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Testimonials

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    Acount executive I Communication
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Our Values

Ambition
We are creating something worth creating, that will endure the test of time. We do this by relentlessly focusing on the success of our employees and customers. We’re grounded by humility and driven by ambition and expect our employees to be too.
a
Make It Fun
We believe in celebrating our successes, milestones and hard work, through recognition, appreciation and rewards
m
Passion For Learning
We want to be at the forefront of change and growth; there is always something we can learn.
p
Live The Golden Rule
We are empathetic and respectful of each other, customers and the communities we serve. We value, encourage and celebrate the gifts in one another and respect the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.
l
Integrity
We believe in honesty, openness, trust, respect and reliability in all that we do.
i
Focused Teams
Working together on a project is more important than who gets credit. We put trust in our teams and watch the incredible accomplishments happen when ego takes a backseat.
f
You Are Unique
We know it takes people with different ideas, strengths, interests, and cultural backgrounds to help us succeed.
y
Investing In Our Employees
“We train our people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” (Richard Branson)
i
Transparency
We are honest about the actions we are taking, being upfront and visible.
t

our values

  • a

    Ambition

    We are creating something worth creating, that will endure the test of time. We do this by relentlessly focusing on the success of our employees and customers. We’re grounded by humility and driven by ambition and expect our employees to be too.
  • m

    Make It Fun

    We believe in celebrating our successes, milestones and hard work, through recognition, appreciation and rewards
  • p

    Passion For Learning

    We want to be at the forefront of change and growth; there is always something we can learn.
  • l

    Live The Golden Rule

    We are empathetic and respectful of each other, customers and the communities we serve. We value, encourage and celebrate the gifts in one another and respect the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.
  • i

    Integrity

    We believe in honesty, openness, trust, respect and reliability in all that we do.
  • f

    Focused Teams

    Working together on a project is more important than who gets credit. We put trust in our teams and watch the incredible accomplishments happen when ego takes a backseat.
  • y

    You Are Unique

    We know it takes people with different ideas, strengths, interests, and cultural backgrounds to help us succeed.
  • i

    Investing In Our Employees

    “We train our people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” (Richard Branson)
  • t

    Transparency

    We are honest about the actions we are taking, being upfront and visible.

Lorem Ipsum

Vision Among Us
[embed]https://youtu.be/HUcVsoZ0u4Q[/embed] One of the challenges with visual impairments and visual deficits is that it's difficult to detect them just by looking at someone outwardly. Therefore, it often boils down to how comfortable that individual feels sharing about their vision. 

What makes diagnosing vision problems in children so difficult?

It is often the case that children don't think to tell their eye doctor or parents when they have certain symptoms because they tend to assume everyone sees things the same way they do. Dr. McBryar once gave a lecture in a school about double vision. After attending the lecture, a boy went home and casually mentioned to his parents that he sometimes didn’t know which football to catch. Apparently, he'd been experiencing double vision intermittently and had assumed it was nothing to worry about. He never said anything, because he thought everyone else experienced the same thing, that everyone saw double!!!

Why is it so difficult to diagnose vision problems in the elderly?

It is common with the elderly population that they may not say anything if they are experiencing symptoms of a vision problem, because they just assume that it is part of the aging process, when in fact, it could be something that could be treated, or better managed if caught early on. Another scenario is when there is a known visual condition, but the subsequent symptoms that a person experiences are unknown, so they do not feel comfortable discussing them.

What can make Charles Bonnet syndrome difficult to detect?

There is a possibility that the patient may have Charles Bonnet syndrome. Those suffering from glaucoma or macular degeneration may experience visual hallucinations. In these cases, the brain fills in the missing visual space. It could be filled in with people, animals, or things that aren't there. This could make things appear distorted. A person may experience colors or geometric patterns. Often they are reluctant to tell their friends or family members about these experiences because they think it makes them seem crazy. Dr. McBryar therefore asks her patients, when she has them in the exam room, if they ever see anything or anyone that isn't actually there. She can help them understand this is part of what's happening with their vision, and their family members can now understand what their loved ones are experiencing as well.

