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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VISION PROBLEMS CAN LEAD TO CLASSROOM PROBLEMS

Is your child having problems in school? Do you frequently receive notes from his or her teacher about misbehavior or attention problems? It may surprise you to realize the child’s difficulties are the result of vision-related learning difficulties.


More than 80 percent of learning is visual. In school, a child constantly has to look from his or her desk or book to the board and back. This involves the necessary visual skills of pointing and tracking. The eyes must work together to focus and send the visual cues to the brain. Good vision is vital to developing reading and writing skills. Children with poor vision often find it hard to focus on their work. Common vision problems often go undiagnosed – many of them are not obvious – and the frustration, trouble and actual discomfort some children encounter in school can lead to less than desirable behavior.


Children won’t tell you they can’t see because they don’t know they can’t see. They don’t know what normal vision is. Fewer than 15 percent of children have had their eyes examined. But to diagnose problems that affect learning takes more than the standard test that generally includes reading an eye chart to discern 20/20 vision. Vision is much more than just seeing clearly. It is an incredibly complex system. It takes a comprehensive eye exam to measure a child’s ability to track and point his or her eyes.


What are some signs parents can look for that will let them know

their child needs to have a comprehensive eye exam? Here are a few cues:



When conducting a comprehensive eye exam, the vision therapist will watch the child read to see how efficiently the eyes work together. Does the child miss words? Does she reverse letters, seeing a “b” as a “d”? Optometric vision therapy can help children overcome obstacles such as convergence insufficiency disorder, a condition in which the eyes are unable to converge and sustain what they see. With visual therapy, children can learn how to point the eyes together

and keep the single vision they produce. They will develop the neurocognitive and visual cognitive skills that are necessary for reading and learning. As they practice and receive proper feedback, their subconscious visual skills improve. The program offered at Family Eyecare Associates usually lasts 30 weeks and incorporates various activities that are specifically designed to help with understanding numbers, letters and shapes. But the results are impressive: Parents often see a three-year jump on their child’s standardized scores and tests. And the child begins to enjoy reading.


For more information about vision problems that can undermine your child’s ability to learn, check out the videos at: http://vild.info/about.html. Then call for a consultation with Family Eyecare Associates to have your child’s vision checked.

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