Visual problems most commonly seen with patients in my office are binocular vision disorders. When speaking with parents or patients, I refer to binocular vision disorders as eye- teaming problems because this term is more easily understood. So, binocular vision disorders and eye-teaming problems are two terms that mean the same thing: two eyes (binocular vision) not working together as a team. A person with eye-teaming problems will experience various symptoms: headaches, blurred vision or double vision, nausea after reading, and more. A child in school expected to perform a good deal of reading (including homework pages), might report that the words are “moving” or “swimming” on the page. Because of this, they are likely to read slowly since the vision problem makes the task of reading so arduous.
Two types of eye-teaming problems are Convergence Excess and Convergence Insufficiency. With Convergence Excess, a person’s eyes OVER-converge when reading or doing any sort of near work (homework, coloring, needlepoint, etc.). With Convergence Insufficiency, a person’s eyes don’t converge well enough to read easily (or perform any other sort of near-vision task).
Below are two testimonials from parents of patients – one who had Convergence Excess and one who had Convergence Insufficiency. Both cases were initially estimated by me to take between 7 – 10 months to complete—both completed with success at the end of just 7 months. Additionally, both patients had some tracking problems to remediate. I hope these testimonials will help parents/patients considering vision therapy. I’ve changed the name of each patient for privacy.
“John” came to our office with Convergence Excess, poor tracking, mildly inadequate focusing flexibility, and some suppression (his brain would suppress visual input from one eye when the visual system overloaded). After 7 months of therapy, his parents said this:
“After a few weeks of enlisting in this program, our son showed marked improvement in a whole host of areas. Two of the most immediate of these were independent reading and improved results at school. John had never show a desire to read independently, but after going to VT (vision therapy), he would routinely pick up books and read by himself for a significant period of time. His scores in math and English at school also improved almost immediately as did his critical thinking and problem solving abilities. We noticed a general increase in John’s overall maturity level and we believe it had to do with his ability to perceive and see things more clearly.”
“Jane” came to our office with Convergence Insufficiency and tracking problems. In school she struggled with reading slowly and had trouble completing school work. Her mother, a teacher, was concerned that Jane’s teacher wanted to label Jane as ADD. Jane’s mother felt the root of the problem wasn’t attention deficiency and at the recommendation of another optometrist, had Jane tested at my office. After completing a program of 7 month of vision therapy, Jane’s mother wrote this:
“I truly had no idea how beneficial vision therapy would be for our 11 year old daughter. When we were referred to Dr. Cantwell, I was apprehensive because I had no idea what vision therapy was or why it was needed. Dr. Cantwell thoroughly tested our daughter and determined a course for her. After about 7 months of therapy, our daughter is finishing and I can’t believe the results. Where she could not focus on one point, she can. Where she could not read more than a chapter without getting sick, she’s reading five! Her car sickness has diminished and her unwillingness to do homework. I truly and firmly believe that any child who struggles with homework or reading or attitude towards school should be tested for vision issues. I am so thrilled with the results our daughter achieved with Dr. and Mrs. Cantwell and their team. I am grateful every day! Also, as a teacher, I believe all teachers should be introduced to the issues that can arise with kids when they have vision troubles.”