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Vision Therapy

4 Reasons Why Your Child May Be Refusing to Read

4 Reasons Why Your Child May Be Refusing to Read 640×350Reading involves the simultaneous coordination of a number of basic visual skills. For children who have not yet mastered some of these skills, reading can be an exercise in frustration, leading them to avoid reading altogether.

While many of us take our eyes’ ability to converge, focus and track for granted, those with underdeveloped visual skills often struggle to keep track of where they are on the page and to fully understand and remember what they’ve just read.

We’ve outlined four of the top vision-related reasons why children refuse to read, and how vision therapy can help your child become a more confident reader.

1. Eye Tracking Problems

Eye tracking is the eyes’ ability to move smoothly and accurately from place to place. Good eye tracking skills allow a child to keep their eyes on an incoming baseball or move successfully from word to word on a page of text without losing their place.

For a child with eye-tracking issues, eye movements will be slow and inaccurate, often seen as eye flickering or requiring extra head movements, to compensate for the reduced visual skill.

Poor eye tracking can cause a child to frequently lose their spot and skip words or even whole lines of text while reading. In this case, the child uses a lot more energy than their peers to simply keep track of where they are on the page, causing difficulty with reading comprehension and fluency.

2. Difficulties With Eye Teaming

Eye teaming is the eyes’ ability to work together to send accurate visual information to the brain. Although each eye sends a slightly different image, the brain is able to combine these two images into a single picture, allowing for three-dimensional vision and depth perception.

When children have problems with eye teaming, their eyes are unable to work together. They send two very distinct images to the brain, which struggles to easily combine the two images into a single clear, cohesive image.

A child attempting to read with eye teaming issues may experience eye strain, headaches or even double vision. Often, words on a page will look blurry or appear to ‘float’ on the page. Eye teaming difficulties may also cause the child to have a reduced attention span, and lead them to avoid reading or not read at grade level.

3. [Visualization] Problems

Visualization refers to the ability to see something in the mind’s eye even if that thing is not right there in front of us. This skill allows a child to recall words and remember how to spell words that they’ve previously seen. [Visualization] allows many of us to read a story and then ‘see’ the characters and events play through our mind as if we are watching a film.

For some children, however, this doesn’t happen. The brain has a hard time taking the visual information it’s receiving from the eyes and interpreting it into larger images and concepts. This can result in poor reading comprehension and may render that reading is a chore and an unenjoyable experience.

4. Issues with Accommodation

Accommodation is the ability to refocus the eyes each time we shift our gaze from one image or object to the next. This happens as a result of the swift and accurate contraction and relaxation of muscles in the eye to quickly focus and refocus as the eye moves.

In children with accommodation problems, the focusing muscles in the eyes do not smoothly contract and relax efficiently as their eyes move across the page from word to word or from a book (or screen) to the board and back. They need to stop and refocus their vision every time they read another word. This stop-and-start type of reading harms reading comprehension, and the constant need to refocus can cause headaches and eye strain.

So What’s The Solution?

All of the problems mentioned above are due to reduced visual skills and can be frustrating for children and parents alike. Fortunately, there is a solution: vision therapy.

Vision therapy is a personalized, doctor-prescribed evidence-based regimen of in-office and at-home eye exercises to teach your child’s eyes and brain to more effectively work together. Depending on your child’s needs, the customized program may include vision therapy aids such as prism glasses, devices and specialized therapy computer programs.

Contact Vision Development of WNY to help your child get back on track with their reading and learning.

Vision Development of WNY offers vision therapy to patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, New York and surrounding communities.

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Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269

Can Vision Therapy Help Those With Autism?

Can Vision Therapy Help Those With Autism 640×350Visual problems in autistic children commonly go undetected and untreated. Often mistaken for symptoms of autism, visual problems can make it much more difficult for individuals with autism to process what they are seeing.

In a 2019 review of eye clinic records, the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus found that many autistic children have undetected vision problems.

