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Vision disorders are one of the most underdiagnosed yet common conditions in the United States today. Vision therapy is a result of modern medicine that offers numerous strategies to ease or possibly alleviate these vision disorders that can affect every aspect of life, from driving to learning and socializing.

Definition

Vision therapy is a treatment modality developed by optometrists who specialize in how vision is used, known as behavioral optometry or developmental optometry. This is different than the standard optometrist who identifies and corrects defects in acuity (clarity) and looks at basic eye health – what most know as “20/20” vision. Opthalmology is a specialty that focuses on pathology (disease) of the eye, while optometry looks at eyes that are otherwise healthy but function poorly to disruptions in development or brain injury. Because the brain tells the eyes what to do, vision can be poor even when standard eye tests have found nothing wrong. Vision therapy is a non-invasive and proven effective option in addressing a variety of vision issues, including eye turn, “lazy eye” (amblyopia), convergence insufficiency, double vision, and more. (See HERE for brief explanations of common diagnoses.) There are numerous benefits to vision therapy and it can be used to treat a wide variety of disorders, including:

• Strabismus
• Amblyopia
• Ocular-Motor (“eye teaming”) Dysfunctions
• Visual-Perceptual (“eye-brain” coordination) Disorder

Dr. Davis and Dr. Carlyle at Virginia Vision Therapy Center are skilled developmental optometrists with years of experience in the field. Dr. Davis struggled with vision issues himself during childhood and understands first-hand the impact they can have on confidence, self-esteem, and the ability to accomplish goals and achieve success in life. Dr. Carlyle has specialized training in partial or low vision and is also certified as a Low Vision Examiner by the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI). Together, they bring decades of experience and the expertise to identify and treat the vision problems that may be affecting your life significantly. The goal of Virginia Vision Therapy Center (VVTC) is to raise awareness of these disorders while also offering people hope and renewed confidence through treatment at any of our four locations in the Northern Virginia area.

Symptoms of Vision Disorders

Blurred vision, sleepiness when reading, reluctance to drive, covering one eye, head tilt, blind spots, floaters, double vision, dizziness, problems with depth perception, poor memory, needing to re-read frequently, and problems with eye tracking all could potentially indicate a vision disorder. Left untreated, symptoms can cause frustration, anxiety, fatigue, and lower quality of life.

See this quiz for more! This LIST of diagnoses also included the symptoms common to each disorder.

Diagnosis

The first step towards determining if you or your child may benefit from vision therapy is a full eye exam by a licensed provider. Developmental optometrists are licensed through the College of Vision Development (COVD.org). These exams go beyond the standard “20/20″ exam in order to find potential problems in how the brain processes information from the eyes, rather than only testing the physical capability of the eyes to see. This can uncover issues that would be missed in most standard vision exams. The comprehensive exam includes close vision acuity, color blindness, how well the eyes team together, how well they make the transition from near to far, tracking and focus, eye movement skills, vision-vestibular integration, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, primitive reflexes, and more.

Treatment

Dr. Davis and Dr. Carlyle are licensed developmental optometrists servicing the Gainesville, Winchester, Springfield and Fredericksburg, Virginia, areas. Treatment is specific to the diagnosis and is implemented by therapists who work under the supervision of the doctors, utilizing a combination of in-office therapy and home-based activities. In this way, vision therapy is similar to physical therapy. The protocols rehabilitate the visual system to function more effectively through the use of state-of-the-art equipment, including but not limited to computer programs, lenses, prisms, and activities designed to challenge the visual system to develop the way it needs to. This process takes several months depending on the diagnosis. Perfect vision means more than just perfect eyesight; vision requires the ability to understand what the eye is seeing and to process it effectively with other sensory systems.

If you or someone you know has “20/20″ vision but still seems to struggle, contact us at Virginia Vision Therapy Center and schedule a Developmental Vision Exam today. We also offer free screenings as a service to the community, see here for more.

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