Your eyes can do many amazing things many of us don’t account for, such as automatically focusing, moving and working as a team, and tracking moving targets. If you are noticing difficulties in these areas, either in your own vision or a loved one’s, it may be time to consider vision therapy from an experienced doctor at Art of Optiks. Vision therapy can help strengthen and improve one’s vision with an assortment of exercises both in-office and at home. Today, we’ll talk about three easy vision therapy exercises your eye doctor might give you to complete at home.
Vision Therapy: 101
Vision therapy is a dynamic form of physical therapy recommended by eye doctors worldwide that is utilized to retrain one’s brain and eyes to work together more efficiently. Over the years, vision therapy has proven to be highly effective and can treat many common vision problems that eyeglasses or other forms of vision correction cannot. Vision therapy is helpful for both children and adults that need to improve and strengthen their visual skills. Every vision therapy treatment program is designed and customized around your unique needs, so reading, learning, concentration, and attention are improved.
Your eye doctor will give you a series of personalized exercises during your appointment, along with a few to complete at home. Therapeutic lenses, prisms, filters, and various other equipment styles will be used in the exercises. The frequency of vision therapy appointments varies from person to person but commonly occurs one to two times a week and can last as long as six months. Below are examples of conditions that can be treated with vision therapy:
- Double vision
- Convergence insufficiency
- Eye teaming and tracking problems
- Eye fatigue
- Visual perception and processing
- Depth perception and 3D vision
- Hand-eye coordination
Vision Therapy Exercises
There are many different vision therapy exercises, but most will be completed during your vision therapy appointment. However, your eye doctor may give you specific activities to practice at home, as these will help you continue to strengthen and improve your vision. The following exercises are a few of the most popular and are easy to complete at home – who knows; you might already be partaking in them!
Tracking Moving Targets
Have you ever paid attention to how your eyes move while reading, drawing, or driving? For each of these activities and many more, your eyes need to move comfortably between targets and follow moving targets effectively. Many don’t realize that these basic skills are used every day, and an easy way to tell there might be a problem with visual tracking is if you lose your place while reading or feel you’re not processing words because of skimming. Numerous activities can be completed at home to help improve visual tracking, such as:
Still Target Focus
You may be experiencing focusing troubles if it’s challenging to focus on one point for an extended period of time or adjusting from switching between two images is difficult. An easy way to tell if you’re having trouble focusing is by paying attention to how words on a piece of paper, billboard, or other material appear. If you find the words coming in and out of focus or appearing blurry, it may mean you have an issue with focusing. Vision therapy, eyeglasses, and contacts can help improve focusing issues and overall accuracy.
EXAMPLE: A common exercise used for focusing on still targets is “tromboning.” This technique can help strengthen your eyes’ extraocular muscles, improve distance vision and nearsightedness, and potentially relieve eye strain. To complete this exercise, hold a pencil or pen in your hand and extend to arms’ length. Once you’ve focused on a small detail of the pencil or pen for 15-20 seconds, cycle through bringing the pen or pencil closer to your eyes and back out for an allotted number of repetitions.
Your eyes work in unison to allow for adequate vision and accurate depth perception. If your eyes don’t work as a team, it’s not unusual for objects to double or appear to be moving when they’re still. Vision therapy can help individuals living with strabismus or crossed eyes. Strabismus is a binocular focusing problem that causes one eye to drift inward or outward while the other remains normal. Vision therapy can retrain and strengthen your eyes to work as a team.
EXAMPLE: Adequate binocular teamwork is essential for clear vision and depth perception. Many vision therapy experts recommend focusing each eye individually, but the “tromboning” exercise can work for eye teaming. After choosing a focus point on your pen or pencil, you’ll move the object back and forth and side to side rather than moving it inward and outward. It’s recommended to have one eye covered, and once you’ve completed an allotted number of repetitions, repeat the exercise on the other eye.
Vision Therapy Can Help You
Experiencing troubles with your vision can be frustrating, no matter your age. Humans need clear vision to perform everyday tasks and the hobbies and activities we each love. Whether you’ve noticed problems with your own vision, your child’s, or a loved one, it’s vital to seek professional advice so you can get the necessary care. It’s recommended to schedule regular comprehensive and pediatric eye exams as this will allow your eye doctor to stay up to date with any vision changes and overall eye health. The team at Art of Optiks is well-versed in vision therapy, and we’re confident we can help you or your loved one achieve clearer vision today.