“Among 2,555 children at a university autism clinic, about 11% had significant vision disorders, including strabismus (eye misalignment) and amblyopia, in which poor vision in one or both eyes results from abnormal early visual development,” the researchers said.

Vision Problems and Autistic Behaviors

Though many of the following autistic behaviors may appear to be unrelated to vision impairment, in reality, a high number of them are due to poor vision or visual skills.

  • Light sensitivity
  • Amblyopia/lazy eye
  • Lack of reciprocal play
  • Eye alignment (eye turns)
  • Common eye-rolling
  • Looking through/beyond objects
  • Difficulty accurately tracking moving objects
  • Inability to maintain eye contact with people
  • Visual stimming (flapping fingers in front of eyes)
  • Looking at objects from the side of the eyes
  • Extreme fear or absence of fear of heights

Vision Therapy for Children with Autism

Vision therapy is a proven treatment that strengthens the neurological connections between the brain and eyes to improve visual abilities.

A vision therapy program for an autistic child will help them improve visual processing, which in turn, will help them better understand their surroundings and improve associated behaviors, like anxiety.

Each vision therapy program is tailored to the child’s specific needs and includes age-appropriate exercises and activities.

Vision therapy tends to focus on improving the following skills in autistic kids:

  • Central vision
  • Peripheral stability
  • Efficient eye coordination
  • Visual-spatial organization
  • Visual information processing

Yoked or ambient prisms

Vision problems, particularly visual-spatial misperceptions such as bodies/objects/people moving in space, can make an autistic child feel frightened, confused or distressed, leading to certain behavioral responses like poor eye contact or looking beyond an object.

Yoked or ambient prism lenses assist autistic children in making better use of their vision. Prisms can enhance posture, balance, and attention almost immediately, thus considerably boosting the child’s sense of physical safety and comfort while reducing anxiety and sensory overload.

Prism lenses can be worn on a daily basis or for the duration of a vision therapy program, which generally leads to significant improvements.

The purpose of vision therapy is to make ordinary tasks easier to complete and reduce the challenges that both you and your autistic child confront on a daily basis.

Please note that vision therapy should be a part of an interdisciplinary strategy aimed at improving a patient’s capacity to function and enhance their quality of life.

Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, New York and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: How long does vision therapy take to work?

  • A: Although it varies from person to person, most children will see a difference within the first 10 weeks. Adult vision therapy takes a little longer because adult brains are less flexible than children’s brains.

Q: What is vision therapy?

  • A: Vision therapy is a specific program that involves a series of progressive therapeutic eye exercises that help patients improve their visual abilities. Their visual abilities improve as their eyes and brain communicate more effectively. It’s a one-of-a-kind, treatment program that’s usually combined with vision correction (glasses or contacts, such as in the case of myopia or presbyopia).

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What’s the Link Between Vision Therapy and Self-Confidence?

Whats the Link Between Vision Therapy and Self Confidence 640×350When most people think of vision, they think of how well a person can see up close or from afar. Many schools perform a simple vision screening to identify students who may be having difficulty seeing the board in the classroom.

Unfortunately, these vision screenings don’t evaluate a child’s functional vision, which comprises all of the fundamental visual skills required for learning.

As a result, many children with inadequate vision skills go undiagnosed and end up struggling in school and on the sports field. Often, these children are considered clumsy and sluggish and tend to be misdiagnosed and labeled as having a learning disability, dyslexia or ADHD.

Improving visual skills enables many of these students to read more effortlessly, boost grades and improve athletic performance.

Visual skills can be learned and retrained with vision therapy, particularly during childhood and adolescence, when the brain is still developing.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a specialized treatment program that aims to enhance visual processing by developing and/or improving the communication between the eyes and the brain. The training is typically made up of specialized lenses, prisms, and eye exercises.

The following eye conditions can be effectively treated with vision therapy:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (eye turns)
  • Convergence insufficiency
  • Eye movement problems
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Accommodative/focusing disorders
  • Visual processing difficulties
  • Visual disturbances from a brain injury

Vision Therapy Can Boost Your Child’s Confidence

Children who endure difficulty in school or on the sports field in reaction to subpar visual skills tend to feel frustrated that they cannot perform like their peers. This, in turn, affects their confidence levels and may lead them to exhibit behavioral issues and thwart their ability to make friends.

