Saturday, June 18, 2016

Concussion: Parents Speak Out about the Visual Link to Recovery

Will Smith’s new movie Concussion is likely to make parents think twice about having their children involved in contact sports like football and soccer. But what about kids who have already suffered a concussion and are struggling to get back to learning? Parents of these children are stepping forward to share their experiences with the hope of helping others.

“Research has shown that approximately 70% of young athletes who suffer a concussion have eye coordination, focusing, and eye movement problems1 . Yet most parents are left on their own choose a health care professional who can help their child correct these problems,” shares Dr. Kara Heying, OD, FCOVD, President of College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

Evyn of Tulsa, Oklahoma had struggled for two years after suffering a concussion at the age of 13, sustained while playing soccer. She saw twelve physicians and specialists, including her pediatrician, two ophthalmologists, a neuro-ophthalmologist, a neurologist, and a sports medicine doctor before an optometrist finally referred her to a developmental optometrist.

Read more.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Vision Problems May Be More Common In Children With An ASD

April is autism awareness month

Here is what you need to know about autism and vision in a nutshell.

Since autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affect how we process and respond to sensory information, it’s important to evaluate exactly what visual sensory information is going in.

Recent studies have found that refractive errors, such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and/or astigmatism, may be more common in those with an ASD. The same goes for strabismus (often called cross-eye) and amblyopia (lazy eye). These problems can be treated, corrected, and sometimes even prevented. Especially if we can catch them early in life.

For more information on how optometrists like us can help treat vision disorders in people with ASD, click here:

Watch these videos for more information:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Alcohol and cataracts

A new study pubished in the journal Optometry & Vision Science found that heavy alcohol consumption significantly increased the risk of age-related cataract. There was some evidence, but not as strong, that moderate consumption may help prevent cataracts. 

Cataracts require surgery to treat. The surgery is fairly common and usually results in a good outcome. However it is not without risks and bad outcomes like double vision and other problems can occur. It is best to avoid contracts altogether. Avoiding heavy drinking appears to be one way to do that.


Optometry and Vision Science: Official Publication of the American Academy of Optometry
Different Amounts of Alcohol Consumption and Cataract: A Meta-Analysis
Optom Vis Sci 2015 Apr 01;92(4)471-479, Y Gong, K Feng, N Yan, Y Xu, CW Pan

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ADHD Drugs and suicide risk

On this blog we often write about ADHD and the fact that ADHD symptoms often mimic the symptoms of common eye movement disorders such as convergence insufficiency. It is important for parents to be alive to the possibility that what was thought to be ADHD is actually a treatable eye movement disorder. Treatment of the eye  movement disorder may make the symptoms go away and avoid unnecessary medication.

A recent warning issued by health Canada about ADHD drugs underscore the importance of seeing in optometrist to test for eye  movement disorders such as convergence insufficiency before excepting a diagnosis of ADHD. 

Health Canada has warned that ADHD drugs may increase suicidal thoughts in patients. Here is a link to a news story that discuss the new warning:

To learn more about the connection between ADHD's type symptoms and convergence insufficiency click here:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Behavioural vision training for older adults improves contrast sensitivity and near accuity

Dr. Dominick Maino points out that  "it has taken science/medicine decades to catch up with an approach that functional/behavioral optometry has taken since the early 1900's. The brain can be changed for the better at ANY age!"

This is because the brain maintains significant neuroplacticity, even in older adults.  Neuroplacticity is the reason that the vision training approaches used for decades in vision therapy by behavioural and developmental optometrists help so many patients.

A new study published in Psychological Science supports the use of behavioral visual training to improve sight in older adults.  This has important implications for reducing falls and car accidents that are associated with loss of depth perception and contrast sensitivity.

The researchers used a perceptual-learning task  to improve age-related declines in contrast sensitivity. Older and younger adults were trained over 7 days using a forced-choice orientation-discrimination task with stimuli that varied in contrast with multiple levels of additive noise. The study's authors found that older adults performed as well after training as did college-age younger adults prior to training. In addition, the vision training therapy improved far acuity in younger adults and in near acuity in older adults. The researchers concluded that behavioral interventions can greatly improve visual performance for older adults.

Psychological Science
Improving Vision Among Older Adults Behavioral Training to Improve Sight
Denton J. DeLoss, Takeo Watanabe, George J. Anderse