Northwest Vision Therapy

Optometric Vision Therapy is a specialty service we are happy to offer. Some conditions cannot be treated adequately with just glasses, contact lenses and/or patching, and are best resolved through a program of Vision Therapy.

What is Vision Therapy?

Optometric Vision Therapy is the science of developing visual abilities to achieve optimal visual performance and comfort.

Optometric Vision Therapy is a specifically prescribed program to help a patient’s brain and eyes work effectively and efficiently together. Similarly to Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, patients work with a trained therapist during weekly office visits then practice at home during the week. The treatment involves lenses, prisms, 3D tranaglyphs and vectograms, perceptual learning procedures, vision therapy computer software, and many neuromuscular feedback mechanisms. Lenses and prisms provide the brain information about whether an object is blurry or clear, single or double, direction of movement, and space. Three dimensional (3D) procedures are used to teach the brain about eye teaming and depth perception.

Northwest Vision Therapy treats developmental visual problems, visual-motor deficiencies, perceptual-cognitive deficiencies, provides visual rehabilitation after closed head injury, and visual enhancement training for sport.  Vision therapy is the link that connects the brain to clear eyesight. Eyesight that is 20/20 is not enough. Sight is not the same as vision. “Eyesight” is a physical process of focusing light within our eyes, whereas “vision” involves our ability to understand what is seen.

Vision Therapy sessions include procedures designed to enhance the brain’s ability to control:

  • eye alignment
  • eye tracking and eye teaming
  • eye focusing abilities
  • eye movements
  • visual thinking and processing

Who Benefits from Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy is used to treat many conditions from simple eyestrain to crossed eyes.  We treat infants, children, teens and adults at Specialty Eyecare Group.

Children and adults with visual challenges, such as: Learning-related Vision Problems Vision Therapy can help those individuals who lack the necessary visual skills for effective reading, writing, and learning (i.e., eye movement and focusing skills, convergence, eye-hand activity, visual memory skills, etc.).

Poor Binocular (2-eyed) Coordination
Vision Therapy helps individuals develop normal coordination and teamwork of the two eyes (binocular vision). When the two eyes fail to work together as an effective team, performance in many areas can suffer (reading, sports, depth perception, eye contact, etc.).

Convergence Insufficiency (common near vision disorder)
Recent scientific research — funded by the National Eye Institute and conducted at Mayo Clinic — has proven that in-office Vision Therapy is the best treatment for Convergence Insufficiency

Amblyopia (lazy eye), Diplopia (double vision), and Strabismus (cross-eyed, wandering eye, eye turns, etc.)
Vision Therapy programs offer much higher cure rates for turned eyes and/or lazy eye when compared to eye surgery, glasses, and/or patching, without therapy. The earlier the patient receives Vision Therapy the better, however, our office successfully treats patients well past 21 years of age.

Recent scientific research has disproven the long held belief that children with lazy eye, or amblyopia, can’t be helped after age 7.

Stress-related Visual Problems – Blurred Vision, Visual Stress from Reading and Computers, Eye Strain Headaches, and/or Vision-induced Stomachaches or Motion Sickness
21st century life demands more from our vision than ever before.  Many children and adults constantly use their near vision at school, work and home.  Environmental stresses on the visual system (including excessive computer use or close work) can induce blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches, etc.

Visual Rehabilitation for Special Needs – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Stroke, Birth Injury, Brain Damage, Head Injury, Whiplash, Cerebral Palsy, MS, etc.
Vision can be compromised as a result of neurological disorders or trauma to the nervous system. Vision Therapy can effectively treat the visual consequences of brain trauma (including double vision).

Sports Vision Improvement
Strong visual skills are critical to sports success. Not much happens in sports until your eyes instruct your hands and body as to what to do! We can measure and successfully improve eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time, peripheral vision, eye focusing, eye tracking and teaming, visualization skills, and more.

What does a Vision Therapy Program Look Like?

At Northwest Vision Therapy, Vision Therapy is individually designed for each patient’s needs. The treatment program is based on each patient’s diagnoses, symptoms, visual deficiencies, and their effect on optimal work, school, sport, or hobby performance with each patient’s individual needs and goals in mind.

A therapy program includes weekly office visits working one-on-one with a highly trained Optometric Vision Therapist and prescribed home reinforcement procedures. This type of program has been shown to be the most successful. Regular progress evaluations are scheduled to monitor each patient’s progress, goals, symptoms, and to determine the length of the program. After a patient graduates from their Vision Therapy program, the patient is monitored with home maintenance evaluations.

Why is Our Vision Therapy Successful?

Northwest Vision Therapy provides state-of-the-art Vision Therapy. Dr. Kristi Kading and Dr. Katherine Shen and the Optometric Vision Therapists are continually involved with training, education, and collaboration in visual development, neurology, and Vision Therapy. Dr. Kading is board certified with the College of Optometrist in Visual Development (COVD), and Dr. Katherine Shen is currently pursuing her board certification.

There is no procedure or instrument that makes a patient better – it is what the patient learns from the procedure. This learning is what changes brain structure and processing and is why Optometric Vision Therapy is successful. Our job is to guide brain learning through vision. We incorporate 4 Keys (Socratic Method, Learning Theory, Specific Praise, and Loading), which have proven to be very effective methods of treatment in Vision Therapy.

How do I find out if I or my child needs Vision Therapy?

Comprehensive eye exam, preferably with a Developmental Optometrist

A comprehensive eye exam is designed to determine eye health and eyesight. A Developmental Optometrist is specifically trained to evaluate problems with vision and visual perception. The eye exam provides a foundation for consultation. Contact Specialty Eyecare Group to schedule an exam. Both Dr. Kristi Kading and Dr. Katherine Shen are developmental optometrists.

Vision Therapy Consultation

  • The consultation is specifically designed to evaluate symptoms, determine diagnoses, and develop a treatment plan. The consultation and testing typically involves more than one visit.
  • Many Optometrists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Speech Language Practitioners, Naturopaths, and other professionals refer their patients to us. If you were recommended to us, please have a referral faxed.

Call or email our office to schedule a consultation with the eye doctors at Specialty Eyecare Group.

Vision Therapy Success Stories

Read what hundreds of people have written when asked “What changes have you seen as a result of a Vision Therapy program?” or “How has Vision Therapy changed your life and/or your child’s life?” Go to Vision Therapy Success Stories.