Vision Therapy Questions and Answers
Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program prescribed to prevent the development of certain vision problems, to improve conditions like crossed-eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia), or to help you learn or enhance specific vision skills. Such skills include eye movement control, eye focusing, eye coordination and teamwork between thetwo eyes.
How does vision therapy work?
Like many skills, vision skills are developed. Since they are developed. They can generally be improved through proper therapeutic techniques. In vision therapy, the optometrist prescribes visual tasks to be practiced under controlled conditions. Repetition of these tasks enhances vision by coordinating and improving eye movement, improving focusing ability and by straightening the alignment of the eyes.
How successful is vision therapy?
Vision therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for many problems that cannot be treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses alone. It can help people see more clearly, efficiently and comfortably. Success, however, is not guaranteed. Much of the improvement depends on the patientï¿½s willingness to follow the optometristï¿½s instructions. For patients who do so, significant progress toward more efficient and comfortable vision usually results.
What are some vision therapy procedures?
In addition to the use of lenses, prisms and filters, there are many different procedures that can be used in vision therapy. Some, using stereo-viewers or video games, may seem like child's play but they're not. More sophisticated equipment and instruments are also used to increase the eye's ability to see and the brain's ability to understand the visual information.
How long does vision therapy take?
The length of time required for completion of a vision therapy program, including the number of visits per week, the length of each visit and the amount of out-of-the-office therapy, varies. This is dependent upon the type of vision problem(s), how long the condition has existed, the motivation of the patient and the level of improvement desired. A typical program may take from a few weeks to several months.
How will vision therapy affect my lifestyle?
Depending upon your vision condition, therapy can have a profound effect on your lifestyle. By undergoing vision therapy, you may find yourself looking at life in a whole new way. Your doctor of optometry can provide you with more specific information about how vision therapy can help improve your vision.
Vision is more than just the ability to see clearly. It is the ability to understand and respond to what is seen. Basic visual skills include the ability to focus our eyes, use both eyes as a team, track objects and move across a written page. More extensive perceptual skills include the ability to tell the difference between "b" and "d", the ability to see the tree from the forest, and the ability to "picture" in our mind what we see, as in the task of spelling.
Vision develops over time. Motor control, emotions and cognition develop over time; the same is true for visual skills. There is an orderly unfolding of visual anatomy, physiology and the ability to perceive. Different visual skills are explored, acquired and refined at different age levels. Vision development does not cease at a given age, but continues throughout life.
Visual testing can be done at any age, and should begin as early as possible (by six months). With early detection and treatment, problems such as crossed eyes and nearsightedness can be controlled and prevented.
Proper development takes place where there is adequate and appropriate interaction with the environment. When the correct developmental framework is woven, vision truly becomes an individual's dominant and leading sense.
Optometric visual therapy, or vision training (VT), is that part of optometric care that consists of developing, improving, and enhancing a person's visual performance. Therefore, with vision therapy, people are able to develop more efficient vision.
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Over several decades, behavioral optometrists have developed and used vision therapy in combination with appropriate, judiciously, selected lenses to:
Prevent vision problems from developing
Develop the visual skills needed to perform more efficiently at work, school, and play
Enhance performance on tasks demanding visual effort such as prolonged desk work or computer use
Treat diagnosed vision problems