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Podcast Episode #14: Adam Cegielski From Eyecarrot on Binovi

Welcome to The Bright Eyes Podcast: Advice for Healthy Vision for All Ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford & Dr. Beth Knighton, residency-trained optometrist that provide eye exams for glasses and contacts, and specialty services including vision therapy, myopia control, orthokeratology, and sports vision training. Their mission to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional, and individualized eye care.

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In this episode, Dr. Nate talks with Adam Cegielski From Eyecarrot about Binovi and Binovi Touch.

You can listen in the player below or read the transcript. The show is available via Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, and the webplayer below. You can find all previous episodes here. If you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, please email office@BrightEyesTampa.com.


Full Transcript:

Intro: 00:10 Welcome to the Bright Eyes Podcast, advice for healthy vision for all ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford and Dr Beth Knighton, residency trained optometrist providing eye care to all ages with exams or glasses and contacts and specialty services including vision therapy, Myopia control, orthokeratology and sports vision training. Their mission is to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional and individualized eye care

Dr. Nate: 00:39 From St. Petersburg beach in Florida. This is the bright eyes podcast. My name is Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford and I am here with Adam Cegielski. Adam is the CEO of a company called Eye Carrot and I’m so excited about this because I’ve wanted to do this for almost a year. I’ve been talking and emailing with Adam for a very long time. I’m a big believer in what he does and what his company does and I’ve wanted to get him on this podcast for a long time and it just finally happened that we are in the same room and we can, we can get it done. So how are you doing today, Adam?

Adam: 01:13 Oh, I’m doing great. Dr Nate. Thanks for having me.

Dr.nate: 01:16 Yeah, so this is, so this is really good. So we are here at the college of optometrists and Vision Development, Florida study group. This is an annual meeting that, happens in the summer and the doctors that provide vision therapy and are specialized in children’s vision a get together and we all take turns lecturing and sharing thoughts and cases and , you know, it, it’s, it’s a great meeting. Now you were able to come last year or when the meeting was in Miami you, had an opportunity to interact with some of the doctors and so it’s nice that you’re here and I think that you’re enjoying it because you are from Canada. Yeah. You know, coming down to Florida is not all bad.

Adam: 02:01 No, it’s absolutely great. It’s my second time here. I’ve actually been to Florida three times now because of the COVD annual meeting we had in Jacksonville and it’s not exactly cold right now in Toronto. We are escaping a bit of a heatwave.

Dr. Nate: 02:15 So our office, bright eyes kids was one of the first offices in the United States to have Binovi, which is the product that you guys make and I found out about it before you even really launched and I was very interested in the benefits that this could have for our patients, who do vision therapy. So why don’t you just very briefly introduce our listeners to what the Binovi system is and the different parts of it. And then we’ll go on from there.

Adam: 02:43 Oh, okay. Thanks. Dr. Nate. so really this whole started with my personal experience with vision therapy and my son’s rehabilitation back in Toronto and we had a great doctor help us achieve the goals of vision therapy and got through 40 weeks of therapy. But we had that experience of binders and papers and notes and as a, as a technology futurist or whatever we call ourselves. I and my partner Sam said, listen there’s, a better way to deliver therapy. We think and doing that, we, we sort of unveiled the idea that this should be delivered smoothly through a mobile app with videos with content and we built the Binovi platform, not really a product we built software and hardware that delivers a modern comprehensive experience that, that really maximizes what you get out of in-office therapy and gives you the tools you need at home to be able to do really good homebased therapy.

logo binovi finalAdam: 03:42 So, so the Binovi platform is really a mobile platform that allows the doctor and the therapy teams to deliver home based activities through one to two minute videos that really explain, you know, the way to do these activities which are complex, which are difficult. And that platform was launched and you were one of the first people to even talk to us before we even went live, and so we’ve now launched that software. We’ve launched some hardware and we’re at a spot where I can come back to this meeting and have the confidence of, of, you know, customers that are actually enjoying the product and using it.

Dr. Nate: 04:20 So, you know, I was very interested in what you guys are doing because like you said, vision therapy is very, very powerful, but it’s difficult if you’ve got these binders, these sheets of paper with instructions and you know, in, in our experience. And I think that this is pretty true for, for a lot of offices. The person who’s providing the home therapy is not always the person who brings the patient. There might be a grandma who’s bringing them because mom and dad are work

Dr. Nate: 04:51 Or we’ll live in split households. There’s different things going on. And so communication with the people who are assisting the patient at home, has always been been a challenge and it’s something that we’ve always tried to improve upon by, giving them a manual at home with instructions and those have links to YouTube videos and we’ve tried to make sure that everybody understands the process. But when I saw what you guys were doing, I said, Aha, this is this is a modern way to do this. And that’s why I was, I was on board,

Dr. Nate: 05:28 So what have other doctors told you about their experience with taking it live.

