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Welcome To The Vision Therapy Centre Spectrum Family Eyecare In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Vision is all about the way our brains and eyes interact. Whether we're reading words on the board, catching a ball, or tying our shoelaces, we depend on our visual system to work properly in order to succeed so many tasks.

That's because vision isn’t just what we see, it’s how we interpret and interact with that information. In fact, you can have perfect visual acuity―able to rattle off all the symbols on the reading chart―but still struggle with dyslexia, poor focus, hand-eye coordination, or vision conditions like strabismus, amblyopia, or convergence insufficiency.

child covering one eye with leaf
Welcome To The Vision Therapy Centre Spectrum Family Eyecare In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Vision is all about the way our brains and eyes interact. Whether we’re reading words on the board, catching a ball, or tying our shoelaces, we depend on our visual system to work properly in order to succeed so many tasks.

That’s because vision isn’t just what we see, it’s how we interpret and interact with that information. In fact, you can have perfect visual acuity―able to rattle off all the symbols on the reading chart―but still struggle with dyslexia, poor focus, hand-eye coordination, or vision conditions like strabismus, amblyopia, or convergence insufficiency.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy helps patients improve their foundation for reading, learning and playing sports. It’s a series of custom and individualized activities and exercises which function as a form of neuro-optometric rehabilitation.

In other words, Vision Therapy re-trains the brain to more effectively interact with the eyes and therefore improve vision functioning. The goal is to enhance eye tracking, focusing and eye teaming abilities as well as eye-hand coordination and visual processing speed.

The program is not only for children. Vision Therapy is effective for adults, especially if they are motivated to improve their visual abilities.

3 children squinting
What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy helps patients improve their foundation for reading, learning and playing sports. It’s a series of custom and individualized activities and exercises which function as a form of neuro-optometric rehabilitation.

In other words, Vision Therapy retrains the brain to more effectively interact with the eyes and therefore improve vision functioning. The goal is to enhance eye tracking, focusing and eye teaming abilities as well as eye-hand coordination and visual processing speed.

The program is not only for children. Vision Therapy is effective for adults, especially if they are motivated to improve their visual abilities.

frustrated child at school. Click here to Take our vision quiz

Common Conditions That Vision Therapy Helps

Your Saskatoon Developmental Optometrist can help with lazy eye (amblyopia), eye turns (strabismus), traumatic brain injury (concussion, whiplash) and special needs populations. Research has shown that 20% of children have a vision issue that affects their learning.

Amblyopia

What Is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye," is when there is a significant difference in power between the eyes. This is often, but not always, caused by an alignment or eye-teaming problem such as strabismus.

Some common symptoms and problems associated with lazy eye are:

  • Poor depth perception
  • Head tilting
  • Social stigma
  • Slow reading*

*According to a study published on November 2015 by the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, children with amblyopia read slower 42 words per minute than children without amblyopia that read 81 words per minute.

Treatment for Amblyopia

It’s not about the “bad” eye! Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is best treated by Vision Therapy.

First, the source of the amblyopia must be identified. When indicated, eyeglasses are prescribed. Many eye doctors, particularly pediatric ophthalmologists, begin treatment by patching the "good" eye. However, numerous studies have indicated that patching has been proven to be ineffective! Likewise, some doctors recommend atropine eye drops. However, atropine eye drops merely address the symptoms and not the neuro-optometric cause itself.

The common approach treats the problem as a problem in that one eye. Treating one eye may improve the acuity (being able to see letters on a chart) for a while, but often reverts and regresses.

The developmental approach taken by Vision Therapists realizes that amblyopia is really not an eye problem, but rather a problem of not being able to use the two eyes together as a team (eye-teaming). This approach is therefore often much more successful. In the same way that it was difficult for a parent to identify if someone had the problem to begin with, it is often difficult for them to know if an eye doctor's recommendation to patch the eye is really working. They, therefore, may be losing time with an ineffective and outdated treatment plan.

Amblyopia does not go always away on its own, and it can significantly affect a child’s ability to learn and thrive socially in school. Untreated amblyopia can lead to permanent visual problems and poor depth perception. To prevent this and to give your child the best vision possible, amblyopia should be treated early by vision therapy.

At What Age Can Vision Therapy Treat Amblyopia?

An old axiom that is still believed by many eye doctors is that amblyopia must be detected and aggressively treated before the age of 8 or 9. In reality, treatment for amblyopia or lazy eye is effective for adults too. A child’s visual system is more malleable at a younger age, potentially making treatment quicker or easier. However, adults with amblyopia or “lazy eye” tend to be more motivated patients. Improved eye teaming is nearly always achievable.

Strabismus

What Is Strabismus?

Strabismus, often referred to as “Crossed Eyes”, “Wandering Eyes”, or “Wall Eye” is a condition where the eyes fail to align properly. Beyond the social stigma, strabismus often results in other vision and visual processing problems such as diplopia (double-vision), amblyopia ("lazy eye") and problems with depth perception. A major concern for developmental optometrists is that strabismus is not as simple to diagnose as a visual check. In fact, you can have strabismus without any obvious crossing or eye turn.

What Kind Of Strabismus Are There?

