I received first rate, compassionate service at Opto-mization. My vision skills have significantly improved as a direct result of participating in the vision therapy program directed and, facilitated by, Dr. McCrodan and one of his amazing vision therapists. Brilliant Doctor. Friendly, accommodating office staff.
Flashback 1.5 years - My son, who is extremely bright in all areas was struggling with basic reading. Reading was painful, every word was a new word, even though it was a basic book where its the same words repeated over and over. Not for my son, every word was new, they all looked different. I'm thinking okay it's just going to take some time, painful time, for him to catch on, he may never like to read...we don't have a choice right, I'm doing everything I can?
After talking to my parents, my Dad had sent me Dr. Cam's Ted Talk where he discussed how sight is something many of us take for granted, but as he shows, there are many aspects of sight that are simply overlooked - and they can have a massive impact on our quality of life.Check out his TED talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0pljgXZ_GA
I watched this Ted Talk and was on the phone with his office within 1 minute, we might have found the help we needed!
Flash forward to present - after 40 weekly sessions with Dr. Cam's trainers, my son is a book worm. Now this didn't happen right away, it didn't happen in 3 months, or 6 months, but there was a steady progression where you could tell his brain and eyes were FINALLY working together instead of fighting. Finally sightword levels are being mastered inside a week. This took practice every night, a few new lens prescriptions along the way, 1 training appointment a week for what seemed like forever, adjusting our schedules to allow all this to happen and PATIENCE...all of the patience. BUT I'd do it all over again knowing the outcome we have now, I only wish we started sooner.
The Neuro Visual Trainers and Dr. Cam McCrodan were BEYOND amazing and were always looking out for what was best for my son. They stressed that he wouldn't be done until he was testing beyond a normal range so he would be set up for success, He added on 10 additional sessions to be sure we'd get there. Wow! What a great feeling that was, they were looking out for my son's needs just like I was.
PLEASE if you, or your kids are struggling with ANYTHING reading or vision related or headaches call his office and go in for a consult. 250-590-7384.
I have been suffering immensely after a sports related head injury for over 5 years, but Cam and the people here (Laura) in particular were extremely helpful in getting me back on my feet, I'm about a year out of treatment, and my eyes are doing so much better. While I still struggle with convergence (and will need surgery) I've been able to get back to school. I've also been able to get back on my feet in other areas health related. Huge props to these guys, and while not cheap, this therapy is life changing, and worth it. Thank you Cam and staff.
I am 75 years old and suffered a cerebral stroke. My symptoms were dizzy spells, loss of depth perception, seasickness, inability to read and comprehend, balance problems and navigating stairs was frightening.
Before the stroke I loved to walk, read, go boating and do aquafit. After the stroke these activities became a huge problem.
I related all of these symptoms to my GP, an ENT specialist, an Optometrist, and an Ophthalmologist. A CT scan of my head showed exactly what the problem was but nobody was able to help me.
I finally sought help from a Physiotherapist, specializing in vestibular ( dizziness ) problems. He was able to refer me to Dr. McCrodan (neuro optometrist) at Opto-mization, and my life took on a whole positive change.
During my first assessment with Dr. McCrodan he listened and I felt I was heard. He said he could help me. I had my first glimmer of hope!
From the very beginning of this healing journey, I have been treated with kindness, dignity and respect, not only from Dr. McCrodan but his entire team of professional, empathetic, encouraging and caring staff.
Dr McCrodan has a passion for what he does and to say he gave me back my life and joy in retirement years would be an understatement. For that I am truly grateful.
There are truly no words to properly express our gratitude to Dr McCrodan and his team of all star staff. Last year my husband (a healthy 39 yrs) suffered a very rare ruptured brain aneurysm, directly impacting his vision and brain processing.
Over the last 25 weeks we have attended either the Victoria or Nanaimo offices to complete a specialized and custom tailored Visual Training and rehabilitation program. We have learned so much and can't impart how amazing the program is. All the steps built each week to assist my husband in regaining control of his eyes and strengthening the connections to his brain to become healthy and functional again.
Along all steps of my husband's journey we literally had 24 hour support for questions and concerns, weekends included. This went A LONG way in calming our fears and anxiety. My husband received emergency brain surgery our of town on the mainland last year and we have felt very isolated and unsupported where we live here on Vancouver Island, UNTIL we were referred to Dr McCrodan and his team. It was truly like an answer to prayer!! The whole process has been long and hard, but it is so worth the end results.
We will NEVER forget this part of our journey. We look forward to watching my husband continue to heal and are thankful for the team of staff that rooted and cheered us on, who offered unwavering support and information. Dr McCrodan fine tuned the program when needed, looked further into options when challenges arose and has become a long time friend with his kindness and support during the toughest months of our lives. We will forever be grateful.
I can only hope that this helps whoever is reading this make a decision that WILL positively change you life forever. We know if you are looking into this you are struggling. We have been there. You are not alone, keep going.
Hello Dr. Cam, Here is my review for you and your staff regarding my experience with Opto-mization. Thank you again for everything! Things are going well.
I cannot say enough about Dr. Cameron McCrodan and the staff at Opto-mization. The treatment I have received has been literally life changing.
I suffered a severe concussion that affected my mental clarity and focus, my musculoskeletal functioning and my vision. I was originally referred to physiotherapy to help with all of the above. My physiotherapist, after a thorough assessment, referred me to Dr. Cameron McCrodan for further assessment with my vision. After going through the initial assessment, I was shocked to discover that my mental clarity and functioning had a TON to do with my vision and the connection, or in my case the lack of, between my eyes and my brain. Opto-mization’s slogan is ‘You see with your brain, not with your eyes’. Never did I ever think I would find out how true this statement is!
After 20 weeks of working with Karen S, vision specialist, and regular check-ins with Dr. Cam, I am almost back to my old self, with the complete surprise of having better vision than before my concussion! Every visit I learned something new about my balance, depth perception, peripheral vision, reading comprehension, and the brain/vision connection. The exercises seemed so simple, yet they were incredibly challenging and super effective. You don’t realise how much you can’t do until you must do it and discover that you can’t!
Something I had found really surprising was how much better I was at playing hockey. Better than before my concussion. The vision therapy has given the ability to see the ice better with my peripheral and depth perception. Even my timing for passing and one timers has got considerably better. It was a nice added bonus to the therapy. I feel that without this therapy I would not yet have been back to work or living a normal life. A huge thank you to the entire staff at Opto-mization vision therapy for your professional and compassionate, genuine support.
Her concussion program wasn’t cutting it, and she wasn’t getting better. She turned to the people she could trust.
I’ve seen Dr. McCrodan and his staff twice for separate issues, 5 years apart. The first time was for a convergence insufficiency and the second time was after a serious concussion which completely debilitated me. Both rounds of therapy were similar in that they completely changed my life.The first time not only did we fix the convergence issue, I became a much faster reader, I stopped bumping into things, I felt like I was thinking faster and it actually felt like my IQ increased. It didn’t – my brain and eyes were just working way more efficiently together.The second time I sought help from Dr. McCrodan was after a serious concussion that had me off work for months. I asked the concussion professionals in the rehab programs if they thought I should consider neurovisual therapy and most said it probably wasn’t necessary. As the months dragged on I became more desperate to recover – despite being told multiple times that I didn’t need to try the therapy I followed my gut instinct and made a consultation appointment. Dr. McCrodan zeroed in immediately on what the issue was, prescribed me glasses to help and set me up on a 20 week program. The glasses began helping within a week of wearing them – it was a profound difference and greatly reduced many of my post-concussion syndrome symptoms. The therapy and daily homework can be frustrating at times, especially in the first half of the program that is set up for you. You must do your homework every day (no more than 20 mins) for this program to work. Symptoms can be triggered by the therapy, but in the end it is so worth the disruption. I’ve gone from not being able to drive, see straight, carry on a conversation, and experiencing daily headaches and dizziness to having all of these symptoms resolve, getting back to work and getting my life back on track.The profound difference neurovisual therapy, Dr. McCrodan and his staff have had on my life is humbling. I’m forever grateful for the vast knowledge, kindness and willingness of Dr. McCrodan to help solve these issues and help me get back to healthy and functioning again. My only regret is that I didn’t follow my gut and begin the process earlier.