Adam: 05:36 Well, you made a really good point about sending materials home youtube links and you’re not the first person to have this idea. You know, we’ve had many, many doctors across the United States say they had the exact same idea, but obviously the development work to put this all together is, is extensive and took a lot of time and effort and money. Um, but doctors have, you know, have been waiting for some sort of a platform like this to come live. Obviously there’s a lot of different doctors in the United States, a lot of different ways to do therapy. and we’ve, we’ve obviously embraced as much and as many of the ideas as we can from, from all the different people using our software. But for the most part we’ve had really good experiences.

Binovi Touch in action.

Adam: 06:15 You’ve had some doctors that have said, listen, I haven’t done home therapy and years just because of the difficulties you’re explaining right now. And, uh, we live in a different world than we did five, 10 years ago. We have Netflix, we have these video delivery platforms, um, that are such a big part of our lives. And, uh, and really we’re, we’re now at a spot where, the cost of hosting video and the cost of doing these things is at a spot where it is suddenly scaleable. It is realistic. And you know, there are 2.7 billion people with smartphones, I think in the world at this point, maybe closer to 3 billion people. So naturally, video and compression of, of content and compression of data put us into a spot where we can do this. And doctors are absolutely loving the platform. Therapists are loving the platform. And most importantly, when we have a short term window where the, where the APP is not functioning, we realized its value when we have all these patients contacting us saying, I can’t live without this. I need this. Where is the APP? So we’ve had all sorts of really good feedback. And, you know, we’re, we’re in a really good spot right now

Dr. Nate: 07:24 So at our office we see vision therapy, you know, essentially as, as teaching learning and just like my son takes a cello lessons, he has to have both the instruction from an expert, but he also just needs time to practice. That’s that skill and he needs to know what to practice and, and so Binovi does a fantastic job of keeping the patients and the parents up to date on what they’re supposed to be doing. And there’s a checklist that patients and parents know what, what to do. There is a chat feature. So if parents or providers at home, there’s a chat feature, so whoever’s helping the patient at home can interact with the therapist right away and give them some information, that is really helpful. And um, what we like is we can actually see when patients are doing the therapy because patients who practice things get better at them in, you know, in my experience. And so that’s been really helpful.

Adam: 08:29 Yeah. And I’ll give you an example in Canada and a cold winter, we’re doing therapy. Uh, my wife goes to therapy with the doctor and, and my son, they come home, we eat dinner. Therapy’s, usually the last thing on our list to do and of course the binders in the car and it’s snowing outside and you get the binder, no I’ll get the binder and it becomes a a bit of a chore. And ultimately, you know, compliance is a big factor in how healthcare technology is really changing our, our medical landscape and knowing that we’re actually doing this homework, knowing that we’re actually logging into the APP as a clinician. I think it’s very powerful.

Dr. Nate: 09:07 So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing right now and where, Eye Care and Binovi are headed in the future.

Adam: 09:14 Okay. So as of right now, the binovi platform has been out for about a year. We have doctors in basically four continents around the world that are using the software. And we’ve completed our first video library. We’re extending the content now to add more educational content through some of our doctors. We have developed a tool that’s been around since I think 1974 called the Wayne Saccadic fixator and we’ve released, I think the seventh version of that now as the Binovi touch. So that is a device that is used in the vision therapy clinics with doctors that actually gives you that, uh, in office Rehab, in that office training. That device is now launched to about 100 clinics across the United States, Canada. And, um, and, and we’ve, really we spent two years working in developing this tool. We’ve probably done about 25 different prototypes. We’ve got an early feedback.

Adam: 10:11 We’ve tried to keep it as true to its original version that was loved and used across thousands of locations around the world. Most importantly now it gives the doctors in the therapy teams simplicity of using the IPAD. It gives the children and the patients using this fantastic experience where they can actually engage with modern tools, too complete therapy and obviously most importantly capture patient data profile data. That ties back to these, to these patients so you can measure progress, not just what you’re doing at home, but in the clinic. Now we’re starting to capture that in clinic data, tie it to the patient experience and obviously share with the parents. You know, that progress has happened week after week.

Dr. Nate: 10:55 And that data that you’re collecting from the Binovi touch, which is modeled after one of the most beloved vision therapy instruments of all time. tell us a little bit about some of the other population, some of the other people you’re working with. This is some pretty exciting stuff.

Adam: 11:11 Yeah. You know, this device has been used with professional athletes across the world. Recently we’ve worked with, an individual named Bryce Salvatore who was captain of the New Jersey Devils. He’s using it in, in his New Jersey training facilities with, with kids and trying to promote the importance of what could be done for vision performance. We have championship mma fighters and boxers and soccer players and football players that absolutely love the device and, Rehab hospitals that are using it on stroke patients and a wide range of utilities essentially.

Dr. Nate: 11:49 So, we’re gonna wrap up here because our meeting’s about to start. But anyhow any last few words you want to mention to our listeners,

Adam: 11:56 Just listen. Just go and do that homework. Log into your APP. Hopefully Binovi is giving you a really good experience that multiplies the benefits of what you’re getting from the doctors and therapy teams you’re working with.

Dr. Nate: 12:08 All right, well thank you Adam. we’ve been wanting to do this for for a very long time. We’ve been together at meetings but just didn’t have our schedules line up so I’m thrilled that we were able to do this to everybody who’s listening. Thanks so much. If you ever have questions, you can reach us at office at BrightEyesTampa.com. And, I hope you have a good time and stay dry. Avoid the rain!

