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What is Vision Therapy?

Optometric vision therapy is a customized program of visual activities designed to develop, improve and enhance people’s visual performance. Vision therapy can benefit people of all ages. Visit Perspective Vision to learn about your options.

Video: What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy can be thought of like physical therapy for the eyes and the parts of the brain that control vision. A specialized exercise program, sometimes involving an apparatus like a prism, can help the visual system develop stronger connections to improve eye function and eyesight.

In many cases the visual system has a problem with development, and the brain creates adaptations to account for the lack of normal development. These adaptations include a turned eye, lazy eye, and sometimes more subtle symptoms like covering or closing an eye while reading. The goal of therapy is to jump start the development of the visual process so these adaptations are no longer needed. Our goal is to get the patient seeing clearly while using both eyes as a team.

Vision therapy can include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, computerized visual activities and non-computerized viewing instruments. Non-medical "tools," such as balance boards, metronomes and other devices can also play an important role in a customized vision therapy program.

Successful vision therapy outcomes are achieved through a therapeutic process that depends on the active engagement of the prescribing eye doctor, the vision therapist, the patient and (in the case of children) their parents.

Optometric Vision Therapy works on the development of visual skills, some of which are:

  1. The ability to follow a moving object smoothly, accurately, and effortlessly with both eyes and at the same time think, talk, read or listen without losing alignment of eyes. Tracking is the ability used when following a ball or a person, to guide a pencil while writing, to read symbols on moving objects, etc.
  2. The ability to focus the eyes on a series of stationary objects quickly, with both eyes, and at the same time know what each object is. This is a skill used to read words from left to right, add columns of numbers, read maps, etc.
  3. The ability to change focus quickly, without blur, from far to near and from near to far, over and over, effortlessly and at the same time look for meaning and obtain understanding from the symbols or objects seen. This ability is used to copy from the chalkboard, to watch the road ahead and check the speedometer, to read a book or watch TV from across the room, etc.
  4. The ability to team two eyes together. This skill should work so well that no interference exists between the two eyes that can result in having to suppress or mentally block information from one eye or the other. This shutting off of information to one eye lowers understanding and speed, increases fatigue and distractibility, and shortens attention span. Proper teaming permits vision to emerge and learning to occur.
  5. The ability to see over a large area (in the periphery) while pointing the eyes straight ahead. For safety, self-confidence and rapid reading, a person needs to see “the big picture”. This skill aids the ability to know easily where they are on a page while reading and to take in large amounts of information, (i.e., a large number of words) per look.
  6. The ability to see and know (recognize) in a short look. Efficient vision is dependent on the ability to see rapidly, to see and know an object, people or words in a very small fraction of a second. The less time required to see, the faster the reading and thinking.
  7. The ability to see in depth. A child should be able to throw a bean bag into a hat 10 feet away, to judge the visual distance and control the arm movements needed. An adult needs to see and judge how far it is to the curb, make accurate decisions about the speed and distances of other cars to be safe

Video: How Does Vision Therapy work?

Visit our Vision Therapy eye doctor in Burlington, Ontario for a consult today.