What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a type of treatment that is designed to improve visual function using lenses, prisms, and other eye exercises.
Patients who come into our office for vision therapy can normally see just fine either with or without glasses or contacts; meaning that their vision is 20/20 but seeing things clearly does not necessarily mean they you have good vision.
Patients may have problems focusing, problems tracking objects, or problems with their eyes working together. These problems can be referred to as ocular motility disorders, accommodative disorders or binocular vision disorders.
Patients with these binocular vision or accommodative disorders often complain of eye strain, headaches, eye fatigue, double vision or loss of place when they are reading. Some patients also complain that they simply just do not like reading. This is due to excessive eye muscle fatigue and also the loss of the flexibility of the focusing system.
This is especially a problem with many school children. Many teachers and parents may think that their kids do not like to read because it may too challenging for them. However the problem may be related to a binocular vision disorder.
By properly diagnosing a binocular vision disorder and treating it effectively with vision therapy, it can help to make reading and other work related activities more comfortable and efficient. This means that children now have the ability to do better in school and are not limited by their binocular vision disorder.
In order to diagnose binocular or accommodative disorders the doctor performs a series of tests to see how the eyes move in and out, how the eyes work together and how the eyes work to focus at close range. Based on the findings a therapy program is designed.
Each vision therapy program is patient specific, both with the length of the program and the activities that are selected for vision therapy. Patients may have activities that involve eye tracking. Some may have activities that strengthen the muscles that move the eyes in and out and some also have activities that strengthen the muscle that is used to focus on objects at a short distance. Some activities may also be done with different types of lenses or prisms.
Vision therapy can be done at home and in the office with the doctor or technician. However if it is done at home the patient comes back for follow up visits to monitor the progress. The program is modified and different activities are added or taken out as the patient progresses throughout the therapy.
It is important to note that historically insurance companies do not cover vision therapy. Patients must pay out of pocket for the visits needed for the therapy.
A lot of binocular vision and accommodative disorders go undiagnosed, however when a patient is properly diagnosed and undergoes vision therapy it is said that the vision therapy is 85 to 95% successful.