18 Jan Vision Therapy: 101
Most people are aware of the importance of safeguarding one’s vision. After all, healthy vision is linked to success in school, athletics, and life. If you or your child are experiencing vision impairment, you’ll want to know what your best alternatives are for treatment. Certain disorders may be resolved with corrective eyewear like glasses or contacts, while others require more extensive care.
Vision therapy is a highly successful treatment utilized for a wide range of vision problems, and individuals of every age can benefit. A National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded study involving multi-center, randomized, double-blind clinical trials found that office-based vision treatment was helpful in 75 percent of individuals with convergence insufficiency or eye teaming problems with normal or considerably improved symptoms.
Here’s helpful information in determining whether vision therapy is a good fit for you or your child.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is the science of attaining clear and comfortable eyesight through an individualized and personalized treatment program. Eye care professionals utilize vision therapy to develop and strengthen visual abilities while retraining one’s visual system to process information accurately and efficiently. Both children and adults can participate in vision therapy to learn and improve:
- How their brain controls their eyes
- How to enhance visual capabilities
- Improve reading
- Enhance learning
- Increase concentration
- Boost attention span
Vision therapy is more than just a series of eye exercises; it is designed to enhance the brain-eye connection and the efficiency of the visual system. It aims to improve visual abilities, such as eye-tracking, visual processing speed, convergence, focusing, and hand-eye coordination.
What Does a Vision Therapy Program Entail?
After your eye care professional has diagnosed a problem, a set of in-office and at-home activities tailored to the person will be created to enhance visual function. A typical program will comprise of six one-hour vision treatment sessions spaced out over three weeks.
At each in-office visit, you or your child will be given instructions and materials for the exercises, which should be done at home for around 20-30 minutes five days a week. The last office appointment is a progress evaluation, which evaluates how far you’ve come in therapy. From this assessment, your eye care professional will determine whether or not more sessions are needed.
Who Can Benefit from Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is beneficial to people of all ages. The type of vision impairment a person has determines the outcome of a vision therapy regimen. Unfortunately, many believe they have let an impairment carry on too long, and feel it’s too late to pursue treatment. However, it’s important to remember that the brain is active and adaptable throughout one’s life. Adults have shown incredible response times to vision therapy as older individuals have an underlying desire to achieve.
Children also react well to vision treatment, as it can enhance their academic and athletic performance. The following behaviors might indicate that you or your child have a vision impairment:
- Trouble switching focus from close to distance and back
- Writing numerals backward (2 and 5 or 6 and 9)
- Difficulty staying focused
- Sloppy handwriting
- Dislikes or avoids doing homework
- Loss of position, unnecessary repetition, or missing words while reading
- Reduced reading comprehension
- Trouble with spelling
Which Disorders Can Benefit From a Vision Therapy Program?
Thousands of people have had success with vision treatment. Specific programs are usually included in vision therapy to treat:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Depth perception and 3D vision difficulties
- Convergence Insufficiency
- Double vision
- Eye teaming and tracking problems
- Eye fatigue
- Focusing difficulties
- Strabismus (crossed-eyes)
- Hand-eye coordination difficulties
- Visual perception and processing problems
What Are Visual Efficiency Problems?
Did you know troubles with your vision can significantly affect one’s learning capacity and job productivity? Vision impairment can impact school, work, and sports performances. Understanding and knowing the signs to look for can aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of vision issues. Below are some of the most frequent visual efficiency issues and symptoms.
Your eyes must act in perfect synchronization and cooperation to view the world clearly and precisely. When the eyes don’t work together, the images formed by the brain can be confusing or painful. Two frequent eye teaming issues are convergence excess and convergence insufficiency. Convergence insufficiency refers to when the eyes have trouble focusing inwardly on an item held closer to the nose. Excessive convergence is the opposite; the eyes cannot focus outward.
Eye teaming problems may cause the following symptoms:
- Blurred or double vision
- Trouble reading
- Difficulty concentrating
- Eye rubbing or squinting
- Poor depth perception
Eye-tracking or simple eye movements allow you to gather information quickly from and scan the surrounding area to identify where you are. When eye movements are slower than usual, it might be a sign of eye-tracking difficulties. Individuals experiencing this may:
- Quickly lose their place while reading
- Have challenges with spelling
- Skip lines while reading
- Substitute or omit words
When your sight shifts from one object to another, your eyes adjust their focusing strength to make each object look clear. Troubles with focusing occur when the muscles in the eye cannot relax, tighten, or retain their position. The following are symptoms of focusing difficulties:
- Avoiding or difficulty reading
- Blurred vision
- Headaches during or after reading
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Holding objects close to the face to view them
- Watery eyes
How Soon Will the Results Be Visible?
Each patient is unique, meaning every treatment plan is different based on the individual’s needs. The most significant results might take two weeks to six months. Many people, however, see an increase in their visual ability within a few weeks after participation in at-home and in-office exercises. Your eye care professional will monitor your progress during the program to determine how many visits you’ll need to achieve the best results possible.
Contact Art of Optiks for Vision Therapy Today
Vision therapy strengthens and improves the eye-brain connection, which is commonly poor in those experiencing vision impairment. Customized exercises that establish new pathways in the visual system are part of a personalized vision therapy program. Patients will improve their visual abilities and see a considerable reduction in symptoms if they execute these exercises daily. Contact Art of Optiks today so our team of talented eye care professionals can help identify, and treat any vision impairments you or your child may be experiencing.