Many vision problems do not require surgery for correction. In these situations, vision therapy is typically 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 reading problems. 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. Eyes are the windows of the brain. It directly influences sight based on how it interprets images received. A healthy connection between the eyes and the brain is essential for good eyesight.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the nature of vision therapy:
How does vision therapy work?
It uses progressive vision exercises performed under the supervision of your eye care provider. Each set of exercises is tailored to meet the individual visual needs of a patient. These exercises are done 1-2 times per week in sessions lasting 30 minutes to a full hour. The exercises are designed to continue until visual processing problems show improvement.
What is the purpose of the vision exercises?
Using therapy teaches you how to coordinate the eyes so that they work together and at the same time stay focused on the visual task.
What is the first step in a vision therapy program?
A comprehensive vision exam is necessary before starting 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. You will start with exercises that you can complete fairly easily, and then, step by step, with each appointment, do progressively more challenging exercises, until you reach a point where you can read with clarity and ease.
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. Studies at NIH compared in office visual therapy with at home visual therapy and corrective lenses and found that, by far, the most effective therapy was visual therapy in the doctors office.
Who typically needs vision therapy?
It can be a useful tool for helping children and adults alike. Children with learning or reading problems may 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. Some people with strabismus (eye turn) can also be treated with visual therapy.