Vision Therapy-- a type of physical therapy for the eyes and brain-- is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems such as lazy eye (Amblyopia, Mata Malas 懒惰眼), eye turn (Strabismus, Mata Juling 斗鸡眼/斜视), double vision, convergence insufficiency and some reading and learning disabilities. Many patients with vision problems who have been told, "it's too late," or "you'll have to learn to live with it" have benefited from vision therapy.
In the case of learning disabilities, visual therapy is specifically directed toward resolving visual problems which interfere with reading, learning, and educational instruction. Optometrists do not claim that therapy is a direct treatment for learning disabilities.
What Is Involved In A Vision Therapy Program?
Vision therapy is:
- a progressive program of vision "exercises" or procedures;
- performed under doctor supervision;
- individualized to fit the visual needs of each patient;
- generally conducted in-office, at once or twice weekly sessions of 30 minutes to an hour;
- occasionally supplemented with procedures done at home between office visits ("home reinforcement" or "homework");
- depending on the case, the procedures are prescribed to:
- help patients develop and improve fundamental visual skills and abilities;
- improve visual comfort, ease, and efficiency;
- change how a patient processes or interprets visual information.
Visual Therapy Is NOT Just Normal Eye Exercises
Unlike other forms of exercise, the goal of Therapy is not to strengthen eye muscles. Your eye muscles are already incredibly strong. Vision Therapy is not to be confused with any self-directed self-help program of eye exercises which is or has been marketed to the public.
In-office Therapy is supervised by Behavioral and Developmental optometrists and many types of specialized and/or medical equipment can be used in Optometric Therapy programs, such as:
- corrective lenses (regulated medical devices);
- therapeutic lenses (regulated medical devices);
- prism lenses (regulated medical devices);
- optical filters;
- occluders or eye patches
- electronic targets with timing mechanisms;
- computer software;
- vestibular device
- visual-motor-sensory integration training devices
The first step in any Therapy program is a Neuro-Developmental Vision evaluation. Following a thorough evaluation, a qualified Behavioral and Developmental optometrists can advise the candidate as to whether Visual Therapy would be the appropriate treatment.