Outro: 12:32 Brought to you by Bright Eyes Family Vision Care and Bright Eyes Kids. Find previous episodes and more detailed information at BrightEyesTampa.com Creative Commons, copyright attribution, non-commercial use. The only purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor experienced in the area you require. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. Please consult your physician for diagnosis country.

 

Intro/outro music: Lucas Warford of Three For Silver.

Podcast Episode #8: Vision Therapy with Edna Moore

Welcome to The Bright Eyes Podcast: Advice for Healthy Vision for All Ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford & Dr. Beth Knighton, residency-trained optometrist that provide eye exams for glasses and contacts, and specialty services including vision therapy, myopia control, orthokeratology, and sports vision training. Their mission to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional, and individualized eye care.

In this episode, Dr. Nate talks with Bright Eyes Family Vision Care vision therapist, Edna Moore about what vision therapy is and what it is like to be a vision therapist.

** See the related episode about how vision and performance – #3 VISION LEADS.

The Full transcript:

Intro 00:00 Welcome to the bright eyes podcast, advice for healthy vision for all ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nate Bonilla- Warford and Dr Beth Knighton, residency trained optometrist providing eye care to all ages with exams for glasses and contacts and specialty services including vision therapy, Myopia control orthokeratology and sports vision training. Their mission is to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional, and individualized care.

Dr. Nate: 00:41 From the endless summer of Tampa, Florida this is the bright eyes podcast. My name is Dr Nate and I have our first special guest on the podcast. This is episode number eight and I am joined by Ed More. How are you doing, Edna?

Edna: 01:00 I’m doing great. How are you?

Dr. Nate: 01:02 I am super fantastic as always. So, Edna is our lead vision therapist at bright eyes. How, how many years have you been with us?

Edna: 01:02 Over eight years Dr. Nate.

Dr. Nate: 01:19 That is what I thought it seems like forever.

Edna: 01:25 No, it just seems like yesterday, actually it’s gone by a lot faster than what you would think eight years is.

Dr. Nate: 01:30 It’s been wonderful. It has been, and so for those who are not familiar with what vision therapy is, vision therapy really is a program of therapeutic activities that’s designed to improve some aspect of visual skill and that could be somebody who’s a child who either gets headaches or is having difficulty because their eyes don’t move or focus or it could be somebody who’s had some trauma or a brain injury or concussion and they are having double vision and that’s difficult for them. So it could be any of those types of things. Edna sees all different types of patients. And can you describe a little bit about what a day in the life of a vision therapist is?

Edna: 02:27 Sure. Actually, it’s a fun day. Each patient is different and when they come in, they are ready to get started. My job is to not only make it fun but also make it productive. So, we have a list of activities that the doctor has prescribed for the patient specifically during that forty to forty five minute session. And it’s my job to make it fun so that their eyes and their brain can learn quickly. Without thinking that these activities are going to be boring or that it’s hard to do, it’s fun to be able to create ways to show the patient that it can be done. A lot of these patients come in and they’ve already been frustrated with some of the things that they’ve had to do, whether it’s reading or not being able to see clearly, things like that to, being able to go through these different activities and then be able to do at the end. So a day in the life of the therapist is always changing. It’s challenging, but it’s also rewarding and it’s fun.

Dr. Nate: 03:42 Now you had some experience with vision therapy, before you came to work her as a vision therapist, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Edna: 03:47 Yes, my second child, he was ten and at school was hit with a soccer ball, by accident and he fell on the ground and hit his head and for, a number of months, his visual system, I didn’t know what was going on, but his, um, he started experiencing double vision, headaches, vomiting, and I had to, get him from school almost every day we didn’t realize what was going on. He didn’t have a concussion, he didn’t have whiplash, but, he kept telling me that, mom, I’m having double vision on and off, I’m having trouble balancing, I’m having trouble walking, I’m dizzy all the time, so through a battery of tests and getting MRIs, things like that, really all the different conventional ways of testing for these particular symptoms came up negative.

Edna: 04:42 It was only through a remark from a dean at USF had just mentioned in passing that maybe we should try seeing a vision therapist, a doctor who specialized in vision therapy. And that particular doctor had found out that just by doing a number of simple tests with his eyes that he had his center, was shifted to the right. So if you asked him to walk in the center of the hallway, he was actually a walking on the right side of the hallway. So through vision therapy, he went three times a week, about one hour a day and, , he also wore prisms in his glasses. Um, and for about three months we did that. And, after three months I was happy to see that I had my child back. He no longer experience double vision. His headaches were gone. He was no longer dizzy when he walked.

Edna: 05:45 It was as if this was a miracle cure or, but, I had no idea what this was. I did not know what they did with him in that room, but I know that experience as a mother when your child is going through headaches every day and it changes his life it changes the parents life too and and to see a child needlessly suffer like that and not be able to help him, I was relieved and elated that these symptoms had all disappeared and was resolved through vision therapy. So that was my, experience with vision therapy.