Schedule an appointment at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga

Dr. Heather McBryar is a passionate and experienced optometrist with a focus on low vision and functional vision. She works extensively with patients of all ages and levels of development. Her primary focus is patients that have a functional vision problem that is not detected or has been left untreated by general optometrists. She works extensively with patients who have permanent vision loss from eye diseases such as Macular degeneration and glaucoma, visual disturbances following a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion or stroke, and children who have developmental delays that impact their ability to perform at grade level. Dr. McBryar and her staff would be happy to care for your or your loved ones and help them regain their visual function and improve their quality of life. If you would like to schedule an eye exam, you can contact us at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"] or drop by at [mbv name="practice-name"]. 
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Vision Therapy for Neurological Conditions
[embed]https://youtu.be/k5y3RQElyx4[/embed] Each year an estimated 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association, 90% of traumatic brain injuries result in vision problems.  Standard glasses are generally not an effective intervention for correcting visual deficiencies caused by traumatic brain injury, acute brain injury, and other neurological disorders and complications. In cases where glasses are not effective, vision therapy or neuro optometric rehabilitation may be necessary to improve daily living skills and learn and refine visual-motor skills.

What is vision therapy?

Vision therapy is similar to physical therapy, but instead of treating muscles in the body, it strengthens the eyes and ocular system. In addition to improving our patients' visual skills, it has also improved their emotional well-being. Having the ability to regain their independence and participate in daily activities increases their self-confidence. Both children and adults can benefit from vision therapy. 

What kinds of activities are done in vision therapy and how do they help someone who has experienced a traumatic brain injury? 

When working with a TBI patient in a neuro optometric rehabilitation program that includes vision therapy, our eye doctor and therapists will focus on the primary diagnosis that the patient is struggling with. We utilize a whole toolbox that includes therapy, syntonics, and prism lenses to improve the visual function and reduce symptoms of the patient. 

What is a vectogram used for in a vision therapy  program for TBI?

One of the things we will work on in vision therapy is eye teaming. Among the most common procedures we perform is vectograms, and this involves the use of a polarized target that is being moved towards and away from you while you wear polarized glasses. Vectograms help you learn to use your eyes to converge (look close) or diverge (look far).

How is accommodative dysfunction treated in a vision therapy program for TBI?

Another common diagnosis we see is difficulty with accommodative or focusing systems. We commonly use plus or minus lenses to treat it. Lenses such as these will either magnify or minimize images. In these cases, we move you back and forth in order to stimulate or relax the focusing muscles.

How does a peg board help in treating ocular motility disorders?

To treat ocular motility disorder, we will ask you to perform a peg board. At first, the board may be stationary, and you will have to insert the pegs without hitting the board. As you become more comfortable, we may turn on the peg board to where it is rotating while you perform the procedure.

How is peripheral vision improved in vision therapy?

Additionally, we work on peripheral integration, and in this case, we may use techniques such as the four chart fixation. So you are reading the rows of letters on the four charts and as you are going along the therapist may call out a different color and you have to see that in your periphery and tap that color. As an example, you might be reading the bottom row of a chart when the therapist calls out red, so you tap the red circle and keep reading.

Schedule an appointment at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga, the leading provider of vision therapy and neuro optometric rehabilitation in the Chattanooga area 

If you have experienced a concussion, stroke, or any neurological condition and you suspect you are suffering from any of the above discussed visual dysfunctions, you may benefit from vision therapy. Call our office to schedule a neuro optometric evaluation with our neuro optometrist, Dr. Heather McBryar FCOVD. Dr. McBryar will take the time to fully understand your visual function, and if necessary will recommend vision therapy.  Our team of vision therapists is led by Kristin Roberts COVT, who has extensive experience as a certified vision therapist. Our team of therapists will work with you under the guidance of Dr. McBryar to provide you with the best possible care and results. For more information about vision therapy or to schedule a neuro optometric eye exam, call [mbv name="token-practice-phone"].
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Vision Therapy for Adults
[embed]https://youtu.be/tj2EBaGTG20[/embed] Adults generally accept changes in themselves as part of aging, and think that there's nothing they can do about it. When it comes to visual symptoms in adults, help is often available.

What are the possible visual symptoms in adults?

The following are possible visual symptoms adults may experience:
  • Having headaches or having trouble seeing after you've been working on your computer or looking at lots of paperwork all day long.
  • It is also possible to experience tension in the neck due to frequent head turns or tilting in the workplace.
  • You read better when you close one eye, and you lose your place frequently when you're reading.
All of these symptoms indicate a vision problem. And the good news is these types of vision problems are highly treatable through a course of vision therapy.  Find out if your symptoms indicate an underlying vision deficit, take the vision symptom assessment https://amplifyeyecarechatt.com/about-us-practice-page/our-specialty/vision-therapy-specialty/vision-and-learning-quiz/ 

What eye conditions can vision therapy treat?

