Vision therapy is a doctor-supervised, non-surgical, and individualized program of neuro-visual activities, including the use of customized vision therapy eyeglasses, prisms, colored filters for dyslexia and other learning difficulties, Syntonic Phototherapy with colored lights, as well as computer-based neuro-visual exercises that are designed to correct specific vision problems and improve visual skills.
What are the top 12 symptoms of visual disorders that can be treated with vision therapy?
01. Blurring of vision in one or both eyes
02. Occasionally complains of double vision
03. Eyes are not looking at the same direction
04. Eyes do not move towards the same direction
05. Skips or repeats lines or words when reading
06. Complains of headaches when reading
07. Feels sleepy when reading
08. Avoids reading altogether
09. Child is inattentive and lacks focus
10. Child is easily forgetful
11. Occasionally feels dizzy or sea sick
12. Sensitivity to light
What visual disorders can be
corrected with Vision Therapy?
Amblyopia and Strabismus
Strabismus is the medical term for "crossed-eye or squint", in which both eyes do not look at the same direction at the same time while amblyopia is the medical term for "lazy-eye", where one or two eyes may have limited visual acuity even with the best lenses. Strabismus is the most common cause of amblyopia and amblyopia often occurs along with strabismus. However, in some instances amblyopia can occur without strabismus, and strabismus can occur even if both eyes can see 20/20.
Accommodation and Convergence Problems
Accommodation and convergence are reflex actions of the eyes, in response to shifting focus from a near object to a distant object (and vice versa). These are dependent on the sensory function of the optic nerve and the motor function of the oculomotor nerve.
Accommodation and convergence are also accompanied by changes in the shape of the lens which are controlled by the ciliary muscles inside the eye. Changes in contraction of the ciliary muscles alters the focal distance of the eye, causing nearer or farther images to come into focus on the retina.
The accommodation and convergence reflex is involuntary and is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system.
Eye Movement Disorders
There are four basic types of eye movements: saccades, smooth pursuit movements, vergence movements, and vestibulo-ocular movements.
Saccades are rapid movements of the eyes. They range in amplitude from the small movements made while reading, for example, to the much larger movements made while gazing around a room.
Smooth pursuit movements are much slower eye movements of the eyes designed to keep a moving target within the field of vision.
Vergence movements align the fovea of eac with targets located at different distances from the observer. Unlike other types of eye movements in which the two eyes move in the same direction.
Vergence movements occur when the two eyes move in opposite directions during convergence (movement of both eyes towards each other when looking at a near object) or divergence (movement of both eyes away from each other when looking at a far object).
Vestibulo-ocular movements are rapid corrective eye movements that compensate head movements to maintain our focus in a stationary object as our head position varies. The action of vestibulo-ocular movements can be appreciated by fixating an object and moving the head from side to side; the eyes automatically compensate for the head movement by moving the same distance but in the opposite direction, thus keeping the image of the object at more or less the same place.
Learning and Developmental Problems
Vision and learning are strongly connected. In fact, 80 percent of what a child learns is based on what they can see and observe so good vision is important in the learning and development of children.
Refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, that cause blurring of vision must be corrected to help children see better, learn better, and develop better. However, there are other visual disorders that can be present even if one's visual acuity is 20/20. Sadly, since these visual disorders can only be detected with more specialized binocular vision tests, these are often missed by general practice optometrists and ophthalmologists. When vision problems are uncorrected, it affects the brain's ability to process visual information, and limits a child's ability to learn.
It should be emphasized that vision-related learning problems are not equivalent to learning disabilities. The U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines learning disability as: ". . . a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia." and adds that "...learning disabilities do not include learning problems that are primarily due to visual, hearing, or motor disabilities."
There are instances when a child is misdiagnosed with a learning disability, only to find out after a thorough neuro-vision exam, that the learning difficulty was caused by an uncorrected neuro-visual disorder. However, there are also many cases where vision disorders coexist with learning disabilities, and both developmental therapy and vision therapy may be required for the child to achieve full potential.
Neurological vision disorders are caused by conditions affecting the nervous system. These disorders can involve malfunction of the muscles that control eye movement, double vision, headache, abnormal head and body posture, and nystagmus.
Eye and Vision Problems from Neurological Injuries and Diseases
Myopia or nearsightedness, especially in high amounts, is a serious condition that can increase the risk of developing ocular diseases later in life, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment.
Myopia can result from reduced eye focusing skills. People who have reduced focusing skills, have a greater risk of developing progressive myopia.
Progressive Degenerative Myopia
Vision therapy is not the same with home-based vision exercises sold in the internet or self-help books that promise to eliminate the need for eyeglasses. It is not equivalent to a home-based regimen of "pencil push-ups," and eye patching, even when recommended by an eye doctor. It should not be considered a complete program of vision therapy.
Pencil push-ups are an orthoptic activity in which a person looks at small print on a pencil held at arm's length, and then slowly moves the pencil closer to his or her eyes while maintaining focus on the letters which is recommended to decrease eye strain and other symptoms caused by convergence insufficiency.
While an eye doctor may recommend pencil push-ups at home as a low-cost treatment for convergence insufficiency, studies suggest a supervised in-office program of vision therapy plus reinforcement orthoptic exercises performed at home is the most effective non-surgical treatment for this vision problem.
What vision therapy is not?
How much does Vision Therapy cost?
Not all vision therapy clinics are equal. Some eye doctors may perform vision therapy without a thorough understanding of the patient's eye health condition, no matter how equally lengthy their tests are, due to their limited ophthalmic diagnostic facilities. Undetected and uncorrected ocular diseases can cause the misdiagnosis of binocular vision disorders and lead to unsatisfactory vision therapy outcomes. This can put to waste the patient's efforts, precious time, and resources. At
Eyecare Deluxe, aside from a thorough 2-hour neuro-vision examination, we have the most complete diagnostic ophthalmic tests and machines to provide in-depth information about our patient's case, to achieve the best results. We usually recommend 20 sessions of vision therapy with progress follow-ups every 5 sessions to monitor improvements. We also have doctor-supervised home vision therapy options for patients who may not be able to visit the clinic often for in-office vision therapy sessions. We may prescribe various forms of vision therapy depending on the patient's age, eye concerns, mental, and physical capacity. Vision therapy may cost from 200 USD to 2,500 USD.