Stories with Vision

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Throughout my adolescence I always knew there was something wrong with my eyes.  This resulted in difficulties throughout elementary and high school.  I had gone to the optometrist numerous times in an attempt to figure out if it was my eyesight that was causing problems.  During my visits there were never any outcomes that demonstrated that I had no known eye issues. Always 20/20.

Due to the lack of information from the optometrist, I continued struggling with many simple tasks in and out of school.  I had a grade 6 reading level in high school and my hand writing looked like I was in grade 4.  I had major issues with sitting still and paying attention.  I even remember a teacher in elementary school taking masking tape and making a box around my desk because I fidgeted so much that my whole desk would move.  The school tested me and I was diagnosed with Dyslexia.  Due to this misdiagnosis I became overwhelmed and developed anxiety as well as depression.

Half way through grade 10 I ended up in the hospital due to a major mental break dwon.  While in the hospital one of the doctors noticed that I constantly fidgeted and had me tested for ADHD which came back positive.  I was instantly put on high doses of Ritalin.  While on Ritalin, I felt nauseous which resulted in a lack of appetite and exhaustion due to lack of sleep.  After a month of feeling sick and not sleeping, I made the conscious decision to stop taking Ritalin and began dealing with ADHD on my own.

By grade 12 my grades at plummeted and I was just passing the mandatory classes.  I failed grade 12 and decided to go work in my father's factory, thinking I had no chance to go into a post secondary education program.  I managed to finish my high school diploma through a co-op with the factory, 2 years after my fellow classmates graduated.

A year and a half ago my father was introduced to Dr. Patricia Fink, an optometrist who studied behavioural visual therapy.  At this point I was tired of all the tests I was having to do and was skeptical to try something else.  This resulted in my lack of confidence that Dr. Fink would be able to help me.  The results were positive and I was diagnosed with ocular motor dyspraxia, over convergence, poor divergence recovery and accommodative excess.  The perceptual tests indicated that I had cognitive insufficiency as well.  I began vision therapy that week.

After 40 weeks of extensive vision therapy, I have seen massive improvement in all my academics and everyday tasks.  I can finally read fluently and retain the information that I am reading.  I no longer fidget and I am able to concentrate to my fullest potential.  Things as easy as counting and depth perception are no longer a struggle.  I was surprised tha vision therapy worked and exponentially improved my quality of life.

I am finishing my first semester at Sheridan College for Media Fundamentals.  I am doing exceptionally well and I am learning a lot.  If it were not for Dr. Fink diagnosing me and having me start vision therapy, I do not believe I would have been able to pass a single course in college.  It is all thanks to Dr. Fink and the therapists at her office for helping me become the student I am today.

Cameron (Ontario)

After my car accident I have had issues with  balance, dizziness, daily migraine type headaches,  double vision, blurred vision, the feeling of not  being grounded because I did not feel where I was in space normally, BPPV, Tinnitus, twitching. Reading has been so hard for me. I would skip sentences, reading pages twice because nothing was going in and double vision.  My focus and concentration was always off. In fact I was not able to read more than a couple pages for a good 3 years because it was so overwhelming to my eyes and brain. I just could not do it. NOW I can!

Things like grocery shopping was overwhelming, sensitive to the lights, noise, being in the aisles was too much for me to process, too much stimulation. Walking I was always staggering. I was almost hit on three occasions by cars and in two of those occasions it was because my peripheral vision was compromised in the accident. I just did not see the cars until they were a few inches away from me.

I have learned a lot through  this process. That vision problems after a concussion are very common but many people are not as fortunate as me to have found a behavioural optometrist and get the treatment plan needed for recovery. i.e. vision therapy.

The brain and eye connection go hand in hand. After a brain injury I do know now it is possible to retrain the part of the brain that controls vision and get back to what it was. The patient must work at the exercises, be patient and never give up. Vision therapy does work. I am proof of that 100%.

