Our Vision Therapy Services
At the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy, we limit our services to vision therapy, vision therapy evaluations, neuro-optometric rehabilitation, pediatric optometry, and other types of vision therapy for children and adults. This specialization is to ensure that our expertise, competencies and resources are fully devoted to providing patients with the best optometric vision therapy services. To also serve remote patients whose circumstances preclude them from an in-person office-based vision therapy at our centers, we offer a remote vision therapy program based on OCVT’s 10-year enhanced virtual methodology.
Patients from El Paso, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Texarkana, Dallas, and Fort Worth travel to the OCVT practices in Austin and San Antonio because of Dr. Larson’s optometric vision therapy expertise and her commitment to providing personalized patient care.
Please note: this list is not all-inclusive.
Research indicates that 25% of children are affected by a learning-related vision disorder. In these cases, one or more of a child’s visual systems has a deficiency that is inhibiting their ability to learn and achieve at their highest potential. There are two primary types of visual skills that can be affected: efficiency and processing skills. Efficiency skills are related to the mechanics of how the eyes move, track, team, and focus together. If any of those skills are deficient, then the information being sent to the brain could be incorrect, causing a child to lose their spot when reading, inaccurately perceive depth, or copy the wrong word from the board. Processing skills are related to how the sensory information provided by the eyes is processed in the brain. If one of these skills are deficient, children may not be able to quickly grasp math concepts and number values, spell age-appropriate words correctly, or may reverse or transpose letters or numbers when either reading or writing. All of these skills can be tested by a developmental optometrist, and if deficiencies are found, an individualized course of vision therapy can help bring those skills up to age-appropriate levels, allowing the child to learn and achieve their best.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is being diagnosed with increasing frequency in both children and adults. ADHD is often diagnosed with children who display inappropriate inattention, impulsivity, distractibility and sometimes hyperactivity for their mental and chronological age. Undetected and untreated vision problems can prompt some of the same signs and symptoms that are commonly attributed to ADHD. In order to determine if a vision problem is causing some or all of these symptoms, a full functional eye exam should be completed with a Developmental Optometrist. Vision Therapy can develop visual skills that will increase visual attention and overall visual function that will allow the individual to sustain attention for longer periods of time.
Amblyopia, often referred to as a “lazy eye”, is a condition where an eye is unable to see clearly due to neurological neglect. This occurs as a result of either strabismus (eye-turn) or an untreated refractive error. The brain learns to ignore an eye that does not have proper optic nerve development in order to avoid either double vision or blur. As a consequence of the brain receiving input from only one eye, depth perception or seeing in three dimensions does not occur. Vision therapy treats amblyopia by teaching the brain to receive feedback from both eyes in order to increase acuity and binocular functioning. “Learning to see” at any age is the basis of amblyopia treatment.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of childhood developmental conditions characterized by social, behavioral, and communication deficits. Many individuals with ASD commonly have problems with sensory integration that often affect the visual system and other sensory-processing abilities. Vision therapy enhances the neurological connections between the eyes and brain to help individuals with ASD better perceive what their eyes see and make better sense of their environment. Research has found that vision therapy benefits individuals with ASD by improving eye-contact/gaze, visual attention, central and peripheral integration, visual spatial abilities, posture and balance, and visual efficiency and eye-tracking.
The vestibular system, which controls a person’s sense of balance, is controlled by three different systems: the central nervous system, the auditory system, and the visual system. If any one of these three systems isn’t sending the correct signals, then the vestibular system may begin to deteriorate, causing a person to experience vertigo, dizziness, and even motion sickness. If you begin to experience these symptoms, a visual efficiency evaluation may provide answers to the root cause of your symptoms, and an individualized program of vision therapy could help remediate the concerns.
Deficiencies in eye-focusing, eye-teaming, tracking and visual processing abilities can cause a child to experience difficulty in efficiently performing visual tasks. As a result, these deficiencies can contribute to behavioral problems including inattentiveness, impulsiveness, anger, frustration, defiance, and avoidance of schoolwork. Consequently, children with visual problems can commonly misbehave and be uncooperative in classroom settings and at home. At OCVT, our professional team has experience in thoroughly evaluating the proper diagnosis to determine if an underlying visual deficiency is contributing to specific behavioral concerns. Vision therapy has shown positive improvements in behavioral problems in children with an underlying visual component.
