Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program using specialized procedures and equipment that help teach the patient how to use their eyes and brain together correctly and to better understand what they see. The American Optometric Association states, “Vision therapy is effective for patients of any age who have difficulty utilizing their visual system to process information.”
Vision Therapy Is NOT Just Eye Exercises.
Unlike other forms of exercise, the goal of Vision Therapy is not to strengthen eye muscles. Your eye muscles are already incredibly strong. Vision Therapy is not to be confused with any self-directed self-help program of eye exercises which is or has been marketed to the public.
How does someone know if they would benefit from Vision Therapy?
During our developmental eye exam, or brain injury/stroke patient’s exam, our team will obtain a tremendous amount of information about the visual system. The developmental vision exam includes in-depth testing to assess visual acuity, eye tracking, eye alignment, focusing, visual perception, and other subtle problems that can interfere with reading and learning. The developmental vision exam can help determine if vision therapy can help with any learning-related vision problems. Many factors are considered when determining a patients need for vision therapy, such as; parent and/or teacher observation, learning style, and visual problems the exam has revealed. We consider the process of developing strategies to help children be successful in school a joint effort between the patient, parents, teachers, vision and/or occupational therapists, and the optometrist.
There are 3 parts to a healthy, well-functioning visual system:
Visual acuity is a measure of how clear we see, and is only a small part of the eye exam itself. In order to improve upon the other 2 parts of our visual system, we must first make sure eyeglasses are prescribed if needed.
Visual perception is the ability to interpret or give meaning to what is seen. Difficulties with visual perception can affect people in many ways.
-Poor reading comprehension
-Trouble keeping up in class or finishing timed tests
-Becoming overwhelmed by large amounts of information given at one time
Visual efficiency relates to the eyes’ ability to focus and move properly during visual tasks. Visual efficiency is important no matter our age. Great visual skills are essential for children in school. There is great demand on our eyes while reading and looking at a computer. Our eyes can have difficulty with efficiency in a number of ways:
-Inability to focus Focusing spasm (over focus)
-Difficulty tracking with smooth movements
-Difficulty directing gaze quickly and efficiently to different objects
-Difficulty turning both eyes in or out when looking from far to near or near to far
-Amblyopia or “lazy” eye
Symptoms of visual efficiency difficulties include:
-Headaches during or after reading
-Eye strain -Double vision
-Blurry vision (near or distance)
-Short attention span/trouble concentrating
-Loss of place while reading
-Difficulty following objects -Squinting or covering one eye
-Holding head at an angle -Excessive blinking/ eye twitches
What is involved in a Vision Therapy program?
In-office Vision Therapy
-In-office vision therapy is conducted once a week, for a period of time that could last up to 8 months or more. The length of the program is determined by the doctor based on the specific diagnosis and complexity of the condition, as well as the patient’s response to the treatment. It is performed by a vision therapist, and under
close supervision of the optometrist. It is supplemented with procedures done at home between office visits
("home reinforcement"). Progress evaluations are scheduled every 8-10 therapy sessions to allow the optometrist to assess the progress throughout the program.
-We have an extensive amount of equipment and computer programs to help implement a successful vision therapy program. Combined with one-on-one attention with one of our vision therapists, in-office vision therapy guarantees we will be able to more closely address your child’s progress.
Home Vision Therapy
-Home vision therapy can be an alternative to in-office vision therapy when it is too difficult to travel to our office and the condition is less complex. In order for home vision therapy to be successful, it takes great dedication by the patient and parent(s) or guardian(s). Home vision therapy includes a take home folder with daily assignments and regular progress evaluations just as in-office vision therapy so that we are able to determine a patient’s progress and make modifications to the program as they advance.
Vision Therapy Equipment
In-office Vision Therapy is supervised by optometric vision care professionals and many types of specialized and/or medical equipment can be used in Optometric Vision Therapy programs, such as:
-NEW: Interactive metronome to aid in auditory processing
-NEW: Sanet Vision Integrator- a 50” interactive touch screen vision therapy system
-Corrective, therapeutic, and prism lenses (regulated medical devices)
-Optical filters occluders or eye patches
-Electronic targets with timing mechanisms
-Balance boards (vestibular device)
-Visual-motor-sensory integration training devices
Sanet Vision Integrator
Are you a parent that Homeschools?
If you are a parent/guardian that homeschools, and especially if you have started homeschooling for the first time, it may be an overwhelming experience. We can help to make sure your child(ren) are equipped with the essential tools to be successful in learning. We call it learning to learn.
A great resource for parents and educators is the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Learn more about signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of vision related learning difficulties at www.covd.org.