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3 Reasons Why You Should Kickstart the New Year With Vision Therapy

holidays mug

It’s that time of year again when we sit down with a pumpkin spice latte in hand and think of a resolution we can take upon ourselves for the new year. Here at [tokensname=’SpCenterVT’], we believe that the best resolutions are the ones that positively impact other areas of our lives and enhance our overall quality of life. Vision therapy offers just that! This therapy is made up of a series of customized visual exercises designed to develop or regain visual processing skills.

Vision Therapy is highly effective in treating:

  • Amblyopia, (or “lazy eye”)
  • Strabismus, (or “eye-turn”)
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Focusing disorders
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Vision, balance, and memory problems associated with brain injury

Even those with 20/20 eyesight can benefit from vision therapy because perfect eyesight doesn’t mean perfect vision. Below are the ways in which vision therapy will help you kick-off the new year.

Improve Existing Vision Skills

You’re good at what you do, be it at work, school or sports. But can you do better? By training the eyes and brain to work in unison, you increase your potential for greater performance. Not only will you be more efficient, but performing tasks will become more enjoyable. This especially applies to school-aged children, as their brains are still in rapid development. Vision therapy effectively enables the brain to correctly process information for optimal academic success.

Learn New Skills With Ease

Many people make it their resolution to learn a new skill in the upcoming year but an underlying vision problem can interfere with that. Since learning is 80% visual, vision therapy offers an excellent opportunity to gear up for success! Undiagnosed or untreated vision problems related to convergence and focus can cause memory and reading problems and hinder learning. Dr. Knighton and Dr. Bonilla-Warford will use an array of tools, such as prisms, specialized lenses, filters, balance beams, and computerized visual activities to train the eye-brain connection and help you learn more efficiently in almost any area that requires vision.

Gain The Confidence You Crave

Whether you’re a pro-athlete or a 4th grader struggling to read, improved vision skills will boost your confidence. This confidence will surely trickle into other areas of your life leading to increased self-esteem.

Start 2020 by empowering yourself or your child with vision therapy. Call Bright Eyes Family Vision Care's Vision Therapy Center to book your appointment today.

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care's Vision Therapy Center serves patients in Tampa, Westchase, Town 'N' Country, and University, and throughout Florida.

Helping Adults See in 3D With Vision Therapy

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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

 

Interview with Robin & Jillian about “Jillian’s Story” and Vision Therapy

Jillians Story

When a book comes out that helps people understand vision and vision therapy I write about it so my patients can find out about it. When an amazing book comes out, I try to interview the authors to not only spread the word, but because I am genuinely interested in their background and the process of writing. Like Fixing My Gaze, Jillian’s Story is one of those books that does a better job of explaining vision therapy than I can. So I am thrilled to be able to present an interview with its authors Robin Benoit and Jillian Benoit. -Dr. Nate

Dr. Nate: Robin, what made you decide that you wanted to take the time and effort to write the “Jillian’s Story”? Was there one moment, or a gradual realization?

I don’t think a week went by after Jillian started vision therapy that I didn’t say, “Somebody needs to do something to raise awareness about vision therapy.” My husband would always reply, “You should write a book.” But, I didn’t really consider it and sort of laughed at the idea. Then, one day after school as we were driving home in the car, Jillian told me that she suspected a girl in her class needed vision therapy because she had noticed her friend covering one eye with her hand as she read a book. I mentioned it the next day to Jillian’s teacher. She said, “You know, Robin, you and Jillian really need to write a book. I think Jillian’s story could help so many people.” That night, I started writing “Jillian’s Story.” I had searched for books to read about vision therapy and couldn’t find very much. I really wanted to read personal accounts from other parents about how vision therapy had worked for their child. When faced with the fact that our pediatrician didn’t refer us to vision therapy, our ophthalmologist discredited it and insurance wouldn’t cover it, we went on faith and hope that vision therapy would prove to be helpful to Jillian. We are so grateful that vision therapy exceeded all of our hopes and expectations. We hope “Jillian’s Story” will inspire, encourage and lend confidence to others considering vision therapy for themselves or their child.

