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3 Ways Neuro-Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors

3 Ways Neuro Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors 640Approximately 15 million people around the globe suffer from a stroke each year. An alarming two-thirds of stroke survivors experience some degree of visual dysfunction after the incident.

These problems can range from irritating to debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

Thankfully, there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from stroke-related vision problems.

At VUE Vision Therapy Center, we are dedicated to helping post-stroke patients heal their visual system for long-lasting relief and a better quality of life.

Below, we’ll explore how a stroke can impact vision and what a neuro-optometrist can do to help.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when insufficient oxygen is delivered to the brain tissue, either due to leaking or bursting blood vessels, or a blockage within the blood vessel.

Serious brain damage can occur within minutes of a stroke, making early intervention crucial.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis
  • Numb or weak limbs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination

Because a large portion of the brain is involved with vision, a stroke can also affect the eyes and visual processing.

How a Stroke Can Affect Vision

If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain that control the eye, it can cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nystagmus — rapid, uncontrolled eye movements

When a stroke affects the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing, it can cause:

  • Visual neglect — when the patient ignores stimuli from a portion of their visual field
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Poor depth and movement perception
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or people

3 Ways a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help Stroke Survivors

1. Identify and Diagnose Any Visual Dysfunction

A neuro-optometrist has the training and experience required to thoroughly identify, diagnose and treat even slight visual dysfunction that may be causing symptoms.

Your neuro-optometrist will perform a functional visual evaluation to assess neurological vision-related complications and identify the type of vision loss caused by the stroke.

 

2. Rehabilitate the Visual System

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy includes visual exercises that retrain the brain and eyes to work together.

During a stroke, certain neural connections may become damaged. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation aims to restore those connections and heal the visual system for long-lasting results.

3. Prescribe the Correct Lenses or Prisms, As Needed

A neuro-optometrist can prescribe specialized lenses or prisms that aid in the therapeutic process. Prism lenses shift images into the functioning part of a patient’s visual field, or, in the case of double vision or visual neglect, unite the images the two eyes are sending to the brain. In some cases, prisms can instantly relieve symptoms like disorientation or double vision.

Some patients only visit an occupational therapist or physical therapist after a stroke—and while these therapies are often necessary and helpful, they cannot treat the visual system or prescribe prisms.

How We Can Help

Stroke survivors deserve the best in rehabilitative care. That’s why we are passionate about restoring their independence and offering relief from incapacitating visual symptoms.

Furthermore, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy offers the added benefit of diminishing vertigo and depression and increasing confidence levels.

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation, contact VUE Vision Therapy Center today.

VUE Vision Therapy Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, and York, all throughout Ontario.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

Q: #1: Other than stroke patients, who can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help any person suffering from visual dysfunction after a head injury, traumatic brain injury or stroke, or anyone with neurological conditions that impact their vision. If you experience any symptoms associated with visual dysfunction like dizziness, disorientation, headaches, nausea or difficulty concentrating— it may be time to visit your neuro-optometrist.

Q: #2: Can neuro-optometry help if the stroke occurred months or years ago?

  • A: The best time to start treatment is as soon as possible following a stroke or head injury, but treatment can also be effective years later. The basis of neuro-optometry is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and build new neural connections. As long as a person is alive, there is potential to heal their visual system.


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3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children

3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children 640Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye,’ is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood, usually before the age of 8.

Lazy eye develops when one eye is unable to achieve normal visual acuity, causing blurry vision in the affected eye—even when wearing glasses. Left untreated, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss in one eye.

It’s important to understand that a lazy eye isn’t actually lazy. Rather, the brain doesn’t process the visual signals from the ‘lazy’ eye. Eventually, the communication between the brain and the weaker eye deteriorates further, potentially leading to permanently reduced vision in that eye. Fortunately, vision therapy can improve the condition by training the brain to work with both eyes equally.

What Causes Lazy Eye?

