Vision Therapy

The Vision & Learning Center provides treatment for many eye and vision disorders that can have a major impact on life, school, learning, and so much more. If you or someone you know struggles with vision and learning, please consider taking our quality of life survey or calling our office for further information.

What is Vision Therapy?

Optometric Vision Therapy is a treatment plan used to correct or improve specific dysfunctions of the visual system. It includes, but is not limited to, the treatment of strabismus, amblyopia, accommodation, ocular motor function, visual-perceptual and visual-motor abilities.

What does vision therapy do?

Optometric Vision Therapy works on the development of visual skills, some of which include:

1. The ability to follow a moving object smoothly, accurately, and effortlessly with both eyes and at the same time think, talk, read, or listen without losing alignment of the eyes. This pursuit ability is used to follow a ball or a person, to guide a pencil while writing, to read symbols on moving objects, etc.

2. The ability to aim the eyes on a series of stationary objects quickly, with both eyes, and at the same time know what each object is. This is a skill used to read words from left to right, add columns of numbers, read maps, etc.

3. The ability to change focus quickly, without blur, from far to near and from near to far, over and over, effortlessly and at the same time look for meaning and obtain understanding from the symbols or objects seen. This ability is used to copy from the chalkboard, to watch the road ahead and check the speedometer, to read a book or watch TV from across the room, etc.

4. The ability to team two eyes together. This skill should work so well that no interference exists between the two eyes that can result in having to suppress or mentally block information from one eye or the other. This shutting off of information to one eye lowers understanding and speed, increases fatigue and distractibility, and shortens attention span. Proper teaming permits vision to emerge and learning to occur.

5. The ability to see over a large area (in the periphery) while pointing the eyes straight ahead. For safety, self-confidence and rapid reading, a person needs to see “the big picture”. This skill aids the ability to know easily where they are on a page while reading and to take in large amounts of information, (i.e., a large number of words) per look.

6. The ability to see and know (recognize) in a short look. Efficient vision is dependent on the ability to see rapidly, to see and know an object, people or words in a very small fraction of a second. The less time required to see, the faster the reading and thinking.

7. The ability to see in depth. A child should be able to throw a bean bag into a hat 10 feet away, to judge the visual distance and control the arm movements needed. An adult needs to see and judge how far it is to the curb, make accurate decisions about the speed and distances of other cars to be safe.

Significant Points About Vision Therapy

Click here for: College of Vision Development Video

I. Vision is Learned

  • Vision Therapy is a process of teaching the patient to see properly.
  • They must always be consciously aware that they are doing the learning.
  • A visual problem is not a disease; therefore, there is not a cure for the problem. There is only guidance for the patient in the proper direction of learning. The patient must be the learner

II. The responsibility or the success of a case is the patient’s, not ours.

  • The prescribed time must be spent, and a conscientious effort to experience the activities as instructed, must be made by the patient.
  • It is the patient’s responsibility to see that the home therapy is done when it is time to do therapy. A reminder may be needed. It is helpful if a consistent time is chosen.
  • When therapy is done, there are no “wrong” answers to the questions. When there is a particular way an exercise should be looked at, it will be explained, and the desired discovery will be defined during the discussion. The awareness of the way an object looks, at a particular time, is important in developing visual ability. The ability to communicate what is seen is also very important.

III. The most important factors for learning are:

  • Motivation
  • Practice effect. A schedule must be strictly adhered to. Lack of adequate practice will effect or hinder progress.

IV. It is important to remember that the activities prescribed may produce stress. We are asking a patient to do some things that they can not already do easily. Constant praise and encouragement will help lessen the feeling of negative stress and produce faster results. Emphasize the work accomplished, rather than errors.

V. Home training procedures are best done without an audience, especially siblings. Each procedure should be read carefully and then tried by the caregiver. If that caregiver is unsuccessful, someone else should be asked to try. The more successful caregiver should then be responsible for that procedure.

Vision Therapy Success Stories

The NFL’s Most Exciting Receiver

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Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson keeps a steady focus for playoffs

Roloson’s workout program, designed by California fitness expert Scot Prohaska, is well known. But Roloson, under the direction of Mark Gordon, a Kenmore, N.Y., optometrist he met while playing for the Sabres, also exercises his eyes.

“We’re looking at reaction times, peripheral awareness,” Gordon said. “We’re looking at all the visual components to perform well. If you only get to see a puck for a brief moment, you have to be able to process a lot of information in a very brief moment. So we have a lot of close visual abilities that come into play. We’re doing all these time-space calculations based on a brief moment.”
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Padres Put Hitters’ Vision to the Test

“How does Brian Giles discern balls from strikes better than the typical hitter?

“I don’t know,” said Giles, whose career on-base percentage is .404. “I just don’t know. Maybe it helps to have an open stance, to get a better look at the pitch. I’ve always been a hitter who works the count.”

Padres slugger Greg Vaughn credited San Diego eye doctor Carl Hillier for helping him to shorten a hitting slump in 1998, and it was Hillier who put players through a battery of visual tests Wednesday.

We’re looking at the visual skills for athletic performance, and these go far beyond the ability to see 20-20,” said Hillier, who is part of the San Diego Center for Vision Care in Encinitas and Lemon Grove. “We’re looking for ability, skill and endurance.”

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Vision Therapy Books

Jillian’s Story – How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter’s Life by Robin Benoit with Jillian Benoit
Fixing My Gaze by Susan Barry

Wayne Gretzky — “A good hockey player plays where the puck is, a great hockey player plays where the puck is going!

Thank you for your help. Now I can read and write better. Vision Therapy was alot of fun and I will miss it alot….
Jacob, age 6

When I first started Vision Therapy I didn’t like school. School was very hard. Dr. Baker was great, she helped me by making my eyes stronger….
Kaela, age 13
When Kaela first started Vision Therapy she disliked school and was having a hard time keeping up with her classmates. She has since improved her grades in Math, Spelling and English. She is doing so much better in school and we are very proud of her….Her improvement after working with Dr. Baker is more than we expected. Thank you!!!
Lisa (Kaela’s mom)
Dear Dr. Baker,
Thank you for helping me with Vision Therapy. Now I do baseball and skateboarding. I can do things with my eyes my mom can’t do….
Nolan, age 10
Vision Therapy has helped me be better at my sports. During Football I could notice how it helped me….
Lucas, age 13
Thank you Dr. Baker for your professional, compassionate and caring ways of teaching Vision Therapy….
Traci (Nolan’s mom)