Vision therapy has been shown to transform lives. Children who previously struggled to read or catch a ball due to a deficit in visual skills usually see a significant improvement in their abilities and results in increased self-confidence and competence.

Vision therapy can help a child become a better student and achieve his or her academic goals. Moreover, vision therapy can be indispensable when preparing for higher education, since accomplishments can lead to a greater belief in one’s own talents and abilities. This newfound self-assurance will undoubtedly spill over into other areas, improving the child’s quality of life.


Don’t let your child’s visual dysfunction prevent them from experiencing self-confidence and self-assurance. Contact Vision Development of WNY to learn how vision therapy can unlock your child’s hidden potential.

Vision Development of WNY provides vision therapy and other services to patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, Western New York, and throughout New York.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: How long does a vision therapy program last?

  • A: Since each case differs based on the nature and severity of the visual condition, there is no defined time limit. Patients can observe progress after just a few sessions, but treatment might last for several months. In general, once a child has completed a vision therapy program, the effects are permanent.

Q: How young can a child start vision therapy?

  • A: Children as young as 5-6 years old can begin vision therapy, but formal in-office sessions are recommended for children aged 7 and up since they are better able to follow instructions.

 

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Children’s Vision and Learning Awareness

Children’s Vision and Learning Awareness 640×350Brain scans show that up to 80% of the sensory input that the brain receives comes through vision. In fact, no other sense takes up as much brainpower or contributes to learning as much as vision does.

So, if a child is having learning difficulties, it may be time to take a closer look at how well their visual system is functioning.

How are Vision and Learning Linked?

Experts agree that the majority of classroom learning is based on a child’s vision and the functioning of their visual system. Optimal visual skills allow a child to read easily, process visual information efficiently and concentrate for extended periods of time.

Children with visual problems may experience difficulties with writing, reading, math, sports and even social skills. Poor vision can also cause a child to withdraw in the classroom and shy away from raising their hand to answer questions.

What Can Parents Do for Their Children’s Vision?

Know the Warnings Signs to Watch For

Bring your child to your family’s optometrist if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Reading or learning difficulties
  • Poor attention or concentration
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Disinterest or refusal to engage in visually demanding activities
  • Squinting or closing one eye while reading
  • Frequent head tilting
  • Headaches or eye strain
  • Short attention span, especially when reading
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Poor hand-eye coordination

Schedule Regular Eye Exams

A child’s vision can change rapidly. The only way to detect changes in your child’s visual system is through regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist. Even the most motivated child may not be aware that something is wrong with their vision and believe that they see the way everyone else does.

Parents, please take note: School vision screenings are not enough, as they only check for a handful of vision problems and don’t take into account the important visual skills needed for efficient learning. Moreover, school vision screenings fail to identify up to 75% of children with visual problems.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to your child, it’s recommended that they get their vision evaluated with an optometrist annually, or as often as their eye doctor recommends.

Consider Vision Therapy

If your child is diagnosed with a vision problem, there is hope!

Your optometrist may recommend a custom-made vision therapy program to target the root cause of the issue and correct the problem. Children who complete vision therapy often do better in school, start to enjoy reading and have more confidence.

If your child is struggling with any aspect of classroom learning or homework or is exhibiting behavioral problems, bring them in for a functional vision assessment to rule out visual dysfunction as an underlying cause or contributor.

To schedule your child’s appointment and learn more about what we offer, call Vision Development of WNY today!

Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, New York and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: What is vision therapy?

  • A: Vision therapy is an in-office series of visual exercises that help enhance and strengthen the communication between the brain and eyes. This specialized form of vision care helps treat adults and children with conditions like crossed-eyes and eye-turn, as well as problems with eye tracking, eye teaming, convergence insufficiency and hand-eye coordination, among others.

