So last weekend I traveled south about 3 hours to Connecticut to visit Ridgefield Family Eye Care. I was interested in seeing how they run their vision therapy (VT) clinic and Sports Vision Institute. It was quite an interesting visit and definitely worth the drive.
I’ve written a post before about how good vision isn’t simply about being able to read 20/20 letters on an eye chart. Our eyes are a complex system that most of us take for granted and its combination of muscles and nerves are used continuously during our day. The visit today reinforced the difficulty some people have.
The first patient was actually in his 70’s, to my surprise. His specialty was competitive skeet/trap shooting. He is a well-known instructor in the world of shooters and was a very interesting man. He found that as he got older, he realized his shooting skills were declining and came to this clinic for help. It was determined that his eyes were no longer coordinating with each other in a way that would allow him to efficiently track and hit a 40 mph target. The progress he had made was extraordinary and he is now a huge fan of vision therapy. I’m going to meet up with him the next time he’s in the northern Massachusetts area and he’s going to introduce me to his world at a local shooting club.
The other interesting patient of the day was a 15 year old girl named Danielle. She had been to a couple of well-known eye doctors in the area and it had been discovered that she had very complicated eyes. She didn’t need glasses, but when she got tired her eyes would not remain straight. She had started VT two years ago and made remarkable progress, but had recently backed off on her training and it was starting to show. The problem now was that her father refused to let her pursue her driver’s license because of her eye difficulties. Apparently they’ve had many a battle in the office because Danielle would rather talk on the phone that do her VT at home as prescribed. After a lengthy discussion with Dad and Coach Shaun, I think she’ll put the work in so that she can get behind the wheel soon.
But without a doubt the most interesting person was Coach Shaun himself. Having gone through successful vision therapy himself as a child, he had a wonderful understanding of the role vision plays in helping us get through school and sports. Currently a high school baseball coach, he drives 45 minutes to Ridgefield every Saturday. And like any good coach, he was tough when he needed to be and encouraging the whole time. He knew that vision therapy could be successful if you did the work, and he wanted all his kids to live up to their highest potential. It made me see the importance of his role in a successful VT practice.
So I’m gonna wrap up this post before all my potential VT patients’ eyes get too tired. I have started a list of patients who expressed an interest in this, but we aren’t yet ready to implement a great VT program yet. I plan on visiting a couple of other VT clinics in the area in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned…