What is Vision Therapy?
Vision Therapy is an individualized, supervised, treatment program designed to correct visual-motor and/or perceptual-cognitive deficiencies. Vision Therapy sessions include procedures designed to enhance the brain’s ability to control:
- eye alignment
- eye tracking and eye teaming
- eye focusing abilities
- eye movements, and/or
- visual processing.
Eye, Visual-motor, and Cognitive Skills Therapy
Visual-motor skills and endurance are developed through the use of specialized computer and optical devices, including therapeutic lenses, prisms, and filters. During the final stages of therapy, the patient’s newly acquired visual skills are reinforced and made automatic through repetition and by integration with motor and cognitive skills.”
Who Benefits from Vision Therapy Eye Exercises?
Vision, Reading & Learning: Visual Learning Disabilities
Vision Therapy can help those individuals who lack the necessary visual skills for effective reading, writing, and learning (i.e., eye movements, eye tracking, eye teaming, and focusing skills, convergence, eye-hand activity, visual memory skills, etc.).
Children or Adults with Eye Tracking Problems
Vision Therapy helps individuals develop normal eye tracking and eye teaming skills. When the two eyes fail to track and move together as an effective team (binocular vision), performance in many areas of life can suffer (reading, writing, sports, depth perception, etc.).
Problems with Binocular Vision (2-eyed vision) – Eye Teaming, Depth Perception, etc.
Vision Therapy helps individuals develop normal response, coordination and teamwork of the two eyes (binocular vision, eye teaming, depth perception, etc.).
When the two eyes fail to work together as an effective team, performance in many areas of life can suffer (school achievement, reading skills, sports abilities, depth perception, hand-eye coordination, eye contact, etc.).
Treatable problems with binocular vision are not uncommon in the general population and they are very common in the special needs or developmentally delayed populations. Binocular vision disorders can occur for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Reduced vision in one eye (e.g., Lazy Eye or Amblyopia, Cataracts, etc.)
- Deficient eye movements or lack of normal coordination between the two eyes (e.g., Poor Eye Tracking, Strabismus / squint, or Convergence Insufficiency, etc.)
- Problems with the brain comparing images from both eyes (e.g., can be due to any of the above and/or Double Vision, Astigmatism, Anismetropia, and/or many other medical and visual conditions.)
Children and Adults with Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Vision Therapy programs offer much higher cure rates for turned eyes and/or lazy eye when compared to eye surgery, glasses, and/or patching, without therapy. The earlier the patient receives Vision Therapy the better, however, our office successfully treats patients well past 21 years of age.
Recent scientific research disproves the long-held belief that children with lazy eye, or amblyopia, can’t be helped after age 7.
Children and Adults with Strabismus (cross-eyed, wandering eye, eye turns, etc.)
Vision Therapy is a the successful non-surgical treatment for strabismus that works to improve both vision and cosmetic appearance. Strabismus surgery often frequently only gives cosmetic benefits (even with repeated surgeries) whereas Vision Therapy provides vision improvement and a much greater cure rate. Strabismus in children does not go away on its own and strabismus in adults is treatable, so we strongly recommend treatment with Vision Therapy for strabismus.
Double Vision (diplopia)
The goal of Vision Therapy is to help the patient develop or restore normal single vision. Non-surgical vision Therapy treatment —with or without glasses or surgery— offers much higher cure rates for double vision as compared to eye surgery, glasses, and/or patching, without therapy. Vision Therapy can help children and adults develop or recover single binocular vision with depth perception at any age. Age is not a barrier to successful treatment. It is possible to change the brain at any age, thanks to something called “neuroplasticity”.
Vision Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) including Stroke, Birth Injury, Brain Damage, Head Injury, Whiplash, Cerebral Palsy, MS, etc.
Vision can be compromised as a result of neurological disorders or trauma to the nervous system. Vision Therapy can effectively treat the visual consequences of brain trauma (including double vision, balance disorders, reading problems, dizziness, etc.).
Visual Rehabilitation for Concussions, Post-concussive Symptoms, etc.
We are expert in the evaluation and treatment of post-concussion eye / visual symptoms and vision problems. Vision happens in many areas of the brain and many people don’t realize that many of the physical, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms and changes that occur after a concussion are due to vision problems that can be effectively treated with Vision Therapy (also called Vision Rehabilitation Therapy).
Special Needs – ADD, ADD/ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorders
“Vision Therapy is a life-changing treatment for many children and adults who are diagnosed or misdiagnosed as ADHD.” says Dr. Glen Steele, O.D., Chair of American Academy of Optometry (AOA) InfantSEE™ and Children’s Vision Committee.
Numerous recent scientific studies draw a strong connection between eye movements and suspected or diagnosed ADHD. For example, a new study from Tel Aviv University in Israel found strong evidence that involuntary eye movement may be an indicator of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
According to Dr. Glen Steele, O.D., Chair of the AOA’s InfantSEE™ and Children’s Vision Committee, “Optometry has always stated that eye movements are linked to reduced attention, often leading to a misdiagnosis of ADHD…this [the Tel Aviv University] study furthers the understanding that eye movements are linked and should be addressed.”
Special Needs – Autism Spectrum Disorders
Vision therapy eye exercises stimulate, organize, integrate and stabilize visual arousal, eye contact, eye movements and the central visual and vestibular system for autistic children and adults. Our doctors are experienced in examining and treating autistic individuals with Vision Therapy and/or prism lenses.
Special Needs – Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Visual processing skills are often affected in individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Specialized testing and treatments such as Vision Therapy, tinted lenses and/or prism glasses treat the problems with eye focusing, eye coordination, and eye movements in children or adults with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Visual Rehabilitation for Special Needs – Developmental Delays
Vision can be compromised as a result of neurological disorders or trauma to the nervous system. Vision Therapy can effectively treat the visual consequences of brain trauma (including double vision).
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Visual Stress from Reading and Computers
21st-century life demands more from our vision than ever before. Many children and adults constantly use their near vision at school, work and home. Environmental stress on the visual system (including frequent or excessive computer use or close work) can induce blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches, even motion sickness, etc.
Sports Vision Training
Strong visual skills are critical to sports success. Not much happens in sports until your eyes instruct your hands and body as to what to do! We can measure and successfully improve eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time, peripheral vision, eye focusing, eye tracking and teaming, visualization skills, and more.
Vision Therapy can be the answer to many visual problems. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with your questions.