Highline Vision Center
Highline Center For Vision Performance

Vision Therapy for an Optometrist’s Son

Writing this blog post is a humbling moment in my career. As I write, I feel like a terrible father and optometrist but I will keep writing in the hopes my family’s journey will help others.

All day I see patients and discuss, in great detail, the visual or physical symptoms they experience that affect their enjoyment of life as well as their continued health. I, and the other doctors here at Highline, are especially passionate about targeting potential visual skills deficiencies that can keep kids and adults from learning efficiently. For some people, these binocular vision issues can cause some pretty debilitating physical symptoms like eyestrain, headaches, and double vision.  For others, the cues are often subtler and are easily missed or written off as other things like “boyishness”.

We are passionate about helping people properly develop these visual skills because not doing so limits their potential. When learning is especially difficult or hurts, kids don’t want to succeed in school, they just want to survive and graduate high school. And they definitely don’t want to go to college to pursue an interest that might otherwise feed their soul. When near work hurts or is difficult for adults, they adapt to their existing capabilities and change their career goals to match what they can do comfortably. In short, when learning is difficult or painful, the future becomes more limited than it should be and that’s just not okay.

What I Missed: The Signs

Which brings me back to why I feel like a terrible father: I overlooked some signs that my son had a visual skills deficiency and needed Vision Therapy.

Now, to be fair to myself and my wife, our son, Nolan, is six years old and this is about the age we, as optometrists, are able to spot visual deficiencies in our young patients. It’s when kids begin learning in a school environment that visual issues often present themselves. In our case, Nolan was learning in the classroom just fine and his reading skills are progressing at above his age level. In addition, some of his processing skills seem very advanced (Can I tell you that he’s building Lego sets intended for 16 year olds?). But, here’s what we started noticing:

  • He was a bit clumsy: it’s as if he had trouble recognizing how his body moved in relation to his surroundings.
  • He was fidgety when doing homework: he squirmed in his seat and picked at his clothing and otherwise, would not sit still.
  • He has always avoided team sports: fearing that he “won’t be any good.”

After some discussions with my wife, we decided to just pull the trigger and put Nolan in Vision Therapy right now. The worst thing that could happen would be that – as his eyes and brain are trained to work together at a higher level – he might need more advanced Lego sets!

Some of the visual skills I had checked with Nolan at his exams actually didn’t look too reduced, but I knew that we often get a lot more information after scheduling a screening appointment in the Vision Therapy office.  It was at this first Vision Therapy appointment that our suspicions were confirmed: Nolan’s eye tracking skills were very underdeveloped.  He seemed to have trouble with some basic visually guided motor skills, and I was astonished at the effort that some of the testing took for him.

Here We Go!

So here we are, beginning Vision Therapy and it is my intention to bring you along with us so you can see what Vision Therapy is like from a parent’s perspective. Follow Highline Vision Center on Facebook or Instagram to see when this blog is updated.

Ready to Schedule An Appointment?

The Highline Vision Center team is looking forward to seeing you soon. Our practice utilizes state-of-the-art technology to deliver personal and comprehensive eye care for your entire family.

What is Vision Therapy

Vision is much more than just seeing 20/20. If there is a vision disorder unrelated to clarity, it may make working, learning, sports and hobbies significantly more difficult. Struggling students and hardworking adults may fall behind if their visual demands are overwhelming.

Vision therapy is appropriate for treatment of tracking and reading fluency problems, poor focus and/ or attention, visual processing issues, convergence insufficiency, traumatic brain injury, strabismus, amblyopia, and many more vision conditions that can be present at any age.

Vision therapy is also very valuable training for enhancement of sports performance. A customized visual training program will improve visual abilities and train the eyes and brain to work together more effectively.


There are many signs of a visual system not working optimally. Inefficient visual skills or those that have not properly developed may result in:

  • Headaches: Pain or discomfort, often concentrated around the eyes or across the forehead, but also may occur in the back of the head.
  • Discomfort or fatigue: Tension, stress or weariness (especially concentrated around the eyes) after visually demanding work.
  • Double vision: Seeing two images when there should only be one.
  • Suppression: The brain will ignore or “turn off” the signal from one eye in order to avoid confusing information.
  • Poor coordination: Deficient eye-hand coordination often reveals itself through poor handwriting, general clumsiness, or poor sports performance.
  • Performance below expectations: In school, work, hobbies or sports.


Skills we develop through vision therapy include:

  • Visual acuity:  The ability of an eye to see clearly, both at distance and near.  Vision is much more than being able to see 20/20.
  • Binocularity: The ability of both eyes to work seamlessly together and send identical visual information to the brain simultaneously.
  • Tracking: The ability to efficiently and accurately track along a line of print. This is a crucial skill for reading fluency.
  • Focus/near visual acuity: The ability to keep print clear for near work. This skill includes the ability to change focus between distance and near quickly, efficiently and without experiencing blur.
  • Attention: The ability to mentally maintain focus on a task with ease for an extended period of time.
  • Depth perception: 3D vision, or the ability to judge the distance between objects in three dimensional space.
  • Visual information processing: This includes a number of skills, all of which influence whether a person can make sense of what they’ve seen. Visual memory is one important example of these skills.  It is essential for accurate spelling and remembering what one has read.
  • Visualization: Being able to create a mental image.

