vision therapy - developing an individualised program
Vision therapy is a complex program of activities designed to normalise the visual system
Following a vision assessment by Geoff Shayler, the Behavioural Optometrist at Shaylers Vision Centre, the "weak" areas of visual processing he has identified that are impacting on a persons visual performance that are negatively affecting their "quality of life"
From this information an individualised program of vision therapy is developed
Optometric Vision Therapy is a program of activities, that are carried out at home or within the practice setting to develop a persons visual abilities
These activities are designed to primarily address the 5 "F's" :-
Fields - our ability to be aware of, and, utilise information within our peripheral (side) vision
Fixations - our ability to move our eyes independently from head movement, in an accurate controlled manner as well as converge effortlessly to look at a near object
Focus - to be able to look clearly at all ranges quickly, accurately and without stress
Fusion - for the brain to utilise information from the two eyes to achieve a single "binocular" image without effort
Flexibility - to integrate all of the above with gross and fine motor control with the rest of the body
"Fast track" Vision Therapy
Typically Optometric Vision Therapy often takes 6-18 months of daily “home therapy”, but why take so long?
At Shaylers Vision Centre, we believe there is a better way
Considerations for the child with conventional “home based” vision therapy:- Children who are already struggling in the classroom get home from school, tired stressed and fed up. They bring home assignments that they failed to complete in school, as well as regular homework. In addition, they are required to complete 20-30 minutes of vision training activities. This reduces their time to relax, interact with their friends and take part in extra-curricular activities, hobbies and sport, all adding to their already stressed condition
for the parent:- Parents get home from work tired, prepare dinner, argue with children to get home work done, and then try to find time to sit quietly to assist their child with their vision training
and for the therapist:- Activities are explained and demonstrated in the practice, verbal and written explanation given, and yet when checked on their return to the practice at their next check, the activity has been carried out in a totally different way which has failed to produce expected gains.
“Fast track” vision therapy (as initially developed by the late Dr Wayne Pharr, OD) incorporates syntonic phototherapy, Brain gym activities and optometric vision therapy to provide speedy change in visual performance.
Therapy is carried out within the practice for 1 hour 2x a day for 10 days with a 3 hour gap between appointments.
In our practice we see patients 4 days a week, Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fridays,( i.e. a 2 ½ week program) This program allows total control of the therapy, the therapist can maintain ideal “pressure” during each activity, all activities are correctly carried out. Any difficulties with an activity are immediately identified by the therapist and appropriate changes made The child is able to return to school with a much improved visual system, reading is easier and more enjoyable, the differences can be staggering in such an amazingly short space of time with improved quality of life
Research carried out within the practice has shown normalisation of many aspects of visual brain function within this time frame, with ongoing improvements over the next 4 months.
Geoff Shayler and Bill Hay were the first optometric practices within the UK to incorporate syntonics into their vision therapy programs.
Visual problems exist as a consequence of stress on the visual system.
In Star Trek, when they go to battle stations the lights turn red... Why?...
...because red light stimulates the fight and flight (stress side of the autonomic nervous system)
A baby born with jaundice is placed in an incubator with blue light...Why?...
...because blue stimulates the opposite side of the autonomic nervous system dealing with relaxation, regeneration and recovery.
By incorporating Syntonic light therapy prior to carrying out vision therapy activities, we are putting the visual system into a state of relaxation so that it can develop quicker and in a more relaxed manner and this is how we can carry out vision therapy in such a short space of time
Bill Hay and Geoff Shayler have been successfully using these techniques of combining syntonics with vision therapy in this intensive way for over 15 years! as a result of which they have both lectured on this subject
In October 2014, Geoff presented a 2 day course on "Fast Track" Vision Therapy in Switzerland after which he presented the course in Santa Fe, New Mexico, prior to the 83rd Light and Vision conference in October 2015