What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a series of treatment procedures prescribed by optometrists to improve certain types of vision problems that cannot be helped with only glasses or contact lenses.  Vision therapy is much akin to physical therapy for the eyes, during which vision disorders are corrected to improve patients’ visual function and performance.

Vision therapy treats vision problems children have when using their eyes up close, especially at school.  Problems with tracking, eye teaming, and focusing make it impossible for children to read, learn, and remain on task. Vision therapy also corrects lazy eyes and crossed eyes, and this is done without the need for surgery.  The science of modern vision therapy began in the 1930’s and is supported by decades of research, not to mention the testimony of thousands of patients whose vision and lives have been improved.

Vision therapy is prescribed by optometrists who specialize in children’s vision. Before a child can begin a vision therapy program, he or she must be seen by the doctor for a complete developmental vision evaluation and diagnostic workup. In addition to checking the child’s eye health and sharpness of vision (visual acuity as measured by the eye chart), the doctor will complete a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the child’s eye teaming, tracking, focusing, visual perception, and eye-hand coordination skills. The doctor interprets the results of the exam, notes any areas of concern, and makes a recommendation for therapy based upon the test results.

Before the child begins therapy, the doctor will meet with the therapy staff and put together an individualized therapy program and set of treatment goals for the patient.  The child’s vision therapy program consists of an individualized plan of treatment procedures using lenses, prisms, instrumentation, visual exercises, and occlusion meant to return the patient to normal vision.

A trained therapist under the direction of the doctor works with the patient once or twice a week for a period from three to twelve months, depending upon the nature and severity of the patient’s condition and how often the patient is seen in the office. The patient is regularly seen by the doctor for progress examinations as he or she proceeds through therapy and meets each set of treatment goals.

– Source: Childrens Vision Information Network