Will my child still need glasses after completing the program?
- So, glasses work in a lot of different ways. So, if your child's wearing glasses to help them see the board far away, they'll most likely, after the program, still be wearing those glasses to help them see the board far away. If your child is wearing glasses help them with their near focusing, glasses for up-close are the band-aid fix.
Vision therapy is the lifelong fix, to get them out of wearing glasses for up-close. So, it really depends on the reason why they were prescribed the glasses.
So, in some cases, yes, of course, we can get you out of glasses, and hopefully forever... until we're 40 and we have other problems. But if our glasses are to help us see far away, because our visual acuity isn't 20/20 then most likely after the program, we will still need glasses.
I know you had a question.
- What's the cost of the program?
- The cost of the program. So, we have a ton of people here who will go over that with you, about what our fees entail, and how it works. Here we're not offering, we're not going through insurance right now. What we do provide you is the code, so you can go through your medical insurance if it's something that they offer.
Our binocular vision assessment is separate from our actual program but if you do the binocular assessment and then sign up for the program, we do credit that toward the cost of the program. So, we have all that information available to you after, if you would like to know more about that.
What else do we have? There in the back.
- Question: so, for a child who may have, I guess like, crossed eyes, or what they call lazy eye; because part of the therapy has to do with movement, is that something that would help a child that has those problems?
- Of course. So, when we go through the vision therapy program, we go through it in a step-by-step basis. I tailor each program to the specific child. Not everyone has an eye movement problem. Not everyone has a focusing problem. You may not have a problem with everything at the same time.
So, when we are doing the program we do want to focus on all skills, but for some, we have to go back to the basics, and we can start working on our eye tracking and just to see if we can fixate on and follow an object. And then once we are able to do that, we build upon those skills.
So, when we have a lazy eye, we have one eye that's not working as well as the other eye. The biggest thing is we want to get each eye to, both of our eyes to work together as a team. So, we're going to do things that require us essentially turning off our good eye and working on our poor eye to increase the acuity.
So, we'll do a lot of things with red-green glasses, things with occlusion, so we can really work on building the acuity in the poor seeing eye. When it comes to having eye turns it works a little bit differently because eye turns may also cause a lazy eye.
Or you can have an eye turn and still have perfectly functioning eyes; they're just not working together as a team. So the binocular vision assessment really pinpoints exactly where we're falling behind, where our strengths are, and then we design the program to fit each child and their - or adult - so we can fix all problems and get everything working smoothly and efficiently. Does that answer your question?
-Yes, thank you.
All right, any more questions? Go ahead.
- I have prism in my glasses, if... will the vision therapy help my vision, so that I would no longer need
prism in my glasses?
- So, for those who don't know what prism is and why we use it, prism helps keep the eyes aligned. So, those who have prism in their glasses have a problem with their eye teaming skills. Prism is prescribed for a lot of different reasons; most commonly for when we're having double vision, so when our eyes aren't lining up prism moves our eyes into alignment.
Typically, prism is caused, or prism is prescribed for those who have double vision. Those who have double vision have poor eye teaming. So ideally going through the vision therapy program can potentially eliminate the use of prism in your glasses. I can't say that's 100% the case because sometimes we get prism after we've had traumatic brain injury.
These patients are also fantastic vision therapy candidates but, depending on the severity, we may not get to a point where we can 100% eliminate it. But for most people who have a small amount of prism their glasses, definitely vision therapy is something that we can hopefully use to eliminate the need for prism. So, I can't guarantee it. We would have to do, it's a case-by-case basis determining how much we have and the reason why we're using the prism, but for the most part I would like to say yes, yes we can.
How young can you diagnose a child who would benefit from this? I mean, can you do it on an infant? And, if so, does the therapy differ?
- The reason why we would start therapy at a younger age would be more for the kids who are having the eye turns or who have the diagnosed amblyopia, who we have to work on getting their visual systems up to speed before they fall behind. This program we have at Premier [Eye Center] right now, is tailored to ages, I want to say, it's a little bit open to negotiation, depending on how, how we are with knowing our letters and if we're starting to read, but for our home program, I really need it to be self-motivated.
For us to do the younger kids, we're not, here we're not doing in office therapy yet. It's incredibly difficult to do that with a child who isn't able to be self-motivated. So, we like to start with this program at age six. That's where I'm starting, where I say I would like to start. But there are tons and tons of exercises where if you come in, I can have you do things at home to work on that, or we can recommend somewhere else that does have in office vision therapy to help younger children.
Infants, typically, their system is not fully developed yet so there's no knowing, quite then, if vision therapy is necessary. Once we get to being three, four or five years old and we are having eye turns or other problems that we know are going to cause problems in the future, yes that is a time we would like to start initiating therapy but before then, we just haven't developed our system well enough to know if we're going to have our problem. We're still, that's where everything is being developed.
Is the program necessarily for children? Because I'm a college…
- No, actually, not at all. Congratulations, if you are having problems you've made it to college! A lot of people give up and go towards careers that don't require all the studying and the demand it requires. I have worked with college students who are who've made it just because they're super persistent and they know that they have their 20 or 30 minutes where they could focus, they have to take breaks.
Vision therapy for you guys is more to get your system working up to speed like everyone else's, so it becomes automatic, so you're not having to take as many as frequent breaks and your system is going to work efficiently, where you can feel like you're able to sit there and study or focus in class the whole period of time and switch from looking far away to look close and get your notes copied.
So yes of course, I've worked with many, many college-age students who just have gone through life and they've just realized that the problem's not going to fix itself and they finally want to get to the point where they get help so they can finish their career and live the rest of their lives without all this extra eye strain.
- Thank you.
I was diagnosed with ADHD and right now I have medications that I'm taking. Would the VT program benefit me?
- So, this is a tricky question, because ADHD oftentimes is a diagnosis due to the inability to pay attention or focus on near tasks. If the reason that you have ADHD is because you're having a hard time focusing because of your vision getting blurry, you're getting eyestrain, you're getting headaches, you're having a hard time because you feel like your system is failing you, and the medication kind of forces you to focus on these tasks, then yes, vision therapy is amazing for that.
ADHD is not always caused by visual problems but is about two times more likely if you are diagnosed with ADHD you may also have a vision problem, as well. So, we would have to do binocular vision assessment to fully determine if that is something that's going to be a benefit for you, doing the therapy program, but it's not something I can guarantee you can go off your medication for.
I have an 11-year-old with autism. Would she be a candidate for this program?
- The spectrum of autism is very, very large. If we are having problems with our focusing system, where it's inhibiting learning, where we do have that higher level where we're capable, of course we can. Not all children who are autistic have a vision problem. We can't just assume because they’re autistic they do. So, again, a binocular vision assessment will give us an idea of where exactly their visual system is, and if there are things that we can do to help them in that aspect.
I live in Broward, is the program available in the offices down south or just in the West Palm?
- So, the amazing thing about this program is it is home-based, so the majority of the program is done at your house. I'm not asking you to drive up to West Palm on a weekly basis. What we do is an exam, an initial binocular vision assessment, and then we'd have, depending on if your program is eight or twelve weeks, we'll have two or three more visits after that.
So, I'm mostly here in West Palm so it's easiest to have you come up to West Palm, but we do offer, on Mondays I do work in the Boca location, so those, right now, are the only two locations where we are offering the assessments and the follow-up exams.