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Vision Therapy in isolation

We’ve all been shut down and isolated for several weeks at least. I don’t know about you, but it’s taking a toll on everyone at my house. By now vision therapy patients have had plenty of time to miss their therapy sessions and wonder what to do on their own. I hope you’ve found some helpful tools. Some eye doctors have previously created at home programs to share with their patients, and others are rapidly scaling up to provide more options for VT at home. You’ve probably already asked your doctor for recommendations and searched online for options. Today I’m sharing a couple of my favorite free (or almost free) resources:

  1. Optics Trainer: This is a program used in VT doctor’s offices and they have a home program that doctors can implement as well. The professional version is pretty expensive and requires a prescription from your doctor for at-home use. Since I’m done with office therapy and just need periodic refreshers at home, I found they have a free app with recommendations for a home vision workout. I have enjoyed it and you may want to check it out on the App Store or on Google play.

2. I’ve shared it before but I still enjoy playing the SET game. It’s good for getting both sides of your brain functioning together. There’s a daily puzzle and SET Mania both available on the App Store. I found SET Mania on Google play as well for $1.99. There are some other SET games available for android phones as well. I don’t have an android, so I haven’t tried any of them but it looks like they operate on the same principle.

3. I included some relaxation exercises in previous posts, but now is a good time to practice relaxing your eyes, palming, getting some sun and basically taking care of yourself. Eating healthy will also contribute to your eye health. I have followed Tyler Sorensen at rebuildyourvision.com for many years and found that he consistently provides helpful, well researched information on eye health. He sells eye vitamins on his site as well.

4. There are many books available on Amazon written by VT doctors that provide games for therapy at home. I haven’t checked out all of them but I do have Eyegames: easy and fun visual exercises, an occupational therapist and Optometrist offer activities to improve vision! by Lois Hickman and Rebecca Hutchins.

In their book, Hickman and Hutchins provide foundational activities, eye movement exercises, eye-hand and eye-body activities and a large range of other games for vision development. It’s geared to children, but any adult who has done vision therapy knows that we all end up playing the same vision development games anyway. There are also some book options available on Kindle that I”m anxious to check out.

Stay safe and keep up the vision development as much as possible! I am rooting for you!

Healing from traumatic brain injury and stroke

Recently a good friend who is around my age (50s) suffered a stroke due to complications of kidney failure and the accompanying dialysis. I was very concerned about her and asked about the damage she incurred from the stroke. She explained that it was mainly her vision that had been affected and she was no longer able to read or even view TV or screens of any kind. She was suffering from extreme boredom because most of the things she enjoys doing use those basic visual functions. She is very familiar with my story and knows that I did years of vision therapy, but it didn’t occur to her that her situation might prompt such work. So I recommended that she see a vision therapy doctor as soon as possible. Luckily she was able to do so and is on the mend. It’s not the first thing doctors recommend though, so it really pays to be informed!

I recently came across an interesting article by Amy Zellmer (https://www.healio.com/optometry/primary-care-optometry/news/blogs/%7B194db35c-f748-4af2-a3ee-eea6db7fb936%7D/neuro-optometric-rehabilitation-association0international/blog-what-i-wish-my-doctors-knew) where she details the pain and debilitating symptoms she endured because of her mild traumatic brain injury and what she wished her doctors knew. They are things that really should be broadly understood. I continue to be amazed that so often people don’t realize there is help available. Effects of the mild traumatic brain injury included aphasia, short-term memory problems, difficulty processing multiple stimuli and visual-vestibular symptoms, such as dizziness, poor tracking, fixation and saccades. She shared all the details in her book Life with a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normal. She finally found vision therapy and was able to heal. The five things she lists in her article are:

“–Even a mild concussion can cause significant visual-vestibular problems.

–Symptoms may be immediate or take some time to manifest and they can last months or years after the injury.

–Rest is not sufficient to resolve the symptoms.

–Vision therapy isn’t just for children — it can help adults like me, too.

–The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association is a good resource for finding doctors and therapists who can treat mTBI sufferers.”

If you want to see the entire post, it’s available here: https://www.healio.com/optometry/primary-care-optometry/news/blogs/%7B194db35c-f748-4af2-a3ee-eea6db7fb936%7D/neuro-optometric-rehabilitation-association-international/blog-what-i-wish-my-doctors-knew

I searched the website for the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) and was gratified to find my own doctor listed.  Here’s the link: https://noravisionrehab.org/ and the site looks like this:

NORA logoIf you have suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury, it’s worth looking at getting that kind of help.