Some of the common conditions treated by vision therapy are:
  • Eye strain
  • Strabismus
  • Amblyopia
  • Convergence insufficiency
  • Saccadic dysfunction
  • Traumatic brain injury

Can vision therapy help with the visual symptoms in adults?

A clinical trial concluded that vision therapy was effective for 61.9% of adult patients who received in-office and home therapy. Adults can benefit from vision therapy just as much as children. Adults can also benefit from vision therapy because of neuro-plasticity. Neuroplasticity enables your brain to remain dynamic and flexible throughout your life. One of the best things about doing vision therapy for the above described vision problems is that you will not only improve your vision but you will also have a better quality of life.

Schedule a functional eye exam at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga

An underlying vision problem could be causing you difficulties at work, at home, or even during sports activities. We can help. Please contact our office at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"] to schedule an eye exam and vision evaluation for a proper diagnosis, and to determine if a vision therapy program is appropriate for you.
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The 17 Key Visual Skills
[embed]https://youtu.be/PvwAdW1RehI[/embed] A lot of people probably don't realize that there are over 17 visual skills that we use to interpret and understand the world around us. What we commonly associate as the standard for good vision, 20/20, is only one of these skills used to facilitate daily vision. These skills are critical to children in an academic setting, as even a small deficiency in one skill can make tasks like reading extremely challenging. Take our visual symptoms assessment to check if you or your child have symptoms that may indicate an issue with one of the the 17 key visual skills. https://amplifyeyecarechatt.com/about-us-practice-page/our-specialty/vision-therapy-specialty/vision-and-learning-quiz/ 

What are the 17 key visual skills?

  1. Visual Memory describes our ability to recall images and words from the past. Our visual memory comes in handy when we copy material from a board into a notebook or describe an image we've seen in an email or document. A poor visual memory can negatively affect academic achievement and work performance.
  2. Binocular Coordination occurs when our eyes work together in concert to focus on the same thing at the same time. It is especially useful when reading.
  3. Eye Movement Control describes the ability to focus on a person, picture, or object by moving your eyes together. Coordination of the six ocular muscles is required for this skill. Reading and writing are made easier with this particular skill.
  4. Pursuits ensure that our eyes maintain smooth transitions between different points. Following or tracking a ball's movement during sports requires this skill.
  5. Convergence describes how our eyes work together, whether they are looking inward or forward. It is essential for professional, academic, and athletic success.
  6. Accommodation Flexibility is necessary in order to accurately see things close up and far away. It helps a lot when driving and taking notice of signs.
  7. Saccades are quick movements that occur while looking at one or more points. Reading and writing require smooth eye movement across a sentence.
  8. Accommodation Endurance describes the eyes' ability to focus close up or far away. While using a computer or attending to tasks for long periods, this is helpful.
  9. Spatial/ Visual Learning refers to the ability to analyze and evaluate what you have seen. It is crucial to understanding computations.
  10. Depth Perception is the ability to distinguish nearby objects from far away objects, especially as they relate to one another. Academic and athletic success require this ability.
  11. Gross Visual-Motor is the ability to use cues to avoid bumping into things while moving through our environment. This is crucial for navigating unfamiliar environments and preventing injuries.
  12. Central Visual Acuity refers to the ability to see clearly. A standard eye chart is used to measure how well you can see from a certain distance. Most commonly, it is used to determine if your vision is 20/20 or a variation. People without this skill usually need corrective lenses.
  13. Peripheral Vision (Side Vision) is our ability to see objects from the side without needing to move our heads or look at them. We can use this during sports activities and to determine the safety of our surroundings.
  14. Color Perception is the ability to distinguish colors from one another. This is useful in determining color coded systems such as traffic lights and safety warnings, in addition to observing movement of objects similar to their background color.
  15. Fine Visual-Motor movements help us focus on tasks requiring small movements and attention. Sewing, texting, and pixelated art require this skill.
  16. Visual Integration enables us to combine the information we receive from all of our senses simultaneously. Crossing the street while drinking coffee, watching what we're eating at a restaurant, playing the piano while reading sheet music, or taking notes about what the teacher wrote on the board while listening to him speak, are examples of this skill.
  17. Visual Perception describes our awareness of our environment and what is happening around us. It describes everything we are capable of seeing within our vision's full extent. Visual perception problems can compromise fine motor movements and independence.

