- We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.
The following are some of the more common vision health issues that can be treated without surgery, using modern Vision Therapy techniques.
Here at the Washington Vision Therapy Center, we have the latest training and technology to be able to deal effectively with all of these issues.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia is often described as a lazy eye; however, a more accurate description is that the brain has a preference for one eye over the other, which may result in the unfavored eye turning in or out. It is possible that due to the non-preferred eye being blurry or obstructed during youth, the brain had difficulty fusing the images from both eyes. As a result, the brain adjusts to rely solely on information that comes from the clear, unobstructed eye.
In order to facilitate this, the brain literally blocks the images from the unfavored eye and refuses to process any images from it; the eye is essentially “turned off.” Once the eye is “turned off” the brain no longer needs to work to organize the visual information from that eye and can depend solely on the other eye for all its cues. The eye that is turned is prevented from developing normal acuity of vision as the brain accustoms itself to using only one eye. Subsequently, the non-preferred eye may have very poor vision and must be retrained in order to team with the other eye. Often Vision Therapy helps equalize the eyes and improves the brain’s ability to fuse the two images into a single 3-D picture.
Strabismus (Eye Turn)
Strabismus is often referred to as “crossed eye” or “wandering eye” and refers to the brain’s inability to properly align the eyes. Even a slight misalignment can have a serious impact on a person’s vision as one eye may point in or out, up or down. In a person with normal vision each eye is aligned and therefore capable of pointing at the same precise point in space. This allows the brain to see two different, but similar pictures that it can then put together to produce a single 3-D reality. However, an individual with strabismus has eyes that are misaligned and unable to point at the same place. Consequently, the brain receives two separate pictures which it cannot adequately combine. At first this may result in double vision, but the brain eventually will turn off the eye that is misaligned to avoid the stress of trying to fuse the two disparate images. As the brain becomes dependent on only one eye for all of its visual information, an individual loses stereovision (3-D) and the eye that is turned remains undeveloped
Loss of 3D (Stereo-Vision)
As humans we have two eyes which deliver two slightly different images to our brain. The brain then compiles these two images into one single 3-D reality. When the two images are combined by the brain we are able to see objects as more than just flat or long, instead we have three-dimensions – width, height, and depth. This type of viewing is called stereo-vision, deriving from the greek root “stereos” which means firm or solid. With stereovision there is a better understanding of objects and where they are in space as the brain compiles the two images from our eyes than we see with more precision and can attain more information just by looking. Unfortunately, not everyone’s brain can automatically fuse the two images, sometimes a slight misalignment of the eyes or a traumatic brain injury can make it difficult for the brain to make sense of the separate images from each eye. This results in a loss or lack of stereovision. Some people are not even aware that they do not see the world in 3-D because their brain has never been able to compile the two images and instead relied only on one preferred eye for all its visual information. Although some individuals adjust to a life without stereovision and have developed a way of interpreting objects in space, they will still have a more difficult time with everyday activities such as throwing or catching a ball, driving a car, or stepping off a curb.
We have two eyes that offer our brain two slightly different images. Usually, the images are enough alike that the brain naturally fuses them into one, this is made possible because the eyes are pointing at the same point in space. For some people, aiming their eyes up close requires extensive effort because the eyes may not have developed to work together or they may be slightly misaligned. Either way the individual must work to keep their eyes pointing at the same place, such effort often results in visual strain, doubling of vision, and headaches. When a person is working so hard just to keep their eyes together comprehension drastically decreases because distractions such words blurring, jumping, and splitting apart makes concentration nearly impossible. This inability of the eyes to work together affects 10-20% of individuals and is often undiagnosed because while eyes are frequently evaluated individually, they are rarely assessed for how well they work together.
Every person has a focusing system that should automatically adjust their eyes to see clearly at different distances without a noticeable effort. For example if you were reading a book and heard something outside you might gaze up to look out the window. Although you moved your eyes from a close-up task to a distance object, you probably would not have to make your eyes focus and clear the image outside the window. For some people though, their focusing system may be over or underactive which results in their inability to see clearly when changing gaze or for their eyes to experience fatigue and strain after only a short time. When focusing is difficult or takes awhile before an image is clear then there is an accommodative dysfunction and the individual may struggle with blurred vision while gazing at distance or near objects, eye strain, headaches, and have difficulty concentrating while reading.
The human eye has six muscles that control its movements so that it may move rapidly, precisely, and easily from target to target or along a line. When fully developed, these muscles allow individuals to move their eyes voluntarily with speed and accuracy. Unfortunately, there are many people who struggle with inefficient eye movements, a condition known as an oculomotor dysfunction, which often results in the skipping of words or lines while reading, loss of place, and difficulty comprehending written material. To avoid these visual frustrations a student may refuse to participate in classroom lessons and resort to day dreaming or distracting others. However, these individuals are frequently identified as strong auditory learners and may even be misdiagnosed with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. Consequently academics, behavior, and athletic achievement can all be affected by the quality of an individual’s eye movements.