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Terminology and Common Conditions

Accommodation (Focusing)
Amblopia (Lazy Eye)
Binocular Vision
Blurred Vision
Convergence Insufficiency
Diplopia (Double Vision)
Oculomotor Skills (Tracking and Fixations)
Strabismus (Crossed or Turned Eye)
Syntonic Light Therapy
Wayne Saccadic Fixator
Wayne Directional Sequencer
See also:
Relative Links

Accommodation (Focusing)

Our eyes have an automatic focusing system which adjusts the lens inside our eye in order to see clearly at all distances. When we look far away, up close, and back again, our eyes change focus rapidly to allow us to see things clearly at all distances. If there is a problem in how easily or quickly our eyes focus, that visual problem is called an accommodative dysfunction.

Normally, children have a large amount of focusing capacity. However, some children do not have the ability to maintain focus for a long time while reading, or they may be unable to quickly change the focus of their eyes from near to distance to near, etc.

Accommodative dysfunctions can cause:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Reduced accuracy
  • Posture and viewing distance adjustments
  • Inconsistent work
  • Reduced efficiency and productivity
  • Difficulty maintaining clear vision
  • Difficulty shifting focus from one distance to another
  • Visual discomfort and eye strain
  • Pain in or around the eye
  • Headaches
  • Avoidance of reading and writing
  • Difficulty with visual concentration and attention
  • Fatigue
  • Moving print


Amblopia (Lazy Eye)

Is a neuro-developmental disorder of binocular vision and is the most common form of reversible blindness. The condition of amblyopia results in a loss of visual function involving reduced eyesight in one eye.

This causes a loss of depth perception, delays in visual information processing, and lack of sound visual-motor (eye-hand) coordination. Left untreated, they can affect a child’s academic performance and self-image.

Amblyopia treatment emphasizes the development of binocular vision and visual information processing. It includes:

  • Binocular Vision Therapy with 3D Gaming
  • Visual-Perceptual Skill Development
  • Visual Processing Development
  • Oculomotor Therapy
  • Accommodation “Focusing” Development
  • Visual Motor or Eye-Hand Coordination Training


Binocular Vision

Binocular vision refers to the ability to use information from both eyes at once. This allows us to use and compare information from each eye, and more accurately judge distance, coordinate eye movement, and take in information. With both eyes receiving the same information simultaneously, vision with a single image results. But when the two eyes fail to point to the same spot, double vision or a suppression of one eye may occur.


Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common reason for eye examination requests. The major cause of blurred vision in the distance is nearsightedness (myopia). However, nearsightedness is not the only reason for blurred vision. People can have difficulty focusing their eyes up close (hyperopia). Head injuries can also cause blurred vision.

People who are farsighted may have blurred vision at various distances. Blurring may happen occasionally, or objects may be seen as blurred all the time. Blurred vision due to farsightedness makes it especially difficult to sustain up-close work for long periods of time.

Blurred sight while reading is a telltale sign of farsightedness. Please note that when a child starts to avoid reading or other up-close work, it may be a sign that he or she has trouble focusing at close distances.

It is important for parents to observe children's behavior during visual activities. Most children think that everyone sees the world just as they do so they are unlikely to complain.


Convergence Insufficiency

Convergence is the coordinated movement and focus of our two eyes inward on close objects, including phones, tablets, computers, and books.  It is one of many vital visual skills learned during our early years, as we begin to make sense of the world and how to use our eyes to take it all in.

Convergence Insufficiency is a common problem with the development of these skills. When convergence is insufficient, it means that the eyes do not come together closely enough when looking at a near object, so the eyes are essentially looking "past" the target focal point.

When we are not able to converge our eyes easily and accurately, problems may develop, such as:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty reading and concentrating
  • Avoidance of near work
  • Poor sports performance
  • Dizziness or motion sickness


Double Vision (Diplopia)

Diplopia, or double vision, can result if our eyes do not both aim in the same place either at a distance or up close. The double images may be totally separate or overlap to some degree. Double vision can develop over time or appear suddenly.

Children and Double Vision

A child may experience double vision, but may not be aware that this is not normal. Generally, children think that everyone sees the world as they do. Many parents have discovered that their child was seeing double and the child did not tell anyone because they thought it was normal.

It is quite common for children who are struggling with reading and other close work to experience seeing double after a relatively short amount of reading. These children will often avoid reading, or say that they don't like to read. In such cases, the children are usually experiencing difficulties with eye coordination and eyestrain at close distances.

There are many causes of diplopia, ranging from serious medical conditions to very treatable visual difficulties. Our  doctors are well qualified to determine the cause and treat the condition.


Oculomotor Skills (Tracking and Fixations)

Tracking is the ability to move our eyes from spot to spot while maintaining focus on the object we are looking at; it is an essential skill for reading and other everyday tasks. Fixations are the ability to maintain our place on an object of interest. These are critical skills for any near task such as reading where one is moving from one word (or group of words) to the next, or following a ball accurately.

