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Anyone familiar with Vision Therapy?

pjrose

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For years DD has complained that she can't see the board, can't see to read, etc. Every year we get her an eye exam, and the answer is always that her vision is fine, she needs eye drops, perhaps she should use reading glasses, why is she insisting on glasses if she doesn't need them, etc.

Yesterday we went to see someone different, who said she needs vision therapy - her eyes aren't coordinating together as they should be, they aren't both moving inward to focus on close work so each eye sees a slightly different image (i.e. double vision), and so forth.

There's a practice in our area that does nothing but vision therapy, and everything on the website sounds good and makes sense. It apparently can also help with clumsiness (she's the queen of the klutzes), headaches, etc.

Anyone know about this and been helped by it or found it to be hogwash?
 

IreneLF

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When I was in my early 20s a new (for me) eye doctor discovered that my two eyes did not work together.
I do have a severe astigmatism and remember him saying I have no "binocular vision" and that the visual training would remedy that.
I did vision training in his office a few times a week (on various glitzy machines that he had) for quite a while, and found a marked improvement in how I could see. I also got some simple device to use at home to continue training/ make sure it didn't revert.

The one point I do want to make is that I was never charged anything for this, so I know this could not have been a money scam on his part.
 

deh333

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My DD had a convergence issue that led to learning difficulties. She began her vision therapy at one office and progressed nicely and then became stuck. We have a friend who did a lot of research on this topic and took her son to a doc. in Lancaster OH. She was very pleased with his methods. We transferred our daughters records there and began vision training at his office. What a wonderful experience! This guy has two occupational therapists working with their patients. In addition to the usual seated work, his clients' therapy also includes low balance-beam work to assist with distance convergence/body awareness issues (helps the "clumsies"). There is a book by John Streff that outlines this and discusses learning and vision development. Feel free to PM me if you want additional information.
 

Floridaski

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Therapy works if done correctly

Our 10 year old son was diagnosed with a convergence insufficiency (which is the diagnosis that you have described) and he received Ocular therapy for about 6 months. We did daily eye exercises several times a day and they increased in difficulty as therapy continued.

He was released from daily therapy and monthly visits in June. We went back for his 12 week check up and he is perfect. The only way the therapy works is if you are on top of the daily exercises. We were told to do them 3 times a day for 15 minutes, this is a lot of time and it often tended to give my son a headache in the beginning. But, he can now read without developing a headache.

I would highly recommend getting the therapy needed as often these children's grades slip because reading gives them a headache. In fact my son was complaining about headaches to the school nurse. She is the one that suggested going to a specific doctor to have his eyes checked past the typical 20/20 vision test. He was in 3rd grade at the time and reading on a 6 grade level, so it had not effected his reading. But, at some point it would have had an impact on his grades.

We were lucky, our insurance covered his sessions - but often insurance does not cover. You may want to check, some docs will give you a discount if you are having to pay out of pocket. If they see only kids in their practice, they are often very in tune with doing what is best for the child. Good luck!

One last thing, our son was very clumsy also. He could not catch a ball before it hit him in the face - now we know why. He could not focus on the ball until it was in his face! He also had trouble with his handwriting - again he just could not focus very well due to the convergence insufficiency. He can now catch a ball, his handwriting has improved and overall he is doing much better. He was a straight A student, but he had to work VERY HARD to make those grades. It seems a little easier for him now that he can actually see better!
 
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pjrose

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It's really interesting to hear about the clumsiness issue some of you have mentioned - DD is a major klutz and always has been.
 

tlsbooks

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When my oldest son was a freshman, he spent 26 week in vision therapy for "focus convergence" and "divergence" problems and it made a HUGE difference. We had identified "visual processing issues" prior to 5th grade, spent a lot of time "remediating" but we wanted to rule out biological factors.

One test was this cool machine that tracked his eyes movements. Instead of moving in a nice straight line with occasion backtracking to pick up words, his tracking was something like this:

_______ _________ __________ _________
' ' ' '
' ' ' '
' ' ' '

Each of the vertical lines was his eyes tracking down. I know he had done this from the time I was teaching him to read (we homeschool) and he'd pick up letters and words from 2 lines down. I'd have to hold a ruler under the line to keep him on track.

His reading comprehension when he read aloud (visual and auditory) was like 94%. His comprehension when he read silently plummeted to 38%. Poor kid.

The daily exercises aretime consuming but, at least in my son's case, once you have finished the treatment, that's it. You don't spend your life doing the eye exercises.

He's now a high school senior with 21 college credits and a 3.4 GPA (mini brag on him :D )
 

tlsbooks

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The formatting didn't work in my previous post.

Image a bit of a horizontal line, then a vertical dip, horizontal, vertical dip, etc.
 

beejaybeeohio

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For my son, it worked due to the "placebo effect" I believe. Learning that our son had perceptual problems helped us reduce our expectations, helped him reframe his self-concept and led to better grades for him.

He was prescribed vision exercises and glasses- this was back in the 70's!
 

pjrose

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One test was this cool machine that tracked his eyes movements. Instead of moving in a nice straight line with occasion backtracking to pick up words, his tracking was something like this:

... he'd pick up letters and words from 2 lines down. I'd have to hold a ruler under the line to keep him on track.

He's now a high school senior with 21 college credits and a 3.4 GPA (mini brag on him :D )
Yay:cheer:

I read a chunk at a time - it'd be interesting to see how my eyes track.

I've been reading these posts to DD - she is VERY enthusiastic and wants to get started immediately.
 

bookworm

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Wow, my son's reading recovery teacher has wondered the same thing about him. She said he made great progress in reading in first grade but we should keep an eye on this - his ability to keep his eyes focused on one line at a time, etc. He has to get stronger lenses every year and he can hardly every find things when he needs to. It is frustrating when I can see those items right in front of him. If anyone has info on this or what kind of support we should look into, please send me a PM. Thanks!
Angela
 

JudyH

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We have a distant relative in Pittsburgh who is an optometrist and does this vision therapy and swears it produces results. I always poo-pooed it as new age therapy, but maybe it does work.
 

GetawaysRus

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Convergence insufficiency is a legitimate diagnosis. Testing to establish the diagnosis is generally done with a technique that involves using prisms. Normal individuals can converge (move their two eyes together, which is necessary to see a near object) to a certain degree (measured in units called "prism diopters"). Those with less than normal convergence ability tend to experience reading difficulties and can have headaches or visual symptoms brought on by reading.

The routine eye exam will usually be normal, so it is possible to miss this diagnosis if the doctor fails to consider it. It's not unusual for symptoms to go on for a number of years until the diagnosis is made.

Convergence exercises work fairly well to improve the condition.

I don't much care for the term "vision therapy." It is a very vague term, and can include a number of other things that are of questionable value.

If convergence insufficiency has been diagnosed (and it sounds like that's the case), and if it is convergence exercises that are being recommended, then I'd agree that this is worth a try. Treatment can be coordinated by an ophthalmologist (M.D.), an optometrist (O.D.), or another type of specialist called an orthoptist (C.O.).
 
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