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3 Ways To Unlock Your True Athletic Potential

Sports Vision Training Improves Sports Performance ThumbnailAs an athlete, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and be able to gauge distances. This is where sports vision training comes into play. Sports vision is about training people to process what their eyes see, better and faster. It’s an effective way to boost the visual skills you need to excel at your chosen sport and stay safe while doing it.

3 Ways Sports Vision Training Can Improve Your Game

Having strong, well-developed visual skills enhances your ability to catch, throw, and hit a ball, allowing you to thrive in sports like baseball, basketball and tennis. By sharpening your peripheral awareness, depth perception, and eye-tracking and focusing abilities, you will be able to better gauge the distance between a tennis ball and the net, or the proximity of another player as you sprint across the field.

1. Enhanced Convergence and Accommodation

Convergence is the ability to keep both eyes working in tandem as they track objects or people, such as a player passing a ball. Accommodation, also known as focus flexibility, is the eyes’ ability to immediately change focus.

Improving your eye-focusing abilities will help you concentrate better, and swiftly and precisely refocus your vision. This makes it easier to quickly process moving objects.

2. Enhanced Depth Perception

Depth perception is the ability to judge the distance between you and people or objects, and allows you to see in three dimensions. Individuals with good depth perception have an easier time recognizing an object as it approaches because they can see where it is in space. When a baseball player makes a spectacular catch or steals a base, depth perception is one of the visual skills they most rely on.

3. Enhanced Peripheral Awareness

Peripheral awareness, also known as peripheral vision, enables us to detect and see things that aren’t directly in front of us while looking straight ahead. A well-developed peripheral field helps soccer players, tennis players and cyclists see people and objects at the edge of their visual field and sense the flow of the game or traffic as it constantly changes.

The sharper your visual skills are, the better you will be at whatever sport you participate in. Your eye doctor will assess your vision in specific areas to identify weak areas that need strengthening. After that, you’ll be prescribed a customized sports vision training program that will include a series of personalized eye exercises and assessments to measure your progress.

To learn more about how sports vision training can help you become a better athlete, contact Impact Vision Therapy today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a personalized program that improves the communication between your eyes, body and brain while playing sports. Enhanced communication between your eyes and brain leads to improved visual skills, allowing an athlete to unlock their fullest potential. Sports vision training uses a customized series of techniques and exercises, resulting in the brain and body learning to respond more efficiently and accurately to what the eyes are seeing.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Whether you’re a golfer, play hockey or ski, sports vision training is perfect for anyone of any age who wants to take their performance to the next level.
Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and Parker, all throughout Colorado.


4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury

4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury 640×350A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden bump or blow to the head.

Concussions — a mild form of brain injury — are very common and represent approximately 80% of all TBI incidents. A concussion is a temporary loss of brain function caused by the brain bouncing around in fast motion within the skull, sometimes producing chemical changes or damaging the functioning of the brain cells.

Moderate to severe TBIs can cause loss of consciousness— from a few minutes to several hours.

Any TBI, whether mild or severe, can affect cognitive abilities and cause visual symptoms such as:

  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Weakened eye muscles

4 Tips for Avoiding a Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the best ways to protect yourself from a concussion or more serious TBI is to put safety first, whatever your activity.

Wear Protective Sports Gear

Approximately 69 million TBIs occur each year worldwide, of which about 50% are sports-related. Wearing protective eyewear and a helmet when playing baseball, football, basketball, hockey or any other sport, can help prevent serious injuries, especially in children.

Wear Sunglasses

Glare from the sun can temporarily blind you while driving, walking across the street — during any activity, really. Wearing sunglasses is a simple way to reduce glare and prevent glare-related accidents.

Polarized sunglasses filter intense light that reflects off surfaces like water, glass, sand, snow and pavement, preventing glare from entering your eyes. Make sure the sunglasses you choose also offer 100% UV protection. Photochromic lenses are a good choice for people who wear prescription glasses since they darken when outdoors and become clear again indoors.

Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

As basic as it may seem, people often fail to pay attention to their surroundings. When walking, driving, or doing any other activity, try to minimize distractions. Stand still while speaking on your cell phone or texting. When you’re walking outside, keep an eye out for sidewalk cracks as well as overhanging branches and other sharp items or debris that could be hazardous.

Don’t Forget to Wear Your Seatbelt

For years, parents and doctors have been drumming this into our heads, and for good reason! The #1 way to prevent or minimize an injury from a car accident is by wearing a seatbelt.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information National Library of Medicine, one-quarter of all TBIs in North America are caused by road accidents. Those numbers rise to more than 50% in Southeast Asia and Africa.

How a TBI Affects Vision

A traumatic brain injury can impair your vision, causing light sensitivity, double or blurry vision, and persistent eye strain. In many cases, activities like reading a book, driving a car or watching TV can become much more challenging — or impossible — as a result of a TBI.

According to Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 90% of TBI patients suffer from visual dysfunction, making it all the more crucial to take precautionary measures to stay safe.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Can Help With Brain Injuries

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized treatment program for patients with visual deficits due to physical disabilities and TBIs. The goal of neuro-optometric rehab is to minimize visual disability so that a patient can continue to perform daily activities, whether it’s learning in a classroom or being able to function in the workplace.

A neuro-optometric rehabilitation optometrist evaluates many functions of the visual system, such as how the eyes work together. Treatment options may include the use of various filters and prisms, and visual exercises to strengthen the brain-eye connection.

If you or a loved one displays double vision, light sensitivity, dizziness or any other TBI-related visual or balance-related symptoms, contact Impact Vision Therapy immediately. Following evaluation, Dr. Joshua Watt may offer a customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to help regain any lost visual skills.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: What Does a Neuro-Optometrist Do?

A: A neuro-optometrist diagnoses general eye health problems and corrects refractive errors to improve visual acuity, as well as assess functional binocularity, spatial vision, and visual processing abilities.

Q: What causes a TBI?

A: Traumatic brain injuries can occur during everyday activities like walking, swimming, hiking, running or playing competitive sports.

The most common causes of TBIs are:

  • Being struck by an object
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Sports injuries


Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and Parker, all throughout Colorado.

 

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3 Ways Neuro-Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors

3 Ways Neuro Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors 640Approximately 15 million people around the globe suffer from a stroke each year. An alarming two-thirds of stroke survivors experience some degree of visual dysfunction after the incident.

These problems can range from irritating to debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

Thankfully, there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from stroke-related vision problems.

At Impact Vision Therapy, we are dedicated to helping post-stroke patients heal their visual system for long-lasting relief and a better quality of life.

Below, we’ll explore how a stroke can impact vision and what a neuro-optometrist can do to help.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when insufficient oxygen is delivered to the brain tissue, either due to leaking or bursting blood vessels, or a blockage within the blood vessel.

Serious brain damage can occur within minutes of a stroke, making early intervention crucial.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis
  • Numb or weak limbs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination

Because a large portion of the brain is involved with vision, a stroke can also affect the eyes and visual processing.

How a Stroke Can Affect Vision

If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain that control the eye, it can cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nystagmus — rapid, uncontrolled eye movements

When a stroke affects the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing, it can cause:

  • Visual neglect — when the patient ignores stimuli from a portion of their visual field
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Poor depth and movement perception
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or people

3 Ways a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help Stroke Survivors

1. Identify and Diagnose Any Visual Dysfunction

A neuro-optometrist has the training and experience required to thoroughly identify, diagnose and treat even slight visual dysfunction that may be causing symptoms.

Your neuro-optometrist will perform a functional visual evaluation to assess neurological vision-related complications and identify the type of vision loss caused by the stroke.

 

2. Rehabilitate the Visual System

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy includes visual exercises that retrain the brain and eyes to work together.

