10 Years of Vision Therapy in the Okanagan
They often say that it’s easy to overestimate what can be achieved in a year, but underestimate what can be achieved in a decade. For us at Okanagan Vision Therapy, providing services like visual evaluations, offering eyeglass prescriptions, and vision therapy, this sentiment truly feels spot on.
In the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day, I often neglect to take time to reflect on the past ten years. Pursuing our mission of ensuring that high quality Vision Therapy is available in the Okanagan to those in need leaves little space to look back on how far we’ve come. However, as we cross this 10 year milestone, a trip down memory lane feels appropriate.
The Early Years
It was September 2013 when Dr. Karla Reimer, a wonderful and well-respected optometrist here in the Okanagan Valley, decided to take a chance on us and provide a room at Lake Country Optometry to begin our journey.
This was no small ask, as Vision Therapy was currently not offered across most of our province and the clinic was giving up precious square footage for us to provide this emerging service. Armed with 90 square feet, a basic collection of equipment and a passion to change the way the world thinks about and understands vision, we were off to the races.
Move to Kelowna
In 2015, it was becoming apparent that as demand was growing, our current space was no longer going to suffice. With allied professionals and the optometric community increasingly supporting our endeavor, more room was required.
As luck would have it, a unit that formerly housed Dr. Ruthnam, a retired ophthalmologist, had recently become available. With the current space already laid out for vision care of a different sort, we were able to turn a modest 1100 square feet into the region’s first and only dedicated centre for Vision Therapy and visual rehabilitation.
Satellite Centres – Vernon Vision Therapy & Nelson Vision Therapy
During the first three years in our Kelowna headquarters, a trend was beginning to emerge where clients would travel several hours each week to seek Vision Therapy. To combat this, we developed a robust and effective online training program (which is still in operation today). Despite this, we knew there were certain clients who would benefit from an in-person experience. To make this happen, we opened two new locations in 2019 to help serve our province.
Now, I would not necessarily recommend opening two satellite centres six months prior to a global pandemic – but, we have endured and both centres continue to grow and serve the need for Vision Therapy within British Columbia.
Downtown Kelowna Headquarters
Despite our efforts to maximize the square footage of our initial Kelowna location, it was becoming all too clear that if we were going to truly change the way that world thinks about vision, a larger centre would be required. With a plan to host events and educational courses, expand services, and anchor our growing presence in the world of Vision Therapy, our one-of-a-kind Kelowna headquarters was born.
Equipped with significantly more space, an ever expanding team of professionals and a dedicated conference facility, we have been able to both help more people and host a number of large events where attendees are exposed to vision in a way they may have never experienced before.
Building on the momentum and acknowledgement of Vision Therapy as a powerful and legitimate resource within the realm of recovery and learning, don’t expect us to slow down any time soon! The world both needs and deserves access to the life-changing power of Vision Therapy, and we do not intend to take our foot off the gas until that occurs.
As I close on this moment of reflection, I would like to offer up a sincere thank you to our wonderful community for all of your kindness and support! We truly could not do this without you.
Until next month,
Paul Rollett, OD, FCOVD
Whether the visual issue is developmental in nature (strabismus and amblyopia), academic (vision-related learning difficulties), acquired (brain injury or concussion) or sports-related (sports vision training), we are fully equipped to properly assess, advise and treat when indicated.