What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy trains the brain how to use the eyes and visual information more efficiently, accurately, and consistently through a guided series of exercises. This helps develop motor, perceptual, and visual integration to enhance a person’s life and their ability to learn.
Why haven’t I ever heard of Vision Therapy?
Unfortunately, vision therapy has been an underserved specialty in most of the United States. It was begun in its earliest form over 100 years ago, and has evolved in the last 30-40 years into the revolutionary therapy program it is today.
Will a standard eye exam or school screening catch these problems?
Vision problems including eye teaming, focusing, tracking and visual processing are not part of standard eye exams or school screenings. For a thorough analysis of your child’s vision, including tests that evaluate vision skills needed for efficient reading, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist who specializes in binocular vision, vision therapy and/or vision development.
What if eyesight is 20/20 and the eyes are healthy. Do I need to worry?
POSSIBLY. Being able to read the letters on a chart at 20 feet does not guarantee efficient learning related vision skills. In fact, the people most handicapped by vision or sensorimotor deficits often have 20/20 distance eyesight and healthy eyes. The problems with eye alignment, focusing and visual endurance, which are likely to affect schoolwork, are easily missed in school screenings or a conventional eye exam.
What is the first step in a vision therapy program?
A comprehensive vision exam is necessary before starting therapy. This involves testing of the eyes themselves as well as perceptual, motor and tracking tests to name a few. Following the exam, your eye care provider can determine whether or not this type of therapy is the recommended treatment for your vision problems.
What is the purpose of the vision exercises?
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.
Can a vision problem affect a child’s self-esteem?
YES. Children with vision problems often have a history of underachievement and frustration. They often conclude that the reason for their low achievement is that they are not as “smart” as other children. Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence are often the result of this conclusion. Correcting the vision problems which have been interfering with normal performance can have dramatic effects on both performance and self-esteem.
How long do the results of vision therapy last?
Most healthy vision therapy patients enjoy long term resolution of their visual problems. Generalizing the newly acquired visual abilities to the activities of daily life allows these new visual skills to become self-reinforcing. Efficient vision becomes a habit, as hard to break any other habit!
Will insurance cover Vision Therapy treatments?
Vision and eye care insurance plans that cover eye examinations, eye glasses or contact lenses do not have any correlation to Vision Therapy/Rehabilitation and thus do not provide coverage. It is generally the responsibility of the patient or patient’s parents/guardians to contact and have discussions with their insurance company and ultimately file their insurance claim.
Are vision problems and behavioral problems related?
SOMETIMES. According to a recent survey, 39% of parents don’t realize that behavioral problems can be an indication that a child has a vision problem. A child with undetected vision problems may get frustrated or bored in school because he or she can’t see the board, the teacher or read a book easily. Therefore, students with problems seeing sometimes act out.
Am I too old to improve?
NO. While it was once believed that neurological changes could only occur in a set critical period, more recent research has proved this to be false. If the brain was only capable of learning and changing when we were children, why would we continue education through high school or college? How would we learn the skills for a new job? Why would we remain curious throughout life? As we emerge from the dated thinking that improvement has an expiration date, we begin to realize that whether you are 7 or 70, your visual system can improve.
How long does Vision Therapy take?
Our average program takes 10-12 months to complete. We have found one therapy session per week, combined with at home activities, to be our most successful option.
My child is doing Vision Therapy but I don’t feel like they are doing any better in school?
When a patient has a binocular or oculomotor dysfunction, it’s like running a race with a 20lb weight on their back. Vision therapy works to remove that weight. Once the weight is off, the patient still may be behind in the race, but continued training exercises (possibly combined with some tutoring) will catch them up quickly.