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Sometimes the most effective treatments are the simplest. Wolff wands are decidedly low tech, yet help vision therapists treat conditions ranging from tracking disorders to problems with the eyes' ability to focus on near objects.
What are Wolff Wands?
Wolff wands are the creation of the late Dr. Bruce Wolff, a vision therapy pioneer. The wands are used in pairs and consist of 12" long metal rods topped with reflective silver and gold balls.
What Conditions Are Treated with Wolff Wands?
Vision therapists use the wands to treat a variety of conditions, including:
How Can Wolff Wands Improve Visual Disorders?
Wolff wands can be used to both diagnose and treat disorders. During a patient's comprehensive eye exam, the vision therapist moves the wands through the field of vision at eye level, from left to right and above or below eye level. If this test and others reveal a problem, use of the wands may also be incorporated into the vision therapy plan.
During one therapy exercise, patients sit or stand, keeping their heads still. The therapist moves the wands in circles or other patterns and calls out which wand the patient should focus on. At the beginning of the exercise, patients may be asked to cover each eye in turn when viewing the wands, then use both eyes together to follow the moving balls. The silver and gold balls capture the patient's reflection, making it a little easier to maintain focus on the moving balls.
Glasses that contain prisms may be worn during some Wolff wand exercises. Prisms are special lenses that improve spatial awareness, eye alignment, and perception. While wearing prisms during another vision therapy exercise, the patient moves the wands and reports what he or she sees as the position of the balls change. Using this exercise, it's possible to decrease tunnel vision and improve the ability to see images and objects at the edges of the visual field.
Wolff wands are just one of the techniques vision therapists use to help their patients improve vision. Vision therapy is very helpful in treating disorders common in childhood but is also effective in helping adults make the most of their vision. If you're concerned that you or your children may have a vision disorder, get in touch with us and schedule a comprehensive eye examination.
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