Q: How long does a vision therapy program last?

  • A: There is no set length of time since each case varies depending on the type and severity of the visual condition. Patients can see results within a few sessions but may continue treatment for several months. Generally speaking, once a child completes a vision therapy program, he or she experiences lasting results.

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Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269

Kathy Guides us on the Infinity Walk

Transcription:
Okay. For the infinity walk, we have three different techniques that we use today. We’re going to demonstrate the standard infinity walk, which is simply walking a figure eight. The other two, we can go over with you while you’re here and we have the instructions here. So we’re going to just do the basic infinity walk. The infinity walk is a figure eight pattern that we have

On the floor. And it’s walking to circular patterns, a clockwise and counterclockwise pattern. And our purpose is to help our center with our peripheral vision. It is also a very good integrator of the left and right sides of the eyes, the brain and the body. And it’s a very easy technique that you can do at home. This is something that’s very teachable. However, we want to make sure that the technique is done properly. Therefore, we like lines. We use tape on this floor.

You can chop this out somewhere or you could cut out big circles, but the best is to have something on the floor as much to walk around, to start the infinity walk, we are going to start on the outer edge of the circle.

And the dimensions are provided for you by your therapist. As you are starting, you are going to face your target.

And the target we are going to be using is this X here on the floor.

So as I start the infinity walk.

I am going to walk along the lines while I’m keeping my eyes on the target and using my peripheral vision to steer my body. So both of my eyes right now, we’re looking at the X while I’m using my side vision, my left field right now, and now then switches to my right fields.

As I walking around this clockwise and counterclockwise pattern.

No, we really don’t walk around like this. And it takes a little while.

We want a nice, slow pace feet moving forward. We’re walking along the lines, not on the lines, like a tight rope arms are nice and relaxed at our side. And of course the hard part is keeping eyes on the act. So when I come right around here, I’m in full extension with my neck and both of my eyes are looking at the X well, the right field of my eyes are looking here along the red line. And that switches right about here to now, I’m looking at the X again with both my eyes. However, the lush field is steering by that.

And we recommend doing this five minutes, five days a week, your target will be determined by the doctor or your therapist on what will be the most optimal value for your infinity walk.

We also recommend using flashcards, such as picture cars or math facts. And when we’re using math facts, we’re going to start out using the entire equation. So have the child or individual read the entire equation before reading off the other, where it would be doing the math equation by itself, for example. So for more information on the infinity law, you can go to infinity walk.com. And this is how we do the standard infinity.

Does your Child Have a Vision Problem? Here are 20 Signs to Look Out For

Does your Child Have a Vision Problem640x350A vision problem may directly impact a child’s performance in the classroom and on the sports field, negatively affecting self-esteem and confidence levels. Given that an estimated 80% of learning is visual, good vision can be the difference between making the game-winning catch and watching the opposing team score runs.

An estimated 25% of children have an undetected vision problem holding them back from succeeding in school and sports. If your child is struggling to keep up with their peers in the classroom or on the sports field, they may have certain lagging visual skills. Any of the following 20 signs may indicate that your child has a vision problem.

20 Signs of Child May Have a Vision Problem

  1. Blurred vision
  2. Double vision
  3. Headaches
  4. Eye strain or fatigue
  5. Sensitivity to bright light
  6. Excessive blinking or squinting
  7. Drifting or turning of one eye
  8. Poor eye-hand coordination
  9. Misjudging distances while moving in space
  10. Frequently falling or bumping into objects
  11. Difficulty maintaining attention
  12. Closing one eye while reading
  13. Turning or tilting head while reading
  14. Reduced reading speed or fluency
  15. Difficulty with reading comprehension
  16. Skipping words or lines of text while reading
  17. Losing place while reading
  18. Seeing words floating on the page
  19. Bringing text close to or far away from eyes to improve clarity
  20. Difficulty copying text

Keeping your eye out for telltale behaviors and symptoms is the first step in identifying a vision problem. The next step is to visit your [eye-doctor], who will assess your child’s functional vision. If any lagging visual skills are identified, your child may greatly benefit from vision therapy.