When the neural connections between the eyes and the brain are healthy, each eye sends a visual signal to the brain. The brain combines these two signals into one clear image, allowing us to properly see what we are looking at.

In the case of amblyopia, the brain doesn’t recognize the weaker eye’s signals. Instead, it relies only on the visual input from the stronger eye.

Amblyopia can be caused by strabismus, anisometropia and deprivation.

Strabismus

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. The most common cause of amblyopia is eye misalignment, which causes the brain to receive two images that cannot be combined into one single, clear image.

A child’s developing brain cannot process images when both eyes are not aligned in the same direction, so it ‘turns off’ the images sent by the weaker eye. This is the brain’s defense mechanism against confusion and double vision.

As the brain ‘turns off’ the weaker eye, this eye will eventually become ‘lazy’—unless treatment is provided.

Anisometropia

Anisometropia is when the refractive powers (visual acuity) of your eyes differ markedly, causing your eyes to focus unevenly – rendering the visual signal from one eye to be much clearer than the other. The brain is unable to reconcile the different images each eye sends and chooses to process the visual signal from the eye sending the clearer image. The brain begins to overlook the eye sending the blurrier image, further weakening the eye-brain connection of the weaker eye. If not treated, this results in permanent poor vision in that eye.

Deprivation

Deprivation refers to a blockage or cloudiness of the eye. When an eye becomes cloudy, it directly impacts the eyes’ ability to send a clear image to the retina, harming the child’s ability to see images clearly from that eye. When clear images can’t reach the retina, it causes poor vision in that eye, resulting in amblyopia. Deprivation is by far the most serious kind of amblyopia, but it is also incredibly rare.

There are several types of deprivation: cataracts, cloudy corneas, cloudy lenses and eyelid tumors. Each of these can affect a child’s vision, resulting in amblyopia. Because these are also difficult to notice from a child’s behavior, it’s crucial to have your child tested for eye-related problems so that treatment can begin right away.

How To Treat Amblyopia

The goal of most amblyopia treatments is to naturally strengthen the weaker eye so that your child’s eyes can work and team with the brain more effectively. Amblyopia treatment will be determined by the cause and severity of their condition.

Common types of treatment include:

  • Corrective eyewear
  • Eye drops
  • Patching
  • Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is the most effective treatment for amblyopia, which may be used in conjunction with other treatments.

A vision therapy program is customized to the specific needs of the patient. It may include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other specialized equipment designed to actively make the lazy eye work to develop stronger communication between the eye and the brain.

Vision therapy is highly successful for the improvement of binocular vision, visual acuity, visual processing abilities, depth perception and reading fluency.

Vision therapy programs for amblyopia may include eye exercises to improve these visual skills:

  • Accommodation (focusing)
  • Binocular vision (the eyes working together)
  • Fixation (visual gaze)
  • Pursuits (eye-tracking)
  • Saccades (eye jumps)
  • Spatial skills (eye-hand coordination)
  • Stereopsis (3-D vision)

Contact VUE Vision Therapy Center to make an appointment and discover how vision therapy can help improve your child’s vision. Our eye doctor will ask about your child’s vision history, conduct a thorough evaluation, and take your child on the path to effective and lasting treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

Q: How do I know if my child has lazy eye?

  • A: It’s difficult to recognize lazy eye because the condition usually develops in one eye, and may not present with a noticeable eye turn. As such, children generally learn how to ignore the lazy eye and compensate by mainly relying on the sight from the ‘good’ eye. Some symptoms of lazy eye include:
  • – Closing one eye or squinting
    – Difficulty with fine eye movements
    – Poor depth perception
    – Poor eye-hand coordination
    – Reduced reading speed and comprehension
    – Rubbing eyes often

Q: How is lazy eye diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will conduct specific tests during their eye exam, to assess the visual acuity, depth perception and visual skills of each eye.


VUE Vision Therapy Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, and York, all throughout Ontario.

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Looking To Improve Your Athletic Performance This Summer?