Post Concussion Symptoms Improve with Prism Glasses
Wow. I have been struggling with my concussion symptoms for nearly a year. After some test, Dr McCrodan built a pair of prism glasses for me to try on. He asked me to read, something I love to do and have been struggling to do for far too long. I read the first sentence of the paragraph and I’m not afraid to admit, that I started crying. I can read again. It was so overwhelming in a good way. I can’t be shy, because I looked over and the doc was teary eyed too. I tried the sobriety test for balance and I started crying again. Life is within my grasp and I’m ready to hold tight. The staff were such a pleasure to meet and everyone was so nice. The place is bigger on the inside, and very nice. Thank you so much for the opportunity to heal and what feels like magic. HIGHLY recommend.
My balance and depth perception were so bad that I would fall quite often and for no apparent reason
‘Thank you’ doesn’t express enough how much working with Dr McCrodan and his team has changed the things I can do. I was referred to Dr McCrodan in July 2018 and started the program designed for my particular vision problems. My balance and depth perception were so bad that I would fall quite often and for no apparent reason. I could no longer go on the breakwater because of this. Now I have been able to go on the breakwater and look over the edge which I haven’t done for years.
I am 56 years old and Thanks to Dr. McCrodan’s program and my coach, Lauren I’m doing things that I haven’t done in years.
Thanks so much
Even with ‘perfect vision’ he was losing interest in learning. Vision therapy turned it around, and even helped his baseball
At 6 years old my son was falling behind in school. He was showing a decreased interest in learning. We started him with a great tutor and things were moving along nicely. We took the summer off between grade 1 and 2. When he started back with the tutor in grade 2 she was worried almost right away. Our son was having a real hard time and was becoming very silent. This was odd for such an active and outgoing boy. The tutor was quick to figure out he may have a tracking issue. He could read the same word in one sentence and than by then next sentence with the same word, he couldn’t read it. We thought maybe he wasn’t trying or being lazy. The tutor suggested we go see an eye therapy specialist. I mentioned he just had an eye exam with the eye doctor and he had perfect vision. So why did we need to see an eye therapist. She said trust me, go.
After being enrolled for just over 20 weeks of eye therapy, we couldn’t be happier with the results we have seen. The simple things like reading what song was playing in the car or road signs are now happening, and he is gaining more confidence reading. This week he got his first 10 out of 10 on his school spelling test. Eye therapy has taught him great tools to use when trying to learn. We are also using these tools as adults. Our son has always enjoyed baseball, however didn’t connect with the ball all that much. This year we went to try outs and he is 7 playing with 11 year-olds and is their number one pitcher! To watch your son grow with confidence since we have started eye therapy is worth all the hard work.
The commitment of time has been a challenge for our busy family. We live in Sidney and have to drive into town once per week for our hour session. Than we need to complete the homework each day for 20 minutes. 20 minutes isn’t a ton of time but as most families it was so hard to add to our day. We managed to be in a routine of doing it before we went to school, so no matter how busy our evenings were, we stayed on top of it. After seeing the results we have (and only at the half way point!), we couldn’t be happier and more pleased to recommend Cam and his team at Opti-mization to anyone. The only thing we wished for is that we started sooner.
Vision Therapy Helps
I was diagnosed with disequilibrium and vestibular/ vision mismatch last fall. It was so debilitating that I was unable to work. I was almost constantly dizzy, nauseated, and anxious. I was unable to concentrate and had frequent headaches whenever I tried to read a book or work on the computer. I tried vestibular and balance rehabilitation but made little progress until I started visual rehabilitation with Dr. McCrodan and his team.
Dr. McCrodan was able to explain everything to me and the results of the rehabilitation happened exactly the way he had explained. It took about 3 months of therapy but then I really started to see improvement and noticed that I could read or use the computer for 30-60 min without headaches. I was able to go out of the house and not be afraid of becoming dizzy and nauseated. I made steady progress after that and have completed 20 weeks of therapy now.
I recently drove to Vancouver and took the ferry and had no difficulty with vertigo. I’m so improved that I am returning to my job as an RN. I know I would not be able to do this without the help of Dr. McCrodan and his wonderful team.
Vision therapy helps overcome amblyopia
Scott was told amblyopia (lazy eye) would deteriorate his vision. Vision therapy changed his viewpoint.
It has been a couple of months since my last vision therapy appointment (and graduation!) and I wanted to thank you once again for the encouragement and inspiring atmosphere at your centre.
Dr. McCrodan, you and your staff extended every courtesy to ensure my successful treatment, and because of my hard work as well as the gentle reminders from you and your staff as to how important the homework was, I enjoy seeing my world in glorious 3D—the fall colours on the leaves of the trees are most significant when I see the trees in various spatial planes, and flying radio controlled helicopters with my friends has bloomed into a rewarding experience rather than a terrifying one due to not perceiving depth like I needed.
When I was told that by age 12 that my right eye would only deteriorate, imagine my surprise to learn that vision therapy existed and could help with my amblyopia! I can’t thank you enough for the extra enjoyment that restored vision is giving me.
My son (grade 6 student) commenced treatment with Dr McCrodan after suffering a serious concussion accident. He also had been diagnosed with dyslexia and the combination of the concussion accident had left him with no balance, memory loss and a grade 3 reading level speed. He also found reading music difficult. He had low self-esteem, no confidence, few friends, and was often bullied at school.
After following the specific program with Dr McCrodan and his staff (9 months), my student son regained his balance within 3 months. He was unable to walk in a straight line, ride his bike, play ball or catch balls due to his imbalance. It was a wonderful confidence boost for him to regain his balance. He was able to join a soccer team and the following year his team won the cup for his age group.
The training, exercises and program was a challenge to fit in after a day of school, homework and other sporting, music activities. However, he was a determined young man and followed the homework (approximately 30-45 minutes each night x 6 per week).
The result was amazing. After 9 months, my son went from a grade 3 reading speed to grade 12 reading level! His whole personality changed. He was more confident, had many friends at school and his school report improved immensely. He achieved grade changes in English C to B, Music, B to A, Maths B to A etc. This was all due to the wonderful care, support and attention that was given to assist my son regain his reading/vision and balance.
Vision problems from concussions
Vision Therapy Helped
In February 2015 I suffered a serious concussion that left me disoriented, nauseous, dizzy and exhausted. I was unable to work at my job as an editor. I went from working 12-hour days to lying on the couch with my eyes covered for weeks. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t walk without feeling like the ground was moving. I couldn’t watch TV, use my computer or read.
When the symptoms revealed themselves two weeks after hitting my head, an ER doctor told me to go home and rest for a few days and then see my doctor. My doctor then told me to rest for a few weeks. Neither offered any solutions or a timeline as to when or if I might improve. I was in a state of limbo. I worried I would never be able to return to work.
