WHAT IS VISION THERAPY?
According to the Optometric Extension Program, vision therapy is a treatment plan used to correct or improve specific dysfunctions of the vision system. It includes, but is not limited to, the treatment of strabismus, amblyopia, accommodation, ocular motor function and visual-perceptual-motor abilities.
What does Vision Therapy do?
Optometric vision therapy works on the development of visual skills, among which are the following:
- The ability to follow a moving object smoothly, accurately and effortlessly. This ability is used to follow a ball or a person, to guide a pencil while writing, etc.
- The ability to fix the eyes on objects quickly and accurately and know what each object is; a skill used to read words, add columns of numbers, read maps, etc.
- The ability to change focus quickly from far to near over and over and at the same time understand symbols or objects seen. This is used to copy from the chalkboard, to watch the road ahead and check the speedometer, to read a book and watch TV across the room, etc.
- The ability to team two eyes together without having to suppress or mentally block information from one eye or the other. This shutting off of information lowers understanding and speed, increases fatigue and distractibility, and shortens attention span. Proper teaming permits learning to occur.
- The ability to see over a large area in the periphery. For safety and to read rapidly, a person needs to know easily where they are and what’s around them including 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.
- The ability to see and know (recognize) in a short look. Efficient vision depends on seeing and knowing an object, people or words in a fraction of a second. The less time required to see, the faster the reading and thinking.
- The ability to see in depth. A child should be able to judge visual distances and control body movements. An adult needs to judge how far it is to the curb and make accurate decisions about the speed and distances of other cars.
What kids and adults alike can benefit from vision therapy?
- Headaches and eyestrain
- Slow reading or difficulty with reading comprehension
- Crossed or drifting eyes especially while focusing
- Lack of attention, especially on visual tasks
- Head tilt
- Squinting or closing one eye
- Poor hand eye coordination
- Often looses place while reading or has to use finger to keep place
- Can only read for short periods of time or does not like reading
- Becomes sleepy when reading
- Struggling in school despite effort and ability