During a stroke, certain neural connections may become damaged. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation aims to restore those connections and heal the visual system for long-lasting results.

3. Prescribe the Correct Lenses or Prisms, As Needed

A neuro-optometrist can prescribe specialized lenses or prisms that aid in the therapeutic process. Prism lenses shift images into the functioning part of a patient’s visual field, or, in the case of double vision or visual neglect, unite the images the two eyes are sending to the brain. In some cases, prisms can instantly relieve symptoms like disorientation or double vision.

Some patients only visit an occupational therapist or physical therapist after a stroke—and while these therapies are often necessary and helpful, they cannot treat the visual system or prescribe prisms.

How We Can Help

Stroke survivors deserve the best in rehabilitative care. That’s why we are passionate about restoring their independence and offering relief from incapacitating visual symptoms.

Furthermore, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy offers the added benefit of diminishing vertigo and depression and increasing confidence levels.

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation, contact Impact Vision Therapy today.

Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and Parker, all throughout Colorado.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: #1: Other than stroke patients, who can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help any person suffering from visual dysfunction after a head injury, traumatic brain injury or stroke, or anyone with neurological conditions that impact their vision. If you experience any symptoms associated with visual dysfunction like dizziness, disorientation, headaches, nausea or difficulty concentrating— it may be time to visit your neuro-optometrist.

Q: #2: Can neuro-optometry help if the stroke occurred months or years ago?

  • A: The best time to start treatment is as soon as possible following a stroke or head injury, but treatment can also be effective years later. The basis of neuro-optometry is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and build new neural connections. As long as a person is alive, there is potential to heal their visual system.


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3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children

3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children 640Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye,’ is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood, usually before the age of 8.

Lazy eye develops when one eye is unable to achieve normal visual acuity, causing blurry vision in the affected eye—even when wearing glasses. Left untreated, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss in one eye.

It’s important to understand that a lazy eye isn’t actually lazy. Rather, the brain doesn’t process the visual signals from the ‘lazy’ eye. Eventually, the communication between the brain and the weaker eye deteriorates further, potentially leading to permanently reduced vision in that eye. Fortunately, vision therapy can improve the condition by training the brain to work with both eyes equally.

What Causes Lazy Eye?

When the neural connections between the eyes and the brain are healthy, each eye sends a visual signal to the brain. The brain combines these two signals into one clear image, allowing us to properly see what we are looking at.

In the case of amblyopia, the brain doesn’t recognize the weaker eye’s signals. Instead, it relies only on the visual input from the stronger eye.

Amblyopia can be caused by strabismus, anisometropia and deprivation.

Strabismus

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. The most common cause of amblyopia is eye misalignment, which causes the brain to receive two images that cannot be combined into one single, clear image.

A child’s developing brain cannot process images when both eyes are not aligned in the same direction, so it ‘turns off’ the images sent by the weaker eye. This is the brain’s defense mechanism against confusion and double vision.

As the brain ‘turns off’ the weaker eye, this eye will eventually become ‘lazy’—unless treatment is provided.

Anisometropia

Anisometropia is when the refractive powers (visual acuity) of your eyes differ markedly, causing your eyes to focus unevenly – rendering the visual signal from one eye to be much clearer than the other. The brain is unable to reconcile the different images each eye sends and chooses to process the visual signal from the eye sending the clearer image. The brain begins to overlook the eye sending the blurrier image, further weakening the eye-brain connection of the weaker eye. If not treated, this results in permanent poor vision in that eye.

Deprivation

Deprivation refers to a blockage or cloudiness of the eye. When an eye becomes cloudy, it directly impacts the eyes’ ability to send a clear image to the retina, harming the child’s ability to see images clearly from that eye. When clear images can’t reach the retina, it causes poor vision in that eye, resulting in amblyopia. Deprivation is by far the most serious kind of amblyopia, but it is also incredibly rare.