One day, in a somewhat desperate state, I found Dr. McCrodan’s name in a Google search for vision therapy. I called and spoke with Peggy, who treated me with warmth and compassion. She told Dr. McCrodan about my circumstances, and he agreed to see me within a day or two.
Dr. McCrodan ushered me into his office and spent the next 90 minutes running tests and talking to me about my symptoms. In the end, he said he could help me. He provided me two new prescriptions, devised a temporary fix to ease my dizziness and recommended a five-month vision therapy program. He was upfront and honest about the sizable cost, sharing my frustration that such a service is not covered by the B.C. medical system. But he pointed out that having to pay for the therapy often makes patients more committed to their recovery, and he was right.
I spent the next few months meeting weekly with my very knowledgeable and supportive therapist, Marquessa, and working daily at home to complete the assigned exercises. Unexpectedly, I enjoyed them, from tossing a ball in the backyard with my husband to donning an eye patch, turning circles and reading an eye chart to the beat of a metronome. Each week Marquessa adjusted the homework and introduced new exercises, which kept me interested and challenged. I began to see progress, and my symptoms started to dissipate. It felt incredible to have come so far in such a short time.
Looking back, I can’t believe how fast the time went and how quickly I improved, especially after many dark days when I wondered if this dazed state would be my new reality. Today I often read without my glasses, I run, hike and do boot camps, and I binge-watch Netflix for hours on wet Sundays — all the things that were impossible for me months ago.
Vision therapy and Ergoptics combat concussion balance problems
At 35, Caralee suffered a concussion that threw her life and career into a spiral. Vision therapy brought life back into focus.
I had never had a concussion before I felt confused, foggy headed, forgetful, incredibly tired, couldn’t concentrate on the simplest tasks, had headaches every day, and basically stayed in bed most of the time. I lived in ‘sick mode’ and couldn’t see my way out. When I tried to go out and be social like a normal person, I got anxious and overwhelmed, and wore myself out so fast. It was scary, frustrating, and depressing.
I was lucky enough to get referred to Bernard Tonks, Certified Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist and Physiotherapist. He worked with me through my nonvisual concussion symptoms, and helped me to understand what was going on with me in a kind, patient way. He drove my healing, and referred me to Dr. McCrodan to heal my vision related concussion symptoms.
Dr. McCrodan diagnosed me with three different conditions during my first visit with him, prescribed me some glasses with prisms, and recommended vision therapy to me. Within a few days of wearing my new glasses, I felt that I was finally coming out of my fog. I wanted to get out of bed and do things! I had been skeptical of vision therapy when I first heard of it, but I decided to go for it. If the glasses helped that much, I figured he knew what he was talking about.
I started vision therapy in January 2016. The therapy sessions were tough and the homework was challenging it was a big commitment. I was matched with an awesome therapist who was instrumental in my success through the program.
I recently graduated from vision therapy, and it has changed my life! No more headaches, no more foggy headedness, very little confusion, less anxiety. I can go out again and join the world.
Persistent Migraine Headaches
Vision Therapy Changed Alexandra’s Life
Two years ago I became unwell. It started as dizziness and progressed very rapidly to a host of symptoms including nausea, crippling headaches, disorientation, stuttering, vertigo, and complete exhaustion. I spent a fair amount of time in doctors’ offices, with neurologists, in hospital, and undergoing a battery of tests. After six months, the doctors had determined that I was not suffering from a brain tumour, cancer or a host of other particularly unpleasant diseases and disorders. What they did decide is that I was suffering from unending, back-to-back, migraines (both the regular type and vestibular), coupled with inner ear problems. Whilst I was incredibly relieved that my diagnosis was not terminal in any way, I was also somewhat dismayed to learn that there was little the medical profession could do to help me.
I am a single parent who is self-employed. As you can imagine, this illness took a toll both on my children, and on my business. I often found myself unable to work…I had to reduce my client list and manage on less income. Caring for my children was becoming increasingly difficult as I was unable to drive, or leave the house much at all. Being in busy visual or auditory environments would make the symptoms much worse and was almost unbearable. I was feeling at my wits’ end and my stress levels were climbing through the roof, which brought along issues to do with anxiety and exhaustion.
After one year of this situation, a year where I exhausted so many medical options, I thought of Dr. McCrodan. I wasn’t sure if he was able to help, since I had erroneously believed that he only worked with children, but I contacted him anyways. He was fantastic, right off the bat. At our first visit, he assured me that he could help me. He explained everything in a clear way, and answered all of my many concerns. I admit to being the sort of person that has to understand something well before putting my faith in it, and he was incredibly patient with my many questions and concerns.
The first few months of therapy were hard. I won’t sugar-coat it. It wasn’t easy. It felt as if I was rolling back down the hill, rather than climbing up it! I almost quit a couple of times! But Cam’s team, and in particular Sue, were incredibly supportive. They had warned me that things would be difficult to start, but that they would get better. They tailored my program to walk that line between helping me and allowing me to continue work. The empathy, compassion and support I received were what got me through those first few months.
Now, here I am 9 months later. I won’t say I am cured, because they have yet to discover a cure for chronic migraine. But I can honestly say that my life is unrecognizable from where it was when I started with Dr. McCrodan. Not only can I work full-time again, and care for my children with energy and enthusiasm, but I have reclaimed my life. I can go out whenever I want to, I can sit in a restaurant, I can do a grocery shop, I can live a life! I wasn’t sure if that was ever going to be the case again. I still get migraines, but only a couple a month rather than every day. And the migraine symptoms are much more manageable now and last a much shorter length of time.
I cannot speak highly enough of Dr. McCrodan and his team. They changed my life. Dr. McCrodan’s compassion and his vision are humbling to me. He brought an energy and unwavering confidence to his treatment plan that got me through many a dark moment. I shudder to think of what my life would look like if I hadn’t taken.
Tait was suffering from a dizzying mix of visual conditions. Neurovisual Optometry solved the problem.
When I met Dr. McCrodan, I was on a lonely mission. I had a unique mystery to solve; one that appeared no one could help me solve or even help me towards making significant improvements. That all changed when I met Dr. Cam McCrodan and staff.
In 2008, I underwent the first of six Lasik eye surgeries. This was followed by right eye strabismus surgery in 2009. According to my surgeons, I presented with nystagmus, strabismus, amblyopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, associated asymmetric abnormal smooth pursuit, VOR suppression and saccades to the left, convergence insufficiency, along with ADHD, previous strabismus surgery at age two and a left head tilt. What all these fancy words mean is that of the seven visual abilities for learning I was seriously challenged in five or six. These are: accommodation – the ability to maintain clear visual focus, eye movement – the ability to smoothly shift from one point of focus to another, eye teaming – the ability for both eyes to work together as a team (to prevent double vision) , visual perception – the ability to compare and understand ones surroundings( to provide depth perception and peripheral vision), and eye-hand coordination – the ability to guide the movements of the hands with the eyes in actions such as reading and playing music, sports, etc. Visual acuity was an ability I appeared to have but it took tremendous compensating for me to achieve 20/25 and 20/40 vision. The seventh ability is visual imagery and this was my #1 tool for many, if not all, of my life’s endeavors. I survived on finely tuned instincts.