How Can Vision Therapy Help?

Vision therapy is a specialized program designed to improve the eye-brain connections in order to strengthen the visual skills necessary for academic and athletic success.

Each vision therapy program is customized to the individual needs of the patient and may include the use of lenses, prisms, occluders, filters and other equipment.


Is your child showing signs of a vision problem? Call Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna in Vision Development of WNY to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive vision evaluation.

Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, all throughout New York.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: Isn’t 20/20 Vision Good Enough?

  • A: Vision involves a lot more than just how clearly you can see from a distance of 20 feet. There are 17 visual skills that are absolutely essential for success in reading, writing, math, and even athletics. A problem with any of these visual skills can cause poor academic and athletic performance.A comprehensive eye exam is the best way to rule out any vision problems that may be getting in the way of your child’s success.

Q: Why Are Comprehensive Eye Exams Important?

  • A: Basic vision screenings conducted at schools or by pediatricians may detect a distance vision problem, but they cannot detect other vision problems that can interfere with learning. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team, and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

 

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Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269

3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children

3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children 640Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye,’ is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood, usually before the age of 8.

Lazy eye develops when one eye is unable to achieve normal visual acuity, causing blurry vision in the affected eye—even when wearing glasses. Left untreated, amblyopia can lead to vision loss in one eye.

It’s important to understand that a lazy eye isn’t actually lazy. Rather, the brain doesn’t process the visual signals from the ‘lazy’ eye. Eventually, the communication between the brain and the weaker eye deteriorates further, potentially leading to reduced vision in that eye. Fortunately, optometric vision therapy can improve the condition by training the brain to work with both eyes equally.

What Causes Lazy Eye?

When the neural connections between the eyes and the brain are healthy, each eye sends a visual signal to the brain. The brain combines these two signals into one clear image, allowing us to properly see what we are looking at.

In the case of amblyopia, the brain doesn’t recognize the weaker eye’s signals. Instead, it relies only on the visual input from the stronger eye.

Amblyopia can be caused by strabismus, anisometropia and deprivation.

Strabismus

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. The most common cause of amblyopia is eye misalignment, which causes the brain to receive two images that cannot be combined into one single, clear image.

A child’s developing brain cannot process images when both eyes are not aligned in the same direction, so it ‘turns off’ the images sent by the weaker eye. This is the brain’s defense mechanism against confusion and double vision.

As the brain ‘turns off’ the weaker eye, this eye will eventually become ‘lazy’—unless treatment is provided.

Anisometropia

Anisometropia is when the refractive powers (visual acuity) of your eyes differ markedly, causing your eyes to focus unevenly – rendering the visual signal from one eye to be much clearer than the other. The brain is unable to reconcile the different images each eye sends and chooses to process the visual signal from the eye sending the clearer image. The brain begins to overlook the eye sending the blurrier image, further weakening the eye-brain connection of the weaker eye. If not treated, this results in poor vision in that eye.

Deprivation

Deprivation refers to a blockage or cloudiness of the eye. When an eye becomes cloudy, it directly impacts the eyes’ ability to send a clear image to the retina, harming the child’s ability to see images clearly from that eye. When clear images can’t reach the retina, it causes poor vision in that eye, resulting in amblyopia. Deprivation is by far the most serious kind of amblyopia, but it is also incredibly rare.

There are several types of deprivation: cataracts, cloudy corneas, cloudy lenses and eyelid tumors. Each of these can affect a child’s vision, resulting in amblyopia. Because these are also difficult to notice from a child’s behavior, it’s crucial to have your child tested for eye-related problems so that treatment can begin right away.

How To Treat Amblyopia

The goal of most amblyopia treatments is to naturally strengthen the weaker eye so that your child’s eyes can work and team with the brain more effectively. Amblyopia treatment will be determined by the cause and severity of their condition.

