The American Optometric Association agrees that current research proves the old theory wrong. The success rate does drop off as one gets older, but age should not be a barrier. The longer the condition has existed the more difficult it becomes to treat, but may be treated.
VISION THERAPY SUCCESS STORIES▼
Going into Vision Therapy, I did not expect much. I was 38 and I figured that maybe I could learn a few tricks to control my lazy eye. After a few sessions of vision therapy I now realize that my world was flat and dull. Before, I had sight, now I have depth and richness in my vision. Vision Therapy changed the way I experience life.
~ Elbert, 38
Taryn experienced headaches and had difficulty focusing on reading, classroom activities and homework after just a short period of time. We had conferences regularly with her teacher, engaged a private tutor, and Taryn met with the school counselor for academic testing and evaluation. The results of this testing led to a consultation, and treatment, with Dr Chun. I must admit that when Vision Therapy was recommended for Taryn we were skeptical because we knew little about it, but after Taryn' first examination and then our conference with Dr Chun, we became very excited and hopeful that Vision Therapy could be the answer to many years of frustration for Taryn and us, her parents as well.
Following vision therapy Taryn's ability to focus on reading and school work has increased dramatically. Homework each evening in the past was a painful process, but now she stays on task and gets it done in a fraction of the time and without frustration.
~ Jeanine, mother of Taryn, 12
Danielle was having a hard time reading. Even the simplest words gave her trouble. She had one on one help on a daily basis with no results. I took her to be tested for dyslexia, which she has. The tests also showed a possible tracking problem. Now Danielle loves to read. She can consistently read words once she has learned them, whereas before she read "sat" and when it came again in the next sentence, she would struggle to figure out what it was. She has more stamina when reading.
I feel Vision Therapy was treatment I could not deny my child. Had I not put her in Therapy, I am positive her reading level would still be at a 1st Grade level. Plus she would not love to read.
~ Sheryl, mother of Danielle, 8
She hated to read out loud, but she usually got 100% on spelling tests. Everyone thought my child was just lazy, because she could spell so well. The teacher would get angry at her. Now she'll read out loud, and helps her little brother with his reading. She has more self-esteem now.
~ Sherry, mother of Rachel, 9
Josh would tell me every week his eyes would hurt and he complained of headaches if he was watching TV or reading and when doing homework. Teachers at school told me that Josh would have to repeat Kindergarten because he was so behind on everything in school. I took him to the eye doctor for a check up. She said he could do without glasses. Six months later I met Dr. Chun. Since starting Vision Therapy, he is doing better in school with his reading and writing. He's no longer reversing his letters and numbers.
~ Nancy, mother of Josh, 7
We felt upset and hurt for our daughter. We weren't sure there was an answer to her problem. We felt like we were hitting our heads against a brick wall when she would struggle with reading. I felt failure as a parent, not being able to help my child, and sadness for her struggle. The difference now is amazing. Her headaches decreased significantly. She no longer uses her finger to follow the words. Comprehension has improved, and she can read for long periods.
~ Cheron, mother of Hailey, 9
I would get headaches after just 10-15 minutes of reading. I always assumed my headaches were due to stress or my neck problems, so I continued to seek treatment with my chiropractor and cranial sacral therapist. As far as the slow reading, I labeled myself as a slow learner. Before vision therapy, my life was very stressful. I just started going to a new college: the transition was not as smooth as I expected. I couldn't keep up with the reading, and my reading comprehension was slow. I struggled in my Abnormal Psychology class (the exams were all based on reading). I had no choice but to drop the class with a "W" (I never had to do that before) because I kept continuing to fail the exams, not matter how much I read or made outlines of the chapters. Then, I was only taking 12 units.