There are several types of deprivation: cataracts, cloudy corneas, cloudy lenses and eyelid tumors. Each of these can affect a child’s vision, resulting in amblyopia. Because these are also difficult to notice from a child’s behavior, it’s crucial to have your child tested for eye-related problems so that treatment can begin right away.

How To Treat Amblyopia

The goal of most amblyopia treatments is to naturally strengthen the weaker eye so that your child’s eyes can work and team with the brain more effectively. Amblyopia treatment will be determined by the cause and severity of their condition.

Common types of treatment include:

  • Corrective eyewear
  • Eye drops
  • Patching
  • Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is the most effective treatment for amblyopia, which may be used in conjunction with other treatments.

A vision therapy program is customized to the specific needs of the patient. It may include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other specialized equipment designed to actively make the lazy eye work to develop stronger communication between the eye and the brain.

Vision therapy is highly successful for the improvement of binocular vision, visual acuity, visual processing abilities, depth perception and reading fluency.

Vision therapy programs for amblyopia may include eye exercises to improve these visual skills:

  • Accommodation (focusing)
  • Binocular vision (the eyes working together)
  • Fixation (visual gaze)
  • Pursuits (eye-tracking)
  • Saccades (eye jumps)
  • Spatial skills (eye-hand coordination)
  • Stereopsis (3-D vision)

Contact Impact Vision Therapy to make an appointment and discover how vision therapy can help improve your child’s vision. Our eye doctor will ask about your child’s vision history, conduct a thorough evaluation, and take your child on the path to effective and lasting treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: How do I know if my child has lazy eye?

  • A: It’s difficult to recognize lazy eye because the condition usually develops in one eye, and may not present with a noticeable eye turn. As such, children generally learn how to ignore the lazy eye and compensate by mainly relying on the sight from the ‘good’ eye. Some symptoms of lazy eye include:
  • – Closing one eye or squinting
    – Difficulty with fine eye movements
    – Poor depth perception
    – Poor eye-hand coordination
    – Reduced reading speed and comprehension
    – Rubbing eyes often

Q: How is lazy eye diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will conduct specific tests during their eye exam, to assess the visual acuity, depth perception and visual skills of each eye.


Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and Parker, all throughout Colorado.

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Looking To Improve Your Athletic Performance This Summer?

Looking To Improve Your Sports Performance This Summer 640It’s finally summer—and there’s no better time to play outdoor sports! But if you’re like many of us, you may be a little rusty from the long winter months. While physical training is important to get back into gear, sports vision training can take you a step further by helping you hone the visual skills you need to excel at your chosen sport.

Sports vision training is a personalized program that helps professional and amateur athletes improve the way their eyes, brain and body interact. The quicker the brain processes the messages the eyes send, the better the performance.

Benefits of Sports Vision Training

Strong, well-developed visual skills can help you improve your ability to hit a tennis ball or perform the perfect dive in the swimming pool.

Sharpening your tracking, depth perception, focusing and peripheral awareness skills will help determine the proximity of the water from the diving board or the distance between a baseball and your bat. It should come as no surprise that vision training helps athletes improve their performance in just about any sport.

Sports vision training helps develop the following visual skills:

  • Balance – the ability to stay in control of body movement. A surfer, for example, must be able to stand on the board without falling off, all while riding a wave.
  • Eye Tracking – the ability to “keep your eye on the ball.”
  • Focusing – the ability to rapidly change focus from one object to another efficiently and quickly. For example, in baseball, a player needs to be able to focus on the ball while running.
  • Eye-Hand or Eye-Body Coordination – the ability to use your eyes to direct the movements of your hands and body. In tennis, for instance, a player must be able to move his or her body and hands while tracking the ball.
  • Peripheral Awareness – seeing things or people, such as opposing players, out of the corner of your eye.
  • Depth Perception – the capacity to evaluate an object’s speed and distance accurately and quickly. For example, a diver must accurately evaluate the distance from the edge of the pool in order to dive safely.
  • Contrast Sensitivity – the ability to distinguish between an object and its background, such as a baseball against the sky.
  • Dynamic Visual Acuity – the ability to clearly see objects in motion.
  • Reaction Time – the faster you see it, the faster you react and the faster you move.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will assess your visual skills in various areas to determine which ones need to be improved. Once assessed, you’ll receive a personalized program to boost and expand your visual skills in those areas.