When should you consider vision therapy?

It can be very difficult for someone to carry out simple daily tasks when they are lacking one or more or all of these skills, and it can have a significant impact on their academic performance as well. You should schedule an appointment for a functional vision exam with our developmental optometrist if you or your child experience difficulty with any of these skills. If you would like to schedule an eye exam, please call [mbv name="token-practice-phone"] or fill out our contact form [mbv name="token-appointment-link-with-text"].
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Impact of Vision
[embed]https://youtu.be/zCTdUDmpuVc[/embed] A child of school age has high visual demands, and when they are unable to meet these demands, they can face a variety of challenges, including challenges with self-esteem. It is not uncommon for these difficulties to be overlooked or misdiagnosed, but very often the underlying cause is a deficit in the child's visual system. Dr. McBryar has extensive experience diagnosing and treating visual challenges that go beyond what one can read from an eye chart.

Academic difficulties

In her practice as a developmental and behavioral optometrist, Dr. Heather McBryar FCOVD is more concerned about the child that the eyeballs belong to than the eyeballs themselves. In addition to clinical findings and medical diagnoses, vision has a profound impact on people. Dr. McBryar notices that when examining children with academic difficulties, they tend to compare themselves to their peers. Perhaps they will notice that other children are able to read aloud more comfortably or are able to complete assignments more quickly. When children compare themselves to their peers, they start to believe that they are less smart since they cannot read at the same level or perform at the same level, which could be due to an underlying vision problem.

The joy of acquiring skills and renewed confidence

One of the most rewarding things about detecting an underlying vision problem and treating it is watching the changes that occur in the child, in their self-confidence, and in their realization that they are as smart as their peers and as capable as their peers and that it was only their vision interfering with their performance.

Schedule an appointment

When your child is unable to read and learn at their age level in his or her classroom, it may be due to an underlying vision problem, and treating it would boost your child's confidence. Dr. Heather McBryar is an experienced pediatric optometrist with years of experience in eye care. In order to schedule an eye examination with her, please call [mbv name="token-practice-phone"].  
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Can Vision Problems be Misdiagnosed as ADHD?
[embed]https://youtu.be/vcKeRSM4bZM[/embed] Could ADHD be misdiagnosed when in fact, an individual has an underlying vision problem instead? Is there a connection between ADHD and underlying vision problems?

What are the common symptoms between ADHD and a vision issue?

There is overlap between many of the inattention symptoms, but not as much among the impulsivity symptoms. Excessive movements, being constantly on the move, and impulsivity are among these symptoms. They are symptoms that are less frequently associated with underlying vision problems and are more likely to be ADHD symptoms. Other common symptoms of vision issues which can be mistaken for ADHD symptoms include losing the place while reading, frequent eye rubbing or blinking, short attention span, holding reading materials close to the face and regular headaches.

Which eye condition is commonly associated with ADHD?

The most common vision problem associated with ADHD is convergence insufficiency. An eye condition called convergence insufficiency occurs when the eyes aren't focusing properly on near tasks. This can cause symptoms such as blurred or double vision and slow reading.

What are the consequences of a misdiagnosis?

The consequences of a misdiagnosis can be very serious for a child. In the case that they are mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD for a vision issue, they will not only not receive proper treatment for the issue at hand, but they will also likely receive treatment which they do not need. There is also a stigma associated with ADHD, which is stressful enough for a child who has the disorder. A child who does not even have ADHD should not have to undergo that stress, which can lead to lower self-esteem in that child.

Is it possible to receive a diagnosis of ADHD and a vision problem together?

There may be cases where a child receives a diagnosis of ADHD when they actually have an underlying vision problem. But it is also equally possible that we could have concurrent diagnoses which means we could have a child who has a diagnosis of ADHD, as well as an underlying vision problem. An example of this would be the study that Dr. Grant did where he found a threefold increase in the likelihood of a child with ADHD also having convergence insufficiency, and vice versa. Therefore, the ultimate recommendation of that study was for those with ADHD diagnoses to have their vision checked to rule out any underlying vision problems, such as convergence insufficiency or another eye teaming disorder.  