Now my life is much more at ease. I can't believe it but I made it through this semester of 18 units. I had no headaches and reading comprehension was smooth. Life is much less stressful now. I didn't realize before what a strain my vision problems were causing me until now. I must admit that at the very beginning I was hesitant about going through vision therapy because of the time commitment and simply because my faith in therapeutic practices (i.e. chiropractor and my cranial sacral therapist) have been declining, but this worked and I only wish I had discovered this vision problem earlier on during elementary school because my life would have been easier.
~ Akemi, 21
Dee Dee had a hard time in school. She was tested to be 2 grade levels below in reading ability. She had difficulty drawing geometric shapes, and she also had difficulty reading. The words on the page seemed to roam. In piano, Dee could not read the notes. She would play everything by ear. She is now able to follow the lines.
We took her to get a vision test. We also took her to academic testing. Dee Dee is home schooled, we also changed the curriculum a number of times, trying to find a right fit.
After vision therapy her self esteem has jumped by leaps and bounds. Grades have jumped higher also. Confidence is no longer a factor. Dee now believes she can do it all. She loves to read. Loves practicing piano. Dee is in 7th grade. She is taking a high school chemistry class. She got a B+ on her first exam. It was the highest grade in her class. She is still smiling at that it happened over two weeks ago.
~ Kathleen, mother of Constance, 13
David was in 5th grade, and reading at a 2nd Grade level. He loved being read to, but struggled at reading to himself. In testing him for placement in a computer school curriculum, he had difficulty reading the instructions on the screen.
He now reads to himself. His reading out loud is more fluent. He reads things spontaneously instead of guessing what is written.
~ Tom, father of David, 10
Before therapy, Sarah could read for a few minutes at a time. She got very frustrated with reading. Words were "moving" all around. She couldn't read the work on the chalkboard. Sarah also experienced headaches almost every day.
I took her to several optometrists. Nobody know what to do to help her. I was very frustrated.
After vision therapy Sarah's eye tracking has improved dramatically. She is now able to read a book without the words/letters jumping' around. Also, she can now read from the blackboard without straining her eyes. She rarely gets headaches anymore. Sarah finally got the help she needed!
~ Katherine, mother of Sarah, 12
Before we took our daughter to vision therapy, she was doing poorly in school. Her self-esteem was low, and she didn't read very well. Now she is doing much better in school. Before, she would take hours to do her homework. Now she sits down for homework and she gets done right away. She seems to concentrate better on everything that she does. We are very pleased and thankful that we were able to find and treat the problem.
~ Flor, mother of Cynthia, 10 From age 5
I experienced headaches almost daily. I was given eye exams, but was told my vision was fine. My condition went undiagnosed until Dr. Chun gave me a thorough exam and noticed my eye teaming problem. He said that was probably the cause of my headaches all these years! Every few years I would have an eye exam hoping that my vision was finally bad enough that they would give me glasses. Each time they said my vision was fine and I went away frustrated. I knew my headaches were related to my eyes, but no one understood how. I just lived on Tylenol, Advil and Motrin to relieve the headaches.
Once I was told what was causing my headaches and that there wasn't surgery or glasses that could help me, I was very frustrated. I thought that meant I would just have to live the rest of my life with a daily headache. When Dr Chun told me about vision therapy, I was happy and scared at the same time. I knew it meant there wasn't an easy fix, but that I would have to work for it. When I thought about my first 30 years of life with headaches, I decided that a few months of therapy was well worth it if the rest of my life could be normal. My family encouraged me to start right away and I'm glad I did.
The first improvement was that I no longer got headaches. I realized after a few weeks of therapy that they were already gone. I also notice that I am not as tired and irritable at the end of the day. I know my eyes are now working the way they should which takes a lot of strain off my eyes and relieves a lot of anxiety and pressure.
~ Leah, 31
Nathan would tire easily, be very frustrated that the words moved on the page. He would try to cover one eye to compensate, he would see double and that freaked him out at times. He felt left out because other kids were reading and he could not. He had a bad attitude about reading. I was angry and frustrated too, and thought it was me doing something wrong or me being too hard on him.
