Vision Therapy has Improved My Life

Vision therapy has improved my life. I didn’t realize what a difference it made until I looked back at my writing when I first started therapy. It took me a lot longer to write and my hand would get cramps. I put so much pressure on my pencil to get the feel of the letters. I also had trouble with letter reversals. Today, writing is much easier and my grades have improved. I was even awarded a certificate for Academic Achievement for having the highest grades in my class last year.

The other big area of improvement for me was athletically. I am more aware of my surroundings and my hand-eye coordination has gotten so much better. I used to have trouble judging distance when I was catching a ball, but now I enjoy going out and throwing the football around with my dad.

I think vision therapy was worth all the work I put into it and I’m happy to be able to write “my success story.”

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I am so happy with my new life

Dear Vision Therapy,

 Thank you all for helping me with reading and math. I am doing great in school. I have A’s and B’s. You guys helped me with my school academics. I love your trampoline in your building, it is very fun to play on. Thank you Emmily for letting me be on the trampoline while you were talking to my mom when she was at work, and I was doing vision therapy. I miss coming to therapy because you guys are nice and funny. I am doing well in sports too. I can hit all the baseballs I want and make all the baskets in my basketball games. You guys have helped me with my confidence too. I do not feel embarrassed in school anymore. My friends and I cheer at school sometimes and play on the monkey bars. I am so happy with my new life. Thank you again.

The world now seems more predictable and much more safe and friendly.

I am a 30-year-old Registered Nurse in Yakima, WA whose vision was gradually healed through an eight-month course in optometric vision therapy.

Before vision therapy, I only had a general idea of how far away objects were. I took several seconds to switch my focus between distances, I could only interpret a small area and one exact depth visually at a time, and I routinely saw double in many situations, especially at the beginning and end of the day. The texture of human skin and tree bark looked the same to me unless they were within arm’s length. Also, I received visual information slowly (I didn’t see a ball in the air until a couple seconds after I had tried to catch it based on the posture of the person tossing it to me), and the room routinely looked like it was moving when I turned my head. Sometimes things would abruptly change their appearance, because my mind had guessed incorrectly how they were going to look and made a “picture” based on that guess. The physical world had seemed like a frightening, confusing, and unpredictably dangerous place to me for as long as I can remember. I had often retreated into daydreaming, books, music, abstract reasoning, and philosophic musing instead of dealing with practical matters. Like almost-blind people, I had very little direct emotional connection to visual stimuli, other than alertness and fear if objects looked like they could hit me. I had to always be very alert when I was driving, walking, or moving physically, and if I focused my attention on moving carefully, I didn’t have the energy to also understand what I heard or problem-solve at the same time. With the exception of the double vision, I never really knew that how I perceived the world was abnormal at all.

I had a lot of close calls (and whiplash) while driving, I got lost almost every time I drove somewhere other than church or work, I ran into people and walls a lot while walking, and I hit my head frequently and eventually started to have problems with memory and problem-solving. I hated (and in adulthood, simply avoided) sports, I got really nervous or tearful sometimes without understanding why, and I had even started to avoid reading, which I used to love. I made many errors at work and had to stay much later than others to finish my work. I began to worry what my coworkers must think of this nurse who was always dropping things and running into walls and people. I had been dismissed from my first three nursing jobs without feeling like I was able to do what people expected of me. I was shy and anxious in routine social situations, and my inability to focus on moving faces well enough hindered my attempts at making sense of non-literal communication. I would often get angry or anxious when people didn’t answer my questions the way I expected, or when I didn’t immediately understand what they were saying to me. My friends told me I came across as self-absorbed, a black-and-white thinker, and too focused on one question or idea at a time without taking the context into consideration. All of this had become increasingly unacceptable as I grew older and wanted to succeed professionally and connect socially.

Since my way of viewing and interacting with the world was so ingrained and habitual, I was skeptical about whether vision therapy could help me physically, let alone emotionally and holistically. I was surprised.

Now that I have finished vision therapy, I can directly see the depth of multiple objects simultaneously, I can visually understand the entire room at once without things looking like they are shifting around, and I can change my focus much quicker. I can even process visual information much more quickly. I generally don’t see double unless I let myself relax visually, and I can see things even when they come quite close to my face. Driving is so much easier, even enjoyable sometimes, and I get lost much less often. I don’t hit my head or run into people or walls as often. I make fewer mistakes at work, get my work done more quickly, problem-solve as I work, and feel like I know how to succeed in both of my jobs. I survived a recent large round of lay-offs at the nursing home where I work and received superior marks on my progress evaluation. I feel more relaxed and connected socially, and I don’t put off difficult conversations until the last possible minute any more. I feel like I am able to learn quickly and effectively again, and control my emotions and thoughts better.