Jillian, how does it feel to be famous? To have a book about you that people all over the country are talking about?

(Laughing) Am I famous? I haven’t noticed! At first I was kind of nervous, but then I realized how many people, especially kids, I could help just because I have vision problems like they do. Vision Therapy has made such a huge difference for me. I love 3D movies now because I can see stuff come out of the screen instead of a bunch of blurry junk. 3D movies used to make me feel sick. Now they are really fun! I used to get so frustrated at school. Now I love it. It’s so much easier to learn when you can see. I don’t get frustrated with homework anymore. Homework that would have taken me an hour to do before vision therapy now takes me just 5 or 10 minutes. I even love math now and I never thought I’d say that. I can read any book I want, even a thick one like “Harry Potter.” Vision therapy really changed my world and I’m so happy to share my story. I hope our book will help anyone with vision problems to have a happier life.

Robin, how long it it take to write and get printed?

I wrote the first draft about Jillian’s younger years very quickly, probably in just a few days. I started the chapters on her vision therapy experience about half way through her 15-month program and wrapped it up a little at a time as she completed vision therapy. Jillian read what I wrote throughout the writing process and added her suggestions and quotes for each chapter. It all came together quickly and easily. I had no idea how to get a book published. I did a little research on the Internet and bought a very thick book called the Writer’s Market. I went through it page by page and highlighted publishers I thought might be interested in her story. But, I just didn’t think that mailing in manuscripts and waiting months for a reply (not to mention rejection letters) was the right way to go. So, before I mailed a single manuscript, I decided to call an old friend for advice. He had written a book several years ago and I hoped he could give me some tips to follow. He did more than that! He suggested I contact a friend of his who owns a publishing company in Dallas and gave me her phone number. That was in July of 2010. I signed with Brown Books Publishing Group on August 11th and the book was released on November 12th. It was a whirlwind and I loved the entire experience!

Jillian: Vision therapy involves a lot different activities. I asked Dr. Barry which was her favorite and she said “Brock String.” Which was your favorite VT activity?

There is more than one. When I worked with Lindsey in her office, I loved the balance beam and wearing the “googly glasses.” I looked so silly in those glasses, like a mad scientist from one of those movies. It made me laugh. I also liked the big rotator and putting the golf tees in the holes. At home I liked the ball on the string and, like Dr. Barry, the “Brock String.”

Are you pleased with the how the book came out and the response so far?

(Robin): We are really pleased with it. The cover had to be redesigned rather late in the process. Our publisher ran across a book published in 1985 that looked too similar in font and coloring. We actually like the second design and colors even better, so it was a blessing in disguise. The eye chart is so iconic and the response has been that the second you see the book, you know it is about vision. We wanted our book to be like sitting down with a friend to talk about a problem. It’s wonderful to know that anyone looking for an answer or solution to their concerns can read our book in one evening, go to bed and wake up the next morning feeling much better about their situation. And, that is the response we’re getting. We’ve received emails from all across the country from people who feel we’ve been living the same life.

(Jillian): I love the book! One of the things I like best about it is that it’s quick and easy to read. Lindsey told us about a family that read it — grandmother, mom and daughter — and they raved about how it answered questions and helped all of them understand vision problems better. Friends at school have read it and come up to hug me! That’s awesome!

Have you had any interesting people contact you because of “Jillian’s Story”?

(Jillian): I had the chance to write a note to a girl in Iowa that just started vision therapy. I really hope vision therapy helps her like it did me.

(Robin): Dr. Horning suggested that I contact an optometrist that he admires named Dr. Paul Harris. Dr. Harris so graciously agreed to read the manuscript early in the process. He not only endorsed “Jillian’s Story”, but introduced me to many wonderful people including Dr. Sue Barry, who so kindly mentioned “Jillian’s Story” while speaking at the COVD Annual Meeting. We are finding so many great people willing to lend their support to Jillian’s goal of spreading the word that vision therapy really works.