Since Vision Therapy, Nathan has gained self confidence, he has a desire to read, and he knows he has better control of his eyes. I feel that if you see signs of a reading problem you should get tested as early as possible. Even if you don't see any signs of a vision problem, you should have your child's vision checked before starting school. Don't just check for 20/20, go to a developmental optometrist to check if tracking, eye teaming, and focusing are working before you start to have problems with reading.
Now Nathan is aware of his eyes more and is able to stay focused. He can read faster and smoother and has a good attitude about reading.
~ Laurie, mother of Nathan, 9
Weston was rubbing his eyes a lot, as a result he had chronic styes. Previous to therapy, Weston had depth perception problems which affected his ability to play basketball, to catch the ball he often used his chest then he would hold the ball against his torso. It was also quite a chore for him to stay focused when reading, he needed many breaks due to tired eyes.
Now Weston wants to read everything! He loves chapter books now (he is 7 years old). Before, it was a chore to get him to read for his homework. We notice he is a much more confident player in sports and seems focused now. Weston no longer rubs his eyes. I haven't treated a stye since vision therapy started being a part of our routine.
~ Karyn, mother of Weston, 7
His first grade teacher thought there was something wrong. "He's obviously intelligent," she said. "He tries very hard, but he's not getting the results he should be getting. I think you should get his eyes checked again."
The optometrist was all smiles and very reassuring. He'd used the standard tests for 20/20 vision and color perception. "No problems," he said. "His eyes are fine."
Great! His eyes weren't the problem. We worked extra hard at home, but the gap between his effort and results continued into second grade. His teacher recommended that he be tested for learning disabilities. He did very poorly on those tests and was admitted to the Resource program. He was evidently leaning disabled, but what? How? One Resource teacher got quite depressed. "So much effort here and so little progress" she said.
A friend once told me: "You only know what you know."
During this period my son's mother and I were going through the process of divorce, and a psychologist was appointed by the court to help with the children's transition. After the very first session she said of my son, "I don't think his eyes are working properly. Have you heard of vision therapy?" No, but this was our lucky day. The psychologist put us in touch with Dr. Albert K. Chun, an optometrist and vision therapist at South Bay Optometry in Torrance.
VDr. Chun tested our son. He found that his eyes were incapable of focusing far and then re-focusing near with any kind of speed, making copying from board to paper a very difficult task. He found that his eyes could not track evenly, causing him to skip lines and words. Reading was tough, and tests where questions were answered by filling in spaces or circles were like trying to catch soap bubbles for him. He could miss long columns of answers, unable to line them up properly.
Twenty-two weeks of vision therapy later he began doing much better in school. He is now a fifth grader reading at a seventh grade level. He still has some spelling problems, but he's much improved and, significantly, his self-esteem is still intact, thanks to the wonderful, caring teachers at his elementary school.
If only the tests for eye teaming, focusing and tracking had been added to the usual eye tests given, what a bright world this could have been much earlier. The teachers did their job, but you only know what you know. This additional information must be provided to teachers, children and parents. There are kids that pass the current 20/20 eye exam in schools, and these children can't "see".
~ John, father of Rik, 11
At school, my son used to reverse letters, while reading he would jump from one line to the next. Even while copying one word he would misspell it.
At sports, my son could not catch a ball or ride his bike, and this was very frustrating for the both of us. He used to cry, and said "I can't do it Mom, I can't do it." He also didn't know right from left. Two years ago I took my son to an optometrist and he was diagnosed with astigmatism. The Dr. said that my son was young and he was going to grow out of it.
As parents, all we want is for our kids to do good in school. I used to talk to friends and relatives about the problems my son was having at school. And their advice was "Don't worry, he's going to grow out of it."
And let me tell you, I wasted 5 precious years. Before Vision Therapy, homework was a punishment for me and my son. I used to yell at him for misspelling the same word for the 5th time. Vision Therapy changed my son's life completely for the better.