Common types of treatment include:

  • Corrective eyewear
  • Eye drops
  • Patching
  • Optometric Vision Therapy

Optometric Vision Therapy

Optometric Vision Therapy is the most effective treatment for amblyopia, which may be used in conjunction with other treatments.

An Optometric Vision Therapy program is customized to the specific needs of the patient. It may include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other specialized equipment designed to actively make the lazy eye work to develop stronger communication between the eye and the brain.

Optometric Vision Therapy is highly successful for the improvement of binocular vision, visual acuity, visual processing abilities, depth perception and reading fluency.

Optometric Vision Therapy programs for amblyopia may include eye exercises to improve these visual skills:

  • Accommodation (focusing)
  • Binocular vision (the eyes working together)
  • Fixation (visual gaze)
  • Pursuits (eye-tracking)
  • Saccades (eye jumps)
  • Spatial skills (eye-hand coordination)
  • Stereopsis (3-D vision)

Contact Vision Development of WNY to make an appointment and discover how optometric vision therapy can help improve your child’s vision. Our eye doctor will ask about your child’s vision history, conduct a thorough evaluation, and take your child on the path to effective and lasting treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: How do I know if my child has lazy eye?

  • A: It’s difficult to recognize lazy eye because the condition usually develops in one eye, and may not present with a noticeable eye turn. As such, children generally learn how to ignore the lazy eye and compensate by mainly relying on the sight from the ‘good’ eye. Some symptoms of lazy eye include:
  • – Closing one eye or squinting
    – Difficulty with fine eye movements
    – Poor depth perception
    – Poor eye-hand coordination
    – Reduced reading speed and comprehension
    – Rubbing eyes often

Q: How is lazy eye diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will conduct specific tests during their eye exam, to assess the visual acuity, depth perception and visual skills of each eye.


Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, all throughout New York.

Request an Appointment
Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269

5 Optometric Vision Therapy Myths Debunked

5 Vision Therapy Myths 640There’s a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to Optometric Vision Therapy — a customized program that trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively and efficiently.

We are here to dispel those myths.

5 Myths and Facts about Optometric Vision Therapy

1. Myth: Optometric Vision Therapy is just for children

Fact: People of all ages can benefit from vision therapy.

Although vision therapy is widely prescribed for younger patients, many adults have benefited from a personalized vision therapy program. That’s because the basis of vision therapy is neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to change and learn new habits.

Your brain is capable of forming new neural pathways throughout your entire life, so vision therapy can be effective at any age.

2. Myth: Optometric Vision Therapy isn’t based on scientific research

Fact: There are numerous scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of Optometric Vision Therapy, funded and published by the National Eye Institute (NEI).

In fact, according to several studies, Optometric Vision Therapy is the most effective treatment for the most common binocular vision problem, convergence insufficiency. Research also supports the efficacy of vision therapy when it comes to lazy eye (amblyopia), eye turn (strabismus), and difficulties related to reading and learning.

3. Myth: All Optometric Vision Therapy is the same

Fact: No two vision therapy treatments are alike. Each patient’s condition is unique and is treated accordingly.

Vision therapists use a host of different exercises, devices, computer programs, lenses, prisms, and other equipment for treatment. Your optometrist will decide which options will benefit your condition.

4. Myth: Eye surgery is the only option for treating eye misalignment

Fact: While surgery may help the eyes appear more aligned, it can’t fully improve binocular function.

In other words, surgery corrects the physical problem of alignment but doesn’t teach the eyes and brain to work together. That’s why vision therapy is often recommended for patients who have had strabismus surgery or are considering it.

5. Myth: I don’t need Optometric Vision Therapy, I have 20/20 eyesight

Fact: Vision therapy has little to do with eyesight, and everything to do with how your eyes function.

Even a person with 20/20 eyesight can have poor tracking skills, eye movement skills, depth perception, and other visual deficits.

In fact, you may have poor visual skills and not even know it. If you experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, eyestrain, or difficulty with concentrating and reading, it may be time to have your vision evaluated by a vision therapist to identify any underlying problems related to your visual skills.