Dr. Nate: 06:23 I always love to hear that story because I had my own experience with vision therapy, which I’ll share on a different podcast, but I know that it helps you to be a better therapist when you understand what the patient and the parents are are going through. What do you think patients and parents think of the vision therapy program

Edna: 06:49 After they’re done with vision therapy, I’ve had both patients and parents make comments like “if it wasn’t for vision therapy, he wouldn’t be as confident as he is now”. “He’s doing activities that, before vision therapy, he would not have chosen to even try. Now my child is trying. I’ve had,, patients who hated reading, did not enjoy reading and didn’t understand why her other friends loved reading books where she found it very hard and not enjoyable. And after vision therapy, she’s now reading 400 page books and her mother says she’s just devouring the books left and right because she’s found that reading is now effortlessly.

Dr. Nate: 07:39 Some people, when they think about therapy, they think about physical therapy which might have happened after a surgery or some sort of injury and they don’t always have positive associations with that kind of therapy. What do you say to a parent or a patient who might feel like this is gonna be like that?

Edna: 08:00 I think that, if parents are unsure about vision therapy, it may mean that they don’t quite understand what’s going to take place and so, um, to explain it to a patient or a parent it’s like a sports or taking lessons for music. You come into the office or you go see your coach or you’re going to go to practice and you learn new skills and then you’re gonna go home and you practice, those skills so that you can improve upon them and then you come back the next week and, show your instructor or to learn new skills to build upon that. And that’s what vision therapy is. So as not some type of program where you wouldn’t understand the concepts. So I try to compare it to things that they already know about , if a child is in sports, you know, the child understands that, yeah, they go every week to practice, to learn new skills and then they, it’s to them to go home and practice. And the parents understand that to whether they’ve a learn to play an instrument or play sports. They understand and recognize the importance of that. And so that’s what vision therapy is. It’s as simple as that.

Dr. Nate: 08:00 Think most patients think it’s fun at least some of the time?

Edna: 09:13 Yes. I have heard often whether it’s my coworkers outside the office, outside the vision therapy room rather with the door closed, they can still hear us laughing. They don’t know what’s going on. They hear is clapping. They hear us saying that’s a great job. I hear children, laughing, you know, they mainly comment. They wonder why what’s going on in that room. Sounds like there’s a party going on. So, , a lot of times it is, we do have a lot of fun and sometimes we think some of these things are silly, but uh, there’s a lot of learning and um, a lot of improvement going on. , in these four walls.

Dr. Nate: 09:51 Does that mean they don’t have to put in any effort or work?

Edna: 09:55 No, I’m on the contrary. It just means that their focus is not so much on how hard it is, but the more fun they have, it just makes everything easier for them.

Dr. Nate: 10:07 Want me to put you on the spot?

Edna: 10:07 Sure. Why not?

Dr. Nate: 10:11 Of all the different types of patients that we see, what do you think is your favorite kind?

Edna: 10:17 That’s hard to say. I think the most memorable ones are the adults who have gone through a lot in their life and then all of a sudden something happens and then they are unable to function. They cannot drive, they cannot walk, they cannot ride a bicycle. Something happens and a life stops, for them until they come see us. And then through vision therapy and through practicing on their own, which these are highly motivated adults, their progress is so much quicker and I get to see from where they were, their tragedy or their traumatic experience changed your life, to now seeing them successfully be able to do the things that they enjoy that they couldn’t before they came to see us. So I think that’s, to me is the most rewarding.

Dr. Nate: 11:14 Anything else you want to tell people about vision, therapy, things you’ve learned over the last eight years?

Edna: 11:20 No. Two patients are alike and it’s , again, very rewarding to see that, especially me being here for this long now that I, enjoy seeing past patients who have completed vision therapy and has seen now, where they are in life. When I have seen patients who are six, seven, and eight, and now six years later they’re getting ready to drive or they’re getting ready to, you know, embark on different experiences. It’s just really cool to see sort of these little, what I call a “little, you know, chickens coming back to the hen house”, and showing off what they can do now. And their parents are beaming with pride in saying if it wasn’t for vision therapy, they are, they wouldn’t be. You know who they are today.

Dr. Nate: 12:12 All right, well thank you Edna for being our very first guests. You did a wonderful job. Several episodes of the brightest podcast are all going to be about vision therapy and I’m really looking forward to those episodes so everyone, stay tuned. You can always contact us at office@brighteyestampa.com. See you next time.

Outro: 12:35 Brought to you by bright eyes, family vision care, and bright eyes kids. Find previous episodes and more detailed information at http://Brighteyestampa.com, creative Commons, copyright attribution, non-commercial use. The only purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor experienced in the area you require. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. Please consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment.

Intro/outro music: Lucas Warford of Three For Silver.

Dr. Beth and Dr. Nate lecture in Miami

This weekend, Dr. Nate, Dr. Beth and vision therapists took a trip to Miami Beach to attend the 6th Annual Florida COVD Study Group. Dr. Nate is one of the founding members of the group and usually goes each summer to listen, lecture, and discuss the very latest treatments for patients.