Now he knows his right from his left, and can catch the ball. He can read without jumping lines, therefore the stories or books he reads now make sense. And riding his bike is a dream come true for him.
~ Maria, mother of Rikkardo, 8
Rylie would mainly complain about constant headaches and how sore her eyes would feel. The more she read the worse the symptoms would become. Before we realized what the problem was, we thought it could just be fixed with glasses. After meeting with Dr. Chun, we realized that the glasses were not enough to fix her problem. Vision Therapy was needed and a short time later Rylie was cured of her vision condition that caused her headaches.
~ Dana , mother of Rylie, 12
I think that the vision therapy was a very successful program. When I first started vision therapy I had headaches, sore eyes, struggling with reading and more. When I couldn't keep up with my class in reading, I got a little stressed out. When I went in for my appointment with Dr. Chun, he told me that I had trouble controlling my eyes. He suggested vision therapy and I tried it.
After therapy was over I saw a huge improvement, in school and at home. It started off with no more headaches, then no more sore eyes, and finally my progress in reading went from low to high. I encourage you to try the Vision Therapy Program.
~ Rylie, 12
Kaitlyn has had problems with handwriting. She tends to have difficulty with letter size, spacing, writing on a straight line. She is a poor speller despite her advanced reading level. She tends to skip words when reading, although it doesn't interfere with comprehension. She also has difficulty with transcribing words from one list to another, board to paper etc.
She has poor body awareness (appears clumsy), she's unorganized and has difficulty staying on task.
At the age of two, Kaitlyn was evaluated by an opthamologist due to low visual acuity. An MRI was done to rule out any neuro masses. At age 8 she was seen by an optometrist and fitted for glasses.
Kaitlyn was recommended for testing to rule out ADD. She was evaluated by three educational psychologists. It was recommended that she have a developmental eye exam due to an overall weakness in visual-spatial and visual-motor skills. Since Vision Therapy, we have noticed a big difference in tennis (her timing has improved so much!) and softball. Kaitlyn is doing very well in school this year. Her handwriting has improved. She states she is able to copy from the board faster. She is able to read her music better, she also says that her vision is clearer. What she likes best is that she learned to strategize and approach her school work and sports differently (Using a broader view).
I wish we had detected this problem sooner, then Kaitlyn would have not encountered so many problems. She would become very frustrated, especially with her spelling, writing and drawing. Starting Vision Therapy in the summer prepared her for school in the fall. We have heard only positive reports from her teachers this year. I feel her self esteem has improved so much and she seems less focused on small details and views things more globally, which allows her creativity to emerge. She has taken a different approach to solving problems she says Colleen has taught her strategy to tackle a hard problem.
~ Iris, mother of Kaitlyn, 9
Before therapy I had headaches everyday, and it made me not want to do my school work. I also had problems seeing the tennis ball at night. Now, after therapy, I don't have headaches and it isn't hard for me to do my homework. I also can see the ball at night, and that has improved my tennis game. I have no dizziness, and my eyes aren't so tired. I am able to concentrate better.
~ Jayme, 16
Mari-Elizabeth, prior to Vision Therapy, had low self-esteem, she didn't want to read, she couldn't write a sentence with more than one word spelled correctly. She had to search around the classroom for b's and d's to know how to write them correctly. She would put her shoes on the wrong feet. Often, she'd read and completely miss 2 or 3 paragraphs.
I asked the school if they could help me determine what type of problem my child was experiencing. I would have her eyes examined twice per year. I purchased supplemental work to help her understand. I asked the teacher questions about things she noticed with my child in class. I prayed a lot. I asked anyone I thought could help me if the knew any Doctor who could help me help my child with the dyslexia.
Following vision therapy, she now enjoys reading. She has much more confidence in herself. She's happy! She spells much better. She's now all that we knew she was, but now she really knows and feels like it too. She's simply phenomenal. Thank-you Dr Chun. You created a miracle for us.