Excel Institute provides comprehensive diagnostics of tracking and fixation abilities to identify oculomotor dysfunctions. Once diagnosed and treated, our patients experience improved handwriting abilities, read with greater efficiency and ease, and become better athletes.


Strabismus (Crossed or Turned eye)

Strabismus is a failure of binocular vision, in which a child or adult is unable to properly team and align their eyes together. As a result, an eye will appear to wander out of alignment. What’s worse is the impact an eye turn has on vision.

The way our eyes team together and focus directly affects our ability to read, process, and understand information. When our two eyes incorrectly team together, to make a single image, symptoms like double vision, headaches, poor depth perception, and tired or sore eyes may occur. These symptoms can significantly handicap ones reading and learning abilities.

One approach to correct strabismus is eye muscle surgery, which results in the cosmetic realignment of the eyes after one or multiple operations. However, even though the eyes appear to be straight after surgery, the brain still doesn’t know how to properly team the eyes together, binocularly. As a result, the brain will continue to suppress vision out of one eye, which leads to poor depth perception among other symptoms.

Our advanced strabismus treatment protocols allow most patients with strabismus to attain binocular vision, including depth perception. When surgery is indicated, we work with ophthalmologists who specialize in strabismus surgery and co-manage the patient’s care before and after surgery.


Syntonic Phototherapy

What is Syntonic Phototherapy?

Syntonic Phototherapy is used to treat various functional vision conditions. It utilizes color filters with an incandescent light source (similar to natural sunlight in the visible spectrum). The sytonizer directs specific visible light frequencies (color) through the eyes, based on the targeted visual deficit, to bring the visual system into balance by activating aspects of the autonomic nervous system and other body regulatory centers. It is also effective with headaches, light sensitivity, enhancing visual attention and decreasing the symptoms of stress and trauma.

Syntonic Phototherapy uses particular wavelengths of light (color) to address specific vision problems. For example, an inward eye turn (Esotropia) requires red light, while for an outward eye turn (Exotropia) blue light is recommended. A typical treatment program lasts 20 sessions on average. This is normally done in conjunction with a vision therapy program.

The Science Behind Syntonic Phototherapy

Syntonic Phototherapy is based on the work of Dr. Harry Riley Spitler, MD, PhD. In his book, “The Syntonic Principle”, he termed this science “Syntonics”, derived from the word syntony, meaning “to bring into balance”. This refers to a balanced, integrated nervous system. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is divided into the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous system. Colored light therapy stimulates the biochemistry of the brain, through the visual system, by way of the retinal-hypothalamus brain connection. Biochemical conditions in the brain must be present before effective new functions and growth can occur.

Spitler’s model indicated that red light at one end of the visible spectrum stimulated the sympathetic nervous system, and indigo activated the parasympathetic nervous system. Many times following a brain injury the ANS will remain out of balance and the sympathetic system is over stimulated. This causes your body to feel like it is in a “fight or flight” mode often throughout the day.

The slow frequency visible colors such as orange yellow and red (low energy, long wavelength) stimulate the sympathetic nervous system; while the high frequency ones such as  blue, indigo and violet (high energy, short wavelength) stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Green is the balance frequency stimulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems equally achieving physiological balance.

Light therapy is also used for other medical purposes. The current preferred method for treating neonatal jaundice is the use of blue light (Bili lights). It is also used in the psychiatric profession for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with full spectrum or white light.

Ideal Candidates for Syntonic Phototherapy

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Reduced eye tracking skills
  • Reading difficulties
  • Light sensitivity
  • History of strabismus (eye turns) or strabismus surgery
  • Reduced visual attention or peripheral awareness

A reduced functional visual field (lack of visual attention or peripheral awareness) is a prominent source of vision problems. It is like looking through a paper towel tube. It requires one to really have to search for what’s happening around them, and that is stressful. This type of visual field problem is not the same as a visual field loss that would occur with a pathology in the eye or brain. A functional visual field problem is a difficulty in how the person processes the information in their visual field.  The problem causes the person to ignore a great deal of information in their periphery, such as missing social clues. It also leads to difficulties with balance and coordination.

Related Links to Syntonic Phototherapy





Wayne Saccadic Fixator

The Fixator increases the following skills:

  • Visual Memory
  • Peripheral Vision Training
  • Reaction/Anticipation Timing
  • Eye-Hand Reaction/Release Timing
  • Activity counting
  • Synchronized rhythm


The Wayne Directional Sequencer provides activities for developing

  • Directionality
  • Rhythm
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Speed
  • Color recognition
  • Sequencing
  • Visual memory
  • Pattern recognition
  • Word and shape recognition
  • Saccades

Parent information on how undetected vision problems and learning problems are related.

College of Vision Development
Organization that certifies professionals in behavioral optometry; contains research on vision therapy.

Optometric Vision Therapy
Research showing the efficacy of vision therapy.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association
An organization consisting of professionals from multiple disciplines to treat individuals with a brain injury.


Excel Institute
328 Munson Ave.
Suite C
Traverse City, MI   49686

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