Schedule an eye exam with our experienced eye doctor

A comprehensive developmental eye exam with our eye doctor may be a part of effective solutions for your child if they have been diagnosed with ADHD. Correcting any visual problems in your child with ADHD could be part of the solution you have been looking for. You can schedule an eye exam with us by calling us at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"].
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Amblyopia
[embed]https://youtu.be/BUS4OlYhuQg[/embed] Amblyopia, or what most people refer to as a lazy eye, is a condition in which one eye can be corrected to 20/20 but the other eye cannot. 

What are the major causes of amblyopia?

  • Strabismus - This condition can be caused by a number of factors. One of the most common causes is strabismus in which when one eye turns. This can be either an eye that drifts inward or an eye that drifts outward. In those situations, if the eye were a camera, then the right eye would take a picture and the left eye would take a picture. Those pictures do not line up when they reach the brain. Therefore, the brain suppresses or ignores one image. Eventually, this will cause that eye to become the lazy eye, which cannot be corrected to 20/20 for an extended period of time.
  • Refractive error - Amblyopia can also be caused by equal and high amounts of refractive error. These can be nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, or we can have unequal amounts of refractive error, meaning one eye may have a high amount of farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism, while the other eye has little to no prescription.

How can amblyopia be treated effectively?

In order to treat amblyopia effectively, an individual must first get the most appropriate prescription to enable them to see to the best of their ability, followed by vision therapy, which is very effective for restoring binocular vision. Traditionally, it was believed that the best way to treat amblyopia was to patch the stronger eye in order to force the brain to learn how to properly use the weaker eye. It is hoped that, once the patch is removed, the brain will learn how to use both eyes properly. Research has shown that patching alone is not ideal, rather a focus on reintegrating the weaker eye within a binocular field during vision  therapy. 

Schedule an appointment at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga

Please schedule an appointment with us by calling us at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"] or by visiting our website if you suspect that you or your child may have a lazy eye. Our team of eye care professionals will be happy to check if your child has amblyopia and if they can be helped through vision therapy.
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The Myth of 20/20 Vision
[embed]https://youtu.be/t07Jj1kWMeI[/embed] The majority of us mistakenly believe that 20/20 on the E chart means everything is fine with our vision when we actually need to use 17 visual skills every single day.

What does 20/20 mean? 

The top number 20 refers to the distance between a person and the chart when they are being tested. The bottom number indicates the size of the letters that the individual is able to read on that chart. As distance is measured in feet and inches in the United States, the quantity 20 refers to the number of feet between a patient and the standard E chart an optometrist uses to test visual acuity. In turn, how well you can read numbers and letters on the chart from this distance determines how well you can see clearly. The UK and other countries that are using the metric system refer to 20/20 vision as 6/6 vision, which indicates the distance in meters between patient and chart rather than feet.

Is your vision perfect if you have 20/20 vision?

Therefore, if someone's vision is 20/20, they probably don't need glasses, contact lenses, or any type of magnification to see clearly. It doesn't mean that they don't have any other types of underlying vision problems since their vision may not be perfect. You may need corrective lenses, however, if you are nearsighted (meaning, you see well when things are close up), farsighted (you can see clearly at a distance), or a combination of both. In spite of whether or not you need glasses, it is important to remember that your vision cannot simply be determined by how well you read the E chart.

If 20/20 is not a true indicator of your vision, how do you know if you have a vision problem?

School Eye Testing

Schools can conduct vision screenings, but they are not the end-all and be-all of vision screening, although they can provide a good indication of a student's vision and the need for help. These tests cannot detect a wide range of vision problems, which is why using them to prove someone has "perfect vision" is not appropriate. According to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), the most common visual problems are not related to visual acuity. A school vision screening only accounts for 4% of a comprehensive eye exam, according to the American Optometric Association. In any case, you should take the results of any school vision test to your eye doctor, so they can compare what they see in the office with what was recorded in school.

Eye Function

All children entering school should receive a functional eye exam (also known as a developmental eye exam). A functional vision exam is important for older children and adults who have blurred vision, headaches, neck strain, dizziness, difficulty recalling, reading comprehension, or other significant visual problems.  