To learn more about sports vision training, contact Impact Vision Therapy today!

Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines and Parker, all throughout Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a customized program that improves coordination between your eyes, brain, and body when playing sports. Sports vision training helps athletes process information and then react faster and more accurately to what they see on the field or in the water.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Whether for surfing, playing baseball, or biking, sports vision training benefits people of any age or level seeking to take their performance to the next level.


Sports Vision Training Can Help Prevent Scooter Accidents

E Scooter Riders 640When riding an electric scooter, you need to be able to focus on the road, while avoiding cars, pedestrians, and other potential obstacles. It may sound simple, but not everyone has the visual skills needed to focus, scan the surroundings and react in a split-second to an oncoming car or a child who’s run into the street.

At Impact Vision Therapy, we offer sports vision training, which helps improve visual skills by training the brain to process and respond quickly and efficiently to visual input. This can, in turn, prevent you from getting into an accident.

E-Scooter Riders Need Top-Notch Visual Skills

To stay safe on the road, drivers, motorcyclists, and e-scooter drivers need to have remarkable visual skills, where the ability to focus, track fast-moving objects and react quickly can mean the difference between staying safe and incurring an injury.

Even the smallest increase in processing ability, reaction time and resilience can help prevent injury to yourself and others.

The Visual Skills Needed to Safely Ride an E-Scooter

Improve critical vision skills, such as peripheral awareness, depth perception and eye focusing, with sports vision training, a customized program that improves the communication between your eyes, brain, and body.

1. Peripheral Awareness

Peripheral vision, also known as peripheral awareness, enables us to detect and see things that aren’t right in front of us when looking straight ahead. A well-developed peripheral field helps riders spot people and objects and sense the flow of the road as it changes.

2. Depth Perception

Depth perception is the ability to see in three dimensions and judge the distance between objects or people and yourself.

Those with good depth perception have an easier time accurately tracking any object as it approaches because they can perfectly see where it is in space. This enables one to make split-second decisions about when to swerve or stop to avoid coming in contact with everything from a car to a trash can.

3. Accommodation and Convergence

Accommodation, also known as focus flexibility, is the eyes’ ability to change focus immediately. Convergence is the ability to keep both eyes working in unison as they track people or objects, such as a bus on the road.

Enhancing these eye-focusing skills can boost your ability to concentrate and refocus your vision quickly and more accurately so that you process moving objects quickly.

Want to strengthen your visual skills? Contact Dr. Joshua Watt today!

Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and Parker, all throughout Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is made of individually prescribed and monitored exercises aimed at developing specific visual skills and processing. These various customized activities and exercises retrain the brain to effectively interact with the eyes and improve vision functioning. This therapy consists of weekly in-office appointments and assigned daily exercises, ranging from several weeks to several months. The training involves close monitoring and follow-up appointments to ensure steady improvements in the patient’s visual functions.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Whether you play hockey or baseball or ride an e-scooter, sports vision training is perfect for anyone of any age and ability seeking to take their performance to the next level.


5 Vision Therapy Myths Debunked

5 Vision Therapy Myths 640There’s a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to vision therapy — a customized program that trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively and efficiently.

We are here to dispel those myths.

5 Myths and Facts about Vision Therapy

1. Myth: Vision therapy is just for children

Fact: People of all ages can benefit from vision therapy.

Although vision therapy is widely prescribed for younger patients, many adults have benefited from a personalized vision therapy program. That’s because the basis of vision therapy is neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to change and learn new habits.