Thanks for answering these questions and sharing so much! Do you have anything else you want to say?

(Jillian): Thank you, Dr. Nate, for sharing my story!


(Robin): Yes, thank you so much. We hope “Jillian’s Story” will be a strong advocate for vision therapy. Orders can be made at www.JilliansStory.com. Please email us your thoughts and comments at robin@jilliansstory.com or jillian@jilliansstory.com. Anyone wishing to receive a volume discount can have information sent to them on the 50 pack (20% discount) and 100 pack (30% discount) specials by emailing us for the special website ordering link. You will receive an email response with the link to a PayPal discount pack ordering page.

Letter from Mom about How Vision Therapy Helped Her Son with School

I recently received this email from a mother of a boy who graduated from vision therapy this summer. Like many of our patients, he is very bright but had some eye coordination problems that were interfering with his reading development. After his vision problem was resolved through therapy he is doing much better. Letters like this are one of my favorite things about being a children’s eye doctor! – Dr. Nate

Dr. Nate and Mrs. Edna,

Thanks for everything that you did to help my son. He did very well on his first report card for first grade. He gets a perfect score on nearly all of his math tests and is on grade level in reading. The school has continued to use his slant board in class and follow your recommended accommodations.

In the last quarter of Kindergarten, his Kindergarten teacher told me she thought he would really struggle in first grade. I’m glad that we proved her wrong! The teacher contacted me for a conference recently, and I was prepared to hear that he was having trouble. I was pleased and caught off guard when the teacher informed me that she requested the conference just so she could get to know my son better and that he was doing well in first grade. He works independently and finishes his work on time.

I feel that your program has made a huge difference in my son’s academic life. I don’t know where we’d be without vision therapy. It’s ironic that I told the Kindergarten teacher last September that when my son learns to focus, he’ll begin to shine! I didn’t know at that point what, if any, vision problems he had!

He’s beginning to shine this year.

If you have concerns or questions about your child’s vision and whether or not it might be interfering with schoolwork, do not hesitate to call us at 813-792-0637 for an appointment. If you do not live in the area you can visit covd.org, or call us and we can recommend a pediatric eye doctor in your area.
Dr. NateNathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
Dr Nate Google PlusBright Eyes Tampa on Google PlacesBright Eyes Tampa on FacebookBright Eyes Tampa on TwitterBright Eyes Tampa on YelpBright Eyes Tampa on foursquareWestchase Patch

Vision Therapy Covered in New York Times Magazine

Yesterday, the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy article online about vision therapy (VT). It presents some very compelling cases of patients who have received vision therapy and observed the changes it can produce when needed. Many of the comments are also from parents who have children who have lives changed from VT.

It also delves into the controversy. As a provider of VT, I feel that this article fairly characterizes how the multiple sides involved view this issue. It is accurate to say that most pediatricians and ophthalmologists are opposed to vision therapy and the parents who have experienced it often become very supportive. There is often very little middle ground.

I believe very much that patients can have vision problems that interfere with various aspects of their life and VT is the appropriate treatment. However, when I am making recommendations to patients, it can be difficult to find the line between over-promising potential results from vision therapy and failing to provide a valuable and needed service for a diagnosable problem. Often, even with the best available data, we may not know just how well a patient will respond. After all, there are no guarantees with any medical intervention; we can only do our best with the information we have.

I encourage all who are interested in vision and vision therapy to visit the website of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development to learn more about what is known about vision and vision therapy. Of course, you can always call our office or Ask Dr. Nate.

See Well!

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Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
Connect:Dr Nate Google PlusBright Eyes Tampa on Google PlacesBright Eyes Tampa on FacebookBright Eyes Tampa on TwitterBright Eyes Tampa on YelpBright Eyes Tampa on foursquareWestchase Patch

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