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Referring Professionals for Vision Therapy, Joplin

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What Is Vision Therapy?

vision therapy excersi
School Performance? On-going Vision Issues?

Does your child lack focus, complain about vision problems, are you worried about their performance in school?

Do you suffer from vision or coordination problems that can't be solved with eyeglasses or contact lenses?

If you are looking for non-surgical and effective treatment to correct vision problems and enhance coordination and learning, consider Vision Therapy with your eye doctors here at Coleman Vision in Joplin, Missouri.

Vision Therapy refers to a wide range of progressive vision procedures using cutting-edge tools and methodologies that is based on the idea that vision is a learned skill that can be improved through proper training. Under close supervision with your optometrist, Dr. David Coleman or Dr. Jeff Coleman, you will receive the most up-to-date treatment, with cutting-edge tools and methodologies to treat your condition and improve your vision, learning, and quality of life.

Is Your Child Struggling With Homework?

Our Visual System

Vision is all about the way our brains and eyes interact. Whether it’s reading words on the board, catching a ball, or tying our shoelaces, we depend on our visual system to work properly in order to succeed at any of these tasks.

This is because vision isn’t just what we see, it’s how we interpret and interact with that information. In fact, you can have perfect visual acuity―able to rattle off all the symbols on the reading chart―but still struggle with dyslexia, poor focus, hand-eye coordination, or vision conditions like strabismus, amblyopia, or convergence insufficiency.

Strabismus, Dipolopia, and Amblyopia

These conditions distort the way other people perceive the person who suffers from them. The way our eyes work is a huge part of the non-verbal human interaction and people sadly find that someone with strabismus or amblyopia to be disturbing. It distorts the way people read your attention, focus, and intentions. This causes severe social problems that are devastating to the success and happiness of adults and children alike. These conditions were traditionally treated with surgery or corrective patches which are nearly as socially problematic as the condition itself.

Vision Therapy provides effective treatment for these conditions without resorting to patches. The methods of VT often avoids surgery as well. Learn more about cross eye and lazy eye. 

safe imageVision Therapy helps patients improve their foundation for reading, learning and playing sports. It’s a series of custom and individualized activities and exercises which function as a form of neuro-optometric rehabilitation.

In other words, Vision Therapy retrains the brain to more effectively interact with the eyes and therefore improve vision functioning. The goal is to enhance eye tracking, focusing and eye teaming abilities as well as eye-hand coordination and visual processing speed.

Our program is not only for children. Vision Therapy is effective for adults, especially if they are motivated to improve their visual abilities. Conveniently located in Joplin, we are able to provide vision therapy for Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Vision Therapy is all about the neurological understanding of the connection between vision and the brain in order to treat or enhance and/or correct vision difficulties, coordination, and learning. You can think of it as a kind of physical therapy that repairs or improves the way your eyes and brain interact. The process and treatment program is completely customized to the specific conditions and needs of the patient by our eye doctors.

Vision Therapy is highly effective and is non-invasive. Depending on the circumstances, it either rehabilitates from surgery or replaces surgical solutions entirely.’

Who Is Vision Therapy For?

Your Joplin Developmental Optometrists can help with lazy eye (amblyopia), eye turns (strabismus), traumatic brain injury (concussion, whiplash) and special needs populations. Research has shown that 20% of children have a vision issue that affects their learning.

What Does Vision Therapy Treat?

Vision Therapy can be used to treat the following conditions for both adults and children:

  • Binocular Vision and Vision Alignment issues including:
    • Strabismus ("cross-eyed", often as either esotropia or exotropia)
    • Diplopia (double vision)
    • Amblyopia ("lazy eye")
  • Accommodative Dysfunction or Disorders
  • Depth Awareness or constricted visual fields
  • Retained Reflexes
  • Convergence Insufficiency (eye strain and/or diplopia when trying to sustain focus for reading or working)
  • Reading and learning disabilities
  • Asthenopia
  • Neuro-visual Rehabilitation (e.g. after surgery or brain trauma due to strokes, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc.)
  • Vision and coordination issues arising from Developmental Disabilities or Trauma
  • Poor motor-skills and coordination
  • Myopia

The techniques of Vision Therapy can also be applied to train the eyes and brain for better hand-eye coordination, focus, and fine-motor skills.



