Blog & News

Meet Vision Therapy Grad: Emma

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

CVD grads_Emma-TW

Emma found herself struggling in both school and play. She would have difficulty maintaining her balance and riding her bike. She also would become very frustrated with reading and math in school. She says, “I did not write my spaces correctly and I got headaches when I would read, write or do school. I couldn’t see things right.”

Emma’s mom talks about how her daughter would become frustrated in school, “She often told me that her eyes were ‘playing tricks on her’.” Emma’s optometrist recommended Vision Therapy, and Emma quickly saw success.

A recent graduate of the program, Emma is excited to be hitting the trails this spring, “Now I love to read and ride my bike. I put in spaces, and I don’t get headaches anymore. Thank you Erin. Thank you Dr. Smith.”

Find out more about our Center for Vision Development and the Vision Therapy program.

Meet Vision Therapy Grad: Bryce

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Bryce’s mother Mindi is an EyeCare Specialties team member, so she already knew how beneficial Vision Therapy could be for people with vision disorders. When her 11 year old daughter Bryce started to experience problems in school, she decided to have her daughter’s vision tested to see if there was an underlying vision problem.

After just six months of working with her vision therapist Tess, Mindi is so proud of Bryce’s graduation from the program, “I have seen great improvement in her grades at school. Her memory and comprehension are so much better. She doesn’t get frustrated and she’s not so clumsy. I can’t thank Tess enough for everything she’s done for Bryce and leading her in the right direction.”

Find out more information on our Vision Therapy program.

Bryce and I

Infants and Eye Exams

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Monitoring your child’s eye health is important because there are several conditions that, when discovered early, can be treated to make sure your child enjoys their best vision for the rest of their life. It is even important for expectant moms to receive proper prenatal care and nutrition in order for the child’s eyes to develop optimally.

Morrissey Video

Babies begin to see shortly after birth, with the first images usually mom’s face while nursing. Babies tend to be interested in high contrast stimuli and motion so it’s important to include items with bright colors and complex shapes in the nursery. Having a nightlight will also help provide visual stimulation when the baby is awake in bed.

Younger infants up to two months of age may not have eyes that track together and this is completely normal. The eyes are still learning how to work together. Helping stimulate both sides of your child’s body and allowing him some supervised tummy time will help stimulate visual development. Also make sure to talk to your baby while you move about the room. He will want to follow the sound and tracking you with his eyes is great exercise.

At six months of age, we recommend your child’s first visit to his optometrist. Babies do not have to know letters or shapes in order for your eye doctor to test visual acuity. Your doctor is able to test your baby for extreme near/far sightedness and will be able to see how well your baby’s eye are able to track together. Overall eye health can be checked as well.

If all is well at your child’s first exam, your eye doctor will recommend a next exam at three years of age. There are several conditions such as amblyopia that can be treated more successfully the earlier they are discovered.

The optometrists at EyeCare Specialties are providers of InfantSEE, a public health program that ensures no-cost visual screenings for babies six months of age. If a problem is discovered at the screening, our doctors would recommend a complete exam.
For more information on this program:

Meet the Vision Therapy Grad: Jordyn

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Jordyn started Vision Therapy treatment after struggling in school. Once she began coming to therapy and working with her Vision Therapist Erin, Jordyn’s grades began improving and she began to actually enjoy reading.

Jordyn and her mother really noticed a difference at an Easter Egg Hunt this past spring. At first, Jordyn didn’t want to participate because she was used to having a difficult time finding eggs. But because of all of the hard work she had been doing on her visual skills during Vision Therapy, she decided to give it a try. She was amazed at being able to find so many eggs and really felt a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Her mother Tara appreciates Jordyn’s new self esteem and confidence, “Now she likes to read and is doing so much better at school. Thank you Dr. Smith and Erin.”

Find out more about our Vision Therapy Program.

CVD grad_Jordyn-2

Meet the Frame Expert: Shannon

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

shannon_yeackleyShannon is an ABO certified optician and loves working with people. She believes considering the whole picture and that blending eyewear fit, prescription, lifestyle and personal style are important to making the patient happy.

She enjoys getting as much knowledge as she can about the large selection of frame brands, fits, color options and styles that EyeCare Specialties can provide for their patients.

After eight years with ECS, she’s also made some great connections with her fellow team members and the ECS optometrists, “They are the best!”

Meet the Vision Therapy Grad: Briley

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Prior to Vision Therapy, Briley did not like to read; she would feel the need to use her finger as a guide, and her struggle made school difficult. She began a course of Vision Therapy at EyeCare Specialities’ Center for Vision Development. With the help of Tess and the rest of the Vision Therapy team, Briley really started to see results midway through the program.

Now, Briley loves to read, and sometimes her parents find it hard to get her to stop. Her comprehension grades have improved tremendously, and her family credits her hard work and Tess’ encouragement and support as the reason why.

“We all can tell that Vision Therapy was a success, and we are very happy with the results.” Kristin, Briley’s mother

Find out more about our Vision Therapy program.

