The Science and Splash are Back


So today, let’s talk science.  I recently had a conversation with a well-known pediatric neuropsychologist in my area. She is a very caring and competent practitioner by all counts.  She expressed some concerns about referring patients to me.  She said while she felt the science would validate vision therapy in the future, she did not feel that there was enough scientific evidence currently demonstrating the relationship between the vision problems we treat, such as Convergence Insufficiency, and academic performance.  She felt that the science certainly shows that functional vision problems exist and that vision therapy would help alleviate discomfort associated with these vision problems, but that the science did not yet show that treating these vision problems would impact school performance.

I was happy to report to her that the future is here.  In fact, I would like to dedicate the next several “Science” posts to the great research being done showing the correlation between vision and academic performance.

The article I would like to focus on today was written by the same authors of the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial.  In this original research article sponsored by the National Institute of Health these scientists validated what so many of us have known for a long time.  Convergence Insufficiency and many other functional vision problems not only exist but cause a host of problems such as double vision, headaches, eye fatigue, slow reading and poor reading comprehension.   The treatment trial found that in-office Optometric vision therapy is by far the best treatment to alleviate these symptoms.  After completing this research, I am sure they must have encountered some of the same skepticism elicited by my colleague.

Their latest research article found in the journal of Optometry and Vision Science demonstrated that children with symptomatic Convergence Insufficiency showed significant improvements in reading comprehension after being treated with vision therapy. To see  the article click here.  Sounds like an academic performance link to me.   However, their research is by no means the only research out there.  I am happy to report I was able to send many other research articles as well to the practitioner in my area and have to say that she responded very favorably.  I am excited to share more of these research articles with you in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned…

For more information on vision problems that affect school performance, learning, and reading please visit the COVD website at www.covd.org.  To find a developmental optometrist near follow this link.

Boy reading a book

I hope to be blogging here more often.  I want to give a shout out to all of the COVD blog authors who put in so much time to getting the word out about how vision can impact the lives of so many.  Especially a thank you to Dr. Rochelle Mozlin whose dedication to this blog has helped the lives of many seeking to learn more about these critical and often silent vision problems.

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Categories: Convergence Insufficiency, Learning Related Visual Problems, ResearchTags: , , , ,

5 comments

  1. Welcome to blogdom, Dr. Winters. Excellent piece. Your intro jumped out at me from the neuropsych’s conversation with you. I’m curious — Is she claiming that none of the reservations she holds about referring patients to you would apply in the reverse to her field? In other words, has the $3000 Cadillac neurospsych battery been shown (be gold standard research) to pinpoint areas that when addressed improve academic performance? Not that more and better scientific research isn’t welcome in all fields pertaining to learning and education. Bu let’s operate on a level playing field.

  2. It does not sound like your son’s case is a non-candidate case. Many times doctors are confused by eye turn (strabismus) cases as they look at the eye turn of the patient as the problem. Surgery is often recommended as the only solution. It is also commonly thought that there is a developmental window when this surgery needs to be done before irreversable blindness will be the result. What we have found out is that the eye turn for the young patient is not the problem. The eye turn is actually a symptom of the problem due to eye teaming coordination not being present. The finding is that the eye turn is a “brain coordination” problem and not an “eye muscle” problem. To prove this theory, if you cover one eye, the other eye has full motion in all areas of gaze and functions normally. The problem only exists when both eyes are open and are not coordinated together. Vision therapy is based on walking the patient through those developmental stages again and guiding this normal coordination to develop. It is like teaching someone how to ride a bicycle. The person trying to learn bike riding coordination only learns by getting on a bike and riding it. We use training wheels to give the patient the experience of what it feels like to peddle and balance at the same time. Once that coordination develops from the continued experience of riding the bike, the training wheels can be removed and the person has this coordination for a life time. Our training wheels in vision therapy are lenses and prisms used during therapy which gives the patient the experience of using both eyes together to experience fusional eye teaming and depth perception. This experience can take as long as nine months to a year with the patient experiencing both in office and at home procedures of vision therapy. Please go to http://www.COVD.org to find a doctor of optometry who is board certified in this specialty that is near by where you live.
    Dr. Brad Habermehl

  3. Pardon my ignorance, but what does a neurophychologist do to treat the things that they test for in all those “gold standard” testing batteries of theirs?

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