I believe that before I met Dr. McCrodan my good eye was overcorrected by Lasik which caused the weakened eye to become unsuppressed (wake up). When this occurred, I lost the ability to compensate and my eyes struggled once again to function together. Somehow this caused my null point (neck) and left side to shift to the center. My nystagmus was softened by this null point and when it shifted my nystagmus intensified felt largely when looking at a distance and, when I shifted my gaze from left to right, it caused my world to spin constantly. This caused my right eye to struggle to fuse which exacerbated my binocular fusion problems, diplopia, blurred vision, vertigo, dizziness and nausea. These issues alone were absolutely devastating and created in me the most intense feelings of nervousness and fear you could ever image. Without even realizing it, I had been operating my whole life by looking out the corner of my left eye and suppressing the rest of the world with my right. My body slanted left and twisted right while my right eye squinted to block the sunlight. My life up until this point was extremely challenging and then it all changed and shifted to a whole new set of challenges overnight.
I had no idea that I had been walking around my whole life with a load of visual challenges. I knew that I had a very high astigmatism and a lazy eye but I had no idea what they meant. I was certainly aware that I was not viewing the world like others and when I attempted to get help it was my behaviour and never my visual distortions that got the attention and it was not positive attention. The result of having these procedures as an adult was the opening of a Pandora’s Box for me. I spent more than four years doing my own research (which was extremely challenging for someone with my issues) into the difficulties I was experiencing. Nothing could have prepared me for the astonishment when I became aware of the degree to which I had learned to compensate for my vision problems since childhood. What would it take to relearn to function all over again with a new group of compensating skills?
One by one, I began to unravel the mystery and identified my problems and creatively found bandage solutions. No doctor I saw had the knowledge or time to tie all of my symptoms together and back to my vision and then provide solutions. I had no resources left and no support. No one was able to comprehend my challenges. Then, just as I thought it was over for me, I met Dr. McCrodan and after just one evaluation he assured me that, no matter my situation, he would find a way to help … and he did! He was able to validate all of my experiences, answer my questions, and put into play a series of visual rehabilitation exercises to carry me forward towards a fulfilling and active life.
When I started vision therapy, I couldn’t handle any task especially ‘at near’ work on the computer, reading, cooking, driving, playing with my kids, interacting in social settings, watching TV, etc. And if my vision wasn’t in the way, the physical pain on my left side of my body due to my head tilt depleted the rest of my energy. I am now half-way through my training and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. There has been no stone unturned and the layers continue to unravel. It feels most like I’m re-learning to coordinate my every move all over again and I mean every little move! It’s as if I have a left me and a right me fighting to stay in balance. Already, I’m reading, using the computer, and watching TV for much longer periods of time. My body pain has improved in tandem with the improvement to my eyes and I’m slowly working my way towards a fulfilling functioning life. I have four children and many aspirations. I always dreamed of being an inventor and using my insights to help to bring awareness to how our vision affects all aspects of our lives. These dreams are now not far from reality.
Ergoptics and Vision Therapy
Optimized Eye Brain Coordination
When I started Vision Therapy, my symptoms were a sensation in my left eye of a nail going from the inner corner into my brain, neck pain, facial numbness, eye fatigue, reduced energy and motivation due to constant pain and impaired endurance and quality of thought.
On my own I saw an optometrist for visual assessment and received from him a “standard” assessment and prescription. This did not help my symptoms and in hindsight may have worsened them as I worked on the assumption my vision problems weren’t that significant and not contributing to other problems.
After being referred to McCrodan Vision and with the benefit of your assessment, insight and treatment the significant role of vision dysfunction on many areas of my life came into focus.
Fortunately as I near the completion of my vision therapy and with the benefit of new prescriptions from you there has been a major improvement in my vision, headaches, facial numbness, motivation and quality of life and work.
McCrodan Vision therapy has required commitment. Improvement comes from doing the therapy exercises on a dedicated basis. Fortunately for me there were steady improvements and even if on a week to week basis scores in a specific exercise did not always improve the overall improvement in my health and vision was obvious and constant.
Vision is incredibly important to our lives. It is easy to take for granted because the majority of us assume it’s just there and if something is little blurry or ours eyes are tired, “no big deal” we will just get a pair of glasses.
Vision is a big deal. Vision is not just how our eyes work. Vision is about how our eyes work with our brain and what happens when they are not properly integrated. Over 30% of our brains’ function is involved in receiving and processing the signals from our eyes. When those signals are not coming in right and the brain is constantly scrambling to sort the signals out it causes major problems. Glasses alone do not solve these problems.
Ergoptics and Eye Strain
Vision Therapy Supports Eye Strain Recovery
I started suffering from eye strain in my early 20s during my first full-time desk job. Then, when I decided to add to the number of hours spent using a computer by becoming a part-time graduate student, I noticed a tugging sensation in my eye muscles. After hours of reading and typing on my laptop, I felt as though my eyes were being pulled inward. My focus was blurry and I often felt nauseated. I visited an optometrist who prescribed glasses with a prism in the lens to move my eyes into a better position. The glasses helped for a few years, but when I became a doctoral student (and fulltime Mom), my evening work schedule and general fatigue exacerbated the symptoms. I started getting headaches when I read too late in the day, even while wearing my glasses.
I became a patient of Dr. McCrodan after my son was born. He asked me to try a computer-based vision therapy program at home instead of prescribing a new pair of glasses. He asked me questions I didn’t think were related to my particular vision issues, like whether I bumped into things often or lost concentration easily depending on the kind of task. Dr. McCrodan noticed that my quality of life had been affected in ways a new pair of glasses wasn’t going to fix in the short- or long-term. After seven months of treatment, my symptoms improved significantly and I no longer needed a prism in my lenses. I noticed a difference in how long (and how well) I could study, but still experienced motion sickness and headaches after working for lengthy periods. I’ve decided to enroll in Dr. McCrodan’s vision therapy clinic. I’m looking forward to the comprehensive treatment afforded by this type of therapy to more fully address my symptoms.
ADHD and Visual Development
Vision Therapy and Confidence
All through Brandon’s young years he was a very active, yet fearful child. He would freeze up the moment something new or different would be presented, to name a few symptoms. So much so we had him involved in the Early Intervention Program at Queen Alexandria. He was assessed and placed in Occupational Therapy. He thrived physically in this program, but the language component was still not at a reasonable developmental level. We paid for our own psychoeducational report for Brandon and had him assessed. The assessment was not concrete due to age (6 years). The diagnosis, was generalized anxiety and possible ADHD. The assessment made sense, but still did not allow for the fact that his ability to comprehend, process and extrapolate information was behind and more appropriately frozen. When asked questions he simply could not get his responses out.
Brandon had passed every single eye exam he ever had, except for him having a very slight, occasional “lazy eye.” That was until Kindergarten. He had started minor squinting, could not sit still, had trouble focusing for extended periods of time on simple work, would not be able to complete simple home reading books as it would fatigue him tremendously. This also persisted into Grade One. When taking him to our eye doctor in the spring of the Kindergarten year, Dr. McCrodan recommended glasses for reading. It helped a lot but still he was not processing information. Brandon would struggle through the motions of reading, but ask him about what he read, he would not have a clue as he was working so hard to see and focus on every word he could not pay attention to and recall the content.