The talks were very good. Bob Orsillo, OD spoke about about sports vision enhancement. Dr. John Kuluz from Miami Children’s Neurology Dept spoke about sports-related concussion. Dr. Matthew Kay, South Florida’s leading neuro-ophthalmologist, spoke about double vision.

Dr. Beth and Dr. Nate gave a 2 hour Prezi called “Amblyopia and Strabismus Therapy Treatment with Virtual Reality“. It was an interactive discussion of our use of Vivid Vision, the Oculus Rift-based VR vision therapy tool. It was created to bring immersive new technology to long-standing principles of vision therapy. You can read more about Vivid Vision here.

After hours there was swimming, food and drinks, and more discussion about vision therapy. 🙂

The meeting was sponsored by Eyecarrot. They the company behind, Binovi, the new vision therapy tracking technology that we are using at Bright Eyes.

Here are a few pictures from the meeting:

01 Vivid Vision in action02

2017 Spring Newsletter:New Hours, Sales, Giveaway, Ortho-K, VR & more!

 

Hello, Bright Eyes Patients! Welcome to our first email update of 2017. We have so much to tell you that we’ll get right to it:

Not One But Two Spring Events

Spring EventsSpring has sprung and we have 2 big events coming up! The first is our Spring Eyewear Show on Wednesday, April 26 from 4 to 8pm. This is a trunk show of all the Banana Republic and Smith Optics eyeglasses, including sunglasses. Win a FREE pair of prescription sunglasses from Smith! The second is the Spring Cleaning Sale Monday April 24 through Friday, April 28. The doctors are away at a conference most of the week, but both offices will be open – all eyeglasses and sunglasses on sale! Read more here.

Hours Reminder

Our Westchase office has new hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9am-5pm. Wednesday is still 12-8pm, Friday 8:30am-4:30pm and Saturday 9am-2pm. See all the details here.

Big News about Ortho-K!

We have been getting more requests than ever about Ortho-K, the overnight contact lenses that allows for clear, glasses-free vision. You might have seen Dr. Nate on the news! You can read about Dr. Nate’s daughter’s own experience with Orthok-K and also read more about the process here. Treehouse Eyes is an office in Washington DC that specializes in myopia control, and they did a story on Dr. Nate’s daughter.

VR Home Therapy is Live

We are one of the first eye doctors to offer Vivid Vision Virtual Reality Vision Therapytreatment for amblyopia and strabismus, but we are now able to offer this treatment as part of a home Vision Therapy program. This is a game-changer for patients both children and adults. If you are interested, call us at 813-792-0637.

Updated Website

You may have noticed that we’ve been hard at work on our website BrightEyesTampa.com, especially pages on Myopia Control, Ortho-k, Vivid Vision and others. Check it out!

Other topics of interest from our blog

We’ve covered some important topics such as Top 10 For Screentime, Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month, Cleaning Your Glasses, The Importance Blue Light, & Eye Color.

Reviews

Finally, we want to say that we are very thankful for all the Yelp and Google reviews. Most people find us through online reviews or word-of-mouth, and as a small business, we appreciate it! If you haven’t left a review, it would mean a lot if you did.

Thanks and have a great spring! 🙂

-Dr. Nate

Bright Eyes Family and Bright Eyes Kids

A custom uploaded image.

Vivid Vision Hom Virtual Reality TherapyGood news! I am thrilled to announce that Bright Eyes Family Vision Care is now offering Vivid Vision Virtual Reality-based vision therapy system for home use. For a year we have offered Vivid Vision in our Bright Eyes Kids clinic in new Tampa and I have been extremely impressed with the benefits of the system. Vivid Vision uses computer-generated virtual reality to deliver the well-established vision therapy treatments for conditions such as strabismus and amblyopia. We have already seen several impressive upgrades to the system. If fact, you may have seen the multiple news segments showcasing the benefits for both children and adults.

Well, after much waiting, I am very excited that Bright Eyes is among the first in the world to offer this ground-breaking treatment at use at home in addition to the office. This will allow for patients to receive virtual reality vision therapy treatment more frequently and more conveniently than before.

gearCurrently, the Vivid Vision Home therapy runs on either the Samsung Gear VR (shown left) or the more expensive Oculus Rift. It will be coming to Google Daydeam and HTC Vive as well.

It should be pointed out that for the patient’s safety, Vivid Vision Home therapy must be performed under the supervision of an eye doctor specially trained in vision therapy. An initial visual evaluation is necessary to determine the correct diagnosis and treatment options. Vivid Vision Home should only be used within the context of a vision therapy program. As with all medical devices, it should be used as instructed. It is possible to over do it!

For more information on Vivid Vision Home, please see their website. To find out if Vivid Vision Home therapy is right for you or a family member call us at 813-792-9637 or fill out a request at the form below.

 

– Dr. Nate

Fox 13’s Dr. Jo Comes to Bright Eyes to Cover Vision Therapy for Amblyopia

I usually go to bed around 9:30pm, so I was surprised when Edna, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care’s head Vision Therapist, texted me at 10:15 pm to say “You are on the news! Turn on Fox 13!”

