Vision Therapy is a broad group of techniques aimed at correcting and improving binocular, ocularmotor, visual processing, and perceptual disorders. Behavioral Vision Therapy treats problems including difficulties of visual attention and concentration, which behavioral optometrists classify as visual information processing weaknesses. These manifest themselves as an inability to sustain focus or to shift focus from one area of space to another. Studies show that poor eye tracking affects reading skills, and that improving tracking can improve reading.
Certain visual conditions cannot be treated adequately with just a prescription pair of glasses or contact lenses. This is because the root of the problem lies in the deficiencies found in the Visual System during a Developmental Eye Exam. In these cases, the symptoms are best resolved through a program of Vision Therapy.
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The Visual System is a complex relationship between the eyes and the brain. When symptoms like eye fatigue, headaches, reading disabilities (Symptoms Check list) and blurred vision that cannot be corrected with prescription eyewear, the under lying problem could be a break down in the Visual System. The components of the Visual System are:
- Eye Alignment: Are both eyes properly aligned?
- Focusing: Are both eyes capable of transmitting clear images, both near and far to the brain?
- Tracking: Do both eyes work together to track images (reading words) in a smooth manner? Tracking is done with the use of an infrared eye-tracking device called a Readalyzer (see video below)
- Fusion: Can the brain use both images it receives (one image from each eye) to fuse or overlap the images from the eyes in order to produce one image for the brain to translate, and avoid double vision?
Vision Therapy Success Stories
Read testimonials from local families
who have been helped by vision therapy.
Visual System Failure
When a deficiency in the Visual System is detected, one or more of the following Diagnosis are found:
Amblyopia (lazy eye)
This condition results when one eye has correctable vision less than 20/20. This can result in suppression, and eye turns. Recent scientific research has disproven the long held belief that children with lazy eye, or amblyopia, can't be helped after age 7.
- Eye Opening Facts about Amblyopia
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This condition occurs when the eyes are misaligned. While surgery is still an alternative, studies show that even after Strab surgery, the patient will still need vision therapy to regain and maintain binocular vision. In fact, vision therapy for Exotropes (eye turns away from nose) are 85% successful and vision therapy for Esotropes is 75% successful. A recent study suggested that Strab surgery actually REDUCES the success rates of vision therapy by 25%.
Learning-related Vision Problems
Research shows that over 80% of what we learn comes from the visual system - what and how we see things. If our visual system is not functioning properly, Vision Therapy can help those individuals who lack the necessary visual skills for effective reading, writing, and learning (i.e., eye movement and focusing skills, convergence, eye-hand activity, visual memory skills, etc.).
Suppression of an eye is a subconscious adaptation by a person's brain to "turn-off" one eye in order to eliminate the interference of the visual systems, in disorders of binocular vision such as strabismus, and convergence insufficiency. The Brain can eliminate double vision by ignoring the images of one of the eyes. This can lead to Amblyopia.
Oculormotor Disorder results when the eyes do not track together and/or in a smooth motion as the eyes track an object, like words on a page. The diagnostic test for this is called a Readalyzer, and is a sophisticated infrared device that tracks and records eye movement as the patient reads.
Oculormotor Disorder is also considered to be the root cause of most reading disabilities. Watch the video to see an example.
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Accommodative Excess or Insufficiency
Accommodative Excess or Insufficiency occurs when the focusing muscles does not have the ability to stimulate or relax the focusing muscle in order to sustain comfortable vision.
Convergence insufficiency or Convergence Disorder is a sensory and neuromuscular anomaly of the binocular vision system, characterized by an inability of the eyes to turn towards each other, or sustain convergence.
Convergence Excess is another Convergence Disorder. It occurs when the eyes are aligned too far in (nasally) characterized by an inability of the eyes to turn away from each other, or sustain divergence.