Vision problems can significantly impact our lives, leading to difficulties in school, at work, and in our everyday activities—but not all vision problems have the same solution. Vision therapy is one solution for visual challenges that involves a noninvasive, individualized program of exercises and activities intended to strengthen a person’s visual skills.
Vision therapy is based on a process of retraining the eyes and brain to work together more efficiently, resulting in improved vision. The goal of vision therapy is to improve the efficiency of brain and eye coordination, but it’s not a universal solution for vision issues.
The results of vision therapy can vary based on the severity of the problems you’re attempting to address, your individual eye health, and the degree to which you follow your program.
Through an eye exam, we can provide guidance for whether or not vision therapy could help with the challenges you or a family member are facing—and help you take steps toward getting started with vision therapy.
Understanding Vision Therapy
Vision therapy aims to retrain the eyes and brain to work together, using exercises and activities to improve visual skills. The exercises involved in vision therapy might be focused on eye tracking, focusing, and teaming, as well as visual processing and perceptual skills.
- Accommodative Insufficiency: A condition that can cause inability to focus or sustain focus for near vision.
- Strabismus (crossed or misaligned eyes): A condition where the eyes are not properly aligned.
- Convergence insufficiency: Difficulty in focusing on near objects that can cause eye strain.
- Amblyopia (lazy eye): A condition where one eye has weaker vision than the other.
- Other visual challenges, such as eye tracking problems and binocular vision problems (difficulty coordinating the eyes to work together and track objects).
It’s also important to note that vision therapy is not a cure-all for all vision problems. While it may be helpful for certain conditions, such as those mentioned above, there are many other eye conditions that may require other forms of treatment.
How Effective Is Vision Therapy?
While vision therapy has been around since the 1920s, it remains a treatment that’s still debated. Recent studies have shown that vision therapy may indeed be helpful for some people with certain vision problems.
In a 2011 study, researchers found that vision therapy improved vision for children with convergence insufficiency, a common condition in which the eyes have difficulty working together when reading or doing close work.
Other studies have shown that vision therapy can be effective in treating amblyopia (lazy eye), a condition in which one eye is weaker than the other, leading to reduced vision in that eye.
The effectiveness of vision therapy is a topic of ongoing research. Some studies suggest that it can be beneficial when combined with home-based therapy efforts, especially for specific conditions like convergence insufficiency and certain binocular vision problems. However, more high-quality research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.
The results of vision therapy can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience significant improvements in their vision, while others may see only modest changes or none at all. Success often depends on factors like the type and severity of the vision problem being treated and the individual’s commitment to their therapy program.
VR Vision Therapy
Virtual reality (VR) technology has also been used for rehabilitating various vision conditions in people of all ages. It can help improve motor skills and functional abilities by activating different neural connections to strengthen the eye-brain connection.
In eye care, VR training has proven successful for helping strengthen depth perception, contrast sensitivity, and visual sharpness without the need for eye patches.
Vision therapy requires consistent effort and commitment. Patients must be willing to attend regular sessions and perform prescribed exercises at home. Without dedication, the effectiveness of the therapy may be limited.
It’s worth noting that there may be alternative treatments for some vision problems. Speaking with your eye doctor about the relative benefits of vision therapy versus other forms of treatment and support can help you make an informed choice about your eye health.
Vision Therapy: A Clear Perspective
The effectiveness of vision therapy remains a subject of ongoing debate and research. While it has shown promise for certain vision problems, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and results can vary from person to person.
The decision to pursue vision therapy should be made with advice from an eye care professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique needs and circumstances.
If you or someone you know is considering vision therapy, consult the qualified eye care professionals at Bettner Vision. We can assess your eyes and recommend an appropriate treatment approach, which may include vision therapy as part of a comprehensive plan. Book an appointment to discuss your options today!