CVD Grad_Briley


Dr. Hinkley


Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Over 3 million Americans and over 60 million people worldwide have glaucoma, with experts estimating that half of those people aren’t even aware that they have it.

Glaucoma affects the optic nerve, the network of nerves that connect your retina to your brain. The most common type of glaucoma is linked to a build up of pressure in the eye which can damage your optic nerve. This eye pressure is what your optometrist measures with the “eye puff” test when you come in for your yearly exam. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause blindness.

People who are at risk:
African Americans over the age of 40
Everyone over the age of 60
People with a family history of glaucoma
People with extreme near or farsightedness or diabetes

Early on, there are no symptoms of glaucoma, which is why it is so important for people in high risk groups to have their eyes checked. There is no pain, and often times people don’t realize there is a problem until their vision becomes compromised. Patients can start to lose their peripheral vision first, resulting in what can be called “tunnel vision.” Damage to the optic nerve can not be reversed and causes permanent vision loss. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes.

Glaucoma can be detected through several tests including visual acuity, visual field testing (testing your peripheral vision), a dilated eye exam to check your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage, and a tonometry test, most commonly known as the eye puff test. EyeCare Specialties is one of the few clinics in Lincoln and Beatrice that have all the most current tests necessary to diagnose and treat glaucoma. If you have high eye pressure, your doctor will want to check you for additional symptoms of glaucoma.

There is no cure for glaucoma, but it can be treated and controlled with early detection. Doctors may recommend prescription eye drops to reduce the build up of eye pressure. Laser or micro surgery can help allow fluid drainage in the eyes also reducing eye pressure. Sometimes doctors recommend a combination of treatments to reduce the effects of the eye pressure on the optic nerve and slow the progression of the glaucoma.

To gauge your risk of developing glaucoma or to find out more about how to slow its progression, visit your EyeCare Specialties optometrist today.

The Importance of Diabetic Eye Exams

Dr. Harshman
by Dr. Harshman

Diabetic eye disease is the number one cause of blindness and vision loss in working-age adults. People with diabetes are at risk of several conditions that, when detected early, can be treated to reduce vision loss.


Diabetic retinopathy affects 5.3 million Americans 18 years of age and older. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the retina, the light sensitive tissue in the back part of your eye, become damaged and leak resulting in blurred vision and vision loss.

Diabetics are also twice as likely to get cataracts and glaucoma than someone without the disease. Cataracts develop and cause your eye lens to become cloudy, interfering with your vision. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve which can also cause vision loss.

The longer someone has diabetes means a greater the likelihood that these complications could occur.

In early stages of diabetic eye disease, there are sometimes no indicators that there is a problem. There are no symptoms or pain. Vision can start to blur as the blood vessels weaken, which is why it is so important for diabetic patients to see their eye doctor regularly.

A dilated eye exam (or optomap® exam) can detect diabetic eye disease in the retina before vision loss occurs. The earlier the detection can mean a more positive outcome of treatment.

There are several treatments for diabetic retinopathy including laser eye surgery or  pharmaceutical injections that prevent fluid leakage that can improve vision.

Ways to prevent diabetic eye disease coincide with the managing of diabetes altogether: controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol; maintaining a healthy diet and exercise; and having regular eye exams to monitor the disease.

If you have diabetes, it is important to schedule yearly exams with your optometrist in order to monitor the health of your retina. Also, make sure to come in if you are noticing a sudden change in vision or floaters, blurred vision that affects only one eye or vision changes that are not associated with a change in blood sugar.

Meet the Vision Therapy Grad: Sophie

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

When Sophie started to complain about increasing headaches, blurry and double vision, her mother, Wendy became very concerned. Her parents brought her to the pediatrician who ran tests and performed an MRI. Both Sophie’s eye doctor and a specialist diagnosed her with Convergence Insufficiency and recommended Vision Therapy.

The recommended exercises and treatment initially seemed daunting to Sophie. However, once she started noticing results, she enthusiastically responded to Vision Therapy. “My life just got easier. I went from reading one page a day to one or two books a week. I could also learn my music much quicker.”

Her parents and teachers also saw huge improvements in class with Sophie being excited about reading and learning. “My bright, confident daughter went from closing one eye while doing her homework to burying her nose in books excited about the stories she was reading.”

For more information about Vision Therapy and how it can help your child,

CVD grad_Sophie-2

Meet the Vision Therapy Grad: Allison

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Allison was referred to the Center for Vision Development last January by Dr. Brian Brightman after having problems reading and adjusting from the board to her desk in math class.

She recently graduated from the program and her father, Mark was thrilled with her progress. “It was nice to find out that there was a Vision Therapy program to help Allison. The staff was always friendly, caring and very professional. Erin was always great with Allison from caring how her day was going to how the home activities were helping her with school. Thanks for all you’ve done!”

Find out more about our Vision Therapy program:

CVD grads_Allison

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