The normal optometric test he had again in the spring of Grade One. This time, we told Dr. McCrodan more about his behaviours; hard time sitting still, tired when reading, plus the constant motion (he would rock back and forth) when trying to read, or not able to sit still at the dinner table, constantly looking around at nothing in particular. Dr. McCrodan then suggested we have a further assessment. Glasses could not fully correct the issues Brandon was having with his eyes; they could not track (move appropriately from left to right, or stay on one row, his eyes would bounce up and down), he could not focus (the rocking back and forth of his entire body was to bring his reading into focus), depth perception was off (all his reasons behind not wanting to play sports), the list went on. So, Brandon was enrolled in vision therapy to not only correct how his eyes functioned in his head, but also how he processed the information in his brain then in return respond to the information.
Ten months later we have a very different child. I am not saying it was an easy process. There were many times he did not want to do his vision therapy practice activities. But the child I have now was not the child from 10 months ago. At our last parent-teacher interview the teachers are not seeing ANYTHING regarding his anxiety. He is a focused member in his class. He was producing very messy work. Last week his teacher sent home a note about how proud she was of Brandon for all the high-quality work he has been producing at school lately and how impressed she was with his efforts. That sums it up for Brandon. I do not have a fearful child any longer. He is a well-adapted boy who eloquently speaks his thoughts, whereas before he simply could not. Without Vision Therapy, Brandon would be in a very different place than he was before. All I can do is thank Dr. McCrodan for introducing us to such an amazing process, one I had never even heard of before.
We are officially graduated from this amazing program. It was a great accomplishment for Brandon and he was playing soccer like a champion on the school grounds even though he’s only taken up playing in the school grounds this past year. So much so he might have a blast doing it in team sports this year, for the first time ever.
Convergence Insufficiency Issues
Vision Therapy Solutions
I was having my regular biannual eye checkup and the optometrist said he had to “tighten” up my prescription on my right eye. But my eye would not respond and my vision would not improve. Further tests indicated that I had Convergence Insufficiency.
I did some online research and realized I had many of the symptoms. Headaches, blurry visions, dry eyes and double vision. Double vision was the worst. When I was driving, I would see four hands on the wheel. I am an Accountant and spend long hours on the computer. Sometimes things would get so bad I would just turn everything off and close my eyes.
We tried some home therapy exercises but that proved useless. My optometrist was able to refer me to a new clinic opening in Victoria run by Dr. Cameron McCrodan. The treatment was expensive, and not covered by insurance, but I really had no choice. As the condition would get worse and further impact my life.
In my first meeting with Dr. McCrodan, he said my condition was treatable although treatment for adults was not well documented. So I started the 20 week program, showing up weekly for an hour’s worth of random exercises. I was also given “homework” to do, which I probably did about half the time. To me the value of the program was that I had trained staff keeping me focused. I know that my treatment would not have progressed as well if I was doing the program without their help.
I did not feel any immediate improvement, and it took about eight weeks before I even noticed minor changes. But my vision started to improve. Things just started getting clearer. Before I would look at a tree and just see the tree. Now I would see the branches and minor details of the tree. By the end of the program the other symptoms had gone. No more blurry vision and eye stress. I used to get migraines and have been taking Imitrex for over twenty years, averaging a pill per month. I have not had a headache since I started the program, over seven months ago. Fingers crossed that it continues.
For me the program was a complete success. I no longer need a new prescription as the old one is now fine. I have some computer exercises that I still practice, but I don’t really need them as my eyes are better than ever. It was some of the best money I ever spent. It may not have been covered by the insurance but at least it is tax deductible.
Vision Therapy Program for Migraines
Caroline’s condition left her nearly housebound with regular migraines and double vision.
I live with a rare neurologic condition with many symptoms that have no treatments. In the last few years my vision started to deteriorate and I began to experience double vision everyday when my eyes would tire and frequent migraines. It became worse and worse and the double vision would come on earlier and earlier until eventually I was not able to drive at all after lunch time onward. This lead to my life becoming very limited and small.
I saw an ophthalmologist and and a neuro-ophthalmologist who diagnosed me with Divergence Insufficiency with no known treatments except for Prism lenses which eventually would not work either. When I pushed for some solution – even exercises I could do at home the neuro-ophthalmologist remembered that there was this new clinic in Victoria which may be able to help me.
I had a consult with Dr. McCrodan and he felt sure that he could help me. I was desperate for some kind of treatment as I was essentially trapped in the house most of the time and as a single parent this was not easy. My amazing friends and family held a fundraiser for me and managed to raise the money needed to begin therapy.
It took more than twice as long as first expected for my vision to really improve to the point that I have gotten my life back. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance on everyone’s part. I never doubted that I would stick with it but I was amazed at how Dr. McCrodan, Sue and the other vision therapist never wavered in their support, encouragement and determination. I expected that when my vision was not better after the 20 weeks that I would be done with therapy but instead Dr. McCrodan encouraged me that we were making progress and they would not give up on me until my vision was better. This gave me the strength to keep faithfully doing my exercises and not give up either.
15 months later and many hours of exercises, high scores and trumpet sounds later I can see probably better than most people. I do not have double vision anymore and I rarely get a migraine. I can drive anytime of day even at night. I have a social life again and my kids can be in activities that require me to drive them to. Vision therapy has literally changed my life. There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. McCrodan is doing the work he was meant to do and changing many peoples lives along the way. Somehow he has managed to find an amazing group of people to complete his team and care as much as he does.
Vision therapy creates sports fanatic
Sean was a bright kid who developed language skills early. But he struggled with his gross motor skills.
Sean had little interest in physical activities. He would try everything once or twice but anything that required hand/eye coordination was difficult for him and he would quit most things pretty quickly.
Despite this, Sean preserved through two years of baseball. I can only imagine how scary it must be to try to catch or hit a baseball when you can’t actually track the path of the ball accurately. I eventually suggested he not play anymore as I was worried he would get hurt.
It didn’t occur to my husband or me that his eyesight was causing his difficulties because we had always taken him for regular eye exams. We couldn’t figure out why reading and writing were such a challenge for him. Sean received additional help at school with reading and writing from grade 1 on. He often had homework because he couldn’t finish his work in class.
Now Sean is excelling at school. His reading speed and comprehension have increased dramatically. He is meeting or exceeding grade level expectations for all his subjects.
He achieved grade level for reading after only a few months of vision therapy. For a recent school play, Sean memorized all the speaking parts (just for fun).
Vision Therapy has opened up his world. He now plays basketball, tennis, and he curls. Everything from throwing a football to riding a bike is a pleasure now instead of a struggle.
Sean had a Sports birthday party this year and his birthday gifts were tennis balls, baseballs, basketballs and a football.
From IEP to Honor Roll through Vision Therapy
Matthew was assessed as needing an Independent Education Plan (IEP) due to his learning disability, but vision therapy helped him find focus.
Matthew Olson was described by the school assessment team as in need of yearly IEP’s due to his learning disability in Grade 2. In Grade 3 he continued to struggle with reading. We had yearly eye exams and the optometrist found nothing wrong with his vision. Through grades 4-7 he continued to struggle in school but had managed to work hard enough to get out of the ‘special classes’ for Math and Science and back into the classroom.
The year after Dr. McCrodan found the tracking issues Matthew came out of the ‘special programs’ in school. By Grade 9 he was on the Honor roll and continues to take normal classes and achieve great academic success in the curriculum in which he has interest. He is now in Grade 11 and enrolled college level mathematics and continues to carry a 3.6 GPA average or higher each term. The assessment team at Oaklands Elementary actually told us when they leveled him that he would never be able to take normal college classes, that he could never catch up to his contemporaries and that he would always struggle intellectually. It is refreshing to look back and know that my own instincts were correct and that he could excel despite what others told us.
