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What is Vision Therapy?

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Young lady looking at camera during her vision check from optometrist.

Vision therapy is a treatment program that can help improve conditions like strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye). Vision therapy also helps with individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injuries such as concussion or stroke. As well, it helps with focusing problems in children and adults often face, along with reading difficulties and poor hand eye coordinations. Vision therapy is meant to train and develop our eyes, much like how we can train and develop other physical attributes of our bodies. If you decide to undergo vision therapy, you will be required to do daily exercises for your eyes that will strengthen and improve eye movement, focusing ability, and straighten eye alignment. If you are curious about receiving vision therapy, book an appointment for an eye exam and see if it could be beneficial for you.

How Does Vision Therapy Work?

Vision therapy focuses on training the connection between our eyes and our brains. The interaction that occurs between our brains and our eyes can affect almost all aspects of our lives. Vision therapy develops and strengthens fundamental visual skills and abilities, which leads to increased visual comfort and enhanced information processing. When the brain and eyes are working together cohesively, a persons quality of life can drastically increase.

Tools Used in Vision Therapy

The exercises and tools used in vision therapy vary depending on the severity of your condition as well as your age. Typically, specialized lenses, prisms, patches, filters, balance boards, and digital simulations are used during weekly sessions with your optometrist to enhance the neural connection between your brain and eyes. Balance boards, metronomes, and non-computerized visual instruments can also be used during vision therapy to improve your condition.

Benefits of Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is a non-surgical solution to many common eye conditions. Undergoing vision therapy avoids the potential risks and side effects associated with surgery while still addressing the root issues of your eye condition. If surgery is required for your condition, vision therapy can be used alongside the operation to add additional support for your eyes.

Undergoing vision therapy can also improve your overall confidence in your eyesight. This can positively impact every area of your life and can set you up for success in school, work, or sports.

What Can Vision Therapy Help Improve?

Vision therapy can help address and improve conditions such as:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye) – a vision development problem where an eye fails to attain normal visual acuity, usually due to strabismus or a difference in spectacle prescription between the two eyes. 
  • Strabismus – The success of vision therapy for strabismus depends on the direction, magnitude, and frequency of the eye turn. Vision therapy has been proven effective for treating a form of strabismus called convergence insufficiency. Convergence insufficiency is an inability to keep the eyes properly aligned when reading despite good eye alignment when looking at distant objects.
  • Other binocular vision problems – Subtle eye alignment problems called phorias that may not produce a visible eye turn can be minimized or corrected with vision therapy.
  • Eye movement disorders.
  • Accommodative (focusing) disorders.
  • Other problems – Other vision problems for which vision therapy may be effective include visual-perceptual disorders, vision problems associated with developmental disabilities, and vision problems associated with acquired brain injury.
Child with red and green reading bars and glasses during vision therapy.

Vision Therapy for Children

Proper eye care is especially important to children considering they are in a developmental stage of life. Reading words, playing catch, or even just maintaining attention throughout the day – children rely on this brain/eye interaction to function effectively in order to succeed in school and sports

Signs that Your Child Needs Vision Therapy

Some signs that your child may need vision therapy are:

Is Vision Therapy Always Effective?

Vision therapy is not a catch-all treatment for eye conditions. Refractive errors and issues, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, will not be able to be corrected by vision therapy. These conditions will still require solutions such as corrective lenses. 

Booking an Appointment for Vision Therapy

If you are considering undergoing vision therapy, book an appointment with an optometrist to receive more information.

Written by Dr. Asim Prasad

Dr. Asim Prasad is a native Calgarian who earned his Bachelorís of Science degree in Vision Science and Doctor of Optometry degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 2008. Before becoming an optometrist, Dr. Prasad earned a bachelorís degree in Environmental Science from the University of Alberta. After working in the environmental science industry for a short time, Dr. Prasad decided to pursue his true passion: optometry.
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