What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye” is when there is a significant difference in power between the eyes. This is often, but not always, caused by an alignment or eye-teaming problem such as strabismus.

Some common symptoms and problems associated with lazy eye:

  • Poor depth perception
  • Head tilting
  • Social stigma
  • Slow reading*

*According to a study published on November 2015 by the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, children with amblyopia read slower 42 words per minute than children without amblyopia that read 81 words per minute.

Treatment for Amblyopia: It’s Not about the “Bad” Eye

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is best treated by Vision Therapy.

First, the source of the amblyopia must be identified. When indicated, eyeglasses are prescribed. Many eye doctors, particularly Pediatric Ophthalmologists, begin treatment by patching the "bad" eye. However, patching is now proven to be ineffective! Likewise, some doctors recommend atropine eye drops. However, this addresses the symptoms and not the neuro-optometric cause itself.

The common approach treats the problem as a problem in that one eye. Treating one eye may improve the acuity (being able to see letters on a chart) for a while, but often reverts and regresses.

The developmental approach taken by Vision Therapists realizes that amblyopia is really not an eye problem, but rather a problem of not being able to use the two eyes together as a team (eye-teaming). This approach is therefore often much more successful. In the same way that it was difficult for a parent to identify if someone had the problem, to begin with, it is often difficult for them to know if a doctor's recommendation to patch the eye is really working. They, therefore, may be losing time with an ineffective outdated treatment plan.

Amblyopia does not go away on its own, and it can significantly affect a child’s ability to both learn and thrive socially in school. Untreated amblyopia can lead to permanent visual problems and poor depth perception. To prevent this and to give your child the best vision possible, amblyopia should be treated early by vision therapy.

At What Age Can Vision Therapy Treat Amblyopia?

An old axiom that is still held by many Missouri eye doctors is that amblyopia must be detected and aggressively treated before the age of 8 or 9. In reality, treatment for amblyopia or lazy eye is effective for adults as well as children. A child’s visual system is more malleable at a younger age, making treatment quicker at a younger age. However, adults with amblyopia or “lazy eye” tend to be more motivated patients. Improved eye teaming is nearly always achievable.

Our Developmental Eye Doctors provide advanced treatment for both adults and children with Amblyopia/Lazy eye. Our developmental optometrists treat patients from the 4 states including Joplin, Rogers, Miami, and Springfield. 


What is Strabismus?

Strabismus, often referred to as “Crossed Eyes”, “Wandering Eyes”, or “Wall Eye” is a condition where the eyes fail to properly align. Beyond the social stigma, strabismus often results in other vision and visual processing problems such as diplopia (double-vision), amblyopia, and problems with depth perception. A major concern for developmental optometrists is that strabismus is not as simple to diagnose as a visual check. In fact, you can have strabismus without any obvious crossing or eye turn.

There are four kinds of strabismus, two horizontal and two vertical:

  • Esotropia:     one eye may turn in relative to the other {try and find images for these, commons domain}
  • Exotropia:    one eye turns out relative to the other
  • Hypertropia:  one eye turns up relative to the other
  • Hypotropia:   one eye turns up relative to the other

Treatment for Strabismus

All too often, parents are told "don't worry, your child will 'grow out of it'. This is a mistake. In most cases the problem does not improve as the child grows, and meanwhile strabismus leads to significant difficulties with reading and learning. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the eye-turning, and may include:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Vision Therapy
  • Prism
  • Eye muscle surgery

Eye muscle surgery can sometimes make the eyes appear to others as if it is straight, but it rarely aligns with the other eye, and the amblyopia continues.  A program of Vision Therapy for children or adults, is usually needed in order to restore visual function and the ability to use the two eyes together as a team.

Convergence Insufficiency

What is Convergence Insufficiency?

Convergence Insufficiency is a neuro-visual condition where the eyes fail to come together (to converge) enough to enable proper visual perception. The condition is particularly related to near-vision or near-center and visually demanding activities. This can result in:

  • Poor school performance and behavioural problems
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Diplopia (double-vision)
  • Asthenopia (eye strain and fatigue)
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Difficulty reading and concentrating
  • Avoidance of “near” work
  • Poor sports performance
  • Dizziness or motion sickness

A study of almost 700 5th and 6th graders indicated that convergence insufficiency is much more common than many assumed with 13% of students having CI, as well as demonstrating that of the children who showed three signs of CI, 79% where classified as being accommodative insufficient as well.

