Tools and Techniques
Brock String is a very simple technique that gives the child incredible feedback and is often sent home with the child. The Brock string teaches awareness of eye aiming at various distances while checking for suppression (shutting an eye off). It can also be used for vergence facility training (using the eyes in a coordinated fashion) later along in the program.
The Marsden Ball is used for eye tracking (fixation and pursuits) but can also be handy for eye hand coordination. Children of all ages can be successful performing this technique.
The Rotator is a tracking instrument used to improve your ability to accurately direct your eyes from one point to another point with ease and efficiency. The child is asked to locate holes and place golf tees in a rotating pegboard. As the child's skill improves, the speed at which the pegboard is rotating is gradually increased. This procedure can be done while the patient is wearing a patch over one eye or when using both eyes simultaneously.
The focusing system is telling the child what things are, identifying them. Sometimes a child does not have any control over their focusing system and doesn't recognize blur and know how to make things clear. We use lenses to train focus (accommodation) and teach awareness and the appropriate visual response. We often use a flipper that has minus lenses on one side and plus lenses on the other. The minus lenses cause the brain to tell the eye to focus and the plus tell it to relax. Paying attention to the stimulus and teaching the brain to respond appropriately is the key to this activity. The stimulus can vary, such as a chart, or reading material.
Red-Green Lenses & Filters
Red-Green Lenses and Filters can be used to train a child out of suppression. Suppression happens when the brain shuts off information coming from an eye. This happens when the image is blurry, double or confusing in some way. It is a neurolgically adaptive behavior and is a sign of an unstable visual system. Since vision therapy enhances binocular vision (two-eyed), both eyes must be turned on and working. These lenses help give the child feedback so they know when one eye shuts off as they can only see part of the target.
Vectograms are polarized slides used to train stereopsis (depth perception) and central and peripheral anti-suppression. They also allow for vergence training and teach a variety of skills like recognizing parallax and size differences. Vectograms are fun and provide a varied target that children find interesting. Prisms and balance boards can be added to further imbed the learned response so that the child can transfer what he is learning to other experiences.
Yoked prisms are very effective to use in therapy and help turn on different visual pathways in the brain. Yoked prisms can have a direct effect on balance and posture, by creating a change in visual space perception. The individual must change, or adjust, to the change in visual space awareness caused by the prisms in order to maintain balance and orientation. This technique can be particularly beneficial for patients suffering from post-concussive syndrome, as their visual world is usually in disarray from the insult to the brain.
Sanet Vision Integrator
The Sanet Vision Integrator (SVI) is a very new and exciting, hi-tech addition to our vision therapy program. This large touch screen has several vision therapy techniques incorporated into one unit. It effectively helps to train and improve: Eye-Hand Coordination, Peripheral awareness, bilateral integration, saccadic eye movements, anti-suppression, sustained visual attention, visual spatial memory, and automaticity of letter, number, and word naming. In our ever evolving digital age, this device helps keep the child interested and more willing to participate in the therapy.