An experienced optomotrist has expanded his business portfolio into Hexham.
Stuart Henderson, and wife Maria, are from Stocksfield - we chatted to them about The Vision Performance Hub...

A New Vision – Stuart & Maria Henderson, Vision Performance Hub

Stocksfield couple Stuart & Maria Henderson have set up a new business focusing on how vision can affect learning and sporting performance.

Stuart and Maria Henderson, along with their daughter Jenny, launched Vision Performance Hub last year at Cattle Market in Hexham.

Stuart and Jenny are both qualified optometrists and provide eyecare to patients in Newcastle via their established practice, G.T. Harvey & Partners.
Their new venture aims to look beyond their clients’ eyesight and focus on the impact it can have on other areas.

Stuart said: “Your vision can impact learning and sport beyond simply how well your eyes can see.

“In sport, the eyes are as important as any other part of the body when it comes to performance. The ability to track with the eyes, react quickly to visual information, as well as accurately judge depth and speed and utilise spatial awareness, are all essential for sporting performance.

“We’ve delivered Sports Vision assessments at our Newcastle practice in the past, but we wanted to invest in the right equipment and facilities to really make this an area of focus for us going forward.”

At the Vision Performance Hub practice in Hexham, above the old Virgin Money, the family firm delivers a suite of state-of-the-art techniques with cutting edge equipment.

Stuart added: “We use a Senaptec Station, which we have imported from the USA. As only one of two optometric practices in the UK to have this piece of kit, it provides us with a sensory performance report showing your visual strengths and weaknesses, as percentile rankings compared to others competing in your particular sport world-wide.”

One of the hub’s first clients is Prudhoe’s Josh Cockburn, from AS Design, who is a keen footballer and planning to study Sports Therapy at university later this year. Josh has been undergoing Sports Vision assessments on the Senaptec Station, with results that surprised him.

Stuart said: “Josh has fantastic hand-eye co-ordination and visual decision making, but his multiple object tracking skills and reaction times are areas which can definitely be improved. With the right type of eye exercises and specific vision training using strobe specs, Josh can expect to have a visual advantage over his opposition.”

The other area of expertise which the VP Hub provides is centred around vision and learning. Stuart and Jenny have over 30 years of experience between them in helping children and adults with reading difficulties.

Stuart said: “Jenny and I carry out in-depth assessments of vision and how it can impact reading ability. The results from our assessments will identify if vision is causing or contributing to things like reading problems. We can recommend eye training exercises, spectacles or coloured overlays to try and help improve reading performance.

“This part of our work can be the most rewarding. There are two cases over the last 25 years that particularly stick in my mind. One was a girl that I saw originally in 1998 when she was doing her GCSE’s and was struggling with words running together when reading. We found that a coloured overlay and subsequently tinted lenses made a huge improvement to her reading ability. She is now a consultant at the RVI, she still uses her tinted lenses for close work and credits them for helping her to achieve her dream.

“The second case is a lad who I caught up with at Christmas. At 14 he had huge reading problems because his eyes didn’t line up properly together when he was concentrating on reading. By using eye exercises over several months, we managed to re-train his eyes so that reading became much easier. He is now in final year at university and all being well he is heading for a 1st Class Honours degree.

“In this day and age, with so much of life spent on digital devices, the importance of accurate and rapid reading skills cannot be underestimated.”
The Vision Performance Hub operates on an appointment-only basis and offers initial consultations by phone, which can be booked online.

“Your vision can impact learning and sport beyond simply how well your eyes can see.”