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Vision Therapy — Developmental Optometry

Vision isn’t just about seeing well — it’s about how we interpret and interact with the world visually.

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Effective vision comes down to the way the brain and eyes interact. Whether reading words on the board, catching a ball, or tying our shoelaces, we rely on our visual system to work properly in order to succeed in these and other tasks.

Someone can pass all vision screening exams and excel in reading the charts on the wall, but still struggle with poor hand-eye coordination, reading problems, diminished focus, strabismus, convergence insufficiency, and amblyopia —all of which can be effectively addressed through vision therapy.

What is Vision Therapy?


Vision Therapy, also known as Developmental Optometry, is a custom regimen of individualized activities and exercises made to retrain the brain and eyes to work better as a team and improve vision functioning. The aim of vision therapy is to enhance vision processing skills such as eye-tracking, focusing and eye teaming abilities, as well as hand-eye coordination and visual processing speed. This is effective for those struggling with reading, memory, focus, balance, fixation, picking up an object out of the background—and a wide range of other visual tasks.

Vision therapy is not only for children, but can also be effective in adults — particularly if they are determined to improve their visual abilities and strictly adhere to the program. Contact Visual Symptoms Treatment Center to learn how Dr. Neil Margolis can help you or your child function better in the day-to-day life.

eye care, children vision therapy room

Who Can Benefit From Vision Therapy?


A large number of patients have an undiagnosed vision condition that might be affecting their ability to function, learn, and thrive.

Vision therapy can help patients of all ages with conditions and symptoms related to:

  • Amblyopia
  • Strabismus
  • Convergence Insufficiency
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Learning Disability
  • Down Syndrome
  • Autism
  • Developmental Disorders
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Anyone seeking to reach peak performance in sports (Sports Vision Training)

Vision Issues: What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?


Teachers, parents, and adults should be on the lookout for the symptoms listed below, as they may indicate a vision issue.

  • Lazy eye, cross-eye, double vision
  • Difficulty Reading
  • Poor classroom performance
  • Difficulty staying focused
  • Strabismus (where both eyes are not aligned)
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Constant squinting/head tilting
  • Using fingers to read
  • Favors one eye over the other
  • Poor handwriting
  • Headaches or fatigue after reading or computer work
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eye care, vision therapy quiz

Vision Therapy for Strabismus


Strabismus, also known as an “eye turn” or “cross-eye”, is a condition characterized by the improper alignment of the eyes. One of the eyes may look straight ahead, while the other eye may turn inward, outward, upward, or downward.

Vision therapy is a very effective treatment for strabismus. It helps correct the eye misalignment and trains the brain to use both eyes simultaneously, thus merging the images seen by each eye into one consolidated image. Furthermore, vision therapy strengthens neurological pathways to ensure eye teaming over a range of distances.

Vision Therapy for Amblyopia


Amblyopia or “lazy eyes” is a neuro-developmental vision condition where one eye has reduced eyesight, even while wearing glasses or contacts. If left untreated, amblyopia can negatively impact a child’s success in work, school, sports, and friendships.

Traditionally, patching the better-seeing eye was the only method used to treat amblyopia. It is, however, very uncomfortable and offers limited results past a certain age.

Vision therapy, on the other hand, can help improve the amblyope’s visual abilities through a variety of personalized exercises used to improve eye coordination, depth perception and reduce suppression (where the brain inhibits —suppresses —blurred or double vision by ignoring the image of one of the eyes).

How Does Vision Therapy Work?


Vision therapy consists of personalized exercises that make use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other equipment aimed at developing visual skills and processing. Nowadays, thanks to advanced technologies and new computer-based therapies, doing and tracking homework is easier than ever. Computer programs and vision therapy apps have turned traditional vision therapy exercises into fun and interactive activities.

Vision Therapy typically consists of a weekly 45-minute in-office appointment and approximately 15-minutes of assigned daily exercises. The vision therapy program can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the diagnosis, eye health, and patient compliance. Vision therapy involves close monitoring and follow-up appointments to ensure that there are noticeable improvements and positive changes in the patient’s visual functions. Over the course of the program, the eye doctor will decide how many visits are required in order to achieve optimal results.

How Long Will It Take For to See Results with Vision Therapy?


For some people, gains can be experienced fairly soon. For others, it may take others up to 6 months to realize significant results. This, however, depends on each patient, their unique therapy regimen and their adherence to the vision therapy program.

Is There an Age Limit to Vision Therapy?


There is no age limit. Because of the brain’s neuroplasticity, the brain remains dynamic and flexible throughout one’s life. Just as with training a muscle or playing an instrument, the more we practice, the more skillful we become and the better our visual function.

Does Vision Or Medical Insurance Cover The Cost Of Vision Therapy?


Vision therapy may be covered under major medical insurance plans (vision therapy is most often applied to a medical policy as opposed to a vision policy). However, certain insurance companies may deny or place severe limits on coverage for vision therapy as a cost-saving measure. When sorting out the insurance details for vision therapy, it’s important to know what questions to ask of your insurance agent or workplace HR department.

If you’re considering vision therapy, let us help you understand how to ask the right questions of your insurance company to determine whether you can get coverage.