She was right. The 4 minute video on our vision therapy program was shown that night and it was repeated the next morning. It was seen by lots of people, judging by the phone calls and email afterward.

You might remember that this summer an adult patient, Betsy, and I were interviewed by Bay News 9 about virtual reality therapy for strabismus (mis-aligned eyes). Well, this was essentially a companion piece to that interview. This time the Dr. Jo from Fox 13 News and her camera man came to Bright Eyes Kids to do a story about amblyopia (sometimes called “lazy eye”). It featured a delightful young patient of mine, Ben, and his parents.

You can watch the video below and if you’d like to read the print story and see some pictures, you can go here.

I love this video. It makes some important points that modern treatment of amblyopia does not involve wearing an eye patch, but rather new technology to teach the eyes how to work together. Not all patients in vision therapy use contact lenses, but that is common in amblyopia treatment, even for young children.

Not only does it cover the subject of amblyopia well, but you can really see the excitement of Ben and his mom. He really has made incredible progress with vision therapy!

It is very rewarding that the media has been interested in our Vivid Vision Virtual Reality Vision Therapy program. It is a wonderfully fun and high-tech application of the principles we use in vision therapy to help children and adults with problems like amblyopia, strabismus and more.

If you are looking for evaluation or treatment of amblyopia, strabismus, or other visual problem for you or your child, request an appointment or call us at (813)-792-0637.

-Dr. Nate

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care and Bright Eyes Kids

Dr. Nate and Betsy Yaros discuss Vivid Vision on Bay News 9

Several weeks ago we mentioned that Dr. Randy Shuck from Bay News 9 interviewed Betsy Yaros and Dr. Nate about Vivid Vision, the Virtual Reality Vision Therapy.

You can watch the whole segment here:

Here are the topics that are covered in the interview

  • Betsy discussed the nature of her vision problems. She explains that she was born premature with cross-eyed and required surgeries. Over time her vision got worse. When the eyes don’t work together, people cannot see 3D.
  • Dr. Nate explained that in some cases, such as Betsy’s, eye surgery can actually over-correct the problem and make it worse.
  • VRVTBetsy described some of the experience she had due her vision problem: being unable to read due to headaches, walking into walls, problems with depth perception, challenges with driving.
  • Dr. Nate explains how Vivid Vision applies Virtual Reality experiences to the principles used in vision therapy. In everyday life, each eye sees the world slightly differently and the brain puts the two images together to provide depth perception. In Vision Therapy, we carefully control the image that each eye sees. This is even more precisely controlled by the Occulus Rift VR system.
  • Betsy describes how easy and fun it was to use Vivid Vision and her experience seeing 3D for the first time.
  • Dr. Nate describes that frequently children do not recognize that they do not see the world the way others do and therefore they don’t complain. For this reason, optometrists recommend eye and vision exams and six months of age, 3 years of age, and every year while in school. This will test the visual skills they need to be successful in school, including the how the eyes move, focus, and work together. These skills can be developed through vision therapy, which includes Vivid Vision.
  • The age of patients that can use Vivid Vision is 6 to adulthood. In some cases, Vivid Vision can shorten the total length of treatment. It certainly makes it more fun.

You can see Betsy’s artwork and read her blog at her website: http://betsyyaros.com/

You can read more about Vivid Vision Virtual Reality Vision Therapy. If you have questions about whether or not Vivid Vision or Vision Therapy in general is an option for you or your child, call us at 813-792-9637, or use the comment section below.

-Dr. Nate

Interview with James Blaha, Co-Founder of Vivid Vision

Vivid Vision Logo - With CircleTo continue our series on Virtual Reality. I was lucky enough to interview James Blaha, co-founder of Vivid Vision. I have known James for couple of years and have been fascinated by both his story and the product of his efforts. I am excited to share his thoughts with you.

 

 

Dr. Nate: Can you tell me about your original visual problem and the treatment options you were given?

James: I was diagnosed with amblyopia and strabismus before I could speak using the fly stereo test. I would rub my hand flat on the paper instead of trying to grab the fly. My parents had me patch, but I would constantly take it off and peek out of the side when they weren’t paying attention. I did vision therapy exercises at home and sometimes in a clinic. When I was 9 years old they told me that I was too old for my weak eye to improve, and we should give up with the patching and exercises.

Unfortunately, many patients hear that. What aspects of your treatment did you want to improve with Vivid Vision treatment treatment?

I want to make it fun for younger kids. I absolutely hated patching and VT exercises growing up, and I think that contributed to the treatment not working for me. We also want to demonstrate that you can improve vision in adults with our system as well and push the state of the art forward for adult binocular vision treatments. There are a huge number of untreated adults with amblyopia and strabismus and we want to get the message out that there is something they can do to improve their vision.

Did you have grand vision of changing the way doctors practice or did it just evolve over time?

It evolved over time. At first I was just planning on making something to explore how my own vision works. When it worked better than I expected, that vision expanded to making a game anyone could play at home. Once I dove deeper into binocular vision and spoke to several optometrists, ophthalmologists, and vision scientists it became apparent that it is a deeply complex issue where everyone has a unique situation. This lead us to want to develop tools for optometrists to use rather than release something that didn’t involve eye doctors at all.

