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4 Reasons Why Your Child May Be Refusing to Read

4 Reasons Why Your Child May Be Refusing to Read 640×350Reading involves the simultaneous coordination of a number of basic visual skills. For children who have not yet mastered some of these skills, reading can be an exercise in frustration, leading them to avoid reading altogether.

While many of us take our eyes’ ability to converge, focus and track for granted, those with underdeveloped visual skills often struggle to keep track of where they are on the page and to fully understand and remember what they’ve just read.

We’ve outlined four of the top vision-related reasons why children refuse to read, and how vision therapy can help your child become a more confident reader.

1. Eye Tracking Problems

Eye tracking is the eyes’ ability to move smoothly and accurately from place to place. Good eye tracking skills allow a child to keep their eyes on an incoming baseball or move successfully from word to word on a page of text without losing their place.

For a child with eye-tracking issues, eye movements will be slow and inaccurate, often seen as eye flickering or requiring extra head movements, to compensate for the reduced visual skill.

Poor eye tracking can cause a child to frequently lose their spot and skip words or even whole lines of text while reading. In this case, the child uses a lot more energy than their peers to simply keep track of where they are on the page, causing difficulty with reading comprehension and fluency.

2. Difficulties With Eye Teaming

Eye teaming is the eyes’ ability to work together to send accurate visual information to the brain. Although each eye sends a slightly different image, the brain is able to combine these two images into a single picture, allowing for three-dimensional vision and depth perception.

When children have problems with eye teaming, their eyes are unable to work together. They send two very distinct images to the brain, which struggles to easily combine the two images into a single clear, cohesive image.

A child attempting to read with eye teaming issues may experience eye strain, headaches or even double vision. Often, words on a page will look blurry or appear to ‘float’ on the page. Eye teaming difficulties may also cause the child to have a reduced attention span, and lead them to avoid reading or not read at grade level.

3. [Visualization] Problems

Visualization refers to the ability to see something in the mind’s eye even if that thing is not right there in front of us. This skill allows a child to recall words and remember how to spell words that they’ve previously seen. [Visualization] allows many of us to read a story and then ‘see’ the characters and events play through our mind as if we are watching a film.

For some children, however, this doesn’t happen. The brain has a hard time taking the visual information it’s receiving from the eyes and interpreting it into larger images and concepts. This can result in poor reading comprehension and may render that reading is a chore and an unenjoyable experience.

4. Issues with Accommodation

Accommodation is the ability to refocus the eyes each time we shift our gaze from one image or object to the next. This happens as a result of the swift and accurate contraction and relaxation of muscles in the eye to quickly focus and refocus as the eye moves.

In children with accommodation problems, the focusing muscles in the eyes do not smoothly contract and relax efficiently as their eyes move across the page from word to word or from a book (or screen) to the board and back. They need to stop and refocus their vision every time they read another word. This stop-and-start type of reading harms reading comprehension, and the constant need to refocus can cause headaches and eye strain.

So What’s The Solution?

All of the problems mentioned above are due to reduced visual skills and can be frustrating for children and parents alike. Fortunately, there is a solution: vision therapy.

Vision therapy is a personalized, doctor-prescribed evidence-based regimen of in-office and at-home eye exercises to teach your child’s eyes and brain to more effectively work together. Depending on your child’s needs, the customized program may include vision therapy aids such as prism glasses, devices and specialized therapy computer programs.

Contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to help your child get back on track with their reading and learning.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance offers vision therapy to patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

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A profound review of Vision Therapy from one of our patients – Marsha R.

For you to understand the gratitude I have to Dr McCrodan and the neurovision therapists and staff of the Opto-mization clinic you will need some personal information.

When I was referred to the Opto-mization Neuro Visual Performance clinic I was surviving 15- 20 headaches and 6 – 8 days of debilitating painful migraines every month. I was unable to do much of anything without causing vertigo, double vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and pain in my head and neck. I had increased fatigue and was stressed, anxious and had trouble concentrating.