We are so grateful we found Dr. McCrodan and had a chance to see what his work entails. On a whim we got our children assessed and all of them have excelled beyond expectations. Thank you so much Dr. McCrodan.
Vision therapy strengthens reading
Mariah’s vision challenges were caught in a regular eye exam in 2011. Facing surgery, she met Dr. McCrodan.
Mariah’s vision challenges were caught in a regular eye exam in 2011. She was sent to a specialist who would test Mariah’s eyes and determine if eye surgery would be a good option. Mariah patched her strong eye for 1-2 hours a day and read in order to strengthen her weaker eye. Fortunately, after many months of patching Mariah had strengthened her eye enough that the specialist was able to say that surgery did not have to happen, but was still an option if we wanted. He also tested her depth perception and determined that her capacity she had now was all she would ever have. We purchased a computer program that was suggested for her and that was the end of our visits.
5 months later, in the fall of 2012, Mariah’s eye was stronger still and we went back for a regular eye appointment only to find out that with certain tests she was still missing so much. Fortunately, it was Dr. McCrodan who was the optometrist administering the tests to Mariah and he was able to provide us with vision therapy. When I had briefly researched Mariah’s eye condition on the internet, vision therapy was the recommended help but no one had suggested this option to us so I had dismissed it. We were keen to try anything that could offer improvement to Mariah’s vision.
Mariah began vision therapy at the end of November with Dr. McCrodan. His enthusiasm and hope for Mariah’s vision was very reassuring. He encouraged us to read: “Fixing my Gaze” by Sue Barry, which really helped us understand how Mariah’s vision and brain were functioning and how that can be improved. Some of the questions and tests Dr. McCrodan ran really brought our awareness to how much Mariah had struggled with seeing and yet had overcompensated and adjusted to still succeed enough by age 9!
Things she struggled with was her reading pace – she has a twin sister who was reading much faster than Mariah and she was confused by this and we learned that she skipped lines – this was normal to her and it also explained why she wouldn’t pick up more challenging or longer novels when her comprehension and auditory listening skills were at high levels. We also came to understand that Mariah’s depth perception was affecting her with things like cutting with scissors, knitting, or skating which we had not realized were affected by her vision.
After only 12 weeks Mariah’s eyes have already had huge improvements! She is reading thicker, longer novels and enjoying them. She looked at the 3D bookmarks in the store the other day and saw how they were 3D. She can track a letter chart while jumping on a trampoline and she can skip lines! I know that might sound odd, but I am watching her do things that really challenging and after few weeks of practicing Mariah’s brain is trained and ready to take on more challenging activities. I continue to be surprised and impressed with how she is progressing.
Dr. McCrodan is fantastic with Mariah. In our weekly visits he is really encouraging with Mariah, providing her with lots of positive feedback and challenging her when she is ready. He has been empathetic and supportive to both Mariah and us as parents and he explains the process and progress in a clear and easy to understand way. He is extremely knowledgeable and comfortable in working with and setting up a program of therapy and many of the activities Mariah practices are fun and creative.
Vision therapy alleviates childhood behavioural issues
Since a very young age Jared has struggled with anxiety. Vision therapy unlocked his confidence.
Since a very young age Jared has struggled with anxiety, behavioural issues and a lack of physical coordination. He comes across to others as very shy or rude as he would not speak to adults or other classmates and avoids eye contact. He hardly engaged with other kids and would only play with a select few. He was considered the ‘shy’ kid in class who never caused any problems but was completely different for us when he got home. He would have meltdowns; screaming, crying, aggressive behaviour towards us and was uncontrollable at times. Homework resulted in screaming, head banging on the wall, yelling out “I’m stupid’ over and over again. We hired a tutor for reading but he would get so mad he would try and tear the book up and eventually we just cancelled her because he refused for weeks on end to engage. His reports cards to date had reflected that he was not meeting grade level expectations and was in learning assistance for both reading and math.
He had many sensory issues to go along with his anxiety: he would twirl his hair, had sensitivity to light, sensory issues with clothing, food and even the cutlery he was using had to be specific. We had him assessed through our doctor and the mental health team as his behaviours have caused us concern for many years. We were told he had symptoms of Asperger’s but his anxiety was so high they could not properly diagnose at that time and to bring him back in 8 months after we deal with the anxiety. At that time we put him on anxiety meds to try and deal with some of his issues. It has been so difficult to diagnose his issues when there is such a spectrum of different needs: is he anxious? Is he shy? sensory issues? Depressed? ADHD? Asperger’s? During this time we never thought to relate this to his eyes.
Jared’s first eye concerns were noticed when he was 6 months old when the eyes did not align correctly. He went to a specialist and it was decided it was not severe enough lazy eye to need surgery and he also did not seem to need glasses at this time. When Jared was 5 his general optometrist put Jared in glasses and we did daily patching on his lazy eye for a year and a half.
He was still having trouble with coordination and constantly had bruises on his legs from walking into things. He fell off a cement wall in Grade 1 that landed him in the hospital with his first concussion, facial injuries and stitches. In Grade 2 he ran straight into a cement pole and ended up with another head concussion. He told us that the pole was not in front of him but to the side and he didn’t see it. At this point we went back to his optometrist. She noted that he might be having more vision problems than just glasses could fix and referred us to Dr. Cameron McCrodan.
When we first went to Dr. McCrodan we thought that he would be asking us about Jared’s falls and his concussions only and that’s what he would be working on fixing for Jared. When we started going through the intake process with Dr. McCrodan he questioned us about all aspects of Jared’s life. He asked questions about his behaviour, anxiety and his time at school. He seemed to “get” Jared’s behaviour and did not at all seem shocked by all of the issues we were having. He noted he has helped many kids with lots of the same issues Jared has. He then got Jared to do some eye testing and it almost broke my heart when I saw Jared struggle with the tests so much that his eyes watered so bad he could not continue. Dr. McCrodan listed off a list of medical eye issues that Jared had that I still don’t understand but the medical names were not important to us, because all we heard is that Dr. McCrodan and his team could help Jared in many aspects of his life and not just the head concussions we had initially thought we were going to see him for.
We started vision therapy and of course it was a major struggle to get Jared on board with all the homework and weekly therapy he had to do. We put all school work on the back burner as we followed Doctor McCrodan’s advice and focused on fixing his eyes first and then the school work would fix itself in time. Weekly we would attend vision therapy with his therapist Sue. She had a great understanding of how Jared operated and has made the experience awesome for Jared. In time Jared was able to see the benefit that eye therapy was having on him and the homework became less of a struggle. We have noticed so many changes in Jared over the last year and half it’s hard to even describe them all.
- His eyes no longer as much water and he is way less sensitive to light
- He is off his anxiety medications
- He no longer twirls his hair and has less sensory issues
- He engages with adults a bit more and will ask for help in the classroom
- He talks to his friends at school and is becoming more outgoing
- He no longer has bruises all over his legs and has not had any serious falls
- He does all his homework at night without banging his head, calling himself stupid and ripping up books
- He is reading at almost grade level
- His writing skills improved so much that his Grade 2 teacher gave us an example of his journal from the start of the year to after 7 months into vision therapy. The difference was amazing. From half a page of lopsided, hard to read, messy sentences in the first journal to two whole pages filled perfectly in the second journal
- He is more confident and has higher self esteem
It is so amazing how eyesight can affect so many aspects of one’s life. We are so glad we caught this early in Jared’s life and we feel that only more improvements will happen as time goes on!
