Meet Mary Ann Our Vision Therapist
I would describe myself as hard-working, patient, and kind. I love to go hiking and traveling to new places! I grew up in Marysville, Ohio but my family came from Montreal, Canada. I am bilingual in french and english!
One of the main things that I love about being a vision therapist is that I get to create great, lasting relationships with my patients. I get to see them weekly for about 45 minutes, so I get to know their different personalities and learn more about them like what they enjoy doing outside of our clinic.
Since I get to work with them from start to finish, I love seeing them progress each week during vision therapy and I can tell when they start to notice improvement in how they’re own eyes are feeling or when the parents start to notice how their child’s performance in school has improved.
When they start to notice this improvement, it helps them stay motivated to keep working hard and I enjoy being able to be a part of that. It’s also fun to run into some of my patients at the office that have graduated from the vision therapy program, months or even years later and still be able to see how well they’re doing.
How did you decide to become a vision therapist?
I have always liked working with people. I graduated from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky with a BA in Psychology. I have a background in working with autistic children and the elderly. One day I came across a job opening for a vision therapist. I have to admit I didn’t have any background in this particular field, but after reading the job description and job criteria, I knew that this was a great line of work for me!
I was instantly drawn to the idea that I could help children and adults rehabilitate their eyes due to various eye conditions and this would help them function better in life, including at their jobs and/or at school. With my background working with children, I liked the idea especially of working with children who may be struggling with or falling behind in school due to their eyes and I could help them with this. Even though this field was new to me, Vision Professionals provided great training on what all I needed to learn to become a vision therapist.
Do you have some tips/suggestions for encouraging VT patients when they are feeling uncommitted/frustrated?
Starting a vision therapy program can be a big commitment and takes time to see improvement. Compare it to going to the gym. It takes time, multiple sessions, and motivation to start seeing results. This is true with vision therapy also. It takes time to build up your eye muscles and strengthen the connections between your eyes and brain.
During this time, it’s common that our vision therapy patients might experience moments of frustration or feeling uncommitted. In these times, I encourage my patients to focus on the end goal. While there will be times exercises won’t be easy or seem repetitive, it’s important to keep pushing yourself to improve your eyes!
What is your favorite vision therapy exercise to teach to patients?
My favorite vision therapy exercise to teach is the Brockstring since we use this exercise throughout the entire time of vision therapy! This is one of the fundamental exercises in vision therapy that uses very simple pieces of equipment – a string with 3 beads.
There are 5 main exercises that we teach, but then we can take those 5 exercises and adapt them to create different variations if needed. Because we do this exercise from day one to the end, when our patients graduate from vision therapy, they get to add their finger painted “brockstring” to our graduation board and they can create any colored beads they’d like.