If you’re an avid soccer fan here in Louisville, perhaps the name ‘Lynn Family’ rings a bell; it is, after all, the name of the stadium that’s home to Racing Louisville FC and Louisville City FC. With naming rights having been purchased with a donation to its construction, the Lynn family name is known far and wide amongst the sports community, but you may be surprised to hear that having their name in the stadium lights isn’t the only reason that it resonates through athletes and others alike – it’s actually because of their vision training program.
Dr. Mark E. Lynn, his wife, Cindy Lynn, and their son, Dr. Mark J. Lynn, all play integral parts in running Louisville’s own Lynn Family Vision – a vision training facility that helps people at all stages of life in all sorts of situations.
Now, you might be asking, “What is vision training? And why would people need it?” and the answer is deeper and more nuanced than you might expect. Follow along to find out what vision training is and just how applicable it has the potential to be for everyone.
What is Vision Training?
What the Lynn’s focus on over at Lynn Family Vision is a facet of the vestibular-ocular connection, or how the brain and the eyes interact and collaborate to signal to the body how to move and react to what you see happening around you. As you can imagine, if there is a discrepancy between those two critical organs and how they are able to function together, it greatly inhibits a person’s ability to live in the world that is actively happening, constantly moving, and always requiring the brain to process what the eyes see as they see it.
Depending on how drastic the discrepancy is, sometimes it’s not noticeable, but other times, it’s debilitating. That’s where Lynn Family Vision comes in – they’re the experts at what’s called neuro-optometric therapy and rehabilitation, or Vision Training.
This training is done using various tests to determine 6 different factors that are used to measure vestibular-ocular heath. These factors are:
1. Convergence (Fixation Stability): The ability to focus on a certain object or location
2. Divergence (Sciatic Eye Movement): The ability to move your eyes between two objects or locations
3. Visual Decision Making: The ability to process things visually at an acceptable speed
4. Choice Reaction Time: The ability to make a decision
5. Recognition: The ability to discriminate and identify objects where they are in space
6. Visual Acuity: The ability to process the speed of moving objects or stationary objects while in motion
Other than these factors aimed specifically towards neuro-optometric rehabilitation, Lynn Family Vision also provides training for:
- Eye, Hand, Foot, and Head Coordination
- Peripheral Vision
- Depth Perception
- Contrast Sensitivity
If you’ve played sports, perhaps you’ve heard of IMPACT testing for concussions — a baseline test that measures cognitive function before a concussion so that they have measurements of comparison for after a concussion. That test measures in terms of memory, attention span, and visual and verbal problem solving in no specific terms – it’s merely to give doctors an objective baseline.
The testing at Lynn Family Vision brings those measurements into a narrower scope of quantifiable units, discerning results down to the millimeter as their technology tracks the movements and focus of the eye. This precise and comparable data is what lends the vision testing and training at Lynn Family Vision to so many applications, from athletes wanting to improve their performance to head trauma victims trying to get their life back.
Vision Training Applications
The patients at Lynn Family Vision come from all over with all sorts of conditions or situations. One of the greatest characteristics of vision training that makes it so potentially beneficial is its versatility and customizable nature. Insofar, Dr. Lynn and Dr. Lynn have been able to connect with patients across the globe and cross paths with other leading minds in the trade, such as Dr. William V. Padula of the Padula Institute of Vision Rehabilitation.
But let’s take a look at the types of cases that the Lynn family helps to rehabilitate on a regular basis.
Dr. Mark Lynn says that a majority of their regular patients at the moment come from an athletic background, and that he and his son have seen everyone from young prodigies and high school overachievers to professional cyclists and soccer players that play their games in the Lynn Family Stadium. The trick to a better performance, especially in cases where athletes have already undergone specialized and targeted training to improve a problem area with no results, can lie in a vestibular-ocular discrepancy.
A few millimeters difference in how fast your eye can get to the bottom right side of your vision as opposed to any other area of your vision wouldn’t be noticeable in most non-athletes’ lives – but when you’re a baseball or tennis player, or a goalie, then those few millimeters make all the difference. These athletes tend to use every one of the 6 facets listed above in tandem for a peak performance, so if one or more of these areas is lacking, even by the tiniest bit, then the overall performance is afflicted.
With Vision Training, though, athletes are trained with state-of-the-art technology and methods, and they come out with better, more precise focus, a higher decision-making speed, and a heightened ability to process their surroundings as they go about their games and matches.
A concussion is defined as the result of a blow to the head or violent shaking. And the brain is half of the vestibular-ocular connection, a very important half. If the brain can’t process what the eyes see because of injury, then there’s a very large discrepancy, and that’s where a lot of concussion symptoms originate from. Dr. Lynn has described Vision Training as “PT for the Brain.” Much like when any other part of the body is injured, the brain also needs some TLC to get back to where it was before a concussion.