Concussions and TBI are finally starting to be understood more and all the issues that can come with them. Vision issues is one of them and vision therapy is key to the recovery.

Susan (Nova Scotia)

You gave me my life back, I can function again!

Aaron (Nova Scotia)

Over the last year, my journey in vision therapy has not only helped me to literally see the world more clearly, but also to focus, to focus longer and to plow ahead with determination. How was I to know that my frustration with blurriness would lead to fascinating training, as I learned how to teach my mind and my eyes to see properly again. This has been entirely a life changing experience.

Carolynne  (Alberta)

After assessment I realized that throughout Nash’s life, there were certain inexplicable

things in his behavior that we had no idea were part of a larger issue. Although vision therapy was an obvious solution, we didn’t take it lightly. It is an expensive program. It was enough time commitment that we chose to keep Nash from doing additional extra-curricular activities. When armed with the information about the benefits, how could we not do it?...[Nash] didn’t realize that he had developed little tricks to compensate for his vision problems, issues that were inadvertently ignored or undetected by us and his teachers at school. There were many small victories for Nash along the way which made him see that the program was so worthwhile. His handwriting improved. His piano teacher was amazed in his sight reading of music. His general reading skills flourished. We saw improvement in his hand-eye coordination during hockey games. And he finally mastered the art of riding a bike!”

Brenda F. mom of Nash, age 10 (Alberta)

Having a child with special needs is hard to deal with in every aspect of life. Vision therapy was no different. It took some consideration as to whether it would help my child, as well as could you keep my child focused long enough to provide any help. I’m happy to report that not only did it help, but Julia was more than willing to go every week. She is reading much better now. Her ability to track and focus has greatly improved. The part that impressed me the most was the way that you were able to adapt the program to what Julia needed.

Tanya S. mother of Julia, age 11 (Alberta)

“When I was brought into the room, the doctor was able to show me how Carter’s eyes didn’t track properly. I went home that day and googled vision therapy and found so many accounts from other people about their journey’s and the behavior issues rang a similar tone for me. The one thing I read in every account was how it was the best decision they could ever have made for their child. The skills [you] are teaching him are not only fixing his eyes but empowering him with skills he will take with him the rest of his life.”

Nicole C., mother of Carter, age 7 (Alberta)

About a year ago my daughter was discouraged about reading and spelling. I found The Eye Studio and our daughter started vision therapy. At the start it was very hard. The longer she went to therapy, the faster she conquered a task. Today, she loves to read, her printing improved a lot, and she can handle stress way better. Not only educationally wise, [but] her personal growth through vision therapy was evident. I was fortunate to watch you teach our daughter and I learned a whole lot myself.”

Rosemarie Z, mother of Nicole, age 12 (Alberta)

“Even though it is hard doing some of the activities in the start, remember that it is helping you in every way possible. Eye therapy can be fun, hard and relaxing, and it has helped me so much. I want to thank Nancy for all the hard work and support.”

Nicole Z, age 12 (Alberta)

My husband and I questioned why Pierce was struggling learning to read. I knew he was capable, and wrongly blamed as being lazy. When Dr. Holtom approached us with a possible solution we were optimistic. After his initial screening I remember thinking, ‘How does he know so much about [our] struggles?’ I would love to say that vision therapy was full of candy and rainbows, [but] Pierce and I spent many hours negotiating and what bribe was going to work. It was a lot of hard work for both us. We slowly started seeing changes in ways we had not expected. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to hear from Pierce’s teacher that he was putting his hand up in class, contributing to class discussions and even volunteering to write on the board. We even noticed differences while he participated in hockey. He has shown more confidence in reading, fluency and comprehension. Vision therapy has equipped Pierce with many tools that will help him through school, and in life.”

Mandy D, mother of Pierce, age 9 (Alberta)

“Vision therapy was awesome but a little frustrating sometimes. Thanks Nancy for all your hard work and for being patient with me. Hockey is easier because I can see the ice better.”