Looking To Improve Your Sports Performance This Summer 640It’s finally summer—and there’s no better time to play outdoor sports! But if you’re like many of us, you may be a little rusty from the long winter months. While physical training is important to get back into gear, sports vision training can take you a step further by helping you hone the visual skills you need to excel at your chosen sport.

Sports vision training is a personalized program that helps professional and amateur athletes improve the way their eyes, brain and body interact. The quicker the brain processes the messages the eyes send, the better the performance.

Benefits of Sports Vision Training

Strong, well-developed visual skills can help you improve your ability to hit a tennis ball or perform the perfect dive in the swimming pool.

Sharpening your tracking, depth perception, focusing and peripheral awareness skills will help determine the proximity of the water from the diving board or the distance between a baseball and your bat. It should come as no surprise that vision training helps athletes improve their performance in just about any sport.

Sports vision training helps develop the following visual skills:

  • Balance – the ability to stay in control of body movement. A surfer, for example, must be able to stand on the board without falling off, all while riding a wave.
  • Eye Tracking – the ability to “keep your eye on the ball.”
  • Focusing – the ability to rapidly change focus from one object to another efficiently and quickly. For example, in baseball, a player needs to be able to focus on the ball while running.
  • Eye-Hand or Eye-Body Coordination – the ability to use your eyes to direct the movements of your hands and body. In tennis, for instance, a player must be able to move his or her body and hands while tracking the ball.
  • Peripheral Awareness – seeing things or people, such as opposing players, out of the corner of your eye.
  • Depth Perception – the capacity to evaluate an object’s speed and distance accurately and quickly. For example, a diver must accurately evaluate the distance from the edge of the pool in order to dive safely.
  • Contrast Sensitivity – the ability to distinguish between an object and its background, such as a baseball against the sky.
  • Dynamic Visual Acuity – the ability to clearly see objects in motion.
  • Reaction Time – the faster you see it, the faster you react and the faster you move.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will assess your visual skills in various areas to determine which ones need to be improved. Once assessed, you’ll receive a personalized program to boost and expand your visual skills in those areas.

To learn more about sports vision training, contact VUE Sports Vision Center today!

VUE Sports Vision Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener and York, all throughout Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a customized program that improves coordination between your eyes, brain, and body when playing sports. Sports vision training helps athletes process information and then react faster and more accurately to what they see on the field or in the water.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Whether for surfing, playing baseball, or biking, sports vision training benefits people of any age or level seeking to take their performance to the next level.


Sports Vision Training Can Help Prevent Scooter Accidents

E Scooter Riders 640When riding an electric scooter, you need to be able to focus on the road, while avoiding cars, pedestrians, and other potential obstacles. It may sound simple, but not everyone has the visual skills needed to focus, scan the surroundings and react in a split-second to an oncoming car or a child who’s run into the street.

At VUE Sports Vision Center, we offer sports vision training, which helps improve visual skills by training the brain to process and respond quickly and efficiently to visual input. This can, in turn, prevent you from getting into an accident.

E-Scooter Riders Need Top-Notch Visual Skills

To stay safe on the road, drivers, motorcyclists, and e-scooter drivers need to have remarkable visual skills, where the ability to focus, track fast-moving objects and react quickly can mean the difference between staying safe and incurring an injury.

Even the smallest increase in processing ability, reaction time and resilience can help prevent injury to yourself and others.

The Visual Skills Needed to Safely Ride an E-Scooter

Improve critical vision skills, such as peripheral awareness, depth perception and eye focusing, with sports vision training, a customized program that improves the communication between your eyes, brain, and body.

1. Peripheral Awareness

Peripheral vision, also known as peripheral awareness, enables us to detect and see things that aren’t right in front of us when looking straight ahead. A well-developed peripheral field helps riders spot people and objects and sense the flow of the road as it changes.

2. Depth Perception

Depth perception is the ability to see in three dimensions and judge the distance between objects or people and yourself.