I have a complicated medical history including Rheumatoid Arthritis, auto-immune issues, Asthma, numerous concussions and other damaging effects from sports, abuse, and a car crash. I also had a previous history of severe chronic migraines since age 10 that included classic (seeing auras, blurred vision, light and sound sensitivity) and which mostly resolved to episodic migraine after menopause. My husband drown while we were on vacationing in Mexico in 2013 and the trauma caused me PTSD nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety. I also had cataract surgery in 2016 and made the grave mistake of have 2 different corrective lenses in my eyes, one for distance and one for reading (the theory was I would not need glasses). In 2018 my headaches started again, and my usual medication did nothing to relieve them. In Nov of 2019 I braked/swerved to avoid hitting a dog and hit a parked car, the damage was to my right rear-view mirror and their left-rear view mirror.

Why am I telling you this, you wonder?

So you are aware that I have lived with pain most of my life and had developed the resources and tools to advocate for myself and had taken responsibility to try many medical (Ophthalmologist, Allergist, Physio therapy, xrays cat scans pain medication etc.) nutritional (finding and removing trigger foods and adding more supplements) alternative/complementary and metaphysical therapies (chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, meditation, Tai Chi).

My GP of 27 years had passed away and I had to try find a new Dr. Then, explain my history and the steps I had already taken to try and alleviate the headaches, pain and nausea.

As my headaches continued to worsen there were many reasons I could be having them according to my new Drs. So, I worked to get off my opiate meds as they assumed I was having rebound headaches; I was getting a new treatment for the arthritis and PTSD and my life due to headaches was still getting even smaller.

These migraines were not like my “old” headaches.Added to pain, light and sound sensitivity was double vision, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, and severe neck pain. The nausea and vomiting were happening all the time.

  • I went from reading 5-6 books a week to barely reading 1 over many days because of double vision and headaches (I could only use a Ereader and I made the font huge)
  • I stopped hiking as the I had vertigo walking on uneven ground
  • I stopped writing
  • I couldn’t use my camera as trying to focus gave me a headache.
  • I stopped painting and card making because I couldn’t get my hand and eyes to work together (I went to eye ophthalmologist. – I passed all the vision tests but was given distance glasses for driving).
  • I hated to go grocery shopping, then all shopping, I got stressed and anxious (which they attributed to PTSD).
  • I was driving even less than before the cataract surgery and hated parking (I have always loved driving).
  • I stopped volunteering for Girl Guides as a trainer because I found it hard to concentrate and focus

My new GP recommended vestibular rehabilitation physiotherapy (head/neck) and I found Bernard Tonks and after spending 1 investigative session with him; he was able to show me that my eyes were not working together and explain that it was most probably a vision processing problem.

He referred me to Dr. Cameron McCrodan at the Opto-mization Neuro Visual Performance Clinic . After the thoroughly intense and extensive intake form and vision and visual tests Dr McCrodan explained we don’t see with our eyes. We see with our brain. He spent the time to go over the information and what I realised was my vision processing had in all probability sustained damage from concussions and the different lenses as well as the last accident.

I had not realized until that day that I had NO depth perception left and that a learned reading habit of fast scanning to avoid dancing and double letters as well as headaches, fatigue and anxiety were all related.

I was shocked by fact that he thought with hard work, commitment, new glasses, that may require multiple lens changes and a high price tag (for someone who lives on a fixed income) he was sure that working with neurovision therapist over 25 weeks I could be helped. I considered the money and the commitment and the possible hope of lessening the headaches. I left the clinic that day cautiously optimistic, wearing a pair of glasses with scotch tape on them to help start the process of correcting the depth perception, ordering new glasses, and booking weekly vision therapy sessions.

Vision Therapy – the reality

I started working on my vision therapy and like learning a new language, the exercises required practice and time commitment daily. At first, my symptoms, mostly dizziness, nausea and headaches were less intense but daily after doing my homework exercises. I learned to break them up through out the day and then to take breaks often.

My vision therapy started in the middle of covid and with my auto-immune disease I get colds quite often and would have to post pone my sessions. My original therapist had taken time off for health reasons and then I was up island and coming back weekly was stressful, so we went to every other week or virtually. Throughout all of that, I continued to do my exercises diligently.

