PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Holland-area optometrist will receive national recognition Friday for the progress one of his patients made in optometric vision therapy that allowed him to read easily after years of struggling.
“He really did all the work we told him what to do and he made so much progress,” development optometrist Dr. Neil Renaud said. “(He) has seen so many hurdles that were in the way for him for reading, like double vision and blurry vision and letters moving on the page, dyslexia, getting lost all the time. He’s enjoying reading now for the first time in his life… He’s the one who had a life-changing experience that he’s going to carry forever.”
Renaud and the patient, a seventh-grader, used relatively new eye-tracking technology called RightEye. It aims to correct functional vision problems. Optometrists who use the software call it a “breakthrough.”
“Every gap in my schedule is a is a missed opportunity for some kid out there who’s not getting the treatment they need,” Renaud told News 8. “This technology now makes it easier than ever to connect the dots and then treat the true problem that’s been kind of missed for a long time.”
Renauld explains some symptoms, like avoiding reading, retention and even homework, may often be pegged as a developmental issue. He believes many are actually misinterpreted vision problems.
“The patients we see may have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or dyslexia or they may say these kids just aren’t just aren’t college material. They understand better when they’re read to rather than reading themselves,” Renauld said. “Before we didn’t know why, we’re now able to diagnose it and treat it without medication with amazing results.”
Using RightEye, patients stare at a screen and follow a dot or images with their eyes. Meanwhile, a camera precisely tracks and records the subtle movements of the eyes and gives optometrists a closer look at movement sometimes untraceable by the human eye.
“Now we’ve got really useful data for how does this relate to reading struggles and motion sickness and tracking a ball, things like that,” Renauld said. “We’ve got the data we need to now diagnose and then treat and then continue progress evaluations and see how their scores are improving how much better they’re tracking the target.”
One of his patients has been recognized by RightEye as the most improved patient in the country. He’s also being recognized by Holland Mayor Nathan Bocks and U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland.
“It’s nice to see that that recognition for him since he was such a shining example of what we can do with vision therapy how we can change lives and answer problems that have really been going on forever,” Renauld said. “He made the biggest improvement of anybody in the country … it was a nationwide contest that he won. We are very proud and excited at the prospect of changing even more lives in the future.”
Renauld works at EagleEye Performance Vision, which has been in business for over a year and has fully embraced the relatively new technology. EagleEye says patients who use the tech and successfully complete the therapy will be better off for the rest of their lives.
“Once you learn how to use your eyes the right way, you don’t really go back to the old way of seeing double or seeing letters move around on the page,” Renauld said. “This process carries lasting results the rest of their life. Remember, 80% of everything you learn in school is through your eyes. That’s your primary sense. So if your vision is struggling in any way beyond just seeing the board seeing 20/20 but can you coordinate your eyes together while you’re reading, if that’s challenging for you, it’s going to have a lot of severe implications for the rest of your life and we’re excited that now we can correct this issue.”