What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is similar to physical therapy, but instead of a joint or muscle, it works with the eyes and brain. There is a neurological component with this kind of therapy because the eyes are an extension of the brain. Our eyes help make “seeing” possible, but your vision is reliant on the eye-brain connection. If either of these organs is not working correctly, your vision will be impacted.
Vision Therapy Treatment
Every patient is different, but vision therapy is most commonly a treatment option for amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (“crossed eyes”), and binocular vision (problems with eye alignment). It may also treat eye movement disorders, focusing disorders, or other visual deficiencies related to eye strain or fatigue. Vision therapy can address problems derived from stroke or brain injury, too. The earlier your vision issues are caught and treated; the more likely they are to be fixed.
For this reason, vision therapy is often used for children, because they adapt better to changes and visual exercises. This doesn’t mean adults can’t benefit from vision therapy in certain situations. Parents who bring their child in for an eye exam during their infancy significantly reduce the risk of their child developing any vision-related learning disorders.
Does Vision Therapy Work?
Studies show vision therapy is rooted in science and can help train your body and its abilities in the same way physical or occupational therapy can. The critical thing to remember is vision therapy is not one set of devices or exercises. Vision therapy may include any number of activities or techniques put together by a qualified medical professional to address specific vision problems. Vision therapy should not be confused with informal and unscientific methods, and it cannot “train you” not to need glasses.
When You Should See a Doctor
Anytime you feel your eyes or your child’s eyes are not performing correctly, you should seek medical attention. Children should receive an eye exam as babies, and again before they enter school. Eye exams check for more than clear and accurate vision. They test for eye health, color blindness, tracking ability, depth perception, structures of the eye, and more. For this reason, everyone should receive periodic exams to ensure their eyes are healthy. If you notice any changes in your sight or think your child is not developing correctly, seek help right away.
FAQ: Vision Therapy for Your Family
Because more people are asking for treatment options and bringing their children for eye exams earlier in life, vision therapy has become more well-known. We get a lot of questions about how it can help patients, so here are some answers to commonly asked questions about vision therapy.
I just heard about vision therapy helping a family I know. Is it new?
No, vision therapy is not new. Many of the activities and tools doctors use have been around for decades or more. But more people are asking about it and opting for vision therapy over surgical procedures when possible.
What conditions can vision therapy treat?
This is dependent on the patient’s unique situation, but vision therapy may be used to treat or improve problems like amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (“crossed eyes”), binocular vision problems with eye alignment, eye movement disorders, focusing disorders, or other visual deficiencies related to eye strain, eye fatigue, or problems derived from stroke or brain injury.
Can vision therapy help my child in school?
Vision therapy attempts to help deficiencies in focusing and eye muscle imbalances, among other problems. Vision problems can interfere with academic performance or impair the ability to read comfortably, so these coordinated plans try to improve these functions. You may notice academic improvement after vision therapy.
Is vision therapy only for children?
There are several kinds of vision therapy which include various treatments and exercises to help you or your child. Vision therapy is more common among children because a child’s visual impairment is more likely to be corrected while they are still developing. However, adults can choose vision therapy treatment as well.
Is vision therapy a one-time treatment?
Vision therapy is not a cure and not even one treatment. Instead, it is a non-surgical, customized program created by a doctor. Under his or her supervision the process of vision therapy aims to correct specific vision problems or vision-related skills. The number of appointments varies based on each patient.
If you have questions about this or other eye health conditions, contact us for more information!