There are four kinds of strabismus, two horizontal and two vertical:

  • Esotropia: one or both eyes turn in, relative to the other 
  • Exotropia: one or both eyes turn out, relative to the other
  • Hypertropia: one eye turns up relative to the fixating eye
  • Hypotropia: one eye turns up relative to the fixating eye
Treatment for Strabismus

All too often, parents are told not to worry about their child's strabismus symptoms, reassured that their child will 'grow out of it'. Unfortunately, in many cases, the symptoms of the problem do not improve as the child grows, and meanwhile, strabismus causes significant difficulties with reading and learning. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the eye-turn, and may include:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Vision Therapy
  • Prism Therapy
  • Eye muscle surgery

Eye muscle surgery can sometimes make the eyes appear to others as if it is straight, but it rarely aligns with the other eye, and, despite undergoing the surgery, the visual challenges associated with strabismus may persist without additional therapy.  A program of Vision Therapy for children or adults is usually required in order to improve visual function and the ability to properly use the two eyes together as a team.

Convergence Insufficiency

What Is Convergence Insufficiency?

Convergence Insufficiency is a neuro-visual condition where the eyes fail to come together (to converge) enough to achieve proper visual perception. The condition is particularly related to near-vision or near-center and visually demanding activities. This can result in:

  • Poor school performance and behavioral problems
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Diplopia (double-vision)
  • Asthenopia (eye strain and fatigue)
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Difficulty reading and concentrating
  • Avoidance of “near” work
  • Poor sports performance
  • Dizziness or motion sickness
A Study...

A study of almost 700 5th and 6th graders indicated that convergence insufficiency is much more common than many assumed, with 13% of students having convergence insufficiency, as well as demonstrating that, of the children who showed three signs of convergence insufficiency, 79% were classified as having accommodative insufficiency as well.

Treatment for Convergence Insufficiency

Eye coordination problems such as convergence insufficiency and convergence excess generally cannot be improved with eyeglasses or surgery. Likewise, research demonstrates that the traditional focus exercise often called "pencil push-ups" are ineffective. The only consistently effective treatment for convergence insufficiency is office-based Vision Therapy, which will improve eye coordination abilities and reduce symptoms and discomfort when doing close work.

Video Introducing Vision Therapy to Parents

Video Introducing Vision Therapy to Parents


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What Our Patients Are Saying...

Meet Our Vision Therapy Optometrist

8c882f9c-4203-4d72-a23d-caa0647056a5.jpeg

Dr. John Skorski

Dr. Skorski is an advocate for patient-centred care and education. He is a devoted husband and proud father of 3 awesome young adults. He is an avid Rider fan, Marvel movie junky, and all-around computer nerd. We dare you to ask him about Linux!...

Questions And Answers

Is There an Age Limit to Vision Therapy?

No. There is no age limit because of the brain’s neuroplasticity. Our brains are dynamic and flexible. Just like training a muscle or playing an instrument, the more we practice and hone our ability and memory, the more skillful we become. Children's brains are more malleable than adults, and for this reason, it is assumed that children will have better results with Vision Therapy. While true, adults possess a strong motivation to make the treatment plan a success, and we successfully treat patients of all ages.

What Are Symptoms To Look Out For?

Teachers, parents, and adults should learn to be on the lookout for the symptoms listed below as they may indicate a vision issue. 

  • Lazy Eye, cross eye, double vision 
  • Difficulty Reading 
  • Poor Classroom Performance 
  • Difficulty staying focused 
  • Strabismus
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Constant squinting/head tilting
  • Uses fingers to read
  • Favors one eye over the other 
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulties with geometric shapes
  • Headaches after reading or computer work 
  • Feeling of fatigue after reading or using the computer
Meet Our Vision Therapy Optometrist
8c882f9c-4203-4d72-a23d-caa0647056a5.jpeg

Dr. John Skorski

Dr. Skorski is an advocate for patient-centred care and education. He is a devoted husband and proud father of 3 awesome young adults. He is an avid Rider fan, Marvel movie junky, and all-around computer nerd. We dare you to ask him about Linux!...
Questions And Answers
Is There an Age Limit to Vision Therapy?

No. There is no age limit because of the brain’s neuroplasticity. Our brains are dynamic and flexible. Just like training a muscle or playing an instrument, the more we practice and hone our ability and memory, the more skillful we become. Children's brains are more malleable than adults, and for this reason, it is assumed that children will have better results with Vision Therapy. While true, adults possess a strong motivation to make the treatment plan a success, and we successfully treat patients of all ages.

What Are Symptoms To Look Out For?

Teachers, parents, and adults should learn to be on the lookout for the symptoms listed below as they may indicate a vision issue. 

  • Lazy Eye, cross eye, double vision 
  • Difficulty Reading 
  • Poor Classroom Performance 
  • Difficulty staying focused 
  • Strabismus
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Constant squinting/head tilting
  • Uses fingers to read
  • Favors one eye over the other 
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulties with geometric shapes
  • Headaches after reading or computer work 
  • Feeling of fatigue after reading or using the computer

Serving Patients From:
Serving Patients From:

Saskatoon | Prince Albert | Lloydminster | Regina | and the province of Saskatchewan

Read More about Vision Therapy:

  • Amblyopia, commonly referred to as Lazy Eye, occurs when the brain and the eye are not working in unison, resulting in a decreased vision in an eye that otherwise seems healthy. For the last few hundred years, one of the principal documented non-surgical treatments for individuals suffering from amblyopia has been eyepatch therapy.
  • The offers vision therapy to effectively treat amblyopia (lazy eye) in children and adults alike using the latest, proven methods of neuro-optometric therapy and developmental optometry—generally referred to as Vision Therapy. Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye”, is a condition where the brain and eyes are not functioning together in unison the way they should. This results in a loss of vision, usually as a significant difference in power between the eyes.
  • Take our brief Vision Assessment to help determine if your child is a candidate for Vision Therapy.