I started to notice I was reading more often within a month. Some other changes we subtle, others, were more obvious to me and my support network. Like walking outside and then being able to walk on a park path then a hike in the woods.

The many and varied exercises boggled and fascinated me and my campground (LOL). Magnets, flashlights, 3D type glasses, exercises with names like Brock string, bug on a wall, using bean bags, blocks, string, tees, rope balls, I learned convergence, divergence, spatial awareness. My symptoms would lessen and some of my skills and hobbies returned so gradually I almost hadn’t noticed, like that I was writing short stories, taking pictures, making cards and painting rocks. I had moments that the improvement jumped a level and there were moments when I plateaued and was frustrated.

It has taken a year to do my 25 neurovision therapy sessions and I have had 3 changes of lenses in 3 pairs of glasses. I have my depth perception back and am now mostly able to recognise the things that can trigger vertigo symptoms. The debilitating headaches and nausea are so much better, so is my concentration and anxiety. I have my creative outlets back writing, crafting, photographing and the ability to read again and to read slowly and enjoy each sentence. These are all precious gifts and I sincerely thank Dr McCrodan, Eric, Maddi, and the clinic team for giving me back my life. To help me go from surviving to THRIVING.

THANK YOU

Marsha R.

How Concussions Can Affect Self-Esteem

How Concussions Can Affect Self Esteem 640X350When you consider the abundant functions of the brain, it’s no surprise that even slight damage to its sensitive tissues can wreak havoc on one’s physical and mental health. Many people experience some degree of emotional distress after suffering a head injury. But how can you tell if your symptoms are serious?

If you or a loved one has ever experienced a concussion, we urge you to learn more about the emotional and physical side effects it may bring, and discover how a neuro-optometrist can help.

What Occurs During a Concussion?

The nerves of the brain are surrounded by soft and fatty tissues, and these fragile nerves are further protected by a layer of fluid and the bony skull. During a sudden and forceful jolt or bump to the head or neck region, such as whiplash, the brain continues to move while the head has stopped moving. This causes the brain to slam into the inner walls of the skull or be shaken back and forth, resulting in a concussion.

This mild form of traumatic brain injury can damage or destroy brain cells, and may also negatively impact the healthy protective tissues surrounding the damaged cells.

Although concussions are considered ‘mild’ because they aren’t life-threatening, they can cause debilitating symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, blurred vision, balance problems, confusion and emotional distress, among others.

The Link Between Concussions and Self-Esteem

A concussion can negatively affect emotional well-being and self-esteem, both directly and indirectly.

A post-concussion patient may find it difficult to do the things they once enjoyed, like exercising, reading, doing schoolwork or even watching TV. Withdrawing from these activities, even temporarily, may result in feelings of depression, anxiety, and reduced self-worth. When you can’t read, concentrate or complete day-to-day activities as you once did, your limitations can become your main focus.

Concussions can also directly damage areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, directly affecting how a person relates to themselves and others.

A study published in Brain Injury (2014) concluded that a person’s self-concept may be impacted following a concussion/traumatic brain injury and that patients should seek treatment for emotional distress following a head injury.

Signs of Lowered Self-Esteem

Because each brain is unique, it’s hard to tell how a concussion will affect the patient, both in the short and long term. Here are a few signs that may reveal emotional distress and reduced self-esteem following a concussion:

  • Withdrawal from social events
  • Avoiding activities that were once enjoyable
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling unloved or unwanted
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Negative self-talk
  • Neglecting personal hygiene or appearance
  • Inability to accept compliments
  • Feelings of shame, depression or anxiety

If you or a loved one displays any of the above symptoms, rest assured that help is available.

How We Help Post-Concussion Patients

Recovering from a concussion can be difficult, but neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help by improving the neural communication between the eyes and the brain and how an injured brain processes visual information.

Concussions can significantly affect the eye-brain connections, resulting in symptoms like dizziness, inability to concentrate, light sensitivity and headaches, as well as emotional distress.

A neuro-optometrist can improve the functioning of the visual system in ways that other professionals aren’t trained to, thereby reducing — even eliminating — these debilitating symptoms.