Schedule a functional eye exam at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga

In the event that your child scored 20/20 on a vision test but has learning problems, reads below grade level, has poor hand-eye coordination, or struggles to pay attention, then it may be a good time to schedule a functional eye exam. Dr. McBryar, a pediatric optometrist, and her team will be happy to examine your child for any underlying vision problems. You can reach us at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"].
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Atkinson Hyperlegible Font
Named after Braille Institute founder, J. Robert Atkinson, Atkinson Hyperlegible font is great for low vision readers.  In contrast to traditional typography design, it emphasizes letterform distinction in order to increase character recognition, thus improving readability.  Anyone with low vision is welcome to use it for free!

What is low vision?

It is a loss of vision that cannot be treated with medical or surgical treatments or with conventional eyeglasses or contact lenses. Low vision is a condition that makes doing everyday tasks difficult. People with low vision must learn to adapt to their condition and can be helped with a variety of low vision devices and tools.

What makes Atkinson hyperlegible font so unique

There are times when it may be difficult for people with low vision to distinguish letters and numbers while reading. The Atkinson Hyperlegible font offers a variety of design techniques to differentiate commonly misinterpreted letters and numbers.
  • Recognizable footprints: Character boundaries are clearly defined, making understanding possible across the visual-ability spectrum
  • Differentiated letterforms: Letter pairs are differentiated from one another to dramatically increase legibility
  • Unambiguous characters: Designed to improve readability and distinguishability
  • Exaggerated forms: Letter shapes are exaggerated to improve clarity
  • Opened counterspace: Some of the open areas on certain letters are enlarged to provide more distinction
  • Angled spurs and differentiated tails: enhance recognition and define distinct style
  • Circular details: Links to the history of Braille Institute and braille dots

Characteristics of Atkinson hyperlegible font

  • Four fonts, including two weights (regular, bold, italics, italics bold)
  • 1,340 total glyphs across all fonts, 335 per font
  • Accent characters supporting 27 languages
  • For designers and anyone interested in making written materials easier to read across the entire visual-ability spectrum
  • Improve legibility and readability for low vision readers

Downloading and installing it

Click here to download the Atkinson hyperlegible font for free Instructions for installing the font Download the .zip file linked above. Extract the file to reveal additional folders inside. Find the Open Type Format (.otf) files for the four Atkinson Hyperlegible fonts (regular, italic, bold, bold italic) inside the “Print Fonts” folder. *Note that only the Open Type files are needed to install the font on a computer. There are five additional font formats in the “Web Fonts” folder for use on the web. On Windows 10: Double-click the font file, then click the “Install” button in the font preview window that opens. The font will be installed. Alternatively, right-click on the file and choose “Install” from the pop-up menu that appears. On Mac: Double-click the font file in the Finder, then click “Install Font” in the font preview window that opens. After your Mac validates the font and opens the Font Book app, the font is installed and available for use.

Schedule a low vision evaluation at [mbv name="practice-name"]

At [mbv name="practice-name"] we offer advanced low vision optometric eyecare. Our low vision optometrist spends time with each patient to understand their visual capabilities and what goals they have for improving their vision. After a full evaluation our low vision optometrist will help guide the patient through the various options available such as handheld and wearable devices that provide additional magnification, color contrast, and field of view. Furthermore our low vision optometrist will guide the patient on the resources available through different organizations and tools that can help them in their activities of daily living. Call our office at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"] to schedule a low vision evaluation. 
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Learning-Related Vision Problems
[embed]https://youtu.be/cqGk79S4xu8[/embed] Up to 80% of the information that is presented to children in the classroom is actually visual. It's safe to say that vision can have an enormous impact on children's academic performance. If children show up at school every day without some of the tools they need to succeed, no matter how smart or capable we may think they are, they will have trouble performing at their grade or age level equivalents. Consequently, that child may work 10 times harder than another child because they lack the tools that they need to succeed.

Visual skills that may affect child's academic performance

Visual skills that may affect a child's academic performance include having difficulty with visual acquisition, i.e., having difficulty acquiring visual information, getting it into the eyes, and back into the brain. These could include eye tracking, using eyes together as a team which is called binocular vision, or problems with the accommodative and focusing muscles. Children may also have difficulty processing visual information once the information reaches the brain. For example there could be a problem with the child's ability to convert short-term memories to long-term ones. If your child struggles with any of these skills, it's important to rule in or out an underlying vision problem that could negatively affect academic performance. Take our vision skills assessment to see if your child has symptoms that may indicate an underlying vision problem. 

