VISION THERAPY AND ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY

The eye is amazing. Did you know more than 1.9 million fibers come from the eye into the brain? Each of those fibers creates its own pathway to the brain and has its own distinct function. So when someone has a stroke or other acquired brain injury (ABI), vision is often affected.  ABIs include concussions suffered in severe sports-related hits or a car accident, as well as cerebral or vascular strokes. An ABI can affect both neurological pathways in the eye, the focal or parvocellular pathway, which is....

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SYNTONICS: CREATING BALANCE FOR THE EYES

Syntonics, or optometric phototherapy, is a form of light therapy used to treat a variety of vision problems. It is available at Family Eyecare Associates to help patients with a variety of vision problems, such as strabismus (eye turns), amblyopia (lazy eye), focusing and convergence problems and learning disorders. It has also been shown to be very effective for people who suffer from migraines.

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WHAT IS BEHAVIORAL OPTOMETRY?

Behavioral optometry starts with the concept that vision is learned. When we’re born, we don’t know how to use our arms, legs and hands. We also don’t know how to use our eyes. We have to learn how to integrate them with the rest of our body. The brain must process what the eyes are seeing, and then it has to integrate that information with the other senses. From a behav- ioral standpoint, seeing requires a more holistic approach, getting all the senses to work together.

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LOOK OUT FOR YOUR EYES

The average person sitting or walking will blink about 22 times a minute, but when someone is staring at a computer, he will blink about seven times a minute. Blinking distributes fresh tears across the eyes, keeping them lubricated and helping stave off dry eye. Try pressing a warm wet cloth to your eyes to soothe them and unclog the tear ducts.


An active therapy program can help you improve your eyes’ tracking, pointing and moving skills. It will also improve your spatial awareness and judgment. All these skills are learned and anyone can improve them at any point in time. Playing games such as corn hole or shooting baskets is beneficial as well because these activities make you track and follow the bag and ball. You’ll get instant feedback on how accurately your eyes are pointing and working together.


A Youtube video featuring Sir Paul McCartney doing eye yoga or eye stretches can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=00XqvNwYMoc. McCartney demonstrates simple exercises involving all six of the pointing movements of the eye, and they can have a great impact on your eyes’ strength and abilities. They’re also an excellent way to relax your eyes after a rough day or use as a warm-up to get ready for the next workday spent in front of a computer.



The bottom line is, vision is a very complex sense. It takes a multi-pronged multi-faceted approach to care for and preserve this most precious of senses.

DR. RICK GRAEBE

Dr. Graebe received both his B.S degree in Visual Science and Doctorate of Optometry from Indiana University. He is a Behavioral Optometrist and learning expert. He has been in private practice here in the Bluegrass area for the past 32 years.

more articles by dr rick graebe

As you begin making your resolution to be healthier this new year, don’t leave out two of the most important parts of your body: your eyes. With the demands that are put on our eyes every day, it is essential to take care of them and even exercise them to strengthen them and possibly improve your vision.


In the past, people were hunters, farmers and gatherers. They were used to looking over far distances to seek prey and other possible sources of food. But now we live in a 2D world, where all day long we stare at flat computer and telephone screens that are 6 to 24 inches away our eyes. The stress that puts on our eyes creates more eyestrain, more headache and more fatigue. The backlit screens have more blue light to them, and this can actually cause damage to the macula at the back of the eye.


There are several things you can do to combat eyestrain. Try adjusting your schedule so you’re not staring at computer as much. Have proper, adequate lighting to work and read by – the more natural light the better. Another thing you can do to help your eyes is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds. Time often gets away from us when we’re playing a game or typing or researching on the Internet, so it’s imperative to take regular breaks. You could even set a timer on your phone to remind you to do your 20-20-20 routine.