Both children and adults can benefit from vision therapy. Some of the visual challenges that could be treated with vision therapy include:
Learning-Related Vision Problems
When it comes to reading, writing and general learning, vision plays a key role in the education process. Vision therapy can help individuals who are struggling in these areas to improve their learning abilities. Some skills that are targeted through vision learning are visual memory, eye movement, focusing skills, convergence and hand-eye coordination. This form of treatment primarily serves children, teenagers and young adults as they are still are part of an academic institution.
Vision therapy is not a solution for every learning-related problem but it can be a part of the solution depending on the circumstances and intensity of the issue. The best way to determine whether vision therapy can help is by scheduling a children’s eye exam with our pediatric optometrist.
Stress-Related Visual Problems
In today’s world, technological advances have surrounded individuals with electronic devices, from computers to tablets to smart phones. In essence, there is a screen just about everywhere you look and extensive exposure to these devices can cause stress to one’s eyes.
Some problems that can arise from excessive usage of near vision include blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches and motion sickness. Vision therapy can be useful in treating such problems through simple and complex exercises.
Strabismus (cross-eyed), Diplopia (double vision) and Amblyopia (lazy eye)
Vision therapy has been known to effectively treat strabismus, diplopia and amblyopia, especially when compared to surgical options, prescription glasses and eye patching. It is paramount for individuals that experience any of these conditions to seek treatment as soon as possible; the earlier you get help, the better the results. This is particularly important among children.
Strabismus is commonly known by various names, including cross-eyed, wall-eyes, wandering eyes, deviating eyes and eye turns. This condition is present when an individual’s eyes deviate (turn) while focusing on a particular object. When the eye turn occurs all of the time or very often, it is labeled as constant strabismus. When the eye turn occurs only some of the time, it’s called intermittent strabismus.
If you are a parent and have witnessed any of these symptoms in your child, we urge you schedule an appointment with our developmental optometrist as soon as possible. Early strabismus detection and strabismus treatment is especially crucial in children.
Diplopia is when both eyes focus on different targets due to misalignment. What ensues is double vision, where two non-matching images are sent to the brain. This condition can be particularly dangerous as it can result in suppressed vision in one eye and loss of depth perception. It is highly recommended to seek immediate help from your eye care physician if you experience double vision.
Amblyopia is an eye condition that cannot be corrected by prescription glasses or contact lenses alone. It is commonly known as lazy eye and is characterized by reduced vision (i.e. the eye isn’t fully open). It almost always affects only one eye but reduces vision in both eyes. It should also be noted that amblyopia is not a cause of any kind of eye disease.
Convergence Insufficiency Disorder
Convergence insufficiency disorder affects a person’s ability to see at close distances (e.g. reading a book, working on a computer). What’s particularly interesting about this disorder is that an individual can have 20/20 vision and still suffer from convergence insufficiency. Some symptoms of convergence insufficiency include headaches, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, concentration issues and short attention span.
Convergence insufficiency is commonly diagnosed through convergence and accommodation tests; basic eye examinations (i.e. 20/20 eye chart test) are not sufficient to diagnose this condition. Eye doctors typically prescribe in-office vision therapy as the best treatment option. This can be reinforced with at-home vision therapy exercises. Sometimes a passive treatment is prescribed through usage of prismatic (prism) eyeglasses. However, these eyeglasses only relieve symptoms of convergence insufficiency; they are not a cure for the condition.
Binocular Coordination Issues
Some individuals have trouble with binocular (two-eyed) coordination, which affects their ability to read, focus and engage in common visual exercises. Binocular vision impairment can also affect one’s stereoscopic vision, which provides you with depth perception.
Vision therapy helps individuals achieve proper coordination between both eyes through a comprehensive eye exercise program. When it comes to development or recovery of binocular vision, vision therapy has proven to be much more successful than eye surgery or prescription glasses alone.
Improvement in Sports Vision
Vision is an essential component to playing sports and is crucial when competing at a high level. Whether it’s tracking down a fly ball in baseball or scanning a football field to watch a play develop, good vision is required to effectively play all sports. Visual skills that are critical in sports include hand-eye coordination, visual reaction time, eye focusing, peripheral vision and eye tracking.
Vision therapy can successfully improve many of the visual skills required to play sports. For some athletes, improved vision can take their performance to the next level and help them further succeed in their respective sport(s).
Special Needs Rehabilitation
There are multiple circumstances in which vision therapy can help treat an individual with special needs, whether it’s from a traumatic injury or an innate birth disorder. Vision therapy can help individuals that have some of the following conditions:
While vision therapy may not be able cure any of the aforementioned conditions, it can help improve one aspect of that individual’s life.