By training the brain and eyes to efficiently work in unison, visual skills will improve and you’ll find it easier to do things like reading, watching TV, using a computer and concentrating without taking as many breaks.

If you or a loved one has ever sustained a concussion, a functional vision evaluation may be called for to rule out visual dysfunction. Even if you’ve been told that nothing can be done by other health care professionals, we may be able to help, even years after the injury.

Let us help you get back to doing the things you love. To schedule a functional visual evaluation, call Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance today.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance offers neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy to patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: What other conditions can neuro-optometry treat?

  • A: Neuro-optometrists help patients who’ve survived a stroke, sustained varying degrees of brain injury or have a neurological condition that impedes visual function. All of these conditions can adversely impact visual skills and may cause symptoms that hinder independent functioning and reduce one’s quality of life. By rehabilitating the visual system, a neuro-optometrist can provide relief and promote a greater degree of recovery to these patients.

Q: Do all optometrists provide neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: No. A neuro-optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry with specialized training in the area of visual system rehabilitation. A general optometrist performs eye exams, diagnoses and manages eye diseases and prescribes corrective lenses to patients. General optometrists do not have the training or experience to perform neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

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What it Takes to Succeed as a Formula 1 Driver

What it Takes to Succeed as a Formula 1 Driver 640×350During a 90-minute race, a Formula 1 driver’s body meets many challenges. Controlling a vehicle that may reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour requires not only the highest level of fitness but also the ability to react — literally — in the blink of an eye.

Without top-notch visual skills, drivers aren’t able to respond effectively to the constantly changing conditions on the race track. Sports vision training can help race car drivers and other athletes hone their visual skills to improve their performance.

What is Sports Vision Training?

Sports vision training is a tailored program that enhances neural communication between your eyes, brain, and body, and is specifically tailored to your specific activity. Athletes who receive sports vision training can absorb information faster and react more precisely to what they see on the field or track.

The training entails a specific set of strategies and exercises that teach the brain and body to respond to the environment around them more quickly and effectively. Visual skills such as hand-eye coordination, depth perception, dynamic visual acuity and peripheral awareness are all [emphasized] during the training.

Visional Skills Needed for F1 Drivers

F1 drivers need to have excellent peripheral vision and reaction time to succeed on the race track.

Peripheral Vision

Peripheral vision is the ability to see things where you are not directly looking, but can see “out of the corner of your eye.” Well-developed peripheral awareness enables drivers to see other cars or obstacles at the edge of their visual field and to process the race’s rapidly shifting dynamics.

Reaction Time

When it comes to racing at high speeds, every second counts. Even a slight lag in reaction time can be disastrous.

The reaction speed of F1 drivers is typically 3x faster than that of other individuals.

Sports vision training exercises hone the brain’s ability to respond to visual stimuli, and to transmit the necessary information the body needs to respond. Speeding up their brain’s synaptic reaction time allows drivers to pivot more quickly on the racetrack in the face of unexpected situations.

Exercises for Peripheral Awareness and Reaction Time

To improve peripheral awareness, drivers use many different exercises and tools. Here are two that we recommend.

Lightboard Exercise

A lightboard is a device that flashes a succession of lights, powered by electricity. Touch receptors are incorporated into many of them, providing an element of engagement that can improve the driver’s peripheral awareness and reaction time.

Here’s how it works: A person stands in front of the board and concentrates on a single location. Then, in their side view (peripheral vision) lights flash in random positions. The patient is required to recognize and then rapidly and efficiently touch those lights.

Seeing such lights can help drivers boost their ability to process information and make quick decisions. Simply touching the lights can significantly boost their hand-eye coordination.

Tennis Ball Drill

A basic tennis ball drill is an easy way to increase reaction times. Drivers face a wall and position themselves close to it. Then, from behind them, an instructor or a training partner tosses balls at the wall.

The task of the driver is to respond quickly and collect the ball as it bounces off the wall. The unpredictable nature of this practice keeps their minds sharp. Because of their near proximity to the wall, they must rely on their fast reaction speed and peripheral vision to succeed.

