TBI Success Stories

Vision therapy helps patients overcome the effects of traumatic brain injuries

“This spring I suffered a head injury during a fall. I had no immediate symptoms after the fall, but over the next 4-5 weeks I began to have balance issues and my vision began to deteriorate. Initially, I had difficulty focusing on objects before me. Later my peripheral vision was decreased by at least 50%. It turned out that during the fall, I had suffered a subdural hematoma (SDH) which was affecting my vision, sleep and mobility.
After a follow-up CT scan, the neurological team cleared me for vision therapy. After just 6 weeks of therapy from the specialists with Dr. Ann Wonderling at Vision Therapy Academy, my vision began to rapidly improve! My focus was much better and my balance and mobility were near normal.
Were it not for Dr. Wonderling and the dedicated professionals at Vision Therapy Academy, my life would not be the same today. I’m so grateful and lucky that I found them and began vision therapy so quickly after my injury!
My best advice is this: if you have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) – do not delay, start your therapy as soon as possible for the best possible outcome. “
**Joe went on to win the Wisconsin State Golf Association Match Play (super senior division) in July of 2022; in November of 2022 he shot a score of 63 on his home course (9 below par) and got his 9th hole in one**”

“Back in March, 2016 I slipped on some ice and fell, I didn’t hit my head, I didn’t lose consciousness. After a couple of weeks I started to notice symptoms; being fuzzy cognitively and blurry vision, lights and noise sensitivity, headaches, dizziness, balance issues, feeling tired, and nausea. After a month of weekly visits, I was diagnosed post-concussion and mild traumatic brain injury. I was referred to the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, who then referred me for physical therapy for neck pain, optometry for prism glasses, and vestibular therapy for vertigo. Due to a disagreement with workman’s compensation, all referrals were stopped for a few months. During this time, my symptoms had not improved one bit. In August, I was desperate for some relief, at that time, my wife made phone calls, did research and reached out. We were sitting on the fence about prism glasses, our son had completed vision therapy years ago and we knew it helped. The Vision Therapy Academy is not a part of our health system and the TBI doctor was really pushing their optometrist and prism glasses. I set up an exam with their optometrist and a vision exam and visual efficiency exam with VTA. After the results from both and first hand Q & A’s, I decided therapy was the route for me. I understood that therapy wasn’t going to be easy, my exam results were worse than I anticipated. At that point in time, it was hard for me to explain what my eyes were doing and I didn’t have any control, they did their own thing. At the evaluation, I got very sick and worn out. I didn’t at that time understand that the majority of my symptoms were vision related.  My evaluation had to be split between 2 days, it was that rough. Dr. Wonderling informed me that every symptom she could create while evaluating, she could take away. This gave me hope! I signed up for 12 weeks, 2x a week and did the homework the other 5 days a week.

Prior to starting treatment, I had blurry vision 24/7, I got car sick, couldn’t drive, couldn’t watch TV, couldn’t track when reading, couldn’t process what I was trying to read, I had double vision, daily headaches, couldn’t shop, couldn’t manage the simplest of housekeeping chores, I got sick at every meal as nausea and dizziness severely limited my activities and daily showering and dressing were difficult. I started therapy with Jennifer, the first few sessions were difficult, I maybe lasted 20 minutes before my fatigue and nausea would set in. Eventually I was able to do the whole session.  The syntonic phototherapy helped me get better sleep at night, I was finally sleeping a full night after 5 months. I quit getting car sick, I no longer had to nap immediately after the appointment. Showering and daily chores got easier. I no longer had daily headaches, my dizziness had subsided, no more balance issues, and I wasn’t as tired or fatigued and was able to start cardio exercises with a treadmill and elliptical.

At my 12 week evaluations, there was a huge difference, I completed the testing in one day, there was significate improvement and I happily signed up for another 12 weeks. I am able to help with dinner, dishes, laundry, and other daily chores. My eyes and brain are now communicating. I can drive for 20-30 minutes. I can go shopping. I enjoyed learning about my eyes, what they do, how they do it. I’ve learned to control my eye movements. My PCS and TBI are still an issue cognitively but my quality of life has vastly improved and my sense of humor is back, thanks to VTA.”

