With Your Vision Therapy Evaluation:
Our evaluations typically take about 1 ½ to 2 hours of your time.
Your first step is to fill out a case history providing information on how vision is affecting life in the areas of clear seeing, comfort, reading, work, school, sports, coordination, attention, and relationships. Go to Screening Forms and print out a case history form for yourself or child. Fill this out and bring it with you to the evaluation. Dr. Cook will use the information to tailor the evaluation to your needs.
Depending on what the case history reveals, Dr. Cook may perform a READING-DYSLEXIA VISION EVALUATION or he may select from the “seven visual abilities” listed below, stressing those that relate to your reason for coming to the office.
1. 20/20 Eyesight and Eye Glasses
The first and best known visual ability is 20/20 eyesight. If, at twenty feet, you can see the same letters that people with normal eyes can see at twenty feet, then we say that you have "20/20 eyesight." If not, Dr. Cook may prescribe glasses to improve your eyesight to 20/20—unless the prescription is likely to change rapidly during a vision therapy program.
Unfortunately, 20/20 eyesight—with or without new glasses—does not mean that during reading and desk work you can see clearly for more than a few minutes. 20/20 eyesight doesn't mean that you have the depth perception and localization skills to drive at night or that you are free from vision-caused headaches and general fatigue. All 20/20 eyesight guarantees is that you can see clearly long enough to call out six letters on a doctor's eye chart. Therefore, in addition to "20/20 eyesight" we have to consider 6 other visual abilities that are generally ignored during routine exams.
2. Eye-Muscle Coordination—Depth Perception
The second visual ability is Eye-Muscle Coordination. We have fourteen eye muscles. The brain must coordinate these muscles perfectly if we are to see comfortably and efficiently. If this coordination is difficult, eyesight can be clear at times but blurred or double at others. The effort to prevent such distorted seeing can cause eyestrain, reading avoidance, or loss of attention and comprehension during reading, desk or computer work. Certain types of eye muscle coordination problems can reduce depth perception (3D Vision) for driving and sports.
In extreme cases, poor eye muscle coordination can even cause STRABISMUS (Crossed Eyes) or AMBLYOPIA (Lazy Eye). In such instances, a more extensive evaluation of 3D vision (and visual acuity) may be required to determine if depth perception may be recovered with vision therapy.
3. Eye Movements—Visual Attention:
Accurate Eye Movements are critical for good seeing. See for yourself. Observe how little of this paragraph you can read out of the corner of your eyes while you hold your eyes directly on the x below. Again, hold your eyes on the x. Don't move them. See how little you can see out of the corner of your eyes without using eye movements:
20/20 vision without good eye movements is like seeing the world through a drinking straw and without having the coordination to properly aim the straw. Visual Attention is used for "keeping our eyes on the ball" or maintaining eye contact during conversations. When Eye Movements are inaccurate, seeing is inaccurate. Our Eye Control is a direct measure of the interaction between vision and attention.
4. Visual Tracking
We use the term Visual Tracking to describe how quickly and accurately we move our eyes across a line of print. During reading, poor Visual Tracking causes loss of place, making it hard to find words in a paragraph or letters in a word. Poor Visual Tracking leads to confusing one word with another, careless errors, and difficulty breaking words down into their parts.
5. Visual Perception
Visual Perception is the ability to see how things are alike and different, how the pieces fit together to make up the whole. At one extreme we have the artist who can look at a scene and "see" the relationships between the shapes and colors well enough to reproduce them with paint on canvas. On the other extreme, we have the child who cannot tell the difference between a "b" and a "d" or a "was" and a "saw". Visual perception problems can make it difficult to recognize words, complete puzzles, align columns in math or—for adults—read a roadmap.
6. Eye-hand Coordination
We can divide our ability to get our eyes to guide our hands into "little" coordination and "big" coordination. We need "little" coordination to copy sentences and to keep words equally spaced and on the line. We need "big" coordination to throw or catch a ball or to guide a steering wheel. The "big" type of eye-hand coordination is also very much linked with balance, general coordination, and 3D Vision.
Visualization is sometimes called, "seeing with the mind's eye." If visualization is good, children or adults can "see" words in the mind to spell them. They can "see" the story when they are reading. They can picture their goals in their minds. They have the ability to picture the consequences of their actions. Visualization allows us to learn from the past and plan for the future.
Are You a Candidate for Vision Therapy?
During a Vision Therapy Evaluation, Dr. Cook selects from the seven visual abilities to determine how to program vision therapy to maximize performance. At the end of the evaluation, Dr. Cook will share what was found and if you or your child is a candidate for vision therapy.