Convergence is the ability to accurately coordinate the eyes on an object in space in order to see a single, three-dimensional image. Equally as important, is the ability of both eyes to team together and give simultaneous feedback to the brain in order to process the target correctly. More than 20 million people in the US suffer from Convergence Insufficiency, the inability to coordinate their eyes when performing close work. Symptoms can include: eye strain, headache, double vision or dizziness and motion sickness. Vision therapy can help to improve eye coordination and teaming abilities as well as eliminate symptoms and discomfort.
Dyslexia language-based processing disorder can hinder reading, writing, spelling, and sometimes even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness or the result of impaired hearing or vision. In fact, most children and adults with dyslexia typically have healthy eyes and sharp vision, yet a large number of individuals with dyslexia have other undetected vision problems.
The ability to change focus rapidly when looking far away, close up, and back again is called accommodation. The accommodation system is responsible for maintaining clear vision at all distances which is important for visual stamina throughout a day of frequent changes in focus from chalkboard to book, computer, paper, etc. Reduced accommodative skills often contribute to blurred vision, eye strain, headaches, difficulty reading, avoidance of near work, or eye fatigue at the end of the day. A program of vision therapy can help reduce these symptoms by improving eye focusing and increasing the efficiency of the accommodation system.
Eye tracking is the coordinated precise eye movements crucial for reading efficiency and sports performance. Fixations are tracking skills of sustained and steady gaze required for visual attention and recall. Saccades are precise eye movements from one target to another that are important for reading efficiency and pursuits are the coordinated eye movements essential for following moving targets and accurate eye-hand coordination. Deficient eye tracking skills can result in loss of place or skipping lines while reading, re-reading lines, or poor eye-hand coordination. Vision therapy can help re-train the eyes to improve those skills needed to track words and objects accurately.
Intellectually gifted children and adults oftentimes do not perform at their full potential due to an undiagnosed vision problem. A gifted child or adult may receive above-average levels academically, but commonly will over-compensate for underlying visual deficiencies including tracking and eye teaming. Specific deficiencies in visual information processing can commonly be present in gifted individuals, contributing to academic learning challenges. At OCVT, comprehensive visual efficiency and visual information processing evaluations identify potential visual deficiencies in gifted individuals. Through remediation of these specific deficiencies with an individualized vision therapy program, we have helped gifted children and adults achieve their full potential.
Research shows that 70% of people with developmental delays also have visual efficiency concerns. This can include anyone with special needs diagnoses from Autism to Down’s syndrome. If visual deficiencies are found in an examination by a developmental optometrist, vision therapy can improve the individual’s visual system to help them achieve their fullest potential. Patients with special needs often find developmental optometrists’ offices more accommodating of their needs, as well. Developmental optometrists receive specialized training that allow them to accurately test an individual without needing subjective feedback, so non-verbal patients and patients who aren’t able to provide reliable feedback can still receive the testing necessary to determine their visual skills.
All sports performance requires the use of the visual system to coordinate the body’s movement in some way. In any sport involving a ball, the player must be able to efficiently follow the ball as it moves across the field and be able to accurately discern depth to determine when to catch or kick the ball. Other sports such as golf and archery require players’ eyes to quickly shift focus between far and near targets. If you are interested in improving your performance in any sport, and have increased your practice but are still not attaining the level at which you wish to perform, there could be a visual concern limiting your performance. A personalized vision therapy program would help the athlete hone his or her visual skills to help improve their sports performance.