Becoming an F1 driver isn’t just about improving speed on the track. It’s about training the mind, body and eyes to work together as a team. Contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to learn more about sports vision training and become the driver you wish to be.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: Why is sports vision so important for athletes?

  • A: Athletes with excellent visual skills have an advantage in their field. Sports requiring great eye teaming, depth perception, and concentration skills include motor racing, skiing, football, basketball, hockey, baseball, tennis and soccer. In some sports, focusing, judging distances and tracking moving objects might mean the difference between life and death on the field or race track.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is intended for athletes of all ages and abilities, including youth and adult athletes, no matter the sport they participate in.

Can Vision Therapy Help Those With Autism?

Can Vision Therapy Help Those With Autism 640×350Visual problems in autistic children commonly go undetected and untreated. Often mistaken for symptoms of autism, visual problems can make it much more difficult for individuals with autism to process what they are seeing.

In a 2019 review of eye clinic records, the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus found that many autistic children have undetected vision problems.

“Among 2,555 children at a university autism clinic, about 11% had significant vision disorders, including strabismus (eye misalignment) and amblyopia, in which poor vision in one or both eyes results from abnormal early visual development,” the researchers said.

Vision Problems and Autistic Behaviors

Though many of the following autistic behaviors may appear to be unrelated to vision impairment, in reality, a high number of them are due to poor vision or visual skills.

  • Light sensitivity
  • Amblyopia/lazy eye
  • Lack of reciprocal play
  • Eye alignment (eye turns)
  • Common eye-rolling
  • Looking through/beyond objects
  • Difficulty accurately tracking moving objects
  • Inability to maintain eye contact with people
  • Visual stimming (flapping fingers in front of eyes)
  • Looking at objects from the side of the eyes
  • Extreme fear or absence of fear of heights

Vision Therapy for Children with Autism

Vision therapy is a proven treatment that strengthens the neurological connections between the brain and eyes to improve visual abilities.

A vision therapy program for an autistic child will help them improve visual processing, which in turn, will help them better understand their surroundings and improve associated behaviors, like anxiety.

Each vision therapy program is tailored to the child’s specific needs and includes age-appropriate exercises and activities.

Vision therapy tends to focus on improving the following skills in autistic kids:

  • Central vision
  • Peripheral stability
  • Efficient eye coordination
  • Visual-spatial organization
  • Visual information processing

Yoked or ambient prisms

Vision problems, particularly visual-spatial misperceptions such as bodies/objects/people moving in space, can make an autistic child feel frightened, confused or distressed, leading to certain behavioral responses like poor eye contact or looking beyond an object.

Yoked or ambient prism lenses assist autistic children in making better use of their vision. Prisms can enhance posture, balance, and attention almost immediately, thus considerably boosting the child’s sense of physical safety and comfort while reducing anxiety and sensory overload.

Prism lenses can be worn on a daily basis or for the duration of a vision therapy program, which generally leads to significant improvements.

The purpose of vision therapy is to make ordinary tasks easier to complete and reduce the challenges that both you and your autistic child confront on a daily basis.

Please note that vision therapy should be a part of an interdisciplinary strategy aimed at improving a patient’s capacity to function and enhance their quality of life.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: How long does vision therapy take to work?

  • A: Although it varies from person to person, most children will see a difference within the first 10 weeks. Adult vision therapy takes a little longer because adult brains are less flexible than children’s brains.

Q: What is vision therapy?

  • A: Vision therapy is a specific program that involves a series of progressive therapeutic eye exercises that help patients improve their visual abilities. Their visual abilities improve as their eyes and brain communicate more effectively. It’s a one-of-a-kind, treatment program that’s usually combined with vision correction (glasses or contacts, such as in the case of myopia or presbyopia).

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What’s the Link Between Vision Therapy and Self-Confidence?

Whats the Link Between Vision Therapy and Self Confidence 640×350When most people think of vision, they think of how well a person can see up close or from afar. Many schools perform a simple vision screening to identify students who may be having difficulty seeing the board in the classroom.

