16 April, 2021
Vision therapy, also called visual training, is an individualized optometric treatment whose objective is to enhance or correct problems of the visual system. It is about teaching the patient to use their visual system correctly, so that they improve their ablility to perceive, process, understand and integrate all visual information.
How does vision therapy work?
The vision therapy programs consist of a series of exercises that the optometrist personalizes based on the specific needs of each patient and which are aimed at developing their visual skills to the maximum and integrating those skills with the rest of the senses. These exercises vary in difficulty according to the evolution of the patient. In this way it is possible to create new neural connections and achieve automaticity of the visual system. In this way, the patient will be able to transfer the skills learned to the tasks of their daily lives at the end of the program.
The visual skills that can be worked on in visual therapy are:
- Visuomotor integration
Typically, one therapy session per week is performed in a examination room by the optometrist. This session can last between 40 and 60 minutes, depending on the case. In addition, a series of exercises are scheduled to be done at home daily, for approximately 15-20 minutes. This part is essential, since the key to achieving the desired objective, apart from personalizing the plan is effort, perseverance and dedication of the required time.
The duration of the visual therapy program depends on the problem that need to be treated, the age of the patient and the objectives that we want to achieved and it can range from 3 months, in the simplest cases, to 2 years in more complex ones. During the process, periodic evaluations are carried out to assess the evolution of the patient.
What disorders can be corrected with vision therapy?
Visual disturbances that can be treated with this type of therapy are those related to focus, coordination of the visual axes, strabismus, amblyopia (or lazy eye) or certain learning problems related to vision:
– Disorders of accommodation (focus), related to near-far vision changes.
– Disorders in eye movement, which can affect activities like reading.
– Amblyopia or lazy eye: depending on the cause of amblyopia, visual therapy can be considered a valid treatment together with the prescription of glasses or contact lenses and occlusion using patches.
– Strabismus: visual therapy has proven to be effective as a treatment to achieve ocular alignment in some types of strabismus.
– Phorias: these are deviations of the visual axes that are not evident but can cause visual symptoms.
– Other vision problems, such as visual perception disorders, vision problems associated with developmental disabilities, and problems associated with certain brain injuries.
What can not be treated with vision therapy?
It is important to know that vision therapy is not a treatment to stop using glasses. It should not be confused with exercise programs that claim to reverse myopia, tired eyesight or other refractive errors, since the latter do not have any scientific research to support them. Furthermore, these types of exercises are not supervised by any professional in the vision field.
When in doubt, you should go to an optician-optometrist specialized in visual therapy to carry out an in-depth visual examination that studies binocularity and accommodation. These types of exams are not the same as regular eye exams, they are usually longer since they must assess all visual abilities. In this way, the optometrist will be able to identify if there is any vision problem and advise you on the best treatment option.
If you want more information about it, contact us, at L’Atelier Óptica we will be happy to answer your questions.
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