What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy can best be described as physical therapy for the eyes. Specific exercises are programmed to train your eyes to work better together and to improve visual processing.

The average vision therapy program for eye teaming, tracking, and focusing disorders involves a 45 minute office visit each week along with 15 minutes of homework to be completed 4 times per week. Most of these problems can be eliminated in 12-24 office visits. More complicated problems, however, may require additional time. Visual processing problems can require longer periods of therapy, generally 24-36 visits.

Vision therapy involves training the brain to efficiently use the visual system in many different school and daily living activities.

Common problems treated with vision therapy are:

  • Eye Teaming – How well the eyes work together (i.e. how well they converge when reading)
    The eyes need to be focused on the same target to allow for efficient binocular vision and depth perception. Depth perception is important in many jobs and activities including ball sports, driving, and shaking hands.

    • Convergence insufficiency
      The eyes tend to drift out when reading. It requires significant effort  to keep eyes from drifting, resulting in headaches, double vision and frequently disinterest in reading.
    • Convergence excess
      The tendency of the eyes to drift inward when reading. This typically causes one to bring reading material closer and closer.
    • Divergence insufficiency
    • Divergence excess
  • Binocular Vision – How well the eyes and brain can blend together the images from each eye to form a three dimensional image.
    • Strabismus
      When the eyes do not point in the same direction. When a child develops strabismus, the brain turns off one image to reduce confusion. This suppression, however, can reduce depth perception, balance and motor skills. Suppression can result in amblyopia (reduced vision even with glasses or contacts).
  • Eye Tracking – How smoothly and accurately the eyes move across a page or screen.  This skill is important for reading a book, following a ball and guiding a pencil.
  • Focusing disorder – How efficiently the eyes can change focus from near to far and far to near, i.e. when copying notes in class, or watching the road and the speedometer while driving.
  • Visual processing disorder – The ability to identify and understand what you see, judge its importance, and associate it with previous visual information in the brain.

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