Callum S. age 10 (Alberta)

“I liked doing vision therapy with you. My first month and second month were the hardest, but after that it got easier. Before I started vision therapy my head always hurt, but now it doesn’t.”

Tuscany R. age 9 (Alberta)

“Because of vision therapy it is now easier to spell, to read, to do math and to play soccer.”

Irelyn S. age 8.5 (Alberta)

“Vision therapy was very challenging but there were many things I like. I learned how to properly hold a pencil as well as how to envision things in my mind. My writing has improved a lot, as well as my reading. “

Tenzen B., age 8 (Alberta)

“Things are better now because [they] helped me. I read more and school is better. My eyes don’t hurt anymore. I am happy I did vision therapy. I will miss Nancy a lot! She is my friend.”

Ryley T., age 11 (Alberta)

"Our daughter has been completing her Vision Therapy sessions with Dr. Sarah Hutchens at Pro-Vision Optical on Queen's Road. This is ground breaking for our Province as there is a large group of children in need of VT. As an educator, I see the need every day in the classrooms that I visit. We have been so blessed to have found Dr. Hutchens who is helping us on our Vision Therapy journey. Our daughter's reading level has improved by three levels this year, her confidence in participating in gym activities has improved and the biggest success of all is that she can now ride a scooter using the strategies Dr. Hutchens has taught her. A huge thank you from the Johnston family in helping our daughter improve in all the aspects of her life due to Vision Therapy."

Sarah (Newfoundland)

Thanks to Vision Therapy, our sons eyes are stronger and less tired. He is able to concentrate better and can visualize what he is reading. Vision Therapy has made a great and wonderful difference in our sons life.

Sophie (Saskatchewan)

The skills Tanner learned in Vision Therapy have helped him to improve his abilities to succeed in learning.

Twila, Saskatchewan

We started to see a change in Callie’s reading and school work, but most importantly we started to see a change in her confidence and attitude towards school. She no longer has to go to resource, and is now happy to go to school. Callie is now able to keep up with her class and rarely has any homework. This Therapy is worth every cent and every minute we spent on it. The difference in Callie is night and day! I can’t imagine how Callie would have made it through her school career without this Therapy. We are excited to see Callie move forward from her struggles and watch her achieve great things.

Devan (Saskatchewan)

When Grace was in grade 1, at the mid-year parent teacher meeting I was told that she may not exit as her reading level was inadequate. With the help of a resource teacher throughout elementary school she did grade, however it continued to be a struggle. I'm an accountant and the math wasn't adding up. In no way should a child who tried that hard have so much difficulty.  She hated to read. I honestly believe you could get through life by avoiding math (something she excels at and loves), but reading? Never.  I lucked out. I finally complained to the right person, her eye doctor which is nuts because Grace has amazing vision. So it wasn't her eyes.

That doctor knew Dr. Sue Burbine and Grace started vision therapy. Dr Burbine told me of the cost, it is by no means inexpensive but she also told me of the amazing changes I'd see in Grace.  Grace WAS quiet, shy with lots of anxiety. The amazing transformation I have seen in my beautiful daughter could not have been unlocked without the amazing help of vision therapy. My daughter has worked with Sue and Dawn for a year and half and she is truly a different person.  She just started high school and I feel her future is brighter from this therapy.

I’d like to address the cost of the therapy, there needs to be more support from medical plans, this needs to be available to everyone who can benefit from it.  If you’re like me there really isn’t anything you won’t do for your child, I’m lucky and could afford it, after all why was I saving for post-secondary education when my daughter may not have used it due to her constant frustration because reading was difficult for her; not because, she was lazy or had a learning disability but because her brain wasn’t sending the signals to her vision system fast enough and left her exhausted.

