Visual Therapy

Some vision problems cannot be treated adequately with just glasses or contact lenses, and are best resolved through a program of vision therapy. Over 45% of the space in our office is devoted to this unique service. Our vision therapists are all well trained professionals who function to implement individually prescribed vision therapy programs, usually scheduled in-office on a weekly basis.

Vision therapy utilizes various procedures to aid eye-mind-body coordination. This enables people to use their vision more effectively. Typical improvements noted as a result of a vision therapy program are clearer vision, improved memory, increased interest in reading, along with better comprehension, endurance and speed. Vision therapy also helps focusing problems, tired eyes, headaches, fatigue following visual tasks, light sensitivity, and aids depth perception, night vision and peripheral vision. It is the most effective treatment for eye turns and for “lazy” eye. The multi-sensory vision therapy that we use improves integration of vision with gross and fine motor abilities, speech and hearing, and rhythm and timing abilities.

A patient may enter into vision therapy to cure a number of different types of visual difficulties or to simply enhance their visual performance in some way. Some of the reasons our patients choose vision therapy are:

  • Control and treatment of near point stress
  • Learning related visual problems
  • Eye turns, strabismus
  • Lazy eye, amblyopia
  • Sports vision enhancement
  • Reduction of job related visual problems
  • Improvement of near point concentration
  • Improvement in visual efficiency

Here is a link to a page of a number of definitions of VT from many different sources.  It should give you a good idea that this has been around a long time to have been defined by so many different people.

Here is my own definition of Vision therapy:  Optometric vision therapy is a treatment plan used to correct or improve specific dysfunctions of the vision system. It includes, but is not limited to, the treatment of strabismus, amblyopia, accommodation, ocular motor function and visual-perceptual-motor abilities.

What are some of the skills that vision therapy helps to change? Optometric vision therapy works on the development of visual skills, among which are the following:
1. The ability to follow a moving object smoothly, accurately and effortlessly with both eyes and at the same time think, talk, read or listen without losing alignment of eyes. This pursuit ability is used to follow a ball or a person, to guide a pencil while writing, to read numbers on moving railroad box cars, etc.
2. The ability to fix the eyes on a series of stationary objects quickly and accurately, with both eyes, and at the same time know what each object is; a skill used to read words from left to right, add columns of numbers, read maps, etc.
3. The ability to change focus quickly, without blur, from far to near and from near to far, over and over, effortlessly and at the same time look for meaning and obtain understanding from the symbols or objects seen. This ability is used to copy from the chalkboard, to watch the road ahead and check the speedometer, to read a book and watch TV across the room, etc.
4. The ability to team two eyes together. This skill should work so well that no interference exists between the two eyes which can result in having to suppress or mentally block information from one eye or the other. This shutting off of information to one eye lowers understanding and speed, increases fatigue and distractibility, and shortens attention span. Proper teaming permits efficient vision to emerge and learning to occur.
5. The ability to see over a large area (in the periphery) while pointing the eyes straight ahead. For safety, self-confidence and to read rapidly, a person needs to see "the big picture," to know easily where they are on a page while reading and to take in large amounts of information, i.e., a large number of words per look.
6. The ability to see and know (recognize) in a short look. Efficient vision is dependent on the ability to see rapidly, to see and know an object, people or words in a very small fraction of a second. The less time required to see, the faster the reading and thinking.
7. The ability to see in depth. A child should be able to throw a bean bag into a hat 10 feet away, to judge the visual distance and control the arm movements needed. An adult needs to see and judge how far it is to the curb, make accurate visual decisions about the speed and distances of other cars to be safe.