Your brain is capable of forming new neural pathways throughout your entire life, so vision therapy can be effective at any age.

2. Myth: Vision therapy isn’t based on scientific research

Fact: There are numerous scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of vision therapy, funded and published by the National Eye Institute (NEI).

In fact, according to several studies, vision therapy is the most effective treatment for the most common binocular vision problem, convergence insufficiency. Research also supports the efficacy of vision therapy when it comes to lazy eye (amblyopia), eye turn (strabismus), and difficulties related to reading and learning.

3. Myth: All vision therapy is the same

Fact: No two vision therapy treatments are alike. Each patient’s condition is unique and is treated accordingly.

Vision therapists use a host of different exercises, devices, computer programs, lenses, prisms, and other equipment for treatment. Your optometrist will decide which options will benefit your condition.

4. Myth: Eye surgery is the only option for treating eye misalignment

Fact: While surgery may help the eyes appear more aligned, it can’t fully improve binocular function.

In other words, surgery corrects the physical problem of alignment but doesn’t teach the eyes and brain to work together. That’s why vision therapy is often recommended for patients who have had strabismus surgery or are considering it.

5. Myth: I don’t need vision therapy, I have 20/20 eyesight

Fact: Vision therapy has little to do with eyesight, and everything to do with how your eyes function.

Even a person with 20/20 eyesight can have poor tracking skills, eye movement skills, depth perception, and other visual deficits.

In fact, you may have poor visual skills and not even know it. If you experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, eyestrain, or difficulty with concentrating and reading, it may be time to have your vision evaluated by a vision therapist to identify any underlying problems related to your visual skills.

To schedule a functional vision evaluation for you or your child, call Impact Vision Therapy today!

Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, Parker, and throughout Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: #1: What is vision therapy?

  • A: Vision therapy is a program of [curtomized] eye exercises that are performed in-office with an at-home component as well. Vision therapy helps develop the visual system and trains the eyes and brain to work in unison. Duration of treatment varies from patient to patient, as each person responds differently. Speak to us to learn more about what we offer and how we can help.

Q:#2: Is vision therapy covered by insurance?

  • A: Vision therapy may be covered under major medical insurance plans (vision therapy is most often applied to a medical policy as opposed to a vision policy). However, certain insurance companies may deny or place severe limits on coverage for vision therapy as a cost-saving measure. When sorting out the insurance details for vision therapy, it’s important to know what questions to ask of your insurance agent or workplace HR department.


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4 Ways Vision May Be Affected Following A Stroke

headache womanAbout 2 in 3 stroke survivors live with some degree of visual dysfunction following the stroke. Although all brains are different and everybody reacts differently, 4 major categories of vision loss can be caused by a stroke.

A stroke can damage any segment of the neural pathway that connects the eyes to the brain or a section of the brain that processes the images the eyes send it. Damage to either area can lead to vision loss.

Stroke-related vision problems can make daily living a challenge, but there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from visual symptoms.

In honor of World Stroke Awareness Month, we’ll explore 4 types of stroke-related visual problems, and how Impact Vision Therapy can help.

1. Visual Field Loss

A stroke can damage certain areas of the brain responsible for either central or peripheral vision, causing a portion of the visual field to be lost, causing vision to be ‘blacked-out’ or have ‘blind spots.’

In most cases, the same area of the visual field is lost in both eyes. This condition is called homonymous visual field loss, meaning a person may not be able to see the right or left side of their visual field from each eye.

Affected individuals may have difficulty with reading and may bump into things located in their blind spots.

2. Visual Processing Difficulties

Sometimes, a person may be able to see everything in their visual field but will have problems processing that visual information. For example, they may have the ability to see another person’s face, but might not recognize it. They may also have difficulty identifying or interacting with common objects, affecting daily tasks such as making a cup of coffee.

Visual neglect is the most common type of visual processing problem. People with this condition aren’t aware that they aren’t seeing people or objects on the right or left side of their visual field.

