Vision therapy is a noninvasive, personalized program that addresses various visual problems, such as strabismus (crossed or turned eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), and convergence insufficiency (eye coordination issues).
Once you’ve completed a vision therapy program, which typically takes 6 to 8 months, depending on your condition, you won’t need to repeat it because the changes made to the neural pathways in your brain during therapy are permanent.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a completely customized program backed by science and overseen by your eye doctor. It’s designed just for you and is focused on improving your visual skills and strengthening the connection between your eyes and brain. Visual skills include eye-tracking, focusing, convergence, eye-hand coordination, and visual processing speed.
Vision therapy includes eye exercises, testing, and occlusion (patching) and can help treat eye coordination and alignment issues, depth perception, and visual processing skills.
Vision therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of treatment. It’s a carefully put-together, personalized program that’s all about helping you tackle your unique visual challenges.
How Does Vision Therapy Work?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt its structure and function in response to experiences or training.
Vision therapy uses this concept by providing targeted exercises and activities that challenge the visual system and encourage it to develop new neural pathways. These new pathways can improve visual skills such as eye coordination, focusing, and processing speed.
Vision therapy aims to strengthen these skills, make them more automatic, and improve your overall vision and performance in daily tasks through consistent practice and repetition. Training and exercises can lead to long-term changes in your brain and visual system.
Who Can Benefit from Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy can benefit people of all ages with visual challenges, including children with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorders, strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye), and adults experiencing visual discomfort or difficulties.
It can also be helpful for athletes who want to improve their hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and depth perception.
Those with brain injuries, like a concussion or stroke, can also benefit from vision therapy.
Signs & Symptoms in Children
Children may not always have the words to express issues with their eyesight, and they might not even be aware that their vision differs from others. Vision problems can appear uniquely in different children. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child if you notice anything unusual or concerning.
Some signs include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Closing or covering one eye
- Limited ability to read for extended periods
- Poor reading comprehension
- Holding objects very close
- Tired eyes
- Headaches when reading
- Losing place or skipping lines when reading
- Using a finger to track text
- Short attention span
- Confusing words with similar beginnings
- Difficulty recognizing letters, words, or shapes
- Struggling to discern main ideas from minor details
- Challenges with basic math concepts
- Poor spelling
- Messy handwriting and drawing
- Difficulty staying within lines
- Trouble learning right and left
- Reversing letters and words
Our Vision Therapy Process
Our approach to vision therapy begins with conducting a comprehensive eye exam, which helps us determine if vision therapy is an appropriate solution. We take the time to discuss your symptoms and visual challenges.
If the results from the initial exam suggest the need for further analysis, we proceed with a sensorimotor exam, which allows us to conduct a detailed assessment of your eye muscles, eye tracking, focusing ability, and other essential visual skills.
Once all the necessary data is gathered, we can formulate a personalized vision therapy program tailored to your specific vision needs. This program typically involves weekly appointments supplemented by exercises performed at home. The duration of these sessions varies based on your situation, expectations, and personal goals.
We may employ several learning tools, including:
- Balance boards
- Functional exercises
- Hand-eye coordination exercises
- Occluders or patches
- Specialized filters
- Video games or computer programs
- Therapeutic lenses
The Lasting Impact of Vision Therapy
Vision therapy is a permanent solution for many visual problems as long as it’s done consistently and with dedication.