Vision Therapy Q and A: What Matters and All the Facts You Need to Know

Vision Therapy Q and A: What Matters and All the Facts You Need to Know
  • Opening Intro -

    If you want to fully enjoy a life of clear and healthy vision, it’s vital that you take proactive measures to ensure your eyes remain in great condition.

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This involves eating food that are good for the eyes, visiting your local optometrist for a comprehensive examination, and using the appropriate eyewear to protect them. When you’re already experiencing minor vision problems, however, this doesn’t always mean you’ll require glasses, contact lenses, or even surgery.

Patients of any age can benefit from vision therapy, ensuring clearer and better eyesight.

What is vision therapy?

Some issues can be corrected with a more intensive treatment, like vision therapy. You can think of it as physical therapy for your eyes and brain. It is non-surgical and doctor-supervised program of visual activities that aim to correct many common vision problems, including lazy eye, double vision, and crossed eyes. Vision therapy can also mitigate some related reading and learning disabilities.

To detail, who would benefit from vision therapy?

Vision therapy can help patients of all ages, ensuring enhanced visual skills and processing. Because a significant amount of learning happens visually, this treatment can be a highly-effective option, particularly in school children. Studies have shown that vision therapy can correct eye issues that interfere with proficient reading in school aged children.

Other advantages include reduced eye strain, lowered potential for computer vision syndrome, and smoother eye movement. It can also improve sports-related vision. Additionally, this treatment option can help with problems related to traumatic brain injury and degenerative diseases, like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy.

What are signs?

What are the signs that your child needs vision therapy? This treatment option is especially vital for children displaying the following symptoms:

  • Poor eye-hand coordination when throwing or catching
  • Short attention span in copying or reading
  • Recalls only small portions when reading
  • Marks lines in the reading material with a finger
  • Writes downhill or uphill
  • Gets tired easily when reading
  • Repetition or omission of words while reading
  • Head moves back and forth when reading

You might want to consider vision therapy for your child if they have reading and learning difficulties. But first, have their eyes checked by a trusted eye doctor.

Does it have any specific categories?

Vision therapy comes with three main categories, including:

  • Orthoptic vision therapy, which involve exercises that improve binocular function and eye movements. This option aims to treat disorders like strabismus (or crossed eyes) and diplopia (or double vision), while further enhancing visual acuity and depth perception. Some exercises used with this option are: near point of convergence exercises, stereogram cards, base-out prism reading,, and computerized training programs.
  • Behavioral or perceptual vision therapy, which uses exercises that improve visual processing and perception. This involves the use of rotation trainers, syntonics, marsden balls, and balance beams.
  • Vision therapy for preventing or correcting myopia, which may slow the progression or even reduce the severity of nearsightedness.

What does vision therapy involve?

Vision therapy is generally performed in-office, with its frequency decided by the supervising eye doctor. Under their guidance, the treatment program may involve the use of prisms, filters, lenses, and other computer-assisted visual exercises. This treatment is customized to fit each patient’s visual needs, allowing for more developed visual skills and abilities. You’ll experience better visual comfort, ease, and efficiency, while improving how you process or interpret visual information.

What isn’t involved in vision therapy?

You have probably seen some self-help vision improvement programs online or on television. Most people mistake these advertisements as vision therapy. While the claim that conducting a series of self-help program of exercises can deal with refractive errors,  you should know that there are no scientific research that supports this. Even the American Optometric Association (AOA) and other professional eye care organizations do not endorse them. To ensure that you’re getting the right information about vision therapy, you should consider only sources from AOA or patient advocate sites that offer a more objective look at the treatment program.

Where should you start with vision therapy?

The first step to vision therapy is a comprehensive eye examination from a premier eye doctor. Upon evaluating your condition, they’ll advise you if vision therapy is the appropriate treatment for your problems. Just make sure to choose the right eye care professional for this service. Here are some of the essentials you should look for when choosing a specialist for your vision therapy needs: 

Credentials.

Your prospective eye doctor should have completed four years of undergraduate studies, met the necessary internship duties, and should carry the applicable distinction, OD (Doctor of Optometry). These mean that they are qualified to diagnose, treat, and care for a variety of eye and vision problems. They should also commit to specialty training programs in specific areas in eye health, including vision therapy.

Experience.

Aside from the applicable distinctions, your prospective eyecare professional should also have deep experience in the field. Don’t just take out a phonebook or whip out your phone to get a name of a list. You can find the right one by asking your friends and neighbors for local referrals. They offer a more accurate description of what your experience will be like with a given eye doctor. As mentioned, look for a professional who is board-certified and has up-to-date credentials.

Keep healthier eyesight by considering vision therapy from a reliable eye doctor.

Commitment to Continuing Research and Education.

If possible, select an eye doctor who also participates in medical research and education. This means that they remain current and well-informed about the latest industry trends and technological advances.

Satisfactory Reviews.

Look them up online and see if they have any history of malpractice claims filed against them. While vision therapy is a non-surgical treatment, it still pays to ensure that you’ll remain safe during its course. Additionally, confirm that your prospective eye doctor’s license has not been restricted, suspended, or revoked. For your peace of mind, discreetly ask their patients, both current and former, what their experience was like. If you prefer, ask the eye doctor yourself for references you can contact.

Ultimately, the aim of vision therapy is to deal with vision problems that can’t be corrected via glasses, contact lenses, and surgery. However, you’ll need a trusted eye doctor to make the most out of this treatment program. Make sure that they use the latest techniques, drills, and exercises for the best results, ensuring a lifetime of healthy, worry-free vision.

Author Bio:
Dr. Justin Bazan is the founder of Park Slope Eye, provider of exceptional eye care solutions in Park Slope communities and greater Brooklyn, NY.  While Park Slope Eye offers quality vision care for patients of all ages, it places particular emphasis on younger patients, allowing for better vision care for children and infants.

Sources:
http://www.visiontherapy.org/
http://www.parkslopeeye.com/services/vision-therapy/
http://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/vision_therapy.htm
http://www.visiontherapy.org/vision-therapy/faqs/vision-therapy-FAQs.html#Q:1
http://childrenseyefoundation.org/vision-facts/vision-therapy/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_therapy#Orthoptic_visual_therapy

Image sources:
https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-143862263
https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-153438443
https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-117116732
https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-171147785

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Last update on 2017-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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