Those with good depth perception have an easier time accurately tracking any object as it approaches because they can perfectly see where it is in space. This enables one to make split-second decisions about when to swerve or stop to avoid coming in contact with everything from a car to a trash can.

3. Accommodation and Convergence

Accommodation, also known as focus flexibility, is the eyes’ ability to change focus immediately. Convergence is the ability to keep both eyes working in unison as they track people or objects, such as a bus on the road.

Enhancing these eye-focusing skills can boost your ability to concentrate and refocus your vision quickly and more accurately so that you process moving objects quickly.

Want to strengthen your visual skills? Contact Dr. Patrick Quaid, Dr. Hadassah Rutman, & Dr. Daniel Cunningham today!

VUE Sports Vision Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, and York, all throughout Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is made of individually prescribed and monitored exercises aimed at developing specific visual skills and processing. These various customized activities and exercises retrain the brain to effectively interact with the eyes and improve vision functioning. This therapy consists of weekly in-office appointments and assigned daily exercises, ranging from several weeks to several months. The training involves close monitoring and follow-up appointments to ensure steady improvements in the patient’s visual functions.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Whether you play hockey or baseball or ride an e-scooter, sports vision training is perfect for anyone of any age and ability seeking to take their performance to the next level.


5 Vision Therapy Myths Debunked

5 Vision Therapy Myths 640There’s a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to vision therapy — a customized program that trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively and efficiently.

We are here to dispel those myths.

5 Myths and Facts about Vision Therapy

1. Myth: Vision therapy is just for children

Fact: People of all ages can benefit from vision therapy.

Although vision therapy is widely prescribed for younger patients, many adults have benefited from a personalized vision therapy program. That’s because the basis of vision therapy is neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to change and learn new habits.

Your brain is capable of forming new neural pathways throughout your entire life, so vision therapy can be effective at any age.

2. Myth: Vision therapy isn’t based on scientific research

Fact: There are numerous scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of vision therapy, funded and published by the National Eye Institute (NEI).

In fact, according to several studies, vision therapy is the most effective treatment for the most common binocular vision problem, convergence insufficiency. Research also supports the efficacy of vision therapy when it comes to lazy eye (amblyopia), eye turn (strabismus), and difficulties related to reading and learning.

3. Myth: All vision therapy is the same

Fact: No two vision therapy treatments are alike. Each patient’s condition is unique and is treated accordingly.

Vision therapists use a host of different exercises, devices, computer programs, lenses, prisms, and other equipment for treatment. Your optometrist will decide which options will benefit your condition.

4. Myth: Eye surgery is the only option for treating eye misalignment

Fact: While surgery may help the eyes appear more aligned, it can’t fully improve binocular function.

In other words, surgery corrects the physical problem of alignment but doesn’t teach the eyes and brain to work together. That’s why vision therapy is often recommended for patients who have had strabismus surgery or are considering it.

5. Myth: I don’t need vision therapy, I have 20/20 eyesight

Fact: Vision therapy has little to do with eyesight, and everything to do with how your eyes function.

Even a person with 20/20 eyesight can have poor tracking skills, eye movement skills, depth perception, and other visual deficits.

In fact, you may have poor visual skills and not even know it. If you experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, eyestrain, or difficulty with concentrating and reading, it may be time to have your vision evaluated by a vision therapist to identify any underlying problems related to your visual skills.

To schedule a functional vision evaluation for you or your child, call VUE Vision Therapy Center today!

VUE Vision Therapy Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, York, and throughout Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

Q: #1: What is vision therapy?

  • A: Vision therapy is a program of [curtomized] eye exercises that are performed in-office with an at-home component as well. Vision therapy helps develop the visual system and trains the eyes and brain to work in unison. Duration of treatment varies from patient to patient, as each person responds differently. Speak to us to learn more about what we offer and how we can help.

Q:#2: Is vision therapy covered by insurance?

