Vision Therapy – an Overview
Safe and effective methods for improving the visual efficiency and comfort of students and adults
A vision therapy program is a series of activities of increasing intensity tailored specifically to improve a patient’s visual function. These activities are conducted under the supervision of an optometrist. In-office vision therapy sessions are scheduled for 30 minutes once or twice a week. The in-office vision therapy may also be combined with at home activities to accelerate and reinforce the visual skills attained during the in-office sessions. Vision therapy aids a patient’s visual comfort, ease, and visual efficiency. Vision therapy brings about an improvement in a patient’s fundamental visual skills by improving how visual information is processed and interpreted.
Convergence insufficiency (CI) is the most common form of visual dysfunction in which a patient’s eyes have difficulty rotate inward. Patients experiencing convergence insufficiency most often feel discomfort at near while reading, doing homework, at the computer etc. Common symptoms of convergence insufficiency include words jumping around a page, double vision, headaches, “eyestrain”, shadows on letters and words, and blurry vision.
Amblyopia is commonly referred to as “lazy eye.” There are numerous causes of amblyopia such as uncorrected and/or asymmetric refractive errors, strabismus (eye turn or crossed eyes) or an eye injury or disease. Occasionally, the actual cause of amblyopia cannot be ascertained.
When the brain receives a blurry image from one eye and a clear image from the other the brain will favor the clearer image causing a poorly developed visual pathway in the blurry eye, resulting in amblyopia. Double vision and/or blurred images or ghost images can occur causing a person to become even more dependent on the better-seeing eye.
How is amblyopia treated? Treatment starts with a comprehensive eye exam. If a spectacle prescription is necessary it will typically be prescribed for full-time wear. The poorer-seeing eye, with correction, if necessary, needs to be strengthened. The better-seeing eye may be covered with an eyepatch or blurred pharmacologically with drops to allow the visual pathway of the poorer-seeing eye to be rewired, resulting in better visual acuity. A typical treatment plan may involve having the patient wear their spectacle prescription full time while covering the better seeing eye five times a week for two hours each time while doing near work. Another significant way to strengthen the amblyopic eye with the eventual goal of making it see as well as the better eye is through optometric vision therapy.
Good Vision is Essential For Learning
Most of us are visual learners. This is especially true of children. A comprehensive eye exam is important to a child’s learning process. If a child has difficulty seeing the board or they find reading uncomfortable they will experience a great deal of difficulty in school
Learning Related Vision Problems
Learning-related vision problems can impede learning, reading, and close work. Key factors in resolving learning related vision problems include:
- eye teaming skills – both eyes working together as a team following one line at a time
- accommodation – the eye’s ability to change its focus depending on an object’s distance
- binocular vision – the brain brings together images from each eye into one stereoscopic image giving us depth perception
- visual perception – visual memory, form perception, visualization
- visual-motor integration – eye-hand coordination
Children with learning disabilities demonstrate an inability to sustain near work and are often misdiagnosed with ADD when they truly have a learning related vision problem. With the optometrists, psychologist, teacher, and parent working as a team, a proper diagnosis can be made resulting in an effective treatment plan. Optometric vision therapy ensures that the visual system, an integral part of learning, is working efficiently. Vision Therapy greatly improves those visual skills that promote proper learning, reading, and visual efficiency.
About Total Eye Care
The comprehensive services available from the staff and doctors at Total Eye Care allow us to take care of patients of all ages. We also have an onsite ophthalmic lab to make your glasses quickly and accurately. Our optical keeps almost 1000 frames in stock to fit any face large or small with frames starting at $69. Especially helpful when buying glasses for children is our “bring us the pieces” eyeglass warranty. We are also on all of the major insurance plans.