Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program prescribed by an optometrist to improve conditions like strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye). Vision therapy helps children learn and reinforce specific visual skills, such as eye movement accuracy, focusing control and eye coordination of the two eyes.
Like any other skill, visual skills are developed as we grow. Since they are developed, they can generally be improved by therapy if they are not developing properly. In vision therapy, an optometrist prescribes individually appropriate visual tasks and exercises to be practiced each day while at home or in the office. Repetition of these tasks enhances vision by coordinating, strengthening and improving eye movement, focusing ability and by straightening the eye alignment.
Vision therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for many problems that cannot be treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses alone. Vision therapy can help most patients who need it see more clearly, efficiently and comfortably. Success, however, is not guaranteed. Much of the improvement depends on the patient’s willingness to follow the instructions. For those who do, significant progress can be made toward more efficient and comfortable vision. There are some cases, however, where improvement cannot be achieved.
A vision therapy program many use many types of equipment and tools including lenses, prisms, filters and computer software. There are many different procedures that can be used in vision therapy. More sophisticated equipment and instruments are also used to increase the eye’s ability to see and the brain’s ability to understand the visual information.
The length of time required for completion of a vision therapy program, including the number of visits to your optometrist, the length of each visit and the amount of in and out-of-office therapy, varies. This is dependent on the type of vision problem, how long the condition has existed, the age and the motivation of the patient and the level of improvement desired. A typical program may take from a few weeks to several months.