Many vision problems do not require surgery for correction. In these situations, vision therapy may be an option. Vision therapy is a form of physical therapy used on the eyes and brain. It is designed to resolve vision problems that can contribute to learning difficulties. This therapy can also be used an effective treatment for problems like lazy eye, crossed eyes, or double vision.
Common Questions about Vision Therapy
There is more to vision therapy than simply strengthening the eyes. It also enhances the neurological connections between the eyes and the brain as the brain directly influences sight based on how it interprets images received. A healthy connection between the eyes and the brain is essential for good eyesight.
How does vision therapy work?
It uses progressive vision exercises prescribed under the supervision of your eye care provider. Each set of exercises is tailored to meet the individual visual needs of a patient. Typically the exercises are done at home five days a week for about 20-30 minutes and the patient has in office appointments about ever 2 weeks. These appointments are to make sure the patient is on track and to prescribe the next set of exercises. Depending on the condition being treated and the severity, vision therapy can last from three to 6 months. After the vision therapy sessions are finished, the patient is given maintenance exercises to continue on a weekly basis.
What is the purpose of the vision exercises?
Vision exercises are designed to help patients improve basic visual skills that connect the eyes with the brain. Most often, vision therapy is used to help the eyes coordinate together more efficiently and to ensure that the brain and eyes are working well together.
I have seen some children wearing patches covering one eye. Is this vision therapy?
This is a form of vision therapy. Some people are born with an amblyopic eye. Amblyopia is a term used to describe an eye that does not see 20/20 even with glasses and is often called a lazy eye. To stimulate the weaker eye, a patch is worn on the stronger eye. For more information on Amblyopia, click here.
What is the first step in a vision therapy program?
A comprehensive vision exam is necessary before starting therapy. It is important to make sure that patient's have good ocular health and are fitted for glasses (if needed) prior to beginning any therapy. Following the exam, your eye care provider can determine whether or not this type of therapy is the recommended treatment for your vision problems.
Is there scientific evidence that it really works?
It does work. Studies on vision therapy show it is effective in improving the lives of patients. Data shows that this therapy can improve visual function enough to keep it from interfering with a patient's ability to absorb information and learn. In its own sphere, this therapy is as effective as physical therapy or occupational therapy..
Who typically needs vision therapy?
It can be a useful tool for helping children and adults alike. Children with learning or reading problems can benefit from the vision boost these exercises provide. Eyeglasses are not the solution when the problem is visual processing. These problems can't be detected without tests done by an eye doctor. Adults can see vision improvement through this therapy as well. It can help curb eye-strain related vision processing problems brought on by working with computers all day.