Unfortunately, these vision screenings don’t evaluate a child’s functional vision, which comprises all of the fundamental visual skills required for learning.

As a result, many children with inadequate vision skills go undiagnosed and end up struggling in school and on the sports field. Often, these children are considered clumsy and sluggish and tend to be misdiagnosed and labeled as having a learning disability, dyslexia or ADHD.

Improving visual skills enables many of these students to read more effortlessly, boost grades and improve athletic performance.

Visual skills can be learned and retrained with vision therapy, particularly during childhood and adolescence, when the brain is still developing.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a specialized treatment program that aims to enhance visual processing by developing and/or improving the communication between the eyes and the brain. The training is typically made up of specialized lenses, prisms, and eye exercises.

The following eye conditions can be effectively treated with vision therapy:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (eye turns)
  • Convergence insufficiency
  • Eye movement problems
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Accommodative/focusing disorders
  • Visual processing difficulties
  • Visual disturbances from a brain injury

Vision Therapy Can Boost Your Child’s Confidence

Children who endure difficulty in school or on the sports field in reaction to subpar visual skills tend to feel frustrated that they cannot perform like their peers. This, in turn, affects their confidence levels and may lead them to exhibit behavioral issues and thwart their ability to make friends.

Vision therapy has been shown to transform lives. Children who previously struggled to read or catch a ball due to a deficit in visual skills usually see a significant improvement in their abilities and results in increased self-confidence and competence.

Vision therapy can help a child become a better student and achieve his or her academic goals. Moreover, vision therapy can be indispensable when preparing for higher education, since accomplishments can lead to a greater belief in one’s own talents and abilities. This newfound self-assurance will undoubtedly spill over into other areas, improving the child’s quality of life.


Don’t let your child’s visual dysfunction prevent them from experiencing self-confidence and self-assurance. Contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to learn how vision therapy can unlock your child’s hidden potential.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance provides vision therapy and other services to patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, Vancouver Island, and throughout British Columbia.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: How long does a vision therapy program last?

  • A: Since each case differs based on the nature and severity of the visual condition, there is no defined time limit. Patients can observe progress after just a few sessions, but treatment might last for several months. In general, once a child has completed a vision therapy program, the effects are permanent.

Q: How young can a child start vision therapy?

  • A: Children as young as 5-6 years old can begin vision therapy, but formal in-office sessions are recommended for children aged 7 and up since they are better able to follow instructions.

 

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Preventing Concussions With Sports Vision Exercises

Preventing Concussions With Sports Vision Exercises 640×350Between 1.7 million to 3 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year in the United States alone. 70-80% percent of those surveyed have vision issues.

So what can you do to avoid a concussion? Consider sports vision training. It can help you perform better and protect your head and brain from injury.

Sports Vision Training and Sport-Related Head Injuries

Concussions are among the most prevalent injuries sustained in sports.

When your visual abilities aren’t up to par, you may underestimate the distance between yourself and the ball or between yourself and other players. Due to limited peripheral vision, miscalculating the velocity of a ball or the location of competing players may result in significant head or other injuries.

This is why, like exercising your muscles, it’s important to train your eyes to communicate more efficiently with your brain and body.

Sports Vision Exercises to Prevent Concussions

If you’re looking to improve your game by improving your visual skills, visit today. Dr. Cameron McCrodan or Dr. Scott Irvine will prescribe a sports vision training program based on your sport and the visual abilities you need to develop.

Until then, here are some very basic exercises you can do at home. (Keep in mind that there is no alternative for a specialized sports vision assessment and training tailored to your individual visual strengths and deficiencies.)

Depth Perception

Depth perception is crucial for a variety of sports. Baseball players require it to hit the ball as it crosses the plate, while football players need it to judge where the ball will land. Even swimmers use depth perception when doing a flip-turn near the pool’s edge during a race.

You can practice this skill by holding a drinking straw at arm’s length and trying to drop a tiny pebble or balled-up piece of paper through the straw with your free hand.

Peripheral Awareness

Peripheral awareness is crucial for succeeding in sports, as athletes must be able to sense the world around them without turning their heads. By honing this visual skill, they can drastically improve their game.

