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Eye Care Clinic of Iowa offers Binocular Vision Therapy.

Choosing to live in Prairie Trail is a lifestyle choice as much as a choice of where to build your new home. Built on the design principles of new urbanism, Prairie Trail is a walkable community because of the location of nearby businesses that bring many amenities like fitness, education, retail shops, grocery, restaurants and services. Located at 1310 SW State Street, Eye Care of Iowa is one of those exceptional Prairie Trail services.


With Prairie Trail’s focus on family and community, an eye care clinic nearby seems like an obvious choice. Everybody needs yearly eye exams, glasses and contacts. But Eye Care of Iowa offers much more. For over 30 years, Eye Care Clinic of Iowa has been providing quality family eye care services to the Des Moines area with full scope, comprehensive eye examinations. They are available for emergency care visits. Plus, the Eye Care Clinic of Iowa doctors bring specialized training like therapeutic programs available in their Dry Eye Clinic and Binocular Vision Clinic.

You might be asking right now…what is Binocular Vision Therapy?

We met with Dr. Nick Blasco to learn more.

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“Many children complain of headaches or other vague symptoms related to eye strain with reading. A typical eye exam for glasses or contacts is not sufficient to rule out a visual cause for such symptoms,” said Dr. Nick Blasco, optometrist at Eye Care of Iowa in the Prairie Trail office. “For example, one common practice is to prescribe bifocal glasses for children who have poor focusing skills, yet this modality of treatment acts more of a crutch versus actually treating the underlying visual problem.”

It is estimated that 1 out of every 4 kids today suffer from a visual disorder. Different from a typical eye exam, a binocular vision evaluation specifically tests eye alignment, eye teaming and coordination skills, and the ability to focus both on distant and near objects. These are pertinent skills used everyday with reading, and a deficiency in any of these skills can cause a child to fall behind in school.

Dr. Nick Blasco who heads up the binocular vision clinic at Eye Care of Iowa’s five offices throughout the metro, focuses on individualized treatment plans to target particular eye muscles that need strengthening.

If any of these visual related skills are insufficient, your child will have to work harder in all that they do. This can lead to visually related headaches, fatigue, and eyestrain. As a parent or teacher, it is important to take note if the child struggles with any of the following:

  • Loses their place when reading
  • Avoids close work (i.e. reading)
  • Low level of comprehension or efficiency during reading or other near activities
  • Difficulty remembering what was read
  • Holds reading material closer than a normal working distance
  • Fatigued after completing homework
  • Reverses letters when reading or writing
  • Uses their finger to maintain place when reading
  • Skips or confuses small words when reading
  • Reports seeing “double”
  • Eye-ache, brow-ache, or generalized eye discomfort when reading or writing
  • Short attention span
  • Rubs their eyes or blinks excessively
  • Complains of headaches
  • Turns or tilts their head to one side
  • Repeatedly performs below expected potential

Our patient model is demonstrating some of the exercise techniques used to strengthen the eye muscles and improve functionality.

Using therapeutic exercises to strengthen one’s visual system is gaining speed and becoming a more popular solution to treat certain visual disorders versus otherwise invasive, surgical options.

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Dr. Nick Blasco joined the practice in July 2014 after rotations in California, where they have been working aggressively with vision therapy to treat people of all ages with concussions or traumatic brain injuries. While there, Dr. Blasco also did a lot of work with improving the visual processing of children with autism, as they often have impaired visual efficiency skills. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa, Dr. Blasco attended Illinois College of Optometry, with time in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins and the Baltimore VA for his residency. Dr. Blasco is excited to be back home in Iowa and practicing here.

“If anyone has a child who struggles in school, may not be reading at their expected grade level or does not like to read, then I’d recommend having a binocular vision evaluation to determine if there is an undiagnosed visual disorder impairing performance,” said Dr. Blasco. “With as much time as we all spend on our digital devices, we are causing extreme stress to our visual systems. This undetected stress in children can manifest into bigger issues down the road.”

Binocular vision issues are a medical diagnosis. To learn more about binocular vision evaluations or schedule an appointment with Eye Care of Iowa at Prairie Trail, visit their website or call 515-965-5788.

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