Vision therapy is a form of physical therapy used to enhance the connection between the eyes, eye muscles and brain. Vision Therapy is effective in treating problems like lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), double vision, poor eye-hand coordination, and learning-related vision problems.
There is more to Vision Therapy than simply strengthening the eyes. It also enhances the neurological connections between the eyes and the brain. Eyes are the windows of the brain. The retina is actually comprised of neural tissue (brain cells). A healthy connection between the eyes and the brain is essential for good eyesight and efficient visual processing.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the nature of vision therapy:
It uses progressive vision exercises performed under the supervision of your eye care provider and a Vision Therapist. Exercises are tailored to meet the individual visual needs of a patient. These exercises are done 1-2 times per week in sessions lasting 45-60 minutes. The exercises are designed to continue until visual processing problems show improvement and/or the binocular or visual deficiency is resolved.
Vision exercises are designed to help patients improve basic visual skills that connect the eyes with the brain. These exercises can improve visual efficiency by changing how a patient interprets images. This helps them see and understand images correctly.
Nothing about vision therapy is centered solely on strengthening eye muscles. These muscles can be strengthened through orthoptics if they need strengthening. This therapy is all about improving vision problems that may interfere with learning by strengthening the neurological pathways between the eyes and the brain.
A comprehensive vision exam is necessary to establish what is if any deficiencies or weaknesses exist, before starting therapy. Following the exam, your eye care provider can determine whether or not this type of therapy is the recommended treatment for your vision problems. Dr. Rieger provides a comprehensive report detailing the exam findings and her recommendations.
It does work. Studies on vision therapy show it is effective in improving the lives of patients. Data shows that this therapy can improve visual function enough to keep it from interfering with a patient's ability to absorb information and learn. In its own sphere, this therapy is as effective as physical therapy or occupational therapy.
It can be a useful tool for helping children and adults alike. Children with learning or reading problems can benefit from the vision boost and processing improvements these exercises provide. Eyeglasses are not the solution when the problem is visual processing. These problems can't be detected without tests done by an eye doctor. Adults can see vision improvement through this therapy as well. It can help curb eye-strain related vision processing problems brought on by working with computers all day.