To schedule a functional vision evaluation for you or your child, call Vision Development of WNY today!

Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, Western New York, and throughout New York.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: #1: What is Optometric Vision Therapy?

  • A: Optometric Vision Therapy is a program of [curtomized] eye exercises that are performed in-office with an at-home component as well. Vision therapy helps develop the visual system and trains the eyes and brain to work in unison. Duration of treatment varies from patient to patient, as each person responds differently. Speak to us to learn more about what we offer and how we can help.

Q:#2: Is Optometric Vision Therapy covered by insurance?

  • A: Optometric Vision Therapy may be covered under major medical insurance plans (vision therapy is most often applied to a medical policy as opposed to a vision policy). However, certain insurance companies may deny or place severe limits on coverage for vision therapy as a cost-saving measure. When sorting out the insurance details for vision therapy, it’s important to know what questions to ask of your insurance agent or workplace HR department.


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Dr. O’Connor explains how constricted visual field is a condition treated through light therapy

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Hi, we’re here with Dr. O’Connor, who has been a neurodevelopmental or behavioral optometrist for going on 46 years now, Dr. O’Connor, what is one of the most common visual dysfunctions that you see with your patients?

Speaker 2: (00:16)

Overall, we see so many different things, but the one that to me is, is the most frequent one is something called constriction of kinetic or functional visual fields. It’s a little different from when we normally talk about visual fields, which are, as I’m looking straight ahead, I’ve got all this peripheral information coming in and I can deal with that sometimes due to a number of different factors, stress over time toxicity, different types of traumas, emotional or physical trauma, that field you no longer able to deal with all this information out here it’s overwhelming and disorienting and in the brain starts to move and constrict this field to a certain point to protect itself.

And you can no longer use all the information coming in through your eyes in normally happens because of a nervous system being out of balance and because that’s an underlying factor, it’s how we actually remediate this problem. We use something called syntax or light therapy. We use different colors of light to change the balance of the nervous system.

Speaker 1: (01:32)

Okay, great. What would a patient, if a parent was listening to this, how, what would be a clue that their child or themselves might have a restriction of a constricted feeling?

Speaker 2: (01:45)

Certainly we see things out in space, difficulty knowing depth, perception, being clumsy, difficulty, catching a ball. Other times other things are reading when you’re reading problems, especially not being able to find your place when you’re reading your, keep your place. When you’re reading, you’re being able to, look back and forth through a chalkboard and copy things that that’s more difficult.

Speaker 1: (02:07)

Okay. And then I know you have a special test. We’ll save that for another day and evaluation that you perform, but you could you show us what that would look like once you chart that? Sure.

Speaker 2: (02:19)

So a normal visual field, this is being done with one eye at a time at about nine inches of distance. I’m bringing in a little dot out of this black paper, different colors, and we would like to see it almost as soon as that dot gets on the paper person is looking straight ahead using peripheral vision to find out when the dot comes into actually viewed. This is a normal one. Okay. This is someone that I had in the first visual field. This was a young lady. This was her first functional visual field. And you can see how constricted is way out after doing the light therapy for approximately eight weeks, she came back in and this was her new field. Wow. Actually you can tell up here, actually sell the death before I got on the page. Wow.

Speaker 1: (03:17)

That’s amazing. And we have about 20 seconds to wrap up here. Can you tell me what did she notice any change in her symptoms? She

Speaker 2: (03:25)

Noticed huge changes. Number one, she was reading on a whole different level. Number two, her headaches went away, which she hadn’t even talked about in the beginning. Her mother noticed a difference in her behaviors. So again, we’re actually rebalancing the nervous system. And so we see behavioral things, we see emotional things, we see performance

Speaker 1: (03:47)

Thing, academic things. Okay. And social and probably self-confidence

Speaker 2: (03:54)

Self-confidence is huge. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (03:56)

Well, thank you for your time today, Dr. O’Connor. You’re welcome. Thank you. You’re welcome.