What is Vision Therapy?
Vision Therapy is a treatment process used to improve vision function. It includes a broad range of developmental and rehabilitative treatment programs individually prescribed to remediate specific sensory, motor and /or visual perceptual dysfunctions. Vision therapy involves active participation of the patient, under the direction of a Doctor of Optometry, in a sequence of controlled procedures to modify these functions of the vision system. Therapeutic lenses, prisms, filters, occlusion and specialized equipment are used in the treatment process. Vision therapy may be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Vision conditions commonly treated with vision therapy include amblyopia, strabismus, nonstrabismic binocular disorders, ocular motor dysfunctions, accommodative dysfunctions, visual motor disorders, and visual information processing/perceptual disorders.
Vision therapy is a doctor-supervised, non-surgical and customized program of visual activities designed to correct certain vision problems and/or improve visual skills. Vision Therapy sessions include procedures designed to enhance the brain's ability to control:
- eye alignment
- eye teaming
- eye focusing abilities
- eye movements
- visual processing.
Unlike eyeglasses, which simply compensate for vision problems, or eye surgery that alters the anatomy of the eye or surrounding muscles, vision therapy aims to "teach" the visual system to correct itself.
Vision therapy is like physical therapy for the visual system, including the eyes and the parts of the brain that control vision.
Vision therapy can include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, computerized visual activities and non-computerized viewing instruments. Non-medical "tools," such as balance boards, metronomes and other devices can also play an important role in a customized vision therapy program.
It is important to note that vision therapy is not defined by a simple list of tools and techniques. Successful vision therapy outcomes are achieved through a therapeutic process that depends on the active engagement of the prescribing doctor, the vision therapist, the patient and (in the case of children) their parents.
Overall, the goal of vision therapy is to treat vision problems that cannot be treated successfully with eyeglasses, contact lenses and/or surgery alone, and help people achieve clear, comfortable binocular vision.
Many studies have shown that vision therapy can correct vision problems that interfere with efficient reading among schoolchildren. It also can help reduce eye strain and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome experienced by many children and adults. See below for more on conditions treated with vision therapy.