The first step in determining whether vision therapy can help you or your child with work, school, and sports, is to contact Visual Symptoms Treatment Center and schedule a comprehensive exam with Dr. Neil Margolis. Following the exam, Dr. Neil Margolis will provide a diagnosis and determine whether vision therapy is the best course of action. If so, you or your child will be prescribed an individualized eye treatment program.

Visual Symptoms Treatment Center is committed to transforming lives through vision therapy. We serve patients from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Northbrook, Deerfield, and throughout Illinois.

Serving Vision Therapy Patients from:

Arlington Heights | Buffalo Grove | Northbrook | Deerfield | and throughout Illinois.

Patients travel from all part of Illinois and beyond for the unique and specialized vision care approach provided by the doctors and staff at Visual Symptoms Treatment Center.

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    Vision therapy uses different types of exercises to strengthen lagging visual skills. The Brock string exercise is commonly used to treat convergence insufficiency, amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (eye turn).
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    Dissociated vertical deviation (DVD) is characterized by a slow upward drifting of one eye when the patient fixates with the other eye. Learn more about DVD and find out how vision therapy treats this condition.
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    Primitive reflexes are essential for the brain to develop. They start in utero and continue to develop as a child grows. However, retained primitive reflexes can result either from a problem at birth or during the first initial months of life. Vision therapy can help resolve retained primitive reflexes.
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    People with anisometropia experience blurred vision because each of their eyes refracts a different amount of light. Left unaddressed, one eye becomes significantly weaker than the other, potentially leading to permanent vision loss. Vision therapy addresses anisometropia and strengthens the weaker eye.
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    Nystagmus is a complex optical condition that causes involuntary eye movements and blurred vision. Fortunately, vision therapy can help.
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    Prism eyeglasses are worn to correct double vision. Prisms also are used in vision therapy, which is made up of a series of eye exercises to help the eyes and brain communicate more efficiently to alleviate double vision and other conditions.
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    To succeed in most professions, one needs to have strong visual skills. If these skills are deficient in any way, performance can be adversely affected. Fortunately, vision therapy can help.
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    Beginning in adolescence and through their early 20s, young people should undergo annual functional eye exams that assess the visual skills necessary to succeed in school, sports, and everyday life. The start of the new school year is a good time to get these visual skills checked.
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    Having good visual skills is the key to being able to read, play sports, and perform many other tasks, but even people with excellent eyesight may lack vision skills. That’s where vision therapy can help.
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    Dyslexia causes children and adults to struggle with reading, writing and speaking, which in turn leads to learning difficulties. But are these learning difficulties caused by dyslexia or a vision problem — or both? And can they be treated by an optometrist?
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    Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood.
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    Children with special needs are more prone to developing vision problems than the general population. These visual deficits often hamper their academic achievements. Read on to learn how vision therapy can help these children achieve their full potential.
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    Those with Down syndrome (DS) can experience a range of visual problems and disorders, and can be at risk of developing vision-robbing ocular diseases, such as glaucoma. Read on to learn more and find out how vision therapy can help.
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    Have your child take our quiz to discover if he/she has functional vision issues that stand in the way of his academic achievement and quality of life.
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    Reviews by Patients | Interviews with Eye Doctors - watch video success stories here.
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    Children with undetected vision problems can struggle with reading and writing, which can adversely affects their studies and quality of life. Read on to find out the ways a developmental optometrist can help.
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    Undiagnosed vision problems are at times at the root or an overlooked component of a child’s diagnosis with ADD/ADHD or a learning disability. By undergoing a thorough eye evaluation, you may discover that the issue is, in fact, a functional vision problem. Fortunately, this can be corrected with a highly effective vision therapy program.
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    Just because someone has 20/20 vision, doesn't mean that they can see well. A large percentage of students pass vision screenings with flying colors, yet still experience serious functional vision issues impacting development, life functions and learning. Only a Functional Vision Exam can evaluate whether all essential visual skills are working correctly.
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    Syntonic phototherapy (light therapy) uses visible light frequencies (color) to improve visual attention and decrease any symptoms associated with various eye problems. This therapy benefits those with double vision, eye strain and fatigue, headaches, reduced peripheral vision, and more.  
  • patching lazy eye.jpg
    Amblyopia, commonly referred to as Lazy Eye, occurs when the brain and the eye are not working in unison, resulting in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise seems healthy. The only treatment available which treats the amblyopia and not just the symptoms is Vision Therapy, also called Development Optometry.
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    Good vision is so much more than 20/20. A vision screening measures visual acuity only but does not uncover vision deficiencies, such as poor focus or tracking problems, convergence insufficiency, and other essential functional vision skills. These can have a profound effect on your child’s learning abilities and overall success in life.
  • Vision Therapy Can Improve Reading Skills In Children Thumbnail.jpg
    By training the eyes and brain to seamlessly work together, vision therapy effectively treats visual dysfunctions that interfere with a child’s reading and learning abilities.
  • strabismus Thumbnail.jpg
    Strabismus, also known as an “eye turn” or “cross-eye”, is a condition characterized by the improper alignment of the eyes. Vision therapy effectively treats this condition by teaching the brain and eyes to work together to correct the eye misalignment and thus achieve clear and comfortable vision.
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