About Us

Ottawa Vision Therapy was established in 2015 to meet the needs of our patients with learning difficulties and brain injuries. We receive referrals from many professionals, including optometrists, physicians, psychologists, educators and rehabilitation specialists for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions in the following areas: eye muscle weaknesses including tracking, eye alignment and focusing, visual information processing, dyslexia, vision-related learning issues, concussion, whiplash, and stroke recovery.

Visual Processing
Eye Tracking
Eye Alignment

What to expect

The vision therapy program is designed and supervised by a developmental optometrist. The therapy is provided on a one-to-one basis by the doctor or vision therapist. No two vision therapy programs are the same. Your program will be individualized for you. Our programs are based on clinical research and evidence based medicine.  You can look forward to working with advanced techniques and a team that has successfully treated many people like you. Your vision therapy program will be individually developed and supervised by one of our optometrists. Therapy, then, typically involves weekly one on one appointments with one of our trained vision therapists or your doctor. These in office sessions are 30-60 minutes long and you will be provided home therapy activities to continue throughout the week.  The length of your program will vary depending on your condition and goals, but generally last several months. We include all equipment, progress checks, make-up appointments, and follow up visits in our vision therapy program so that there are no hidden costs. There is time set aside each week to discuss your program. If you have any questions we are happy to answer them.

Testimonials

Who Can Benefit?

Vision therapy can benefit patients of all ages and abilities, but generally fall into one of these catagories:

Learning related vision problems
Learning related visual problems are commonly discovered when children make the switch from learning to read, to reading to learn. This is normally around grade 3-4. Some things people with learning related vision problems may experience difficulty with are convergence (bringing the eyes together to focus on the same point/letter), divergence (uncrossing/bringing the eyes outward until they are straight to see “the bigger picture”), perceptual vision - difficulties in identifying and understanding what you are seeing, recognizing its importance and relating it to information that is already stored in the brain. As an example, seeing a word that you have seen before and using both your eyes and brain together to create a mental picture of that word. Typically, a customized vision therapy program for someone with these symptoms would be completed in one hour weekly sessions for fifteen to twenty weeks.
Traumatic/Acquired Brain Injury
This category represents two groups of people. Someone who has experienced a traumatic/acquired brain injury, or someone who has a turned eye (either turned in, or turned out). For the acquired brain injury patient, we would start with the basics to get the brain and the eyes working together. This will help with headaches, balance issues, forgetfulness and a wide array of other problem areas. Someone with a turned eye would benefit from this type of program to help straighten the turned eye, as well as address any other vision related issues such as headaches, forgetfulness, balance issues, etc. Typically, a customized vision therapy program for someone with these symptoms would be completed in one hour weekly sessions for forty to fifty weeks.
Eye teaming/coordination problems
Eye teaming and coordination problems are common among people who do not have a great sense of their peripheral vision. These difficulties arise when an individual needs their eyes to work together to focus on one object. A basic example of this is reading. In order to read words on a page, you need both of your eyes to focus on the same word at the same time. To most of us, this seems like a simple task, but to those with eye teaming/coordination difficulties, this can be very difficult. They may see two of the same words, or all of the words on the page may overlap, leaving no spaces between words. Other common problems include losing your spot often when reading, having to go back and re-read sentences so that you comprehend the information, not being able to remember a series of tasks, and often forgetting your personal belongings. Typically, a customized vision therapy program for someone with these symptoms would be completed in one hour weekly sessions for thirty to forty weeks.

Recent Studies on Vision Therapy

If you are interested in the latest articles in the vision therapy, take a sneak peek at our blog. You’ve got nothing to lose!

See blog
Number of Skills needed to Succeed in Reading
Minutes per week to strengthen your vision
customizable programs to help you achieve your goals

Our Doctors & Vision Therapist

Meet the doctors and therapist that are going to take your vision to the next level.

