In early 2011, Dr. Amy realized her dream of opening a pediatric optometry clinic that includes Vision Therapy services. Dr. Amy is obtaining her fellowship with the College of Vision Development, the international certifying board for doctors who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of vision-based learning problems.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy, sometimes called “vision training,” or simply “VT,” is a prescribed treatment used to treat binocular vision conditions that contribute to difficulty with near activities such as reading and learning. A common misconception is that VT consists of eye exercises to strengthen the eye muscles. The muscles, however, are rarely the problem. The problem arises when the brain to eye neural connections are weak.

VT works to restore and strengthen these brain to eye neural connections, not the eye muscles themselves. Neuroplasticity, the ability to change and enhance the neural connections, is possible at all ages, not just in children. Thus, VT is effective with children and adults.

Another name often associated with VT is “orthoptics.” This term, which literally means “straightening the eyes,” is limited to techniques for training eye muscles to straighten misaligned eyes. While orthoptics is a very important part of vision therapy, VT defines a much broader range of techniques used to treat a wider variety of vision problems.

VT is a highly effective, non-surgical treatment for some forms of strabismus (or misaligned eyes). In other forms of strabismus, surgery may still be indicated and VT is an adjunct treatment to maintain success. VT can correct many other problems of the visual system such as amblyopia (lazy eye), eye movement disorders, accommodative (focusing) disorders, binocularity problems, visual perceptual disorders, and vision disorders associated with acquired brain injuries.

Symptoms that may indicate a vision problem:

  • Frequent headaches or eye strain
  • Blurring of distance or near vision, particularly after reading or other close work
  • Avoidance of close work or other visually demanding tasks
  • Poor judgement of depth
  • Turning and eye in or out, up or down
  • Tendency to cover or close one eye, or favor the vision in on eye
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Difficulty following a moving target
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty copying from one place to another
  • Hyperactivity in the classroom
  • Loss of place, repetition, and/or omission of words while reading
  • Difficulty changing focus from distance to near and back
  • Poor handwriting
  • Dyslexia tendencies

What is Amblyopia?

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2222 James Street; Suite A
Bellingham, Washington 98225
Optometric Phys. NW Whatcom Optical
(360) 676-4030 (360) 733-2332
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