With Vision Training’s narrowed scope of results and the developing methods, there have been leaps and bounds made to apply these treatments regularly at sporting events with sideline technology that would help with response time, pre-injury training to provide more specific baseline data, and a fast recovery time. All of these things are being studied, but even in the first steps of analyzing neuro-optometric patients, Dr. Lynn says that they’ve found a 400-600% faster recovery time and that patients who have repeat concussions while undergoing or having previously undergone Vision Training have less severe concussions the second time around.
This application to concussions is oftentimes seen as a way to get back to sports as quickly as possible, but Dr. Lynn says that he deliberately makes the individual criteria that his patients must pass at a 60/40 split – 60% of the testing and training is done to get normal life back on track, which can include being able to get back to work or school, improving concentration and focus abilities, increasing energy levels, and expanding mental capacity. Only after that daily function is complete does the training differ to incorporate sports-related criterion and demands.
Dr. Lynn says that he respects learning disabilities of all types, forms, and functioning levels, and seeing kids, teens, and other individuals with fixation or perception struggles manage and overcome some of those disabilities is one of the most rewarding aspects of Vision Training. With ADHD and ADD diagnoses on the rise, Dr. Lynn states that there is always a chance that a child or teen’s inability to concentrate or unwillingness to participate in academics could be due to a vestibular-ocular discrepancy.
Without the physical ability to fixate on an object, process what the eyes see, and use that information to make a decision, schoolwork and traditional teaching methods can get very discouraging for a lot of children and teens. By training specifically for any discrepancy that the diagnostic visit might pick up, that vestibular-ocular connection grows stronger and in the correct way – kind of like a retainer fixing the alignment of teeth, or a brace realigning the spine. The eyes, if they aren’t correctly seeing things, and the brain, if it isn’t correctly perceiving things, can play a big part in academic performance and ability.
Another area where Dr. Lynn has begun to explore is the realm of brain health in a non-traumatic way. That is, conditions of the brain that didn’t come about because of injury. We as a society have been trying to manage onsets of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and strokes, amongst other conditions of the brain, and it’s long been known that one of the best defenses to these diseases and conditions is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and regularly give your brain a workout.
Vision Training is the workout that many like to give their brain. By exercising that vestibular-ocular connection, you’re using all the parts of your brain that you can. This benefits individuals who have family histories with brain diseases and conditions, those who have been diagnosed with early onset symptoms, or even those currently suffering from a condition. By retraining the brain, the consequences of a condition can be substantially combatted, especially conditions like Parkinson’s disease that affects movement.
The effects of Parkinson’s disease is a great segue into how Vision Training can benefit physical health, as well. Besides helping people after they’re injured to get back to a state of living where they’ll be able to do all the things they love and that they need to do to stay healthy, Lynn Family Vision has also seen patients that have described themselves as “perpetually clumsy.”
But if the movement that your brain signals for isn’t right because of a discrepancy in that brain-eye connection, it’s not clumsiness that causes falls, bumps, and collisions, it’s a misalignment of the eye. This is why Dr. Lynn has seen patients sent to them from nursing homes and assisted living centers – by training to be better at locating where objects are in space, like the ground, there is less of a risk of falling and hurting yourself.
The ability to make decisions and react also applies to our everyday life, because our ability to react to what’s happening determines our safety and stability. In a busy city, a car, a grocery store, and with as many distractions as we have, that reaction time is crucial to physical health and safety.
As a combination of performance, brain health, and overall benefit, Dr. Lynn says that they get a myriad of professionals looking to stay at peak performance when their career doesn’t lie in the sports field. And that isn’t all surprising when all of the factors tested and trained at Lynn Family Vision are important to everyday life and careers that require the same functions as sports do. That’s why they’ve seen and trained everyone from professional gamers to CEO and CFOs to keep a sharp game.
Think Vision Training May Be For You?
Maintaining the ability to make decisions quickly and accurately based on what you see is a large part of the life of workers in any career and individuals at any stage of life, and that’s why Lynn Family Vision has been exploring avenues and partnerships to get more studies and data on the work that they’ve seen make a difference in real-time out there for the world to see.
Dr. Lynn says that it’s not just a sports endeavor for him – this neuro-optometric rehabilitation has the potential to change a lot of lives. In fact, one of the most common pieces of feedback that Dr. Lynn says he and his family hear is that Vision Training at Lynn Family Vision helped each of their patients to get their lives back.
If you’d like to explore what Lynn Family Vision does or schedule an appointment, visit their website, call them at +1 502-308-5966, or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their office is located at 801 Edith Road Louisville, KY 40206, near Champions Park.
If you or someone you love has suffered a physical sports injury in the Louisville, Kentucky area, double-board certified sports medicine physician Dr. Stacie Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC can help. Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC is accepting new patients, and same day appointments are available. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC today at 502-212-2663.