—Julio, vision therapy patient with TBI

“After months of being shuffled through the medical industry with little to no explanations or answers of complications from a TBI, I was referred to the Vision Therapy Academy.  Dr. Wonderling was the first medical professional to explain what test she was doing, why, what the results meant, and created a personalized plan to help me heal.  I was consistently impressed with the clear communication between the staff.  For the first time since my accident I felt hope because I had finally found a facility that genuinely concentrates on healing the patient instead of the symptom. 

I cannot praise the vision therapists enough.  They are patient, kind, and still push you to challenge yourself.  They are knowledgeable and also eager to learn in order to help you heal.  They never give up on you nor do they let you give up on yourself.  As a TBI patient, you know how frightening and surreal your reality can seem, the Vision Therapy Academy is the one treatment facility where I felt my best interests were the sole focus of treatment. The staff is credible, professional, and truly patient focused.  Without hesitation, I can say that I am recovering because of the Vision Therapy Academy.”

— Janna, vision therapy patient with TBI

“In 2005 I was deployed to Iraq by the 32ned Engineer Co. out of Onalaska, WI.  During my tour of duty, an IED struck the vehicle that I was operating.  Although I walked away from the blast, the violence of the shock wave had caused an unfelt injury within my head.  It took many years for the signs and symptoms form the bombing to fully manifest themselves physically within my brain.  When I returned to college, after the deployment, I began to notice that I couldn’t retain information as well as I thought that I could beforehand.  It took me much more time to complete the rigorous homework that my professors demanded from their students.  Some nights, I would lay awake while reading a simple excerpt from an academic journal for several hours in order to get a general understanding of what I was reading.  I began to feeling upset with myself.  I couldn’t grasp some of the concepts that I was being presented within the text books that I was supposed to read outside of class.  To make matter worse, my eye-teaming seemed to be getting so bad that I didn’t want to operate a motor vehicle anymore either.  I went four years of my life without getting behind the wheel of a car! 

I remember that it took a lot of work and I had to build time into my already busy schedule in order to do the exercises required to get my vision back to “what it was.”.  However, my therapy session with the staff three times a week, as well as my own hard work at home finally started paying off.  I am a better reader, a better writer, and a happier person after completing Dr. Wonderling’s Vision Therapy Academy curriculum.  Furthermore, I praise Dr. Wonderling for taking the time to get to know me as a person as well as a patient.  She assisted me in compiling a great deal of research on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) outside of my therapy sessions.  Her extra effort directly assisted me in my pursuit to get the VA to recognize that I had been exposed to a TBI during my time in service.

I have nothing but great things to say about the Vision Therapy Academy.  I would strongly recommend them for anyone who as experienced at TBI, or is suffering from a recurring eye issue.”

— Eddy, vision therapy patient with TBI

“I have been treating at Vision Therapy Academy for a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  After my TBI, I was seeing double and couldn’t track.  Reading and driving were nearly impossible.  I was dizzy all of the time and being outside and in large department stores made me want to vomit.  My headaches were daily and often migrainous.  I had seen a number of doctors, been through headache and TBI clinics, and endured numerous tests and physical therapies, none of which produced quick or effective results.  I was fortunate to hear about Vision Therapy Academy and began treatment with Jen.  All of the ladies at the academy are very friendly and listen with care and attention.  They work on continuing their education to best suit the needs of their patients.  Their abilities and service have changed my life after my TBI.  Therapy has retrained my brain to track objects, converge, read, drive, and essentially feel human again.  My headaches have lessened and I have even been to the top of the Space Needle and walked a suspension bridge… big accomplishments for someone who couldn’t stand to be outside and was too dizzy for heights.  I would like to thank Dr. Wonderling and her wonderful staff for their incredibly positive influence in my life!”

— Alison, vision therapy patient with TBI