One thing you can do to improve peripheral awareness is to stand at a junction and look straight ahead at the road in front of you. Practice seeing cars pass horizontally from left to right without moving your head—simply perceive them through the edges of your visual field.

Focus Flexibility

The ability to shift your concentration from far away to nearby objects is referred to as focus flexibility.

Focus on an object close to you, then adjust your focus to an object behind the first one in the same line of sight to improve your focus flexibility. A bowl on a table in front of you, for example, and then a painting on the wall in the distance.

Switch between focusing on the bowl and the painting. This is also a good exercise for those who spend a lot of time at their computers. It will not only improve your focus flexibility but will also ease eye strain caused by prolonged screen use.

If you’re looking to improve sports performance, contact today. Sports vision training will help you up your game whether you’re a competitive athlete or simply enjoy playing on the weekends.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: What is Sports Vision Training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a customized program that uses a series of techniques and exercises to teach your brain and body to respond more accurately and efficiently to a fastball or hockey puck rapidly coming toward you. The training focuses on improving visual skills, such as hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, depth perception, focusing and peripheral vision.

Q: Can sports vision training lead to a decrease in sport-related injuries?

  • A: According to a study done by the University of Cincinnati Division of Sports Medicine, football players who had undergone sports vision training to improve their peripheral vision had fewer concussions than those who did not do it.
  • This is because sports vision training helps the eyes and brain react more quickly to changes in the environment, resulting in more successes and fewer accidents.
  • Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

How Can Lyme Disease Affect Your Vision?

How Can Lyme Disease Affect Your Vision 640Lyme disease is an infection caused by a tick bite infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, the bacteria is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

Lyme disease initially affects the skin near the bite site. However, if left untreated, the infection can extend to the nervous system, joints and other organ systems.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease symptoms usually include a rash at the site of the bite that looks like a bull’s eye. Further symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands

As the disease progresses, one may develop memory loss, attention problems and numbness in the hands, feet and arms.

How Does Lyme Disease Affect Vision?

Lyme disease is typically divided into three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Lyme disease can affect the eyes at any stage.

The severity of ocular problems may vary greatly. Different symptoms appear at different phases of the infection. The following are examples of possible Lyme disease eye complications:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, often known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the white part of the eye known as the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis usually appears within the first several weeks of the infection. According to the AAO, conjunctivitis affects roughly 10% of Lyme disease patients. Symptoms include red eyes, itchy eyes and discharge.

Light Sensitivity

For some, light sensitivity is a side effect of Lyme disease. Light sensitivity can also be an adverse effect of several antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease.

Inflammation

Lyme disease patients might potentially develop inflammation of the eye structures. Eye inflammation commonly appears in the third or late stages of the disease. Inflammation of the optic nerve can cause vision loss. Optic neuritis symptoms include eye pain, color vision loss, and flashing lights.

Inflammation of the retinal vessels can also cause impaired vision and floaters. Bell’s palsy-like symptoms might arise if the facial nerves become inflamed. Symptoms may make it difficult to close the eye, causing the cornea to become dry and potentially infected.

Visual Treatment of Lyme Disease

Medical treatment for Lyme disease doesn’t always address Lyme-related visual problems, and without treatment, vision may still be impaired long after medical treatment is completed.

Any inflammation in the body can negatively affect the functioning of the limbs and organs. This is especially true for the brain and the visual system, which are often affected by Lyme disease.

That’s where neuro-optometry can help.

Neuro-optometry evaluates how our eyes and brain function together. When Lyme disease affects that connection, a patient’s balance may be affected, causing their vision and depth perception to be affected as well.

A neuro-optometrist may utilize lenses, prisms and, in some situations, neuro-visual therapy. Neuro-visual therapy is a rehab program for those who have had a neurological incident that has affected their vision and its functioning/processing.

This is especially true in the case of children. Lyme disease can disrupt important developmental cycles, resulting in visual problems and the likelihood of developmental delays and learning difficulties.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance, to learn whether it has affected your vision.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

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Can Vision Therapy Treat a Learning Disability?

