04 Feb The History of Vision Therapy
You’ve likely heard of vision therapy at some point, especially if you or your loved one attend annual comprehensive eye exams. Eye doctors worldwide have found vision therapy beneficial for those with eye conditions that can’t be fixed by simple vision correction. However, what are the benefits, and where did it all begin? Our award-winning doctors at Art of Optiks are experienced in vision therapy, and we’re here to provide you with a comfortable, enjoyable experience as you begin your journey to clearer vision and improved quality of life.
A Brief Overview
It may be hard to believe, but vision therapy has been utilized by eye doctors worldwide for over 150 years. Ophthalmologists developed vision therapy to help patients with strabismus (eye turn) with a non-surgical alternative. When vision therapy was first introduced, eye doctors designed a series of visual exercises for patients to complete. These visual exercises were called “orthoptics,” which correlates with the straightening of the eye. While eye doctors found orthoptics helpful and effective in straightening a patient’s eyes, they discovered that other visual dysfunction symptoms remained. These symptoms included poor depth-perception, processing and focusing issues, and tracking problems.
Over time, vision therapy continued to evolve and, in the mid-twentieth century, optometrists made advancements to make vision therapy more effective. Rather than categorizing vision as a simple mechanical neuro-muscular system, they recognized that it was much more complicated. Thus, the vision therapy process was expanded and reformed into a compelling vision service offered by eye doctors today. Vision therapy continues to give patients a new way of seeing and interacting with the world around them. Treatments included in vision therapy sessions of today focus on the following areas:
- Binocular vision
- Visual-auditory integration
- Visual attention
- Speed and accuracy of eye movements
- Eye movements integrated with balance
- Hand-eye coordination
- Focusing stability, flexibility, and comfort
- Visual information processing
- Peripheral awareness
- Visual-spatial awareness
What Is Vision Therapy?
Has your eye doctor recently recommended you or a loved one participate in vision therapy? You’ve probably found yourself wondering what exactly vision therapy is, and we’re here to help you understand. Vision therapy is a non-surgical, therapeutic alternative that eye doctors worldwide utilize for common vision impairments that can’t be treated with a simple glasses or contact lens prescription. Vision therapy is used to treat a variety of eye conditions, including:
- Binocular vision: At times, your eyes have trouble working together, referred to as binocular vision. If you have poor binocular vision, difficulties reading, and inadequate depth perception judgments will likely occur.
- Convergence insufficiency: If you’ve been diagnosed with convergence insufficiency, you are typically having trouble focusing on objects that are nearby.
- Amblyopia: Those with amblyopia are probably more familiar with the term “lazy eye.” Amblyopia occurs due to a lack of central vision in the patient’s eye.
- Diplopia: If you’ve been diagnosed with diplopia, you commonly experience double vision in various day-to-day scenarios.
- Strabismus: If you’ve been diagnosed with strabismus, your eyes likely appear crossed, or you experience one eye wandering or turning in periodically.
During a vision therapy session, your eye doctor will utilize a series of lenses, exercises, instrumentation, and occlusion to help improve your visual function and overall performance. You will participate in physical therapy exercises that help improve focusing, eye teaming and alignment, visual processing, eye movements, and visual tracking. Vision therapy is usually different for every individual as no case is the same, meaning treatment requirements and time lengths will vary. Usually, patients recommended to participate in vision therapy sessions can expect to attend treatment anywhere from four to six months with a series of weekly appointments.
Can Everyone Benefit From Vision Therapy?
Children and adults have found benefit from vision therapy if they’re experiencing complications with visual skills. It’s important to remember that our ancestors didn’t spend time participating in today’s popular activities, such as reading, checking text messages, or working on a computer for extended periods. Experiencing fatigue, eye strain, and eye irritation is expected in the current day as school, work, and extracurricular activities usually require focus. Vision therapy can give you or your loved one necessary relief and improve overall functioning. There are many symptoms each of us can experience that may mean it’s time to consider vision therapy:
- Difficulties reading for an extended period
- Double or blurred vision
- Trouble using binoculars
- Reversing letters and numbers
- Irritated or red eyes
- Feeling tired when reading
- Eye strain when reading or using digital devices
- Omitting words when reading
- Attention span problems with near vision
- Words running together when reading
- Squinting and covering eyes to see better
- Difficulty driving at night
- Depth-perception difficulties
- Words jumping or floating on a page or screen
- Frequent vertigo or motion sickness
- Inability to retain what is read
Vision therapy has helped improve everyday performance for people of all ages. Whether it’s improving athletic performance, learning how to spend extended periods on a computer without side effects, or overcoming a lazy eye, each vision therapy session is tailored to your specific needs. Eye doctors worldwide recommend vision therapy sessions to improve hand-eye coordination, visual reaction time, focusing, eye tracking and teaming, and more.
Begin Your Journey to Clearer Vision Today
Having trouble with your vision is never enjoyable, especially if it’s been going on for an extended time. Whether you’re living with an eye condition that can’t be treated with glasses or contact prescriptions or have noticed increased eye fatigue and irritation during everyday activities, vision therapy may be the perfect solution. Individuals of every age can benefit from vision therapy, and your eye doctor will tailor your treatment plan to meet your unique needs. We encourage you to contact our outstanding doctors at Art of Optiks if you’re ready to start your journey to clearer vision. Backed by our extensive industry experience and familiarity with vision therapy, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.