A few examples include forming a picture in your mind of what you are reading or imagining yourself performing well in an upcoming race. This skill is crucial for enjoyment of reading, efficient learning and sports performance.


Our behavioral optometrists focus on each person as a whole and the various stressors that may affect their visual system. Through a structured program of vision therapy, we work with patients to develop the crucial visual skills necessary to reach academic, athletic and professional goals.

Vision therapy programs typically consist of 45 minutes of in-office therapy per week with assignment of additional home practice activities. Specific visual activities will be prescribed for the patient depending on the skills needing improvement. This allows for specialized care to meet each patient’s needs and constant modification to support achievement of desired goals.

If you have any questions regarding vision therapy, please feel free to reach out to us. We are dedicated to developing visual skills to allow everyone to reach their potential. Highline Center for Vision Performance stands ready to offer additional information and solutions.

Ready to Schedule An Appointment?

The Highline Vision Center team is looking forward to seeing you soon. Our practice utilizes state-of-the-art technology to deliver personal and comprehensive eye care for your entire family.

Brain Injury: Vision & Rehabilitation

Addressing damaged visual processing after an acquired brain injury can enhance your rehabilitation.


Vision is your body’s most important source of sensory information. If you’ve experienced a brain injury, the vital connection between your brain and your vision may be interrupted or damaged. While that alone would be cause for treatment, consider the fact that all of your other rehabilitation activities rely on accurate vision for success.


Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation is based upon the core principle that vision, when functioning well enhances and stabilizes. When it is not, it interferes. After an injury, vision can be reintegrated and relearned leading to rehabilitation. Highline’s Optometrists and Vision Therapists have extensive experience treating the visual consequences of brain injury.


An acquired brain Injury may disrupt eye teaming skills, tracking, and visual focus. Often, visual problems resulting from a brain injury are overlooked during initial treatment of the injury.

Symptoms indicating a vision problem are:

  • Intolerance of visually crowded spaces
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Reading difficulties: words appear to move
  • Reduced Comprehension
  • Attention or concentration difficulty
  • Memory difficulty
  • Double vision
  • Aching eyes / eye strain
  • Headaches with visual tasks
  • Loss of visual field
  • Navigation difficulty
  • Dizziness
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Changes in posture

Think About It: Everything you do in rehabilitation after an acquired brain injury requires visual function. If your visual processing is damaged, your rehabilitation process can be more difficult because your brain is working with distorted information.


When visual problems go undetected and untreated after a brain injury, patients and their families often experience terrible frustration because other rehabilitation methods are proving less effective than hoped. If the visual system is inefficient, every task can seem difficult.

Visual skills affected by acquired brain injury include:

  • Tracking – the ability of the eyes to move smoothly across a printed page or while following a moving object
  • Fixation – the ability to maintain steady gaze on an object
  • Focus change – looking quickly far to near and back without blur
  • Depth perception – judging relative distances of objects
  • Peripheral vision – monitoring and interpreting what is happening in the surrounding field of vision
  • Binocularity – using both eyes together as a team
  • Maintaining attention – keeping focused on a particular activity while interference, such as noise, is present
  • Visualization – accurately picturing images in the “mind’s eye”
  • Near vision acuity – clearly seeing, inspecting, and identifying objects when viewed within arm’s length
  • Distance acuity – clearly seeing, inspecting, and identifying objects when viewed at a distance
  • Visual perception – understanding what is seen


Acquired brain injury is any insult to the brain. It can result from trauma, an illness, an operation, or a vascular accident. A brain injury may result in impairment of cognitive abilities, sensory processing and/or physical function. Types of acquired brain injury include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Open or closed head injury
  • Concussion
  • Whiplash
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Brain tumor
  • Anoxia (lack of oxygen)
  • Chemical trauma (chemotherapy, radiation, alcohol or drug abuse)
  • Infection (encephalitis or meningitis)


Your rehabilitation process should include an evaluation of your visual system and treatment of any detected visual problems. Vision problems related to brain injuries can be radically reduced or successfully eliminated. This can help the rest of your rehabilitation go more smoothly to allow you to move forward with your life.

Behavioral optometrists and therapists specifically trained in rehabilitation can help you to improve the flow and processing of information between your eyes and your brain. Improvement is gained through therapy, lenses, prisms, and occlusion (patching or partial patching).

Call Highline Vision Center today to schedule your visual evaluation: 303-325-2014.

Ready to Schedule An Appointment?

The Highline Vision Center team is looking forward to seeing you soon. Our practice utilizes state-of-the-art technology to deliver personal and comprehensive eye care for your entire family.