Sue and Dawn, you will never understand the magnitude of my gratitude.  Every chamber of my heart, sends my love and positivity your way

Grace (New Brunswick)

“The program did any amazing job at boosting Evan’s confidence. He improved his reading coordination and achieved his goal of not requiring glasses. He liked the activities and was happy when he got better at them. He feels like he has a new skill now - eye control. Thank you!” –

Joslyn, mom to Evan, age 8 (BC)

"I experienced an accident that caused a brain injury resulting in double vision. I had my vision assessed by Dr.Sitler at Summit Eye Care, it was determined that I do a series of Vision Therapy sessions. In total I attended 20 one on one sessions that were designed to aid in correcting the double vision.  I must admit upon starting the Therapy Sessions I was skeptical, after realizing how important my vision was to me I had an attitude shift. I worked hard and stayed very committed to my weekly sessions and daily homework. During the Therapy I went through reassessments and had measurable improvements each time. I’m so grateful that Vision Therapy was an option for me with such great results.”

DEB, Age 62 (BC)

I am writing this letter to hopefully spread the word about Vision therapy. I am 22 weeks into my therapy and seeing things I have never before seen in my 40+ years, which amazes me every day. Who knew I wasn’t seeing the world the same way as everyone else. At 20 weeks my eyes have fused, my prescription has dropped to +1.50 from a +3.50 from when I began vision therapy.  I am truly a happier person and excited to see what I will experience next, and how much more my prescription will drop as I continue this process.

It’s my goal to educate and inform everyone I encounter about vision therapy and how great it is. The more people I talk to the more people I find out about who have an eye turn and yet no one knows about vision therapy, this is sad. I want vision therapy to be the first choice for people with an eye turn.

My parents took me to every doctor possible until I was 18 to fix my eye, and every doctor said glasses are the only solution. So when my dad and myself went to my first appointment we truly thought this was a waste of time, but let’s go anyways. We both walked out of my first appointment with Dr. Fink saying wow there is hope for my eyes and couldn’t be more excited to start this process. If I had know about vision therapy earlier I wonder if I would even need glasses and often think what have I missed “seeing” all these years. I am however so grateful to be going through this process now, and am so excited to see everything I have never actually seen.  I can truly appreciate everything vision therapy is helping me to see and I’m so thankful for Dr Fink, Natasha and her team for guiding me along with this process.

Melissa (Ontario)

When I began VT, I could not focus on anything.  I had been dealing with the effects of a concussion for 3.5 years, with no hope in sight (pun intended).  I had given up on ever living a “normal life” and had resolved to push through.  Between blurred vision and dizziness and constant headaches, life was rough.  But, I figured I just had to get used to it.

When I first heard of about VT, I thought that, like everyone else, they would tell me I was fine and nothing would change.  However, in the first visit I was given hope again.  I was told that what I was going through was real and explainable.  Because of VT, I can do things I could not before, like play hockey with my siblings.  I have FAR less headaches.  When I do get headaches or get dizzy, I have a tool belt of tricks that help.

I am beyond grateful to the Vision Therapy team at Eye Health Centre.  When they were not sure how to help, they put me in touch with a physio, and together, I can honestly day, they have changed my life for the better, Thank you.

Anna P (Quebec)

My new glasses are magic! They changed all from seeing double to seeing “normal”. The readers make it possible to read again – thank you! The therapy is fantastic and makes you aware how lucky we are, that all this help is there for us to get. I feel that you look differently at the world and you see things again that were lost after the accident. The vision therapy and the homework are hard work but so worth it. It is really unbelievable what can and does get accomplished!

Pia (BC)

When I first started Vision Therapy I didn’t exactly understand what was wrong with my eyes. I also wasn’t able to control my eyes or cross them when I first started. You came up with very fun and interesting exercises each week to be keep me entertained. Even when I wasn’t able to do certain exercises, you stayed positive and motivated me to try harder. Now that I can feel the difference between converging and diverging, it makes doing the exercises much easier.

I remember how cool it was the first time I could really feel like my eyes were moving properly again. You were a very patient teacher and you explained things in a way that I could actually understand.

