What is Vision Therapy?
The American Optometric Association (AOA— www.aoa.org) describes Vision Therapy as the following:
Vision therapy is a sequence of activities individually prescribed and monitored by the doctor to develop efficient visual skills and processing. It is prescribed after a comprehensive eye examination has been performed and has indicated that vision therapy is an appropriate treatment option. The vision therapy program is based on the results of standardized tests, the needs of the patient, and the patient's signs and symptoms. The use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, specialized instruments, and computer pro- grams is an integral part of vision therapy.
Vision therapy is administered in the office under the guidance of the doctor. It requires a number of office visits and depending on the severity of the diagnosed conditions, the length of the program typically ranges from several weeks to several months. Activities paralleling in-office techniques are typically taught to the patient to be practiced at home to reinforce the developing visual skills.
The human visual system is complex. The problems that can develop in our visual system require a variety of treatment options. Many visual conditions can be treated effectively with spectacles or contact lenses alone; however, some are most effectively treated with vision therapy.
Research has demonstrated vision therapy can be an effective treatment option for:
- Ocular motility dysfunctions (eye movement disorders)
- Non-strabismic binocular disorders (inefficient eye teaming)
- Strabismus (misalignment of the eyes)
- Amblyopia (poorly developed vision)
- Accommodative disorders (focusing problems)
- Visual information processing disorders, including visual-motor integration and integration with other sensory modalities
An important group in the field of Vision Therapy is the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD— www.covd.org) which is a non-profit, international membership association of eye care professionals including optometrists, optometry students, and vision therapists. Established in 1971, COVD provides board certification for eye doctors and vision therapists who are prepared to offer state-of-the-art services in:
- Behavioral and developmental vision care
- Vision therapy
- Visual rehabilitation
COVD describes Optometric Vision Therapy as Not Just Eye Exercises
Unlike other forms of exercise, the goal of Optometric Vision Therapy is not to strengthen eye muscles. Your eye muscles are already incredibly strong. Optometric Vision Therapy should not be confused with any self-directed program of eye exercises which is or has been marketed to the public. Optometric vision therapy is supported by ongoing evidence-based scientific research. Read the latest research published on optometric vision therapy.
The video below comes from COVD’s website and click below to watch the video on successful vision therapy treatment
Optometric Vision Therapy is supervised by vision care professionals and many types of specialized and/or medical equipment can be used in Optometric Vision Therapy programs, such as:
- Therapeutic lenses
- Occluders or patches
- Electronic targets with timing mechanisms
- Balance boards
The first step in any Optometric Vision Therapy program is a comprehensive vision exam. Following a thorough evaluation, a quali- fied vision care professional can advise you as to whether you are a good candidate for Optometric Vision Therapy and/or whether Optometric Vision Therapy is appropriate treatment for you.
For help in locating a VT Doctor near you for a comprehensive exam, click here for a our list of VT Doctors in your area or visit COVD’s website.
*A special thanks to the AOA and COVD for their permission to use the above information.