Last Updated: March 27, 2023
Vision therapy is a treatment program prescribed by an optometrist, tailored to improve an individual’s ability to see clearly, comfortably and efficiently. It is generally used for the treatment of visual conditions such as strabismus (crossed eye), amblyopia (lazy eye) accommodative disorders (focusing problem), visual processing disorders (associated with learning disability) and post brain injury (such as concussions or strokes). Vision therapy can be applied to address a wide range of symptoms such as headaches, double vision, blurry vision, inability to focus when reading, difficulty with tracking objects, etc. For example, vision therapy can help realign the eyes if they are crossed, or help an individual regain functional vision by recovering from brain injury symptoms such as dizziness and difficulty with reading. In other cases, it can also be used in Sports Vision to enhance an athlete’s visual skills, such as the reaction time and visual-motor integration. Like any other skill, visual skills are developed as we grow and can be improved with training. Vision therapy helps individuals learn, relearn and reinforce specific visual skills, such as eye movement accuracy, focusing control and coordination of the two eyes.
Vision therapy starts with an initial assessment to determine the individual’s vision status and needs. Depending on the results from the initial assessment, a treatment program with tailored visual tasks is prescribed. The program involves repetition of the prescribed visual tasks with in-office and at-home sessions over time. In addition to visual tasks, specialty lenses, prism, filters, stereo-viewers and video games may be used. Sophisticated equipment and instruments may also be used to increase the eye’s ability to see and the brain’s ability to understand visual information.
The length of time required for completion of a vision therapy program varies, such as the number of visits to the optometrist, the length of each visit, amount of in-office therapy sessions and the amount of home therapy sessions. The course of the program depends on the type of vision problem, how long the condition has existed, age of the individual, motivation of the individual, and the level of improvement desired. A typical program may take from a few weeks to several months.
Vision therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for many vision related problems that cannot be treated with glasses or contact lenses alone. Much of the improvement depends on the patient’s willingness to follow the instructions. With good compliance, significant progress towards more efficient and comfortable vision usually results. However, success in vision therapy is not guaranteed and there are some cases where improvement cannot be achieved.
Depending on the visual condition, vision therapy can have a profound effect on an individual’s quality of life. Consult your local optometrist to find out more about vision therapy and how it can help improve vision.
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