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Our practice is right by Target & Rosa’s Café at 4109 North Midland Dr. Midland, TX 79707

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Vision Therapy

What Is 20/20 Vision Therapy?

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The visual system is a complex communication network between the eyes and the brain. Vision therapy aims to assist the visual system in ways that glasses, contacts, or corrective surgery cannot effectively treat.

Vision therapy is a non-surgical, doctor-supervised, individualized program of visual exercises aimed to improve vision problems like tracking and movement coordination, fixation, focusing, binocularity, perception, and more. Through the use of lenses, prisms, filters, computer programs, and vision games the vision therapist, supervised by the optometrist, is able to improve and/or correct these issues. A positive outcome is heavily dependent upon a coordinated effort between the optometrist, vision therapist, and patient. The end objective for any vision therapy patient is to obtain clear, comfortable, binocular vision through organized information transmission between the eyes and the brain.

Vision therapy can help treat an array of visual diagnosis. Due to neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to form new communication pathways), vision therapy can help treat vision problems like amblyopia or “lazy eye”, strabismus or “eye turn”, eye movement disorders, accommodative or“focusing” disorders, and visual perceptual disorders. These diagnoses are more easily treated when addressed at an early age. When vision therapy is considered later in life, results are more guarded.

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The first step to any eye-related concern is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Vision HealthSpecialties. Pending diagnoses and treatment options, a vision therapy evaluation will be scheduled to determine therapy treatment duration and assist with customization of the therapy program.

The Vision Therapy Department at Vision HealthSpecialties is directed by Dr. Cara Sczepanski and comanaged by a lead vision therapist, Brittany Self. Dr.Sczepanski is a native Texan with a Business Leadership degree from The University of Dallas. In 2016, she graduated from the Rosenberg School of Optometry in San Antonio, TX. Following graduation, she completed a 12-month, private practice residency in Pediatric Optometry and VisionTherapy/Rehabilitation in Portland, OR.

Brittany Self, the lead vision therapist, is originally from the Houston area. She has accumulated an array of eyecare experience and knowledge as a technician and assistant to doctors in pediatric general surgery, general ophthalmology, and optometry. She partnered with Dr. Sczepanski in early2018 to develop and operate the Vision Therapy Department at Vision Health Specialties.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Billy J. Cook

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Midland, Texas. Visit Vision Health Specialties for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Mental Health and Your Vision

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA; in Canada, Mental Health week is May 6th to 12th. Since 1949, it has been observed throughout the United States as a way of drawing attention to the importance of proper mental health. This year’s theme is #4Mind4Body. The idea is that using elements around us, such as the people in our lives, faith, nature, and even pets, can strengthen wellness and overall mental health.

Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health? While things like stress, trauma, and family history are factors that impact mental health, vision can also impact it.

How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?

Certain types of eye diseases and visual impairments can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can make everyday activities like driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.

Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues in a few instances.

Kids’ Vision and Mental Health

Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t see the board clearly or constantly struggle with homework due to poor vision, they may act out their frustration or have trouble getting along with their peers.

Coping with Vision Problems

One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step.

Family members, close friends, colleagues, parents, and teachers can all play an important role in detecting emotional suffering in those with visual difficulties. Pay attention to signs of changes in behavior, such as a loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.

Thankfully, many common vision problems are treatable. Things like double vision, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be managed. Vision correction devices, therapeutic lenses, visual exercises, or special prism glasses may help provide the visual clarity you need. Your primary eye doctor can help and a vision therapist or low vision expert may make a significant impact on your quality of life.

How You Can Help

There are some things you can do on your own to raise awareness about good mental health:

Speak Up

Often, just talking about mental health struggles can be incredibly empowering. Ask for help from family and friends or find a local support group. Be open and honest about what you’re going through and talk with others who are going through the same thing. Remember: you’re not alone.

If you experience any type of sudden changes to your vision — even if it’s temporary — talk to your eye doctor. A delay in treatment may have more serious consequences, so speak up and don’t wait.

Get Social

Developing healthy personal relationships improves mental health. People with strong social connections are less likely to experience severe depression and may even live longer. Go out with friends, join a club, or consider volunteering.

Have an Animal

Having a pet has been shown to boost mental health and help combat feelings of loneliness. Guide dogs can be especially beneficial for people suffering from vision loss.

Use Visual Aids

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues caused by vision loss, visual aids can help. Devices like magnifiers or telescopic lenses can enlarge text, images, and objects, so you can see them more clearly and in greater detail.

Kids can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contacts, or specialized lenses for more severe cases of refractive errors. Vision therapy may be an option, too. It is a customized program of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions.

Always talk to your eye doctor about any concerns, questions, or struggles.

Thanks to programs like Mental Health Awareness Month, there is less of a stigma around mental health than just a few decades ago. Advancements in medical technologies and scientific research have led to innovative solutions for better vision care.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, share your share your struggles, stories, and successes with others. Use the hashtag #Mind4Body and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.