3. Eye Movement Problems

A stroke can damage the delicate nerves that control the eyes’ movements. A person who cannot control their eye nerves may have difficulty moving their eyes in order to shift their focus from one object to the next or have trouble tracking moving objects.

Nystagmus (involuntary and rapid eye movements) is also a possible complication of ocular nerve damage.

If only one eye is affected, the patient will usually experience double or blurred vision. Whether one or both eyes are affected, poor depth perception can result from eye movement dysfunction.

4. Dry Eye Syndrome

Stroke-related muscle weakness is common, especially in the eyes and face. If this occurs, the eyelids may not be able to fully close during blinking or while asleep. This can lead to dry eye syndrome, causing symptoms like red, itchy, watery, burning eyes and light sensitivity.

Fortunately, many of these post-stroke visual symptoms are treatable with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

A customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program can help you return to your normal routine, or at least make daily life less challenging.

If you or a loved one have suffered a stroke, speak with Dr. Joshua Watt about getting your vision evaluated to identify deficiencies in the visual system. If a problem is found, we’ll help guide you through all of your treatment options for the best possible outcome.

To schedule your appointment or to learn more about what we offer, call Impact Vision Therapy today.

serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, Parker, and throughout Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

Q: #1: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a tailor-made program of visual exercises that train the eyes and brain to work together. Treatment can also include specialized lenses, prisms, and filters.

Q: #2: What other conditions can neuro-optometric rehabilitation treat?

  • A: Neuro-optometry can help patients with visual problems due to traumatic brain injury, stroke, physical disabilities and neurological conditions. A neuro-optometrist can help treat binocular vision disorders (BVD), strabismus, diplopia, oculomotor dysfunction, accommodation and convergence problems, and traumatic visual acuity loss.


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Boys With ADHD Are at Higher Risk for Brain Injury & Vision Problems

brother and sister 640Studies show that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in approximately 17% of males worldwide.

To determine whether there is a link between inattention-hyperactivity and TBIs, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry [analyzed] data from 724 Canadian males aged 6-34. They collected information, examined health files and administered a questionnaire to the participants’ teachers on classroom behavior.

This study is the first to show that childhood behaviors, such as inattention-hyperactivity, predicted TBIs. The study also found that boys having sustained a TBI in childhood were more likely to have another one in adolescence.

In addition to headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, TBIs can also impair one’s visual function, typically causing headaches, blurred and double vision, and dizziness, among other symptoms.

At Impact Vision Therapy, we help patients recover their vision through neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. By performing specific eye-training exercises designed to retrain the neural processes of the brain. This rewires the brain (neuroplasticity) and treats discomforts or struggles associated with visual dysfunction following a brain injury.

What Is a TBI and How Can It Affect Vision?

Traumatic brain injury is a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head, or harsh head injury, whether from a sports-related injury, fall, or car accident.

This can significantly impact the functioning of the visual system. While certain brain injuries may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, it’s more common for it to disrupt communication between the eyes and brain.

Post TBI visual problems may include:

  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Why Do Boys with Inattention & Hyperactivity Incur More Head Injuries Than Others?

While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and concussion, research shows a few connections.

Children and adults with ADHD tend to have poor impulse control, inattention, difficulty maintaining attention, and high energy levels, all of which places them at risk of getting a concussion.

Additionally, many children diagnosed with ADHD are encouraged to participate in sports to help with social interaction, self-esteem and hyperactivity. While this is beneficial on many levels, if they have poor visual-motor speed, or depth perception they’re more likely to collide with teammates, potentially causing a concussion.