Dr. Kirsten North

Dr. Kirsten North

Optometrist

Dr. North has been practicing at Merivale Vision Care since 1992, after graduating from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. Dr. North enjoys getting to know her patients in order to better meet their vision needs. Dr. North is very passionate about the profession of optometry and has spent many hours advancing the profession through positions on both the Ontario Association Board of Optometrists and the Canadian Association of Optometrists Board of Governors and the Canadian Association of Optometrists Council. Dr. North was the president of the Canadian Association of Optometrists from 2009-2011. Since 1992 Dr. North has made Ottawa her home, where she enjoys her free time with her two lovely daughters. In 2015, Dr. North opened Ottawa Vision Therapy, a space dedicated to help those with vision issues that affect learning, reading, attention and day to day living. We are equipped and ready to provide comprehensive binocular vision assessments, pediatric and special needs examinations. We also offer learning disability/visual perceptual evaluations, traumatic brain injury/concussion examinations, sports vision evaluation, and in-office vision therapy, also known as vision training or orthoptics.

    Dr. Estelle Saunders

    Dr. Estelle Saunders

    Optometrist

    Dr. Saunders joined Merivale Vision Care in 1991. Dr. Saunders works from a holistic perspective, with the assumption that humans are a mind-body-spirit continuum, As a consequence of her studies in the integrative health field she teaches natural vision improvement influenced by the Bates Method, work of Meir Schneider, Elizabeth Abraham, Jacob Lieberman, et al. Dr. Saunders also offers reduced prescriptions to help stabilize and/or reduce myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia. These modalities aim to improve eye health and facilitate efficient, stress-free vision at all distances and under almost all lighting conditions. She addresses issues of dry eye, suggests alternative interventions for cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and other eye conditions. Dr. Saunders is originally from South Africa where she studied and practiced optometry, but has been living in Canada since 1981. She graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 1986. She enjoys the diversity of patients that she has had to opportunity to see working in primary eye care. In her spare time, Dr. Saunders enjoys yoga, meditation, Qi-gong, hiking, travelling and gardening. Dr. Saunders is pleased to work collaboratively with other health care professionals.

      Dr. William Clarke

      Dr. William Clarke

      OPTOMETRIST

      Dr. Clarke has been practicing at Merivale since February of 2016. He graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1988. In 1992, Dr. Clarke graduated with an Optometry Degree from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. Dr. Clarke moved to Ottawa after graduation, and has been providing comprehensive vision care in our community ever since. Dr. Clarke is a huge sports fan and has been extremely active participating in sports as a coach/trainer, and in the area of sports vision both as a volunteer basis at the Special Olympics World Games , and locally working with the Ottawa Senators, the Ottawa 67’s, Ottawa Rough Riders and Renegades and Ottawa Jr. A Senators. Dr. Clarke is has coached, and sponsors the South End Minor Hockey Association, South Ottawa Little League, Ottawa Futsal Club, Ottawa Internationals and Nepean City Soccer Associations. Dr. Clarke established an eye protection program in sports for the teams and sports associations he works and volunteers with. This program helps to provide sports eyewear and/or contact lenses for athletes who require them to ensure clear vision, to have fun, compete and play safe. Dr. Clarke is a guest lecturer at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry, and University of Ottawa.

        Rebecca Arbuckle

        Rebecca Arbuckle

        Vision Therapist

        Rebecca joined Ottawa Vision Therapy when it opened in 2015. Rebecca is graduating from Algonquin College with a diploma in Occupational Therapy Assisting and Physiotherapy Assisting in spring of 2017. She is also enrolled in the Practical Vision Therapy Accreditation Program (PVTAP) through the COVT&R (Canadian Optometrists in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation). Rebecca has completed training for this certification in the greater Toronto area as well as Vancouver, British Columbia. Rebecca has also received certification in Primitive Reflex training. Originally from Muskoka, Rebecca has lived in Ottawa since 2010. She enjoys spending her free time visiting family and friends in Muskoka and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

          Contact us

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          Address
          8A-1547 Merivale Road Ottawa, Ontario
          Book an appointment
          E-mail: info@merivale.net Phone: (613) 226-8446