  • A: Vision therapy may be covered under major medical insurance plans (vision therapy is most often applied to a medical policy as opposed to a vision policy). However, certain insurance companies may deny or place severe limits on coverage for vision therapy as a cost-saving measure. When sorting out the insurance details for vision therapy, it’s important to know what questions to ask of your insurance agent or workplace HR department.


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4 Ways Vision May Be Affected Following A Stroke

headache womanAbout 2 in 3 stroke survivors live with some degree of visual dysfunction following the stroke. Although all brains are different and everybody reacts differently, 4 major categories of vision loss can be caused by a stroke.

A stroke can damage any segment of the neural pathway that connects the eyes to the brain or a section of the brain that processes the images the eyes send it. Damage to either area can lead to vision loss.

Stroke-related vision problems can make daily living a challenge, but there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from visual symptoms.

In honor of World Stroke Awareness Month, we’ll explore 4 types of stroke-related visual problems, and how VUE Vision Therapy Center can help.

1. Visual Field Loss

A stroke can damage certain areas of the brain responsible for either central or peripheral vision, causing a portion of the visual field to be lost, causing vision to be ‘blacked-out’ or have ‘blind spots.’

In most cases, the same area of the visual field is lost in both eyes. This condition is called homonymous visual field loss, meaning a person may not be able to see the right or left side of their visual field from each eye.

Affected individuals may have difficulty with reading and may bump into things located in their blind spots.

2. Visual Processing Difficulties

Sometimes, a person may be able to see everything in their visual field but will have problems processing that visual information. For example, they may have the ability to see another person’s face, but might not recognize it. They may also have difficulty identifying or interacting with common objects, affecting daily tasks such as making a cup of coffee.

Visual neglect is the most common type of visual processing problem. People with this condition aren’t aware that they aren’t seeing people or objects on the right or left side of their visual field.

3. Eye Movement Problems

A stroke can damage the delicate nerves that control the eyes’ movements. A person who cannot control their eye nerves may have difficulty moving their eyes in order to shift their focus from one object to the next or have trouble tracking moving objects.

Nystagmus (involuntary and rapid eye movements) is also a possible complication of ocular nerve damage.

If only one eye is affected, the patient will usually experience double or blurred vision. Whether one or both eyes are affected, poor depth perception can result from eye movement dysfunction.

4. Dry Eye Syndrome

Stroke-related muscle weakness is common, especially in the eyes and face. If this occurs, the eyelids may not be able to fully close during blinking or while asleep. This can lead to dry eye syndrome, causing symptoms like red, itchy, watery, burning eyes and light sensitivity.

Fortunately, many of these post-stroke visual symptoms are treatable with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

A customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program can help you return to your normal routine, or at least make daily life less challenging.

If you or a loved one have suffered a stroke, speak with Dr. Patrick Quaid, Dr. Hadassah Rutman, & Dr. Daniel Cunningham about getting your vision evaluated to identify deficiencies in the visual system. If a problem is found, we’ll help guide you through all of your treatment options for the best possible outcome.

To schedule your appointment or to learn more about what we offer, call VUE Vision Therapy Center today.

serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, York, and throughout Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

Q: #1: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a tailor-made program of visual exercises that train the eyes and brain to work together. Treatment can also include specialized lenses, prisms, and filters.

Q: #2: What other conditions can neuro-optometric rehabilitation treat?

  • A: Neuro-optometry can help patients with visual problems due to traumatic brain injury, stroke, physical disabilities and neurological conditions. A neuro-optometrist can help treat binocular vision disorders (BVD), strabismus, diplopia, oculomotor dysfunction, accommodation and convergence problems, and traumatic visual acuity loss.


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Boys With ADHD Are at Higher Risk for Brain Injury & Vision Problems

brother and sister 640Studies show that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in approximately 17% of males worldwide.