Treatment for Convergence Insufficiency

Eye coordination problems such as convergence insufficiency and convergence excess generally cannot be improved with eye glasses or surgery. Likewise, research demonstrates that the traditional focus exercise often called "pencil pushups" are ineffective. The only consistently effective treatment for convergence insufficiency is office-based Vision Therapy, which will improve eye coordination abilities and reduce symptoms and discomfort when doing close work.

Neuro-Visual Rehabilitation

There's much more to vision than seeing 20/20. If you suffer from eye-turns, lazy eye, or have poor focus or perception, the Neuro-visual rehabilitation of Visual Therapy can offer proven, significant improvement.

It works because the interaction and cooperation between vision and the brain is crucial to the way we use vision to effectively interact with our surroundings. Most importantly, the way we learn is directly correlated to how effectively our brains and eyes interact. 

Retained Reflexes

If you or your child suffer from poor physical ability or posture, it could be a case of retained primitive reflexes. This condition occurs when the basic infant reflexes present in infancy remain neurologically present past infancy. This causes the following problems:

  • Problems with visual perception and spatial awareness
  • Poor balance and motion sickness
  • Dislike of sports, movement, and walking problems
  • Poor posture
  • Diminished physical and learning capabilities

Learn more about retained reflexes

Children, Learning Disorders, and Vision

Vision issues can cause significant behavioral and learning challenges for children. Often, these challenges manifest in ways that are often confused with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, reading problems, and poor focus.

This can result in misdiagnosis. If children exhibiting these symptoms receive a negative diagnosis, this leaves parents feeling helpless and uncertain.

Neuro-Visual Performance Analysis can ascertain whether a vision problem is at the root of these problems, and can determine the next steps to improve the situation.

Developmental Disabilities, Trauma, and Vision

Anyone who has had to deal with a Traumatic Brain Injury, brain surgery, or has a developmental disabilities or autism knows the frustration and anguish created by the cognitive and motor challenges that come along with it. Coordination and motor problems can be significantly improved with Vision Therapy. Our eye doctors will work with the patient to "relearn" how to use visual inputs to more accurately and effectively perceive and interact with the world.

Vision Therapy can be used to improve or regain visual and motor acuity, learn more about special needs vision. 

Meet Our Joplin Vision Therapy Optometrists

jeff david

Dr. Jeff and Dr. David Coleman carry on a family tradition as the third generation to provide eye care to patients from the 4 states. Dr. Jeff and Dr. David are passionate about the life-changing potential of vision therapy and work with patients of all ages and conditions to help them achieve their best.

Learn more about our eye doctors

Questions And Answers

Questions And Answers

Is there an age limit to vision therapy?

No. There is no age limit because of the brain’s neuroplasticity. Our brains are dynamic and flexible. Just like a muscle or playing an instrument, the more we practice and hone our ability and memory, the more skillful we become.

Do You Offer Light Therapy?

There are vision conditions and mood problems that can be successfully treated using specific wavelengths ― that is, different colors ― of light.

Our visual therapists are able to stimulate the biochemistry of the brain in order to treat a wide range of visual conditions, as well as emotional problems related to light, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Read more about how we use optometric phototherapy as part of our Vision Therapy practice.

About Our Joplin Vision Therapy Practice

ColemanVisionDr. David Colman and his son, Dr. Jeff Coleman, are part of a family tradition to provide exceptional eye care that spans three generations. In addition to excellent general eye care, Coleman Vision Center offers specialized expertise in Vision Therapy, in order to provide the latest advances in eye treatment to their patients in Joplin, Missouri as well as the wider surrounding areas.

Serving Patients From The 4 States

We are proud to serve patients from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma with the highest level of vision therapy. For patients that live too far to drive, we offer a specialized vision therapy program using the Vivid Vision platform. 

Neosho, Webb City, Carthage, Miami OK, Springfield MO, Springdale AR, Bentonville AR, Monett MO, Rogers AR, Fayetteville AR, Pittsburg KS.

Upon referral, the patient is required to have an assessment for vision therapy along with a full oculovisual health assessment.

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