~ Robin, mother of Mari-Elizabeth, 9
Before vision therapy I didn't understand how the eyes worked. I know now how to focus my eyes properly and the exercises have strengthened them. I really don't know how I've gotten along all these years without being able to see properly. I thought I was accident prone as a kid, but now I realize I just wasn't able to see properly. I am enjoying reading for the first time in my life. If you are considering vision therapy, start as soon as you can.
~ Lisa, 38
Before I began vision therapy, I noticed difficulties with driving and focusing my eyes from far to near. My reading abilities were always slow, but I thought this was normal. As years passed, I developed excruciating headaches which got worse over time. I never liked to read because it would take too long and, in addition, I would get the headaches. In 1995, I began to have migraines and I saw a neurologist who took a lot of tests. I was put on migraine medication which didn't help me. I became accustomed to having headaches all day.
Now, thanks to vision therapy I can enjoy reading, without straining my eyes and without getting headaches! I am able to drive and focus my eyes. I can concentrate and pay attention in school much more easily.
I do want to say that in beginning of therapy, my eyes hurt and sometimes, I had even worse headaches. Dr. Chun told me that, in my case, the painful headaches in the beginning were to be expected but that they would diminish after 3-4 weeks. He was right. The headaches went away and it was worth it!
Previous to vision therapy, my son, Justin, was having serious difficulties at school. He was failing. He couldn't see the letters or words on the blackboard or up close. He had difficulty using his eyes together and focusing up close. He couldn't see what he needed to in order to copy for homework or schoolwork in the classroom.
Before we came to Dr. Chun, my son had eye exams at school and with our family doctor. He had a full vision exam as a toddler and that eye doctor told us to wait and see whether he would get better.<
Following vision therapy, Justin has improved from a child who hated school to one who is willing -- even eager -- to go to school. He now has the ability to use both of his eyes together. He is able to read without headaches. He no longer cries when asked to read or perform tasks up close. Previously he would fight with us when asked to do anything which required close vision.
Thanks to vision therapy, Justin now enjoys putting puzzles together, playing ball and even the computer is fun for him. He is happier and more self-assured.
~ Kathy, mother of Justin
My daughter, Eleanor, was really struggling in school. She could not read. She was put into a special education class and was spending a great deal of time away from her regular class. Her self-esteem was very low.
Vision therapy has helped Eleanor feel good about herself. Now, she can read! She reads books by herself and is rapidly catching up on the things she has missed the last year of school. Her handwriting has improved and she remembers what she has read. She can read without following the lines with a ruler or her finger.
We feel that Eleanor has gained control of her life, self-esteem and education as a result of going through vision therapy. She looks forward to doing things every day, because she knows she can do them.
~ Heather (mother of Eleanor)
Before vision therapy, Sherri had great difficulties with reading. She couldn't stay on one line. She had difficulties copying from the chalkboard to paper as well as back and forth from paper to paper, side by side. Her eyes would tire easily. She got headaches and was very frustrated. She was falling behind in school subjects that required reading and comprehension.
Before I brought Sherri to Dr. Chun, I had asked other eye doctors about her focusing problems and I was told that her focusing would be improved by reading and getting older. This did not seem to be the case.
Now, I am amazed at how much Sherri has improved in reading, comprehension and writing as a result of vision therapy. Sherri no longer has the difficulties I described in the first paragraph. She is doing her homework without a lot of help. Her English teacher has commented that she is getting more involved with reading. All her teachers have said that she's not asking as many questions and is doing more on her own.
If vision therapy is recommended, I would say, "Start right away!" My daughter's confidence and ability to want to read NOW can not compare to what it used to be before she went through vision therapy. Before vision therapy, she struggled constantly hated to read and write. She was constantly frustrated and irritable. Now, she enjoys reading for pleasure and her handwriting and school grades have improved.
~ Elizabeth (mother of Sherri)