To determine whether there is a link between inattention-hyperactivity and TBIs, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry [analyzed] data from 724 Canadian males aged 6-34. They collected information, examined health files and administered a questionnaire to the participants’ teachers on classroom behavior.

This study is the first to show that childhood behaviors, such as inattention-hyperactivity, predicted TBIs. The study also found that boys having sustained a TBI in childhood were more likely to have another one in adolescence.

In addition to headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, TBIs can also impair one’s visual function, typically causing headaches, blurred and double vision, and dizziness, among other symptoms.

At VUE Vision Therapy Center, we help patients recover their vision through neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. By performing specific eye-training exercises designed to retrain the neural processes of the brain. This rewires the brain (neuroplasticity) and treats discomforts or struggles associated with visual dysfunction following a brain injury.

What Is a TBI and How Can It Affect Vision?

Traumatic brain injury is a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head, or harsh head injury, whether from a sports-related injury, fall, or car accident.

This can significantly impact the functioning of the visual system. While certain brain injuries may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, it’s more common for it to disrupt communication between the eyes and brain.

Post TBI visual problems may include:

  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Why Do Boys with Inattention & Hyperactivity Incur More Head Injuries Than Others?

While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and concussion, research shows a few connections.

Children and adults with ADHD tend to have poor impulse control, inattention, difficulty maintaining attention, and high energy levels, all of which places them at risk of getting a concussion.

Additionally, many children diagnosed with ADHD are encouraged to participate in sports to help with social interaction, self-esteem and hyperactivity. While this is beneficial on many levels, if they have poor visual-motor speed, or depth perception they’re more likely to collide with teammates, potentially causing a concussion.

Lastly, research also suggests that ADHD may involve problems with visual or auditory processing that may also contribute to the risk of concussion.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists offer a customized treatment regimen for people with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). It addresses problems related to eye teaming, tracking, and focusing that can make it difficult to read and complete tasks. By training the brain to communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like dizziness and headaches can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If your child exhibits ADHD behaviors and has experienced a concussion contact VUE Vision Therapy Center for a comprehensive eye exam. If vision problems are detected, we’ll offer a personalized treatment program to strengthen any lagging visual skills that may be getting in the way of your child’s quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid, Dr. Hadassah Rutman, & Dr. Daniel Cunningham

 

Q: What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation?

  • A: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation provides a personalized treatment regimen for those who have visual deficits caused by physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological insults. Neuro-optometry makes use of therapeutic prisms, lenses, filters, and specific vision therapy techniques to reteach the damaged parts of the brain to function better.

Q: How Are Vision Problems Found After a TBI?

  • A: Visual aberrations following a brain injury tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment, as the patient may have serious, life-threatening issues that require urgent medical attention. Furthermore, symptoms may not even present themselves until some time has passed following the injury. The earlier you see a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Optometrist, the better.Early diagnosis leads to more efficient treatment.


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Sports Eye Safety Month – How to Prevent Sports Injuries

skateboard 640Sporting goods stores are full of gear that protects wrists, knees, heads and shins from the impact of a fast-moving ball or a spill from a skateboard.

Unfortunately, many athletes forget that their eyes are just as vulnerable to sports injuries.

Approximately 40,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year, and many result in permanent vision loss.

The good news is that up to 90% of sports-related eye injuries are preventable if an athlete wears the correct protective eyewear.

At VUE Sports Vision Center we can help you minimize your risk of incurring an eye injury by helping you choose the proper protective eyewear and improving your visual skills.

What is Protective Eyewear?

Protective eyewear is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, which is very impact-resistant and also protects eyes from UV rays.

There are a variety of different types of protective eyewear for sports: face guards or masks, safety goggles and special eyewear designed for specific sports.

Your optometrist can provide protective eyewear with your prescription, or safety goggles that can be worn over your regular prescription glasses or contacts.

When Do I Need To Use Protective Eyewear?

Everyone, kids included, needs to use protective eyewear whenever practicing or playing a sport that comes with a risk of eye injury.

