A growing number of teachers, educational psychologists and parents are becoming aware of a branch of optometry called Behavioural Optometry or Vision Therapy. Due to popular demand Christopher Young has been offering this service since 2008.
Christopher is a member of the British Association of Behavioural Optometrists and undergoes regular ongoing training to stay at the forefront of this emerging science.
Please see our Consultation Fees document for the current prices.
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Whenever an individual has trouble concentrating to read, it is critical to check for vision problems before labelling the difficulty as 'dyslexic ' or having an 'attention deficit disorder'. This is especially true for children.
One of the main tools for comfortable reading is binocular and perceptual function. If the eyes cannot converge and focus onto the same point on the page then reading comprehension is reduced and reading ability and progress is limited.
Imagine seeing two of everything and believing that everyone sees the same as you do. Words jump, disappear or move but everyone else can read alright so why can't you? Self- confidence rapidly evaporates and reading becomes boring and a chore.
This is not uncommon. Research findings published by Hokada (1985) found that 21% of a normal population demonstrated symptoms and clinical findings of binocular vision impairments. In a reading disabled population 73% exhibit binocular and/or perceptual dysfunction. (Seiderman 1980).
It is often the teachers who are the first to pick up that there is a problem and recommend a sight test. In fact, the classic sign of a binocular vision problem is a short attention span and inability to concentrate. In these situations it is not uncommon for this sight test to reveal '20/20' vision and a clean bill of health from the optometrist not experienced in vision therapy.
As a Vision Therapist I examine the visual system beyond the 20/20 level. I investigate how efficiently the visual system as a whole is functioning and I help individuals develop quality vision and improve concentration.
I work closely with local educational psychologists including Elvie Brown, as well as Mary Mountstephen who is an Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association and a child development specialist.CLOSE
Whether you have been referred to us by a teacher or educational psychologist, or you have heard about us 'on the grapevine', the first stage is to call us and explain the situation to one of our staff members. We request that you download and complete our pre assessment questionnaire and this must be submitted to us before any appointment. Please also bring any Educational Psychologist reports, current glasses and teachers comments (if possible ask a teacher to complete the Visual and General Signs sections on the questionnaire).
The initial assessment is approximately two hours long, including discussion of results. During the asessment I will investigate the primitive reflexes and how, if retained, they may be impacting on the vision. I will review the development of the gross motor system and assess in depth how efficiently the eyes work as a pair. A parent or guardian is required to sit in on the exam with all children under 16 years of age.
Treatment may consist of glasses, coloured overlays, exercises or a combination of all three. The exercises should be performed as often as possible, preferably every day. They take approximately 10 minutes and should be performed in the morning when the individual is fresh. Supervision is essential.
We review progress each month and assuming previously agreed targets have been achieved new exercises are issued. Completion of the course can take up to six months of continuous therapy.
Due to the intensity of the education at independent schools, many parents find it difficult to fit the exercises into the busy schedule, and impossible if the child is boarding.
We have developed close links with the learning support departments of several of the local independent schools, including Millfield Prep School, Millfield Senior School, All Hallows School and Perrott Hill School, and with our support they are either offering, or considering offering facilities for completing the eye exercises during the school day. Please contact them directly to ask for details.CLOSE
Visual Stress (Meares - Irlen Syndrome), also known as scotopic sensitivity syndrome, is a sensitivity to visual patterns, particularly stripes. In some individuals this condition can cause visual perception problems which interfere with reading. The symptoms can occur despite normal vision.
One current explanation is that the perceptual problems are due to a hyperactivation of the visual cortex of the brain, particularly in more anterior visual areas, which is reduced by precise individual colour.
Symptoms of visual stress include:
Migraine attacks have many triggers, including stress, particular foods, and hormones. About 40% of migraine attacks may be visually-induced by flickering light, patterns or reading. These attacks may be helped by precision tinted lenses.
Research in the US undertaken by a team of neuroscientists, using brain imaging, has shown that a suppression of hyper-excitability in the visual cortex occurs in migraineurs when individually selected precision tinted lenses are worn.
The lenses for the study were selected using the Intuitive Colorimeter.
Visual Stress can be reduced by the use of coloured filters: a coloured overlay placed over the text or coloured lenses worn in spectacles. The reduction occurs only when the colour is selected to suit the individual.
A coloured overlay assessment is performed routinely as part of a vision therapy examination, with overlays issued if necessary. If eye exercises are also required we will reassess the overlay requirement on completion of the course of eye exercises. If there is still a benefit we will perform identify the appropriate colour for spectacles using our intuitive colorimeter.
As a rule of thumb, we will only suggest tinted coloured lenses once exercises have been completed. Our own experience has shown that just completing the exercises often sorts out the problem.CLOSE
A national health service sight test is only designed to identify if an individual needs glasses or has any eye disease. It is, literally, a test of the sight.
The eyes collect the information but if they do not work efficiently together our brains are unable to interpret the gathered information. Vision therapists examine the whole vision system, including how well the eyes work as a team. This is far more in depth and is not available on the NHS.
It has been estimated that 1 in 5 people may have a binocular vision problem (Hokada 1985).
Unfortunately this is not as yet available on the NHS.
There is a lot of cynicism regarding the efficacy of vision therapy, however there is growing anecdotal and more importantly scientific evidence that supports our work and the positive results that we achieve.
Mary Mountstephen, who is an associate member of the British Dyslexia association and child development specialist has developed individualised assessment and intervention programs using international research based resources. Her practical books for parents are available on Amazon.CLOSE
This information is taken from our client feedback forms issued to parents three to six months following completion of a course of vision therapy.
Patient Name: O.N. Age at beginning of treatment: 7 Treatment started: Sept 2011
Before therapy did your child have a problem with the following areas; if yes, please note the amount of improvement: Scale of improvement: 1 = very little, 5 = a lot
|Difficulties||Amount of improvement|
|Making excessive mistakes||No|
|Working too slowly||No|
|Fast and accurate copying||Yes||4|
|Length of time doing homework||No|
|Short term memory skills||Yes||4|
Please describe in more detail some of the improvements you have seen in your child as a result of therapy:
Date of completion of Parent Evaluation Form: November 2012