Signs of a learning-related vision problem

Your child may exhibit a number of signs and symptoms that indicate they have a vision problem that is affecting their learning ability. A proper assessment and treatment, if necessary, can be carried out quickly to ensure that a minor issue does not turn into a major one. There are a number of them, including:
  • Eye irritation
  • Having to squint to see the blackboard in class
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty reading for long periods of time
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Frequent headaches
  • Head tilting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or balance issues
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Visual Symptoms of Learning Related Vision Issues
[embed]https://youtu.be/V026q0p7zHw[/embed] These are vision problems that directly interfere with learning. Physical symptoms of learning-related vision problems include headaches, eye strain, and double vision, however, the visual symptoms are more subtle and less often noticed.

Visual symptoms

You may need an eye doctor that specializes in developmental or functional vision to properly diagnose a learning-related vision issue, but there are some signs that you can watch for, even if they have had an eye exam and have been told their eyesight is perfect
  • When a child is holding the book really close to their face
  • When reading, the child frequently moves their head instead of just moving their eyes
  • When a child has to keep a finger under the words or a ruler or a bookmark to help them keep place
  • A child whose reading pace is slower, whose fluency may be below what is expected for their grade or age
  • A child who has very poor reading comprehension
  • A child who has poor handwriting and has trouble copying from the board, for example they may be able to copy something from their desk to the paper in front of them but not to go back and forth from the board.
  • When a child has difficulty sustaining attention on tasks requiring visual attention, it is possible that a vision problem is the underlying cause. 
  • A child who is having difficulty focusing can become frustrated, which leads to fidgeting and irritability. These symptoms can both be caused by other disorders, such as ADHD, so if your child exhibits either, you should take them for a functional vision exam so the cause of the problem can be identified before any type of treatment is provided.
  • It is also possible that a child, who is having difficulty focusing on what they are reading, will reverse letters (this can be caused by an underlying vision issue or dyslexia)
  • A child may skip lines or skip words when reading
 

Learning related vision problems are extremely common 

Therefore, if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or if you're a teacher and see these symptoms in your students, we highly recommend that they have a developmental eye examination to determine if they are actually suffering from a vision related learning problem, which can be treated effectively by vision therapy. Call our office at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"] to schedule an eye exam with Dr. McBryar today. 
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Vision and Neuroplasticity
[embed]https://youtu.be/wQ4OYJxha-0[/embed] Neuroplasticity is essentially the brain's ability to develop and to adapt to learn new things. While we know the brain is capable of doing these things, we don't necessarily think of vision as something that develops. Although we think of vision as just another sense like hearing or smelling, vision, in fact, is an extremely complex process that goes through an extensive development process. It used to be believed that neuroplasticity ends at eight years old, which would mean that the brain is able to develop properly only up until that point and afterward the visual system is too late to develop. It has been proven incorrect because we know that the brain is capable of learning new skills and adapting to new challenges beyond eight years of age, and that also applies to visual pathways. Vision therapy is a process of learning that takes advantage of the neuroplasticity of the brain to improve learned functions that impact our vision. It enhances the various skills associated with vision, which means strengthening the entire spectrum of aspects related to visual demands we must meet in our everyday lives.

The breakdown of the visual system

Dr. McBryar often breaks down the visual system into the hardware of the visual system and the software of the visual system. The hardware is more like the eye itself. The longer your eyeball grows, the more likely you are to have to wear glasses for nearsightedness in order to see clearly. Another example is ocular disease, if someone has a disease such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, the hardware of our vision is broken. The software of the visual system is more of the neurological pathways that connect the eyes to the brain, directing the eyes and processing the visual information. Even if you are able to see clearly through your glasses, if your eyes and brain don't work well together, you can have significant difficulties in both an academic and a workplace setting. 

Vision therapy and neuroplasticity

The reason why vision therapy works is that we are able to reprogram the neurological software in order to either help the visual system develop properly in the first place, or get it back to functioning at its highest level. Much like bicycle riding, once the visual-cognitive process is learnt, the neurological pathways will work more efficiently without having to think about how the eyes and brain work together to perform tasks. Call our Chattanooga functional optometry office today at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"] to schedule an appointment. 
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Testimonials


  • Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

    Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.


    Amanda T.

  • Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

    Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.


    Alexa H.

  • Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

    He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

    It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

    Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!


    Charlotte M.

  • Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

    Thank you!


    Olivia C.

  • Seems much less frustrated with life

    Reads non-stop and fast

    Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

    Seems much more confident

    Thank You!!!


    Kelly O.

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