Some sports with a high risk of eye injury include:

  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Martial arts
  • Fencing
  • Hockey
  • Baseball and softball
  • Squash
  • Shooting
  • Archery

Other sports with a moderate risk of eye injury include:

  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Gymnastics
  • Skiing

All sports, whether they put your eyes at high or low risk of injury, require some type of protective eyewear.

Preventing Sports Injuries with Sports Vision Training

Another effective way to prevent sports-related injuries — and not just eye injuries — is sports vision training. A customized program of eye exercises, sports vision training hones the visual skills needed to play a specific sport. This program teaches the eyes and brain to work together more efficiently and process information faster during a game or race, preventing injuries as a result.

Take peripheral vision as an example. Subpar peripheral vision makes it difficult for athletes to see players or a ball coming toward them from the side. Good peripheral vision lowers the risk of collisions and reduces the likelihood of injury while improving athletic performance.

Whether you play basketball, baseball or tennis, peripheral vision provides athletes with a wide view of the people and objects around them, beyond their central vision.

Studies have shown that football players who participated in a sports vision program sustained fewer concussions. Vision therapy can also help athletes improve their reaction time, processing speed and hand-eye coordination.

At VUE Sports Vision Center, we offer safety eyewear and sports vision training to reduce your risk of injury and improve your vision. We treat any vision-related conditions you may have, so contact us to schedule an evaluation.

VUE Sports Vision Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, and York, all throughout Ontario.

Q&A

 

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is an individualized program that consists of a variety of exercises designed to improve and treat visual function.

Q: Should I or my child wear protective eyewear even if we don’t wear prescription glasses?

  • A: Yes! The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wearing protective eyewear for any sport where eye injuries can occur, even for athletes who don’t wear glasses or contacts. Studies show that protective eyewear does not affect a player’s sight and that some athletes play better because they are less afraid of suffering a serious eye injury.


Can Vision Therapy Help Myopia?

Can Vision Therapy Help Myopia 640You may have heard of vision therapy in the context of helping adults and children with a lazy eye, eye turn, or learning difficulties.

But did you know that in some cases, vision therapy may also be effective in preventing, reducing, or slowing myopia (nearsightedness)?

While it’s true that scientists haven’t yet found a cure for myopia, vision therapy may help by targeting certain contributing factors of myopia.

To assess whether vision therapy is right for your child, call VUE Vision Therapy Center in Guelph today.

But First, How Does Vision Therapy Work?

To give you a better sense of what vision therapy is, here are some facts. Vision therapy:

  • Is a non-invasive set of visual exercises tailored to your specific needs
  • May involve the use of specialized prisms or filters, computerized aids, balance beams, and other therapeutic tools
  • Trains the brain and eyes to work as a team
  • Develops visual skills like eye tracking, teaming, accommodation, convergence, visual processing, visual memory, focusing, and depth perception
  • May involve an at-home component, like daily visual exercises
  • Is evidence-based. Published data has shown that it can be an effective program to improve reading, learning, overall school and sports performance

How Does Vision Therapy Relate To Myopia?

While vision therapy may not be able to fully reverse or treat myopia, some nearsighted people appear to benefit from it.

Some vision therapists have reported patients’ myopia improvement during or after the vision therapy process. This may be due to a strengthened visual skill called accommodation—the eyes’ ability to maintain clear focus on objects. Poor focusing skills have been linked to myopia. In fact, research shows that having an accommodation lag (when the eyes can’t pull the focus inwards enough to clearly see a very close object) could be a risk factor for myopia development and progression. That said, it’s worth noting that research findings are still mixed on this matter.

Accommodative spasm, also known as “pseudo-myopia,” occurs when the eyes lock their focus on a near object and then have difficulty releasing the focus to view distant objects. The reason this is considered a false myopia is because it has to do with the focusing mechanism of the lens rather than the elongation of the eye, the main characteristic of myopia.