Vision therapy helps dad see daughter’s potential
A dad shares his experience as his daughter undergoes vision therapy.
My wife and I have two daughters. It would be an understatement to say that they are different and how amazing they both are in unique ways. Clearly, they are individuals, yet still good sisters. Our eldest daughter struggled with school, and with general day to day activities. It was clearly difficult for her, and the older she got, the more challenges we saw and heard about. During an eye exam, the doctor noticed something “different” in Hannah’s eyes. Soon we were referred and were making an appointment with Dr. McCrodan to get a specialist’s opinion.
When we first met Dr. McCrodan the thing that struck me the most was how he greeted Hannah in the waiting area. He was enthusiastic and caring and spoke to her while squatting down to look her in the eyes. Dr. Cam as we soon got to know him, spoke to Hannah in terms that made sense for her and made her feel comfortable with what was going on in the initial assessment.
Our whole family came to the assessment where there were lights in the eyes, reading off charts on the wall and other such tests. Personally, I did not understand what my daughter saw when she stared at a book and struggled to read, or when she reversed letters, or whole sentences. It was when Dr. McCrodan put a special pair of goggles on Hannah’s head and asked her to read a story that I finally knew what it was to see like my lovely daughter sees. As our daughter read, it seemed to take forever, and as a parent I agonized over how slow she was going and how much trouble she was having. Afterward, Dr. Cam showed us how our daughter’s eyes do not work in cooperation with each other, rather they would do their own thing independently like a Chameleon exploring the world with one eye focusing on one area of the page and the other eye doing something else. As parents, we found out that the reason it took our daughter so long to read a single page was that each eye was reading the page independently about five times over. It was an epiphany to hear Hannah say that the words moved on the page. I never knew! At the time, I felt like a bad parent. How could I let it get so far? Why didn’t I notice this before?
The testing seemed a little overwhelming for all of us as a family. It was when Dr. McCrodan explained to Hannah that he could help her, and that she was not at all dumb, in fact she was very intelligent, but that her eyes need to do some training like muscles going to the gym. The radiant glow on our daughter’s face made everything seem great.
We made the financial commitment to help our daughter and entered a weekly pattern of hour long training sessions. At first there seemed to be little change, but even after a few weeks there were different things happening that we started to notice with our daughter. We were all excited and enthusiastic. Let me be honest: that changed. After a time, it was like Hannah hit a plateau and she really struggled with some of the exercises. She seemed exhausted after a couple of times and she became grouchy. We did stick with it and with the help of Sue her coach we found fun ways to get through some of the more challenging exercises.
It wasn’t only Hannah who was reluctant at times to do the daily exercises. With school homework, friends, birthday parties and just life in general it was sometimes that as parents we were just so wrapped up in things that the daily exercises were just too much. We felt guilty that not every week was full of checkmarks that showed our completion of the tasks. As always, we were simply encouraged to continue and practice. I think there is a double reason why Dr. McCrodan gave the red, blue and white ball to us as part of the exercises, as the ball also makes a great stress reliever that as a parent you can squeeze. It was like our eldest daughter inherited what seemed like the worst of both mine and my wife’s vision. We went on.
One of the huge milestones for our daughter was to see her blossom with self-confidence. Or when she was able to catch a ball that was thrown to her. All our worries started to disappear and the stages that Hannah met were affirmed by teachers at her school. The letter reversals stopped, the homework at school became much less a chore with far fewer times when it just ended up with tears. Closer to the end of our time of training Hannah started asking to visit the library. Now Hannah is an enthusiastic reader. I would never have thought that she would have come so far in such a short time. From tears, to reading bus ads while we drove, to finishing an entire book in the car ride home from the library. Hannah learned more than just reading, she developed social skills, gained confidence, and continues to be a life-long learner.
Vision therapy helps siblings excel in school
Crispin and Fiona have both undergone vision therapy to improve their visual development.
Crispin started vision therapy as a 13-year-old. Until that time, he struggled in school in virtually every subject, including math, reading, and writing. He spent countless hours with tutors and frustrated parents as he tried to learn everything thrown at him. Headaches were common after reading for any length of time. After vision therapy, he can read for hours on end without headaches and his writing has improved considerably. While math can be a struggle at times, he is able to work through his learning objectives with diligence.
One advantage of starting later is that Crispin was able to see the benefit of hard work of doing the therapy. However, if it was available to him when he was younger, it would have saved much of the frustration he experienced in all of his elementary schooling. The benefit of the therapy did not appear until near the end of the program. While it would be wonderful to see results sooner, the merit of being patient with vision changes taking place is substantial.
Fiona started vision therapy as a six-year-old who was very unsure of herself outside of her home environment. She would cling to us as parents and be very self-conscious in most situations. She struggled with reading and had frequent headaches. About half way through the program we began to see significant improvement in her reading and her headaches went away. Since vision therapy, Fiona has friends in almost every grade in elementary, she is reading and spelling about a year ahead of her grade, and she exudes confidence in everything she does. Instead of being afraid to try new activities, she enthusiastically embraces everything that comes her way. We know that this is a result of vision therapy.
It is no exaggeration to say that the lives of two of our children have been improved greatly as a result of vision therapy.
Benefits of Vision Therapy
Child Vision Development
My daughter, Chelsea, struggled in school. Even in Grade 5, teachers said that “she was a tough nut to crack”. She was described as an “emerging reader”. I didn’t understand how a child could be so smart, and be unable to succeed in school. None of her siblings struggled like this. Why was Chelsea different?
Each year started with the hope that “this would be her year!” I’d talk to the teachers, we modify her expectations, and I gave feedback. I spent hours and hours each night trying to get her through her modified homework. All the effort was in vain.
Chelsea never made the list for Occupational Therapy time or a Psych-Ed evaluation, though I talked to her teachers and the school admin every year. She wasn’t the most disruptive kid – so no one had her on the radar. She was quietly not succeeding at school.
Home was awful. I dreaded picking Chelsea up from school because it was another hour of her fighting with us. If I didn’t pick her up, her little sister bore the brunt of her temper on the school bus. It was clear she was well past her ability to cope by the time the school day was done. And then we’d have to start on at least 2 hours of homework.
Her teacher explained it best when she said she wished she could “zip open her skull and see what was going on.”
Her teachers couldn’t help. Doctors couldn’t help. No one could help us. I was spending my nights combing the internet looking for something; anything, that might help.
I found a blog about vision therapy and I finally found something that sounded like my kid. The I found a new Behavioural Optometrist in Victoria.
Through vision therapy, Chelsea is a new person. It’s not about being a better student, although she does now read at grade level. But now we only argue about normal 13-year-old things. Her sisters don’t feel threatened any more. I like picking her up from school.
All of this happened because I fell into a blog about vision therapy. I spent 6-plus years looking for help, asking for help and begging for help. Finally, I had found some answers.
If you watch the TEDx Victoria talk about Vision Therapy, the reader in Dr. McCrodan’s talk was my daughter….she was “riding the broken bike”. There are other TEDx talks that discuss vision issues, and particularly, convergence insufficiency. I encourage you to view them all. I’ve recognized Chelsea in all of them.
I have shared this story with Chelsea’s teachers, doctors, and other parents. Word seems to be getting out. Uniformly, people have been shocked that this isn’t general knowledge.
The school system needs to be aware of the issues surrounding vision to save families the heartache of what we spent six years battling.