Vision therapy is often used to treat problems with how the eyes track, work together, or how vision is processed. Some children who have been diagnosed with a learning disability like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD), dyslexia, or dysgraphia have underlying visual problems that contribute to their symptoms.

Example 1: A study (view here) found that kids who had problems with vergence (eye teaming) had reduced ADHD scores after treatment.

Example 2: Another study (view here) found statistically significant improvements for reading comprehension and reading composite score in children who were treated for convergence insufficiency

I was told vision therapy cannot treat learning disabilities…

Many professionals will argue that vision therapy cannot treat a learning disability, and in the purest of definitions, they are correct. This is because the true definition of a learning disability means that vision has been completely ruled out. The problem is that most kids are diagnosed with a learning disability like dyslexia before vision is completely ruled out. Many of them have a vision problem that completely mimics dyslexia, others may have true dyslexia and no vision problems, while some will have a combination of the two. You can’t tell until you properly test the visual function.

Perhaps the easiest way to think about it is if your child was having trouble with being tired, you would want to rule out low iron before they were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (which means that there is no known reason for fatigue)

Now imagine hundreds of children with fatigue skipped the iron test and were just labeled as chronic fatigue. Some of those children would have true chronic fatigue, but many of them may just be iron deficient and received a pre-mature diagnosis of chronic fatigue.

Technically, giving a child iron supplements should not be able to treat chronic fatigue. However, for all those kids where the iron levels were overlooked the iron would be very successful in treating the chronic fatigue.

Vision therapy and learning disabilities is the same as iron and fatigue. Many learning disabilities are caused (in part or whole) by vision problems that are undiagnosed, and some have eye tracking that works perfectly. If there is no vision problem, then vision therapy will not help.

If there is an undiagnosed vision problem causing the struggle, then vision therapy is very successful in helping the child.

Vision therapy can be a tremendous help for a child’s reading if vision is part of their struggle, but you can’t tell until you have it tested. If your child, or a child you know is struggling, please make sure they get their eye tracking, teaming, and visual processing tested. It could change their life.

What Is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

What Is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome 640×350Every year, tens of millions of people around the world sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The majority of TBIs are mild brain injuries, such as concussions. However, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries often result in some degree of visual dysfunction, as nearly half of the brain is dedicated to vision-related processing.

The symptoms of post-TBI visual disturbances fall under the umbrella term post-traumatic vision syndrome (PTVS).

What is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

Post Trauma Vision Syndrome is a disruption of the visual process. This disruption affects the neurological system that innervates the extraocular muscles that control eye movements, as well as the system that regulates focusing. This causes eye problems like difficulty with fixation, binocular fusion, and accommodative function.

What Are the Symptoms of PTVS?

Even with 20/20 vision, a TBI can cause the following visual dysfunctions:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Low blink rate
  • Depth-perception issues
  • Difficulty with eye-tracking
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Eye strain, especially while reading or using a computer

Non-visual symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Poor balance
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty driving
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Visual memory problems
  • Difficulty navigating through crowded or tight spaces

How Does a Neuro-Optometrist Treat PTVS?

Your neuro-optometrist will assess your ocular health as well as a wide range of visual abilities, including eye alignment and convergence function, focusing ability, peripheral awareness and more.

If deficits are discovered, your neuro-optometrist will create a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to improve any visual skills that have been harmed by the brain injury. The program may utilize specialized glasses or prisms to improve spatial and/or binocular vision.

It’s crucial to get treatment for PTVS as soon as possible to minimize deficits and regain quality of life. However, neuro-optometric rehabilitation can be effective even months or years after a TBI.

Schedule a consultation with Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to start treatment for your PTVS today.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized program to develop, improve and refine underdeveloped or lost visual skills. This specialized treatment involves eye exercises, techniques and visual aids (i.e. prisms) that improve your visual processing and perception through the strengthening of the eye-brain connection.

Q: Is my concussion impairing my reading?

  • A: Many patients suffering from PTVS experience reading difficulties after their injury. Words might appear to be moving on the page or blurry. Another possible problem is not being able to remember what you just read, even after rereading it several times.

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