April 8, 2022
This paid play is sponsored by Dawley Farm Village.
A growing vision practice has added new space for vision therapy.
Established in 1991, Dakota Vision Center expanded to Dawley Farm Village in mid-2020.
“We liked the overall growth on the east side and particularly the location and ease of access from multiple directions. We saw convenience opportunities for existing patients, but also for potential new patients,” said Dr. Jeffrey Oakland, who developed Dakota Vision Therapy.
“Our experience has been great so far. We can definitely see new patients finding us, whether it’s people who live on the east side or the surrounding communities to the east of us. Ultimately, we all just wanted to grow with this community that means a lot to all of us.
Dakota Vision Center includes five optometrists, a staff of 30, and a new associate who will join later this year. Services include comprehensive eye health exams for all ages, medical management of eye conditions, contact lens assessments – including specialty contact lenses – pediatric and InfantSEE exams and co-management services after a surgery with an ophthalmologist.
Dakota Vision Therapy “is solely a vision therapy practice,” Oakland said.
“Patients come in once a week for in-office vision therapy sessions with our vision therapists, and then they’re prescribed activities for the home between the weekly sessions. I like to tell people that vision therapy is a program of lenses and activities designed to get the brain and eyes working together. ”
It’s one of two vision therapy clinics in the area, he said.
“Vision therapy has been a part of optometric care for nearly 100 years, but it’s a specialty that many practices don’t offer,” he said. “I imagine there are probably no more than 1,000 optometrists in the country working in this field. I am the only doctor in our group who works in this area.
In vision therapy, work is done primarily with children who have vision problems that cause problems with reading, learning, comprehension and even attention.
Second, Dakota Vision Therapy works with children and adults who have vision problems resulting from acquired or traumatic brain injuries, such as a concussion.
“Sometimes vision delays cause learning problems, sometimes they don’t. That’s where our assessments come in,” Oakland said.
“We still often think that if someone has 20/20 eyesight and healthy eyes, they must have perfect vision. While these are key elements, the brain needs to know how to use both eyes together, and that’s where vision therapy comes in. Someone can have 20/20 eyesight but not have a coherent, clear and comfortable vision.
Therapy can make significant differences for children in the classroom and in activities, he added.
“Vision is supposed to lead, and if it doesn’t, it gets in the way,” Oakland said.
“We have the ability to roll the ball in the right direction. Certainly not every child or patient needs vision therapy. But for those we identify through our assessments, we ultimately come to provide a vehicle for growing confidence and success. My mindset when evaluating potential therapy is “How can I help?” If I find specific vision diagnoses in the assessment, I know we can help. If a patient’s assessment is sound from a vision standpoint, then it’s my job to help patients find other professionals, whether it’s other medical professionals or of university services.
Vision therapy has been part of the practice since 2011. In the past, it was done in a rented space across from his clinic in southwest Sioux Falls. The new addition at 1100 S. Highline Place in Dawley Farm Village allows for a more efficient operation, Oakland said.
“Having our vision therapy space physically connected to one of our Dakota Vision Center offices makes things better not only for patients, but also for our staff.”