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of Optometry (AAO) - American Optometric
Association (AOA) - College of Optometrists
in Vision Development - Optometric Extension
Vision Therapy Is Effective Treatment
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, crossed eyes, double vision, convergence insufficiency and some reading and learning disabilities. Many patients 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, vision therapy is specifically directed toward resolving visual problems which interfere with reading, learning and educational instruction. Optometrists do not claim that vision 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
generally conducted in-office, in 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 or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities;
improve visual comfort, ease, and efficiency;
change how a patient processes or interprets visual information.
Therapy Is Not Just Eye Exercises
Unlike other forms of exercise, the goal of Vision 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 Vision Therapy is supervised by optometric vision care professionals and many types of specialized and/or medical equipment can be used in Optometric Vision Therapy programs, such as:
corrective lenses (regulated medical devices);
therapeutic lenses (regulated medical devices);
prism lenses (regulated medical devices);
occluders or eye patches
electronic targets with timing mechanisms;
balance boards (vestibular device)
visual-motor-sensory integration training devices
The first step in any Vision Therapy program is a comprehensive vision examination. Following a thorough evaluation, a qualified vision care professional can advise the candidate as to whether Vision Therapy would be appropriate treatment.