Pseudo-myopia can be treated with vision therapy, assuming the accommodation spasm is the only culprit for blurred distance vision. In this case, the patient may no longer need to wear prescription lenses for vision correction following a successful vision therapy program,

So what’s the bottom line?

In some cases, vision therapy may be able to improve a person’s blurry vision—but research on the subject is ongoing.

If you or your child has myopia and you’re curious as to whether vision therapy can help, schedule a functional visual assessment for your child.

To schedule your appointment with Dr. Patrick Quaid, Dr. Hadassah Rutman, & Dr. Daniel Cunningham, call VUE Vision Therapy Center today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

 

Q: #1: Who can benefit from vision therapy?

  • A: Children and adults with visual dysfunction can benefit from a personalized program of vision therapy. Visual dysfunction can manifest in many ways, including—but not limited to—behavioral and learning problems, coordination difficulties, headaches, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and attention deficits.

Q: #2: Do all optometrists offer vision therapy?

  • A: No. You should only seek vision therapy from a qualified optometrist experienced in offering vision therapy for a variety of visual disorders. Other types of therapists sometimes claim to offer vision therapy, but only an eye doctor can prescribe the necessary visual treatments for optimal results.
  • VUE Vision Therapy Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, York, and throughout Ontario.

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What’s the Connection Between Sleep Apnea, Concussion, and Your Vision?

Sleep Apnea 640A recent comprehensive sleep study on people with post-concussion syndrome showed that 78% were diagnosed with sleep apnea.

What came first: the concussion or sleep apnea? Determining the answer can be difficult. People who don’t get enough sleep already exhibit some of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome even when they haven’t had one.

What we do know is that there is a connection between sleep apnea and concussion. Sleep apnea affects the recovery from a concussion, and at the same time, the condition may result from a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Where does vision come in?

Sleep Apnea and Concussions

For those having sustained a concussion, sleep is very important for a speedy and thorough recovery. A poor night’s sleep, as in the case of sleep apnea, may lead to impaired decision-making, cognitive loss, and symptoms of depression—all of which can interrupt the recovery process.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep apnea, is caused by a physical collapse or blockage of the upper airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This also reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, making it difficult for those with a concussion to recover.

A lesser known type of apnea is central sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, this type is caused by a dysfunction in the brain that regulates breathing and sleep, which could also be affected by a TBI.

Sleep Apnea and Vision

As we all know, getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health. There are a number of eye conditions that are exacerbated by poor sleep patterns and therefore may be associated with sleep apnea.

These include:

  • Floppy eyelid syndrome
  • Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy
  • Papilledema
  • Glaucoma
  • Swelling of the optic nerve
  • Retinal conditions

Getting your eyes checked regularly is important as it allows your eye doctor to rule out any eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss. This is all the more important if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Concussions and Vision

Concussions can have a significant impact on the functioning of the visual system. Post-trauma vision syndrome is a group of symptoms that cause eye coordination problems, dizziness, and blurred vision after a concussion.

The symptoms of post-trauma vision syndrome can include:

  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Severe concussions can cause double vision and blindness, while mild concussions can affect vision and cause visual dysfunction.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists can help post-TBI patients in ways that other health care providers may not be able to.

Neuro-optometry deals with how the visual system impacts daily functioning. By training the brain to control and communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like headaches and dizziness can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If you have experienced a concussion or suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact VUE Vision Therapy Center to follow up on a diagnosis and treatment for any vision problems you may be having due to either condition.

VUE Vision Therapy Center serves patients from Guelph, North York, Kitchener, and York, all throughout Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Quaid

Q: What’s the connection between sleep apnea, concussion, and your vision?

  • A: After sustaining a concussion, you may begin to experience sleep apnea. This not only affects the healing process but your vision as well.

Q: Is there a way to treat vision problems due to a concussion?

  • A: Yes. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can retrain the brain to relieve dizziness, headaches, double vision, and other TBI-related problems.


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