I feel that vision therapy has helped me in school very much. I am now able to read for longer periods of time without getting headaches and I can read what’s written on the board without it being blurry or splitting into two.

Now that I have completed my vision therapy sessions, I can control my eyes and am more aware of how my vision impacts my whole life. I’ll miss coming to vision therapy, seeing your smiling face and finding out what new “games” you have in store for me to try.

Thank you so much for helping me to see things better!

Jenna (Ontario)

To whomever is reading this, my name is Sam, age 19, and this is my journey through Vision Therapy. On October 15\ 2016 my way of life changed. After 6 years of living and breathing rugby I received a massive concussion. The moment I opened my eyes after the hit, I knew something was wrong. I felt as if time stopped and I was lost in space. My mind went blank and not a single thought could cross my mind. It was as if I was frozen in time and the world was moving much faster than it should be. For weeks after my accident even the slightest day to day activities bothered me. For instance, I could not walk without feeling nauseous. I was unable to read without feeling sick to my stomach and the headaches to follow were no walk in the park. For example, go back to the beginning of this letter, by the time you read to the word "name" I had a headache. After I reached "journey" I felt like a had a nasty stomach flu, and by the time I reached ''Therapy" I would have no option but to sleep the feeling off. I wore sunglasses day and night, even in my apartment, for 3 months before the light was tolerable. Noise bothered me to a point where I did not want to even watch my favourite show, Family Guy! After about 3 months I was finally able to get into a car and withstand the motion of the hour car ride home. Things were slowly starting to get better. This being said, after 3-4 months of not being able to do any physical activity I did not feel like myself as I am a very active individual who uses exercise as a form of relief. Then finally my family and I came across Vision Therapy. After an initial assessment by Dr. Ramesh I finally understood the extent of my injury and the long road of rehabilitation that would follow. Through the outstanding help from both Cristina and Dr. Ramesh I have been able to enjoy life once again as it should be, headache free. Fighting through a 30-week program was easier than it sounds. Sure some nights I hated doing my homework, but let's be real, who actually likes homework. After the initial first few weeks I noticed some changes; my headaches were gone, I was able to get back into the gym, focusing was easier and I was beginning to feel more like myself again. This made me want to get better faster. Each week I would look forward to my classroom sessions as it did not feel like rehabilitation but more like fun and games with someone who genuinely cared. Over the weeks my balance got better, my ability to concentrate got better, and my understanding of how one's eyes actually work increased. Cristina is phenomenal at what she does and it was really easy to build a relationship with her. The 30 weeks have flown by and It is now August 15th  2017 and I am back to normal. This being said, I have had to give up a very important part of my life, rugby. Sure I am sad, but the one thing I have taken away from this injury is that in order to succeed at anything in life, you must stay determined and confident that you will achieve what you have set out to accomplish. Cristina and Dr. Ramesh have helped me along one of my more difficult life experiences and to that, I owe them a great deal of gratitude. My experience could not have been better. To whom ever is reading this I hope you have enjoyed my story and I hope your experience makes you not only well again but a better person from the experience.

Sam (Ontario)

Vision Therapy has helped me become an all-around solid reader. When reading books I now fully understand what is happening and I don’t have to read one part in a book over and over to understand. I can also read fast while still understanding. My eyes are also much more efficient which is making me much less tired.

Max (BC)

To start my story, I will talk about my reading. Before I started vision therapy I didn't like reading because I was bad at it and at a Grade 1 level but i was in Grade 3. Now I love reading because I am good at it and I am at an average level and in Grade 4. Vision therapy is hard work but it definitely is worth it.

Collette (BC)

Before Vision Therapy I was seeing double and I couldn’t see the board. Now I can see the board and only see double if I want to 😊

Alida (BC)

Connor has come a long way over the course of Vision Therapy. We have seen a lot of improvement and increased focus. It has also increased his math and reading skills. He enjoys reading and will read for long periods of time – something I never imagined.

Connor (BC)