How does it feel to read and hear breakthrough stories of Vivid Vision patients like Betsy who describes her new 3D vision as a “superpower”?

It feels amazing. One of the things I’ve learned from speaking with hundreds of people with amblyopia and strabismus is that even though I had a tough time growing up with it, most people had a much more difficult time than I did. The reason we are building Vivid Vision is to improve people’s lives, to increase the reliability and efficiency of treatment, and to reduce the cost of treatment so that all of the millions of adults and children with lazy eye can get access to it. For many that means being able to pursue careers and hobbies that were previously out of their reach.

I expected Vivid Vision to be a great tool for treating amblyopia. I am surprised at how effective it appears to be for strabismus. What is it about Vivid Vision that you think makes it such an effective treatment option?

I think there are three major factors that contribute to the effectiveness of Vivid Vision over previous treatments. The first is that we have an awesome team of optometrists, ophthalmologists, and vision scientists advising us and providing input on the system. Our Chief Optometrist Tuan Tran worked directly with patients and vision therapists treating binocular vision issues, our Science Adviser Ben Backus runs a vision science lab at SUNY studying binocular vision, and Dr. Paul Harris at SCO has given us advice and feedback since nearly the very beginning of the company.

The second factor is our use of virtual reality hardware. Because the system is enclosed, it means that the viewing conditions are always exactly the same. With other 3D technologies external lightning makes it difficult to be sure you are delivering exactly the right visual stimulus. Another big issue is inter-ocular contrast, and VR headsets provide a higher inter-ocular contrast than other methods of delivering unique images to each eye. Lastly, we think that providing training environments that are more like real life will make it more likely that the visual skills patients are learning will transfer outside of the training environment and into the real world.

The third factor is that the games and activities are more fun and more realistic than previous treatments. Although the locations and games may be more exciting and different than the real world, we believe that the exercises should contain visual activities that closely resemble people’s real life. Instead of choosing between relatively artificial targets on a screen, they could be choosing which basketball to catch at a park, for example. We want people to be practicing how to use their vision in ways they can directly apply to their life.

What has been the general feedback from doctors? Does this new technology make them uncomfortable?

Optometrists have been really positive about the technology. I think that most eye doctors realize that vision therapy could use more tools and that there is no reason these activities can’t be engaging and fun. Some doctors have been hesitant to bring in VR technology, but I think that is normal for any new tech to have a warming up period where people get familiar with it.

Is there anything else you want to add?

We want to empower doctors to treat more patients more efficiently by building them a set of tools to measure, track, and treat binocular vision issues. We want to educate patients so that they know there is a treatment option for them and connect them to doctors. We think this is the only way the millions of untreated adults can get treatment for their binocular vision issues.

Thank you, James, for sharing your story.

Bright Eyes is proud to offer Vivid Vision to our patients who will benefit from it. For readers who are interested in Vivid Vision, read more here or call us at 813-792-0637. You can request appointments here.

See Well!

-Dr. Nate

Helping Adults See in 3D With Vision Therapy

It is such an exciting time to provide vision therapy! There are so many advancements in treatment and knowledge in this area of Optometry. Although Vision Therapy is often thought of as an essential treatment for children with vision problems, adults can benefit from it too. A case in point is my patient, Betsy. She is a talented artist. You can see her work and blog here.

Betsy had eye surgeries as a child for crossed eyes. Despite these procedures, she still did not have the ability to keep her eyes aligned or see in 3D. For that, she needed vision therapy. She started therapy in a different state and when she moved to sunny Tampa Bay, she continued therapy with us.

Through vision therapy, Betsy has learned to move and focus her eyes at the same time without suppressing (turning one eye off). She has developed the ability converge her eyes to make them straight.

The most amazing detail about Betsy’s cases was that she acquired depth perception. Or, as the headline of the recent online interview she granted says:

“30 Year Old Describes the Experience of Seeing in 3D for the First Time.”

How did she achieve this?

First, Betsy was totally motivated to improve her vision and learn how to use her eyes together. When I first met her, she described how determined she was to improve her vision, which makes this long-term goal of hers all the more easy to achieve.

Secondly, she worked hard. As she said in the interview, she has done Brock String (a particular Vision Therapy activity) for over a hundred hours! That’s like staring at your nose for 100 hours; can you do that? Wow! All of this hard work and determination has prepared her brain and eyes to appreciate 3D vision.

Finally, Betsy is not afraid to try new things. She has had a number of different glasses, a huge variety of vision therapy activities, and most recently, the Vivid Vision Virtual Reality Vision Therapy System.

As Betsy said in an email to me recently, “This is amazing! I’m seeing 3D all over the place.” This is the most rewarding kind of note an optometrist like me can get from a patient.

And Betsy isn’t the only adult patient in our vision therapy program. Other recent adult patients include one who had double vision from a bicycling accident, one who had tremendous fatigue and double vision at work, another who had amblyopia and was told that she would never see well out of her left eye. All of these adults and others have experienced tremendous benefits from vision therapy.