For the first time in my life, I really care about what I see, and am able to use my visual abilities to “create” beauty anywhere and help myself relax emotionally. The world now seems more predictable and much more safe and friendly. Because I can see texture from a distance now, people don’t look the same as hard objects, and that helps remind me to not treat them like objects. I can see changes in their faces more quickly, so I understand more in conversations. I don’t have to worry so much about protecting myself from physical danger, so I have more energy to focus on growing socially. I think I’m gradually learning to be less self-absorbed and absolute, and more appreciative of context in the social and ideological realms as well.

Vision Therapy is hard work, physically and emotionally, especially for adults who, like me, have probably had problematic vision since infancy. But it quickly becomes very rewarding. The experience of viewing the world with your eyes in exactly the correct position is intrinsically beautiful and calming. As soon as you see it for a couple seconds, something deep inside you says, “This is how humans were created to see. This must be a little like Paradise.” Briefly looking at the world more correctly can become a way to calm yourself down naturally when you are anxious in any situation. I was able to calm myself more reliably than I ever had before after the first two months of vision therapy.

I am grateful to God for healing my vision through the hard work of Dr. Copeland, and through the prayers of Father Joseph, Abbess Efpraxia, Saint Paraskevi, Saint George, and the Theotokos.

I found Dr. Copeland to be exceptionally patient, understanding, respectful, and professional throughout the course of therapy. I would wholeheartedly recommend treatment at Washington Vision Therapy Center for any child or adult who finds visual information to be frequently confusing, distracting, frustrating, anxiety-producing, surprising, or unreliable.

Above and beyond what we ever imagined possible!

When our son was very young, we noticed that he had trouble doing certain things such as riding a bike, learning to swim, and looking people in the eye. When he started school, the real problems began to show up in his inability to read, write legibly and transfer words from the board to his paper. His 2nd grade teacher was completely baffled by the work he was turning in. He wasn’t improving in spite of extra help from tutors, summer school, and reading intervention programs. Nobody seemed to have any answers for us. We finally took him to have his vision checked, and that’s when we met Dr. Winters. He noticed immediately that his eyes weren’t tracking together. After only a couple months of vision therapy, we noticed huge improvements in several areas! Now that he has completed his therapy, the changes in our son are way above and beyond what we ever imagined possible! He is able to ride his bike, hit a baseball very well and play catch without the fear of the ball hitting him in the face. He has become a good swimmer, and his school work gets better and easier almost daily. He reads smoothly, writes legibly, and spelling tests are no longer a nightmare for him! He is much happier now and feels like a successful person. If you meet him and shake his hand, he will look you in the eye with confidence! Thank you so much Dr. Winters, Dr. Copeland, and all of you at the Washington Vision Therapy Center!! You are truly a blessing to this community.

Vision Therapy has been a life-changing experience for our whole family.

It is hard for me to know how to begin my son’s story. I am still processing all that I have learned over the past year. Vision Therapy is something I had never heard of until September 2010 when our optometrist mentioned that he thought my son could benefit from it. It has been a whirlwind year of questions, anxiety, learning and relief. There are finally answers for the traits that our son has always had, that he has now overcome and through which he is even now continuing to blossom.

My son has always been the quiet one of our family. We have six children and five of them are boys. As a toddler, he played well with his brothers, running and jumping as little boys do. He seemed to have great coordination skills. As he grew, I noticed that he didn’t have much confidence in himself. He would often sit out of play if he didn’t think that he could do what his brothers could. Being our quiet one, I really didn’t think much about it.

Soon it was time for me to start to teach him how to read. I started with the same reading program I used with his brother. I had breezed through it with my older son and was excited to use it with the younger. About a third of the way through, I knew it wasn’t working and thought he just wasn’t ready yet. I put it aside for about six months and then tried again. It went a little better and he made it through the program, but not as easily as his brother.

I just kept telling myself that everyone learns at their own pace and that he would get it if we just kept working at it. I read every school subject to my son from kindergarten to second grade, with the exception of his assigned reading. He learned well, he just couldn’t read well. Along with the difficulty with reading, he was also tired all the time. He rarely made it through the school day without needing a nap.

My husband and I thought that we should have his eyes checked before he began the third grade. We found out that he was far-sighted, so much so that Dr. Qunell started him on only half of his prescription strength. What a relief for all of us! Our son could see and he was delighted to be able to see the words on the pages of his text books.