Learning to Focus
Vision Therapy and Scholastic Performance
I was looking through some of Chelsea’s school work from last year, and I started remembering what she was like a year ago. She was ANGRY. I would dread picking her up from school because I would have to bear the brunt of her temper. She didn’t have easy friendships; it was like she had lots of acquaintances, but no really good friends. I got lots of phone calls from the school because of her aggressive behaviour; arguments with her sisters were settled with her fists. She wasn’t an easy person to be around.
Chelsea struggled in every subject in school. Last year, in grade 5, she was reading at a grade 2 level. We were at the point that most of her work came home so that I could help her one-on-one. I would read her books aloud to her, read questions, and help her with spelling corrections. A simple worksheet would often take up to 2 hours, and multiple attempts, to complete. We were putting a huge amount of time and effort into her school work, waiting for the magical moment when things clicked, and finally got easier. At best we were treading water, but usually it felt like we were drowning.
Upon a referral from her optometrist, Chelsea went through an assessment, and Dr. McCrodan discussed what vision therapy was, and how it would benefit Chelsea. We went home to do some research on vision therapy. How come we hadn’t heard of this before? How come we hadn’t been referred earlier? The first blog I read on vision therapy could have been written about Chelsea, AND the next one, AND the next one – all the stories and experiences were similar to ours. Maybe we had finally found something that would help? We took a leap of faith, and signed her up.
It was after four sessions that we began to see things change – her sports improved. She was better at passing in soccer, she could shoot free-throws, and she could hit any ball that crossed the plate.
As she continued the program, we saw little changes – she could work on her homework for longer periods, she was reading street signs in the car, she would tell us something good about school. Nothing major, just small little things that made us realize that something was starting to happen.
After four months, we suddenly noticed that she wasn’t angry anymore. It had crept up on us. No more angry outbursts after school. No hitting her siblings. No phone calls from the teacher. We suddenly had a kid that was happy. She happily worked on her school work. She happily told us about her day, and talked about her friends. She smiled A LOT!
Six months into her program, she received her first report card for grade 6. She was reading at about a grade 4 level, but was working hard, and things were improving. She had improved so much that she had a B in English, AND Science, AND Social studies. We were amazed! It was hard to believe that this was the same student that had struggled for so long.
As we are completing her therapy program, she is now reading at, or above, grade level. Her teachers love her enthusiasm and confidence in the classroom, and it is reflected in her marks. Her interim report indicates that she has either an A or B in all her core subjects. She completes all her homework, quickly, and independently. This is much more than we ever expected!
We were also given something that we never expected – a happy kid! It is the change in her behaviour that, I think, is the most important benefit of her vision therapy. Chelsea is the happiest she has ever been! She has lots of new friends! She is confident, kind, and personable. Our whole family is happier. Chelsea’s life changed the day we walked into Dr. McCrodan’s office. It was a new beginning for her.
I have been the parent that has tried everything, and entered each September with the hope that “this year will be the year we get her going”. I have begged and pleaded for help from the school, the doctor, anyone who would listen. I knew I had a smart kid that had a learning issue. Seeing her assessment results, and listening to Dr. McCrodan, was an affirmation of all the things I had known all along, but Dr. McCrodan also knew what was wrong, AND how to fix it.
Vision Therapy is a long, sometimes frustrating journey. At times, you can wonder why you signed on, and ask yourself what you are accomplishing. As a parent who has had her hopes raised, and dashed, each school year – I wouldn’t raise hopes without knowing how well it can work. Vision Therapy isn’t well known, and many people are suspicious because it is new. Read! Research! Talk to other parents! The journey is worth the results.
Vision Therapy Program
Improved focus and attention
Her mom, Alberta shares Charlotte’s story.
I am writing to describe the changes that I see in Charlotte that have occurred since this time last year. Charlotte and I committed to therapy sessions and vision therapy homework and did not focus on school work since no amount of practice with school work or reading was effective in assisting Charlotte with her learning. I share custody of Charlotte and could assist her half time only. I directly attribute the success that Charlotte has experienced to the vision therapy work that Charlotte has completed.
Then, Charlotte was frustrated angry and had self esteem issues due to the struggles she was having learning at school. Charlotte was unable to participate in home reading with me. Home reading sessions would end with Charlotte and I raising voices and crying. Charlotte and I could not identify why home reading was so difficult. Charlotte would make statements like “I’m stupid” and it broke my heart. I had to try every technique in the book to force Charlotte to sit and work on therapy with me. It made Charlotte physically uncomfortable to focus. She would get head aches and sore eyes.
Now, Charlotte is confident and proud of the work that she completes at school as well as with the work she completes after school. I watched while Charlotte sat relaxed and reading to a younger student when I picked her up from after school care a few days ago. Charlotte is happy and aware that she was unable to see properly before but now she can now! Charlotte can recognize her own letter reversals when printing and edit her own work. Charlotte reminded me of the follow-up appointment coming up “next month” last month! Charlotte and I are very proud of her success. I met with Charlotte’s teacher last month and discussed progress. Charlotte was almost at expected levels for all subjects at that time. I am getting Charlotte’s report card today and am confident that it will be amazing!
Improved Reading Abilities
I previously wrote a testimonial about our vision therapy. Our son Austin was part way through his therapy and I was amazed at the changes, now that he has graduated the changes have been even more amazing.
I just want to say again how much I appreciate all that Dr. McCrodan and his staff have done for Austin, they literally changed his life! When Austin started his therapy at the beginning of grade one, he couldn’t read and was miserable at school. The Austin of today is a happy confident Grade 2 student. He is at reading level 18 (normal for grade 2 is 18-20), has aced every weekly spelling test since September. His hand writing has improved dramatically and at the parent/teacher interviews in November I was pleased to hear he is a hard-worker who applies himself and does not have any behavioural issues. Not to mention a bit of a math whiz.
This is a far cry from “we may have to test for ADD in the future” that we heard from educators in K and grade 1! If I had listened to that line of thinking Austin’s life would have continued to be difficult and a constant struggle. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to meet Dr. Cam, we owe him a lot and Austin adores him. Listen to your gut, don’t just believe what you are told about your child if it doesn’t feel right, advocate for your child and check out every possibility as you never know what you will find.
At school the students were asked to write about what they were most proud of, Austin’s response was “Graduating from vision therapy”!
Improved Classroom Focus
Our son Austin has been seeing Dr. McCrodan since December of 2012. Austin is in grade one and was unable to read, form his letters properly, and was miserable at school. He would hide under his desk at school to avoid “word scramble.” He was also very uncoordinated and was unable to focus on anything for too long.
We stumbled upon Dr. McCrodan when our regular optometrist left the clinic we go to. It was fate; we had no idea that the issues Austin was struggling with had anything to do with his vision. Hints were made that perhaps he had ADD which, in my heart, I knew wasn’t true.
In a few short months of vision therapy with Dr. McCrodan (1/3 of the way through treatment), Austin went from a “below average” reader to an average reader who has gone from Reading Level 1 to 10. His printing is now legible — not to mention his coordination – and, most importantly, his confidence has improved by leaps and bounds. There is no more crying because he had to go to school. When we met with his teacher, I cried because Austin had improved so much. Austin’s teacher was stunned by his progress — all due to vision therapy.
I don’t even want to think of the struggles Austin would have endured throughout his life and schooling if we had never had the good fortune to meet Dr. McCrodan. Dr. McCrodan is a caring, passionate professional who, in Austin’s words, is “a good buddy to kids who have vision problems”. Austin looks forward to his weekly sessions with Dr. McCrodan and says it feels just like home.