Vision therapy is a non-surgical and non-invasive approach to treat a range of visual problems, including amblyopia, strabismus, and other developmental vision disorders. Dr. Shirley Ha, a developmental optometrist at A-Ha Vision in Oakville, ON, specializes in vision therapy to help patients improve their vision, perception, and overall visual function. In this post, we will review three cases where Dr. Ha worked on post motor and primitive reflex integration to improve the patients' visual skills.
Case 1: Boy, Aged 6
The patient was a six-year-old boy with accommodative esotropia and no language skills. He could not walk until 18 months and couldn't do basic motor skills like skipping, standing on one foot, or crawling symmetrically. Dr. Ha worked on gross motor skills with the patient, including Spiderman, pretending to be Superman, bear walking, and taught him how to hop. After eight sessions of therapy, the patient's eye alternated less frequently, and there was an improvement in acuity. The patient's grandfather noticed that the therapy had also helped the boy gain muscle, leading to a flatter stomach. Dr. Ha stresses the importance of gross motor skills, which are the foundation for developing small muscles, including eye movement.
Case 2: Boy, Aged 4 and a Half
The patient was a four-and-a-half-year-old boy with an eye turn, slightly amblyopic, and esotropia, which is common at this age. Dr. Ha worked on primitive reflexes and some gross motor skills, as the patient had retained four of the five skills. After just five sessions, the parents reported that the eye turn had rarely come up, and by the tenth session, the patient had learned all their primitive reflexes.
Case 3: Girl, Aged 8
The patient was an eight-year-old girl with major amblyopia, an eye turn/strabismus, and a significant difference in acuity between her eyes. After ten sessions of gross motor skill work, the patient's acuity in her right eye improved from 20/400 to 20/100 without any patching or vision therapy. The patient's eyes began working together, and she was able to perceive 3D images, something she had struggled with previously. While the eye turn was resolved, the patient is now esophoric (a tendency to have an eye turn), and Dr. Ha aims to improve her depth perception and fusion further.
In conclusion, these case studies demonstrate how vision therapy can help improve visual function by working on gross motor skills and primitive reflexes. Dr. Ha emphasizes the importance of developing gross motor skills as the foundation for small muscle development, including eye movement. With the right therapy, patients can improve their visual skills, perception, and overall quality of life.