By:åÊ Allyse Donarski
When youths struggle academically or avoid sports, vision problems are likely to be the last thing parents consider.åÊ Though vision therapy has been around for over 70 years, it still seems to be a little known answer for a range of problems.
Vision therapy is known to improve many challenges such as stress-induced headaches, developmental delays, multiple sclerosis, low school grades, acquired brain injuries, sports, tired eyes, crossed or turned eyes, car-sickness, and other every day difficulties for many elementary-age children and teens.
Specialist, Albert Chun, says, ÛÏItÛªs not how clearly they see, itÛªs about how they use their eyesÛ_ThereÛªs a misconception that just because a child has 20/20 vision, everything is A-OK.Û Surprisingly, vision problems can be misdiagnosed as ADHD, a common disorder among teens.åÊ The failure to properly merge eyes, track and focus, lead to reading challenges; people with these conditions often are thought to have learning disabilities or ADD, Chun said.
Vision therapy helps the patients develop skills necessary for good vision.åÊ Optical devices, games, and exercises are used to improve the eye-brain activity to make eye movements easier to control and more efficient.åÊ Vision therapy can also help with managed movements, balance, and intellectual abilities.
Computer games, chosen by the therapist, require the patient to layer images on top of each, other and switch from using the right eye to the left.åÊ These are skills the eyes should be able to do naturally, yet many patients have trouble with.
Another games used in vision therapy is a mechanical board with light-up buttons.åÊ The patient stands on a balance board while using his or her peripheral vision and hand-eye coordination to touch the
A common activity in vision therapy is jumping on a trampoline while keeping focus on an unmoving object on the wall.åÊThrough the process of visual therapyÛÓwhich could last from one session to three yearsÛÓthe patient learns to correctly process visual information that the brain receives.
Most programs last from six to nine months, accelerating vision development by the first ten sessions.åÊåÊ The rate that patients start to see and experience improvements will vary, but generally progress is seen within the early stages of vision therapy.åÊ Each session is one-on-one with a therapist, and the selected therapist stays constant through the patientÛªs process through vision therapy. Wow Vision Therapy,åÊ located in St. Joseph off of Niles Ave., is recognized as one of the top vision therapy practices in The United States.
When the eyes move, align, fixate, and focus together, a whole new world of vision is discovered.åÊ In my own experience with vision therapy, IÛªve found that I donÛªt get the throbbing headaches as I had before from reading only a few paragraphs of a textbook.åÊ I have had 20/20 vision my whole life, so figured whatever I had been experiencing is normal.åÊ Now, after going through vision therapy last summer, learning has become easier, my reading speed has tripled (before it was much below average, and visualizing mental images has become much easier.
Wow Vision Therapy has an entire wall dedicated to their patientsÛª success stories, explaining how they achieved their personal goals, productivity at work, success in school, consistency in sports, and having more enjoyment of life.
Allyse Donarske is a Senior student reporter and Photo Editor of The Wind-up Magazine, St. Joseph High School, St. Joseph, Michigan