our office does not do direct billing for vision therapy , Detailed receipts will be provided.
Kingsway Eye Care's Academy of Vision Therapy is very excited to offer advanced sub specialty Neuro-Developmental Optometry services for patients who have their vision, balance, and vestibular ocular reflexes (visual balance) affected after an acquired or traumatic brain injury (ATI/TBI) from a motor vehicle accident, stroke, or from a concussion.
Vision is the emergent intersection of our Visual-Vestibular- Auditory sensory Integration. As many individuals are aware, after an acquired or traumatic brain injury, vision, learning and speech are greatly affected. Along with one’s senses of balance and ability to read basic reading passages. To rehabilitate back to normal occupational daily living, vision therapy training at our office helps to address those needs by rehabilitating our eyes and reintegrating the neural connections back to normal.
There are two subdivisions of the visual pathway from the retina to the brain, the parvocellular pathway and the magnocellular pathway.
Optimally, both the focal and ambient visual systems reinforce one another and function synergistically. A strong integration between our central and peripheral vision systems is critical for most of our daily tasks, such as reading, writing and balance. Our peripheral vision allows us to locate objects and process where they are in space, but our clear, central vision tells us what it is we’re looking at. When our focal (central) and our ambient (peripheral) processes are out of balance, it interferes with all aspects of performance.
Did you know that: 65% of the sensory information to the brain is visual and there are more areas of the brain dedicated to vision than all the other sense modalities combined.
Traumatic brain injuries directly interrupt our central and peripheral processes which in turn affects our visual vestibular auditory senses. Any traumatic injuries to the brain can produce a diminished state of consciousness and results in impairment of our basic cognitive abilities such as sensory processing and physical functioning. Traumatic or acquired brain injuries disrupt the visual process and interfere with the flow and processing of information.
A significant cause of visual difficulties in acquired brain injuries is interference with the Ambient Process. Disturbances in the ambient process cause an inability to organize spatial information with other sensory-motor systems. Since the two pathways integrate together, if the ambient process is affected, the focal process is affected along with the rest of the senses. This disrupted pathways has a profound effect on our learning, which is why many ABI/TBI patients have difficulty learning new tasks.
The visual system is involved with neural processes such as balance, planning and executing motor movements, eye movement control, comprehending complex actions and ideas, sustaining attention, object identification, object localization and understanding the relationship between objects, filtering out irrelevant stimuli and memory. Insults to the brain can produces a diminished or altered state of cognitive skills. Vision is the most important source of sensory information. Brain injuries disrupt the visual process and interfere with the flow of process of information.
At our Academy of Vision therapy, our Neuro-developmental optometrists can evaluate a patient’s visual abilities and the effect that visual deficits are having on the patient’s overall rehabilitation process and include treatment plans to remediate or compensate for them.
Including optometric treatment such as lenses, prisms, filters, occlusion or neuro-visual therapy can significantly facilitate the progress of rehabilitation because many of the tests and treatment regimens by the rehabilitation team members are dependent upon the function and efficiency of the visual system. Since the visual system affects the input and output of information to the brain and motor systems, remediating the visual problems can often speed up the recovery process.
For adults and children who were told, strabismus and amblyopia cannot be treated past a certain age were misinformed. In fact, recent studies by the National Eye Institute on the treatment of amblyopia has shown success https://nei.nih.gov/health/amblyopia
Traditional Strabismus /Amblyopia treatment typically involves prescribing glasses and then passively patching the stronger eye with an eye patch or using eye drops to blur the better-seeing eye while doing daily activities. This is the common traditional approach taken by many medical practitioners for amblyopia and the duration of the patching can vary from two to six hours per day depending on the severity of the amblyopia.
Traditionally, patching and/or prescribing glasses have been used to treat amblyopia, often for children at a younger age. Today, studies have shown that combining vision therapy with patching is a more effective treatment for lazy eye in children and adults than just patching alone.
Rehabilitative Vision therapy treats the Root Cause of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
The reason vision therapy is so important in amblyopia treatment is that it gets at the root cause: the two eyes do not work in binocular unison and do not perceive visual space the same and therefore do not work together. They can’t produce healthy “binocular” vision or 3D vision. Patching of an eye is a passive form of lazy eye treatment. Vision therapy is the modern day form of active engagement of the amblyopic eye (lazy) so that both eyes work in unison, rather than work independently.
Individuals with amblyopia do not develop binocular vision, so amblyopia is essentially a binocular problem, not a monocular problem as we were misled to believe . Patching is a monocular solution when a binocular solution is needed to prevent amblyopic visual regression.
How do you correct amblyopia (lazy eye)? Our goal at the Academy of Vision Therapy is for strabismic and amblyopic eye patients to train the brain to process information from each eye as equally as possible, and then train to get both eyes to work together (binocular) as a team.
Basically, the two eyes don’t see visual space the same. We’re working to get the eyes to see visual space more similarly, so they can work as a team. The approach taken by developmental optometrists that practice vision therapy generally includes the following steps:
In summary, rehabilitative vision therapy for strabismic and amblyopia patient works by enhancing the biofeedback to teach the brain to blend the information from the two eyes to synergistically work together (3D fusion). Frequently this process can align the eyes without surgery or in some cases remediate or enhance outcomes after surgery is performed to help improve eye alignment, improve depth perception for school, sports, and leisure activities. Successful treatment of strabismus and amblyopia aligns both eyes and creates binocular depth perception for seeing the three dimensional beauty of our world.
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