Lastly, research also suggests that ADHD may involve problems with visual or auditory processing that may also contribute to the risk of concussion.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists offer a customized treatment regimen for people with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). It addresses problems related to eye teaming, tracking, and focusing that can make it difficult to read and complete tasks. By training the brain to communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like dizziness and headaches can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If your child exhibits ADHD behaviors and has experienced a concussion contact Impact Vision Therapy for a comprehensive eye exam. If vision problems are detected, we’ll offer a personalized treatment program to strengthen any lagging visual skills that may be getting in the way of your child’s quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Joshua Watt

 

Q: What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation?

  • A: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation provides a personalized treatment regimen for those who have visual deficits caused by physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological insults. Neuro-optometry makes use of therapeutic prisms, lenses, filters, and specific vision therapy techniques to reteach the damaged parts of the brain to function better.

Q: How Are Vision Problems Found After a TBI?

  • A: Visual aberrations following a brain injury tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment, as the patient may have serious, life-threatening issues that require urgent medical attention. Furthermore, symptoms may not even present themselves until some time has passed following the injury. The earlier you see a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Optometrist, the better.Early diagnosis leads to more efficient treatment.


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Sports Eye Safety Month – How to Prevent Sports Injuries

skateboard 640Sporting goods stores are full of gear that protects wrists, knees, heads and shins from the impact of a fast-moving ball or a spill from a skateboard.

Unfortunately, many athletes forget that their eyes are just as vulnerable to sports injuries.

Approximately 40,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year, and many result in permanent vision loss.

The good news is that up to 90% of sports-related eye injuries are preventable if an athlete wears the correct protective eyewear.

At Impact Vision Therapy we can help you minimize your risk of incurring an eye injury by helping you choose the proper protective eyewear and improving your visual skills.

What is Protective Eyewear?

Protective eyewear is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, which is very impact-resistant and also protects eyes from UV rays.

There are a variety of different types of protective eyewear for sports: face guards or masks, safety goggles and special eyewear designed for specific sports.

Your optometrist can provide protective eyewear with your prescription, or safety goggles that can be worn over your regular prescription glasses or contacts.

When Do I Need To Use Protective Eyewear?

Everyone, kids included, needs to use protective eyewear whenever practicing or playing a sport that comes with a risk of eye injury.

Some sports with a high risk of eye injury include:

  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Martial arts
  • Fencing
  • Hockey
  • Baseball and softball
  • Squash
  • Shooting
  • Archery

Other sports with a moderate risk of eye injury include:

  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Gymnastics
  • Skiing

All sports, whether they put your eyes at high or low risk of injury, require some type of protective eyewear.

Preventing Sports Injuries with Sports Vision Training

Another effective way to prevent sports-related injuries — and not just eye injuries — is sports vision training. A customized program of eye exercises, sports vision training hones the visual skills needed to play a specific sport. This program teaches the eyes and brain to work together more efficiently and process information faster during a game or race, preventing injuries as a result.

Take peripheral vision as an example. Subpar peripheral vision makes it difficult for athletes to see players or a ball coming toward them from the side. Good peripheral vision lowers the risk of collisions and reduces the likelihood of injury while improving athletic performance.

Whether you play basketball, baseball or tennis, peripheral vision provides athletes with a wide view of the people and objects around them, beyond their central vision.

Studies have shown that football players who participated in a sports vision program sustained fewer concussions. Vision therapy can also help athletes improve their reaction time, processing speed and hand-eye coordination.

At Impact Vision Therapy, we offer safety eyewear and sports vision training to reduce your risk of injury and improve your vision. We treat any vision-related conditions you may have, so contact us to schedule an evaluation.

Impact Vision Therapy serves patients from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and Parker, all throughout Colorado.

Q&A

 

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is an individualized program that consists of a variety of exercises designed to improve and treat visual function.

Q: Should I or my child wear protective eyewear even if we don’t wear prescription glasses?

  • A: Yes! The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wearing protective eyewear for any sport where eye injuries can occur, even for athletes who don’t wear glasses or contacts. Studies show that protective eyewear does not affect a player’s sight and that some athletes play better because they are less afraid of suffering a serious eye injury.