What is Vision Therapy?
Vision Therapy is an individualized program of eye exercises to strengthen eye muscles performed under doctor supervision. These exercises are done once or twice weekly in office for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Most treatment plans also include daily visual tasks and eye exercises to be performed at home. Vision therapy is approved by the American Optometric Association (AOA) for the treatment of non-refractive vision problems such as convergence insufficiency and amblyopia.
The degree of success with therapy is dependent on several factors including the type and severity of the vision problem, the patient’s age and motivation, and whether the patient performs all eye exercises and visual tasks as directed. Not every vision problem can be resolved with vision therapy.
After a complete evaluation, the treatment program is a combination of eye exercises tailored to the specific vision problem (or problems) a child has. For example, if a child has amblyopia “lazy eye”, the therapy usually includes patching the strong eye, along with near work activities to training the focusing and tracking system of the weaker eye. Once the vision has improved in the weaker eye, treatment is geared to include eye teaming exercises to aid in the development of binocular vision and depth perception.
Vision Therapy and Learning Disabilities
Vision therapy does not correct learning disabilities. However, children with learning disabilities often have vision problems as well. Vision therapy can correct underlying vision problems that may be contributing to a child’s learning problems.
It is important to let us know if your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability or if you suspect your child has a vision problem that may be affecting their performance in school, schedule a comprehensive eye exam so we can evaluate their vision, how well the eyes are working together and the health of the eyes. If learning-related vision problems and/or binocular vision problems are discovered, we can then discuss whether a program of vision therapy would be helpful. If we don’t provide the type of vision therapy your child needs, we will refer you to an optometrist who specializes in vision therapy. Often, vision therapy can be a helpful component of a multidisciplinary approach to remediating learning problems.