Unfortunately, he was still tired by mid-morning and often seemed to be “goofing off” instead of working on his studies. I was getting quite frustrated with him and even with myself for not being able to get him through his school day in a timely manner. He just couldn’t seem to stay focused. I was still reading about half of his school work to him which was stressful as I had two other sons who needed my attention with their school work too.Throughout the school year I again reminded myself that my son just needed a little more time than my other boys. He would eventually catch up to where he needed to be. Maybe it wouldn’t always be so hard for him.

We began fourth grade. He had another eye exam. Dr. Qunell gave him a stronger prescription but this time he noticed that my son had Convergence Insufficiency. He referred us to Dr. Winters for Vision Therapy. We had our first visit with Dr. Winters and his staff at Washington Vision Therapy Center. We listened as he described our son to us. It was the middle of December 2010 when my son started therapy. He finished at the end of June 2011. He worked hard at his therapy. The change in him over the last few months has been remarkable. He has stopped complaining about fatigue and rarely naps. He asks to read his own lessons. He asks his brothers to play catch and basketball with him. He even read his first chapter book and has enthusiastically started his second.

He is more confident in himself with each passing day. I have to say that I am excited to see what he will do in the fifth grade without the hindrance of having to use most of his thoughts and energy on simply getting his eyes to work properly and focus on seeing one letter or word at a time. Now he will simply be able to apply them and the tools he has learned to complete the task at hand.

Thank you to Dr. Aaron Qunell for diagnosing my son and sending us to Dr. Winters. Thank you to Dr. Winters for working with our son, and with us too. Thank you to Emmily who made him feel special from the very start, for showing him that he could anything he set his mind to and that he could take charge of his eyes and of himself with confidence. Thank you to Susan who completed his therapy with the same patience and care as Emmily. Also to Karen and Rene who always greeted us with their lovely smiles and willingness to answer whatever questions we have had. Vision Therapy has been a life-changing experience for our whole family.

“After 6 months of Vision Therapy, my son is a different child and a different student”

February 24, 2011
Letter written by the mother of 13 year old patient

From the time my son started reading he would get headaches.  I could tell at the end of a school day how much reading and focusing he had done that day. On the days that he had to focus more he was jittery and could not sit still.  He would have headaches that were of migraine intensity, complete with vomiting.
We spent years taking him to doctors and specialists.  We had tests done to see if we could figure out how to help him.  At his annual eye exam at the age of 13 we visited Dr. Winters for the first time.  Dr. Winters diagnosed him with Convergence Insufficiency and suggested Vision Therapy.
After 6 months of Vision Therapy, my son is a different child and a different student.  He has had 2 headaches in the 7 months since starting Vision Therapy, which is a vast improvement from the 3 or 4 a week that he had been experiencing.  I thought he was just an awkward gangly boy that would someday grow into his body and his big feet.  Now, after Vision Therapy he has gained grace and coordination.
My son started Vision Therapy in the summer and for the first time my son learned to water ski, though he had been trying for 3 years.  He also gained the confidence to try out for the football team and earned a spot as a receiver.  He had the confidence to negotiate the price of a snowmobile helmet from a dealer at the snow show.  He also negotiated the price of a snowmobile for himself, this from the kid who before Vision Therapy would hide behind his parents without saying a word.  During his first snowmobile ride of the season on his new machine, my son displayed balance, fast reaction times, and skill that he had not shown in the previous 3 years of riding.
After witnessing firsthand the change Vision Therapy has made in my son, I am a FIRM believer in its benefits.  I encourage you to research Vision Therapy and talk with your eye care professional about the benefits that Vision Therapy may offer to you or a loved one.

Reading has been a struggle for my daughter since early childhood.

Reading has been a struggle for my daughter since early childhood. She was able to read larger words, but words of 3 letters or less were skipped over. Her difficulty with math arose when she had to write out problems; her numbers would not line up correctly. After 6 years of eye doctors telling us her eyes were fine, we found Washington Vision Therapy Center.

During the WA VTC Workshop, I cried as all the areas my daughter struggled with were described and explained by Dr. Winters. Since starting Vision Therapy, she is able to line up her numbers for math problems and has advanced one and one half grade levels in reading. After 8 months of Vision Therapy, my daughter’s eyes move together flawlessly.

We thank God for Washington Vision Therapy Center and for all who work there. If not for these people, my daughter would have needlessly struggled her entire life with vision problems that were correctable!