School is out soon, but learning never ends!

The science of brain plasticity is abundant with new ideas! Dr. Green and I just returned from the NORA (Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association) conference in Denver. We spent four full days learning about the vision repercussions of whiplash, concussion, stroke, and other neurological injuries. There is so much more for us to learn, but we were able to bring home some great new ideas to help all of our patients in the therapy room.

We learned new ways to interpret the information from the VEP (Visual-Evoked Potential), a specialized

form of EEG that actually measures the brainwaves created by visual input. It tells us how much visual signal is getting through, and how strong that signal is. We’ve also learned that it can give us information about what the brain is doing when it’s waiting for the visual signal, and how we can change that with specialized lenses.

The VEP is appropriate for any neurological insult; strabismus, amblyopia, and some other vision disorders. If you’d like more information or would like to know if you are a candidate, please email me or call (301) 951-0320.

Another great new learning opportunity is on the horizon. In June, I will be attending a workshop outside of Chicago where I will be learning about Syntonic Phototherapy. This is a technique in which specific wavelengths of light are used to change the person’s nervous system response and can greatly augment vision therapy. You may be familiar with how Seasonal  Affective Disorder is treated with a special light; this is a similar concept but much more specifically tailored to the individual.

School is out soon, but learning never ends!

Vision Problems Masquerade as Learning Disabilities

It is important to understand that while our eyes take in visual information, that information is sent to the brain where it is processed. If the information that is sent to the brain is faulty, it can make learning very difficult.

While learning disability websites list a variety of accommodations that can help children with Visual Information Processing Disorders, it is important for parents and educators to understand that these are signs that a correctable vision problem is playing a role in a child’s learning challenges.

Many individuals with learning disabilities also have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). One of the signs that a vision problem may be contributing to one’s learning challenges is a short attention span when it comes to reading and near work. This behavior could easily be mistaken for ADHD.

A study published in the November 2013 issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders states that “attention and internalizing problems improved significantly following treatment for     Convergence Insufficiency.” Convergence insufficiency is an eye coordination disorder which can make reading difficult and cause symptoms such as eye strain, double vision, loss of concentration, and frequent loss of place when reading and working up close, all which play a negative role in learning.

The National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health recently funded a 5-year, 8 million dollar study called the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial – Attention and Reading Study (CITT-ART).  This will be a national multi-center clinical trial that involves optometry, ophthalmology, psychiatry, and education in evaluating how this eye-teaming problem impacts a child’s attention and reading performance.

These studies are very exciting because we are sure they will prove what we have seen in our patients over the years: Vision problems, including eye coordination and eye movement disorders, can and do impact the ability to read and pay attention. We are able to help children and adults.

For more information visit our website: http://www.VisionTherapyDC.com