To sum up: Vision Therapy is not just for kids; adults can benefit from it too. If you are an adult and have questions about your vision, see an optometrist who specializes in binocular vision. There may be options for you! You can start by going to COVD.org and OEPF.org to look for doctors.

Be well!

-Dr. Nate

 

Research Shows Adults Can Be Treated for Amblyopia

Adult Amblyopia Treatment

Treatment options for adults with amblyopia isn’t magic. It is real and based on science. For decades there has been a belief among eye doctors that if a patient had amblyopia (AKA “lazy eye”), it was untreatable after childhood. Whether the cut-off age was 6 years old, 8 years old, or 10 years old, it was assumed that after that age, it was pointless to try to improve the vision in the “lazy” eye. It was thought that even if the vision did improve, it would just worsen again after treatment stopped.

Amblyopia is a condition in which vision is reduced in one or both eyes even with glasses on. By definition, it is not caused by disease or injury, but instead develops when the brain does not get enough visual stimulation to use both eyes together. This could be due to blurry vision for a number of reasons or misaligned eyes. Catching amblyopia early is helpful and that is one of the reason that InfantSEE exists.

For many years, the only treatment for amblyopia was occlusion therapy, where a patch is worn over the eye with better vision to force the eye with poorer vision to work. Even if you don’t have a family member who needed to wear an eye patch, you probably are familiar with the concept in popular culture. Patching can be effective if done correctly. But it is hard work and takes motivation. (See the post on #IPatch the social media support of amblyopia patients who are patching right now.)

Ann Adult AmblyopiaAs I have been posting over the years, there has been significant scientific evidence that shows that despite what was once thought, it isn’t just young children that can be treated but also older children and adults. At the bottom of this post is a quick summary of some of the research on improvement of vision in adults with amblyopia:

And it is not just in the vision science laboratory that we notice improvement in adults with amblyopia. One recent patient of ours is a 35 year old woman with refractive amblyopia due to her farsightedness in her left eye. The best she was able to see was about 20/70 in that eye. Following a few months of treatment, she was able to see about 20/30, a significant improvement. She was so happy with her rapid progress, she said. “At my age, I thought all hopes of better vision were gone but after my vision therapy treatment I have seen a significant improvement in my vision!”

One adult patient with amblyopia said, “At my age, I thought all hopes of better vision were gone but after my vision therapy treatment I have seen a significant improvement in my vision!”

Why, despite the research and success in the therapy room, does the belief that “nothing can be done” after a certain age persist? Susan Barry, PhD (AKA Stereo Sue) does a great job of answering that here, but the simple answer is that change takes time and doctors are very slow to change such a prominent belief as this.

Treatment for adult amblyopia is complicated and does take effort on the part of the doctor and patient. Treatment may involve traditional occlusion (patching) with visually stimulating activities, but could also include the use of special glasses or contact lenses and more modern techniques that involve the use of both eyes together (known as MFBF) and also the Virtual Reality based Vivid Vision system.

That being said, treatment for amblyopia is difficult and there may be significant reasons to NOT attempt treatment. It may take longer than in young children and the overall goals might be different. A thorough evaluation by a doctor with experience with adult amblyopia patients is critical. You can search for a doctor in your area with both COVD and OEPF websites.

If you have questions about adult amblyopia treatment, you can call us at (813) 792-0637, or enter a message at the bottom of the page.

-Dr. Nate

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in Westchase and Bright Eyes Kids in New Tampa

Vision scientists don’t always write in terms that patients can understand. But I thought it was interesting to see what researchers say in their own words when they publish scientific papers on treatment of adult amblyopia. Enjoy. 🙂

  • “Two adult patients are presented whose childhood amblyopia improved markedly.” (Willson, 1992)
  • “perceptual learning can improve basic representations within an adult visual system that did not develop during the critical period” (Polat, 2003)
  • “adult amblyopic visual system retains a substantial degree of plasticity: repetitive practice can substantially improve position discrimination acuity.” (Li, 2004)
  • adults with amblyopia can improve their perceptual performance…” (Levi, 2005) ” clearly show the success of the structured method, targeted at the specific deficiencies in amblyopia, to improve vision in children and adults.” (Polat, 2008)
  • “These results show that the mature amblyopic brain is surprisingly malleable, and point to more intensive treatment methods for amblyopia.” (Li, 2008)
  • “that this approach puts in place the necessary neural precursors required to fully recover stereo acuity in adult amblyopic subjects.” (Astle, 2011) “This provides a basis for the treatment of amblyopia in adults who currently have no treatment options.” (Jinrong, 2013)
  • “The home-based dichoptic iPod approach represents a viable treatment for adults with amblyopia. (Hess, 2014)
  • “perceptual learning of various visual discrimination tasks in adults with amblyopia can transfer completely...” (Zhang, 2014)
  • “new treatments are emerging that directly target suppressive interactions within the visual cortex and, on the basis of initial data, appear to improve both binocular and monocular visual function, even in adults with amblyopia” (Hess, 2014)
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