Strabismus, often referred to as an eye turn, is a condition that describes the improper alignment of the eyes. The deviation of one eye often is due to the lack of coordination between the muscles of the eyes. The inability for both eyes to point in the same direction and feed the brain with the same visual information can result in double vision or the appearance of two images inaccurately overlapping. In order to avoid visual confusion, as an adaptation, the brain can learn to suppress/disregard the image seen by the turning eye, which can consequently cause binocular vision dysfunction and the lack of depth perception (3-D vision). Vision therapy helps reduce or correct the eye misalignment, and train the brain to simultaneously use both eyes to merge the images seen by each eye into a single 3-D piece of information. Additionally, vision therapy works on the reinforcement of neurological pathways that ensure eye teaming in all gazes and over a range of distances.
Visual processing skills, also known as visual perceptual skills, are crucial in analyzing and processing visual information. The ability to accurately interpret what is being seen is as important as the ability to correctly capture an image and relay it to the brain. When looking at an object, our eye teaming and eye focusing systems allow us to see a clear and 3-D image, but it is our visual information processing skills that allow us to understand what we see and give the image meaning. Visual perceptual processing is segmented into categories that include, but are not limited to: visual spatial, visual analysis, visual memory, visual-auditory, visual-vestibular and visual-motor skills. Individuals who have problems with visual processing skills, may present symptoms such as inability to differentiate right from left, letter and number reversals, difficulty remembering what is read or poor handwriting. These visual perceptual deficits often interfere with efficient learning in a classroom environment. If a visual perceptual problem is suspected, it is highly advised to consult an optometrist, who may recommend specific evaluations using standardized testing.
Vision therapy is an individualized program of prescribed activities using specialized instruments and computer technology to redevelop and strengthen the neuro-connections between the brain and the visual system, which improves deficient visual skills. By repeating your vision therapy exercises, you’ll develop skills that will allow you to succeed in work, academia, and sports environments. Vision therapy is the treatment of choice for diagnosed visual disorders that contribute to reading and learning difficulties. Ongoing evidenced-based clinical research supports the efficacy of vision therapy.
OCVT’s vision therapy treatment program consists of doctor-prescribed and supervised weekly one-on-one in office or virtual sessions directed by a highly trained vision therapist. A specialized program of activities is implemented at home to reinforce the skills developed in the clinic. Our optometrists conduct regular progress evaluations to monitor progress and modify treatments as needed. A vision therapy program duration is dependent on the severity levels of performance on standardized testing, signs and symptoms, and each patient’s individual needs. We offer low vision, binocular vision, and double vision therapy, among many other treatments. The program can vary from a few weeks to several months.
Healthy eyes and vision are especially important for infants and children. The visual skills developed during early life set the foundation for future learning. Early detection and intervention of vision problems are critical for young children to achieve their full potential.
Make sure your child gets the treatment they need, such as eye therapy for double vision or binocular vision therapy. Even if your child is unable to respond or read, your OCVT doctor can provide an accurate evaluation using specialized procedures and the latest technology.
Vision Care for Special Needs
OCVT provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive care for individuals requiring special attention.
This care includes treatment of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome, and hearing and visual impairments. Medical research indicates that individuals with these conditions have a higher incidence of vision condition and need various types of vision therapy.
Your doctor’s goal is to understand everyone’s visual needs to promote optimal development, education, function, and comfort. Recommended treatment may include vision correction (glasses/contacts), vision therapy, environmental modifications, and referrals to specialists.
Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Visual problems are the most common result of brain injury. Research shows that more than 50% of individuals suffering from neurological injuries have visual and visual-cognitive disorders. Visual disorders interfering with the healing and rehabilitative process are often undetected and misdiagnosed from standard eye exams that show normal eyesight and eye health. Your neuro-optometric evaluations at OCVT go far beyond eyesight and eye health and can lead to low vision therapy and other solutions for your injuries.
The goal of your neuro-optometric treatment program is to eliminate visual-related signs and symptoms, advance the outcome of other rehabilitative services, and improve quality of life. Following your neuro-optometric evaluations at OCVT, your doctor will administer a consultation with you to discuss all test results and treatment recommendations. Your treatment program may include specialized lenses, filters, prisms, vision therapy for double vision and other disorders, and referrals to other specialists. Schedule a consultation today.