Opto-mization brings specialty vision therapy clinic to Nanaimo

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May 24, 2018 - 3:13pm

NANAIMO — A popular Victoria vision therapy clinic has made the journey up Island to open a second set of doors in a much more central location.

Opto-mization specialises in treating visual problems beyond seeing clearly. They focus on neuro-visual rehab, vision therapy, vision development, and behavioural optometry.

“Think of it as the software of our visual system,” says Opto-mization founder Dr. Cam McCrodan. “Essentially your brain has learned formulas that it uses to make sense of depth and space, or how well your eyes track, move, and work together. This has major implications for reading and learning, as well as head injury recovery.”

There are a surprising number of ways visual problems can manifest in our everyday lives. Some of the major focuses at Opto-mization are reading and learning issues. According to Dr. McCrodan, almost 80 per cent of kids struggle with reading, and lack one or more basic visual skills, and this can often lead to learning or behavioural issues.

In a 2014 TedX talk, Dr. McCrodan used the analogy of a broken bicycle. He explains how it would be easy to understand why a child was having a difficult time trying to ride with others when they were using a bike that was obviously not functioning at the same capacity. They could adapt or find workarounds; however, it would remain a frustrating and unrewarding experience.

A big advantage is the ability to test for these visual issues right in the office using an in-depth approach and some interesting technology. One method is a machine that tracks the eye movement as the patient reads a paragraph — this can give insight into how the patient is taking in the information, how their eyes are tracking, and it can help determine the correct course of treatment.

But it’s not only children who can benefit from their services.

“The one part of what we do is reading and learning problems that come down to issues with how the eyes move, and track, work together, etc. The other side of what we do is treating a lot of vision conditions after head injury. Things that people don’t always realize are visual.”

According to Dr. McCrodan often when people experience issues like dizziness, nausea, headaches, migraines and difficulties using computer screens after suffering head trauma, they tend to chalk them up to other causes such as inner ear injury.

However, those can also be vision-based problems, and can possibly be corrected via treatments including visual therapy and specialised lenses. No matter the age, these methods can also be an option for those looking for potential relief from, and advice on, long term issues such as dyslexia and strabismus, as well as enhancing vision for sports performance.

Located in Victoria, Opto-mization has been helping patients from all over Vancouver Island for five years. They have now opened a second location, on Bowen Rd. in Nanaimo, providing the same services, with a significantly shorter drive for those who live north of the Malahat. Dr. McCrodan hopes that with a more central location, more people will be able to benefit from easier access to visual therapy.

You can find more information, as well as a visual self-assessment on their website.

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