Page 12 - envision11-2021
P. 12

Cover Story

                  V ISION T HER APY

         /  Danielle is controlling her focussing system from distance to near and back
               again in this the accommodative rock activity using flippers.  /

                                                                               /   Brin is using Visicare cards to work on Skeffington’s identification and centering
                                                                                circles in an artificially induced environment. Dr. Shirley Ha is shown on the left.  /
                                         As she nears the end of her vision   correction possible to provide the
                                         rehabilitation, Brin  feels  hopeful.  “I’m  20/20 “static” eyesight with a very basic
                                         okay functionally so it’s just a matter of  assessment of binocular vision.”
                                         building up my stamina. I’m optimistic
                                         this will help me live a normal life again.”  Functional optometry takes a whole
                                                                             body or “wholistic” approach, looking
                                         Functional optometry (a.k.a. developmental   at the mind-eye connection, dynamic
                 “    Created  by        developmental optometry or behavioural    and how the person interprets,
                                         optometry, neuro-optometry,  neuro-  vision, interaction with the environment,
                                         optometry)  is  nothing  new.  Created
                 ophthalmologists        by ophthalmologists looking for a    understands and manipulates what is
                                                                             seen. It checks out the rich and intricate
                      looking for a      non-surgical  alternative  to  treat   interplay between the two streams of
                                         strabismus, it has existed for  over 
                      non-surgical       150 years. Originally, ophthalmologists   the visual processes with other sensory,
                                                                             vestibular (balance) and somatosensory
               alternative to treat      created a series of visual exercises called   systems, and assesses spatial awareness
                                         “orthoptics”, meaning,  “straightening
                  strabismus, it has     of eye”. In the mid-twentieth century, a   and the efficiency of acquiring and
                                                                             processing visual information.
                   existed for over      group of optometrists realized that for
                                         vision therapy to work, vision must be
             150 years. Originally,      viewed as more than a simple mechanical     “New patients are initially screened to
                                                                             ensure  that  they  have  an  unmet  need,”
                 ophthalmologists        neuro-muscular system. They developed   says Dr. Ha. “The main purpose of this
                                         and expanded vision therapy into the
                  created a series       visual improvement method it is today.   assessment is to rule vision in or out
                                                                             as being responsible for the reported
                of visual exercises      Shirley Ha, the Oakville-based optometrist     symptoms.”
               called “orthoptics”,      who worked with Brin Snelling, has   Assuming  healthy  structural  integrity,
                                         practiced functional optometry for
                         meaning,        close to 10 years. As one of the founding    the “wholistic” approach provides 
                                                                             “functional”  solutions  for  single,  clear,
                  “straightening of      members  of  Vision  Therapy  Canada    comfortable vision that are,  “dynamic, 
                                       “  of optometry that develops, normalizes,   stable without surgical intervention or
                             eye”.       development optometry is, “a tributary   flexible,  adaptable,  efficient  and
                                         habilitates, rehabilitates and enhances
                                         the visual processes using neuroscience   pharmaceuticals,” she adds.
                                         and neuroplasticity to maximize human    Dr. Kristel Jefferies, director of Internal
                                         performance at school, home, work or   & External Affairs, VTC, and owner of
                                         play.”                              Ottawa Valley Vision in Pembroke, ON,
                                                                             notes that routine eye exams generally
                                         It  differs  from mainstream  optometry,   focus specifically on central visual
                                         which is concerned with eye wellness  acuity and ocular health. While these two
                                         and 20/20 “eyesight” as opposed  to  elements are extremely important to

                                         “vision”, she adds. “Traditional assessments  an individual’s daily visual functioning,

                                         examine the “eyes in the chair”, ensuring   they are only a small part of the visual
                                         the individual does not have structural   skills needed to perform daily living
          Dr. McKenzie is teaching her to strengthen her eye muscles and understand   eye anomalies and giving the best   tasks.

           /  Holly Stead, 10, of Tottenham, ON, working with Dr. Michelle McKenzie.
           depth perception, which will allow her to use her eyes more efficiently.  /
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