Vision therapy exercises are a customized, non-invasive correction for certain eye conditions that may affect visual acuity, depth perception, and how the eyes move, focus, and work as a team.
In order to determine if vision therapy would be a benefit, the doctor completes a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the functionality of your eyes. Even patients seeing 20/20 may benefit from having vision therapy. This assessment is called a binocular vision evaluation.
Symptoms and signs that suggest vision therapy may be a benefit may include:
- double vision
- avoiding near tasks
- the presence of a lazy eye (amblyopia)
- the presence of an eye turn (strabismus)
- difficulty seeing clearly after sustained reading or computer work
- persistent headaches with concentrated visual tasks
- tendency to close or cover one eye when looking at a target
- excessive blinking during concentrated visual tasks
- short attention span for reading or writing tasks
- losing place, rereading or skipping words while reading
- words moving on the page when reading
Vision therapy is performed using different corrective lenses, prisms, therapeutic lenses, filters, computer systems and more. Each patient receives a customized plan to address their specific needs, and as the patient improves the exercises become progressively more challenging. The intent is to enhance the visual-motor and perceptual-cognitive issues at hand. Depending on the nature of the issue, vision therapy exercises may be performed regularly at home or through weekly office visits.
Success with Vision Therapy
Success with vision therapy comes with a commitment to the prescribed therapy program. Time, consistency and motivation are required for success!
Patients who complete vision therapy often report fewer environmentally induced headaches, less blurry vision, reduced eyestrain, and decreased nausea. They also report improved peripheral vision, better hand eye coordination, better ability to focus, and improved reaction time. Vision Therapy is not only used to correct existing issues, but to enhance visual systems.
Who Benefits from Vision Therapy?
People of all ages have the capacity to benefit from vision therapy, including children. Children with learning related visual problems often benefit from vision therapy.
A study entitled the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial, looked at the most common disorder of binocular vision. Convergence insufficiency is when the ability to focus your eyes together at a close range is reduced for your age, resulting in visual symptoms. The study confirmed two important points:
1 – Convergence insufficiency can be effectively treated by vision therapy
2 – The most successful therapy included a combination of in-office, and at-home exercises.
There are many disorders of binocular vision and visual processing that can benefit from different types of vision therapy.
Vision Therapy at Finch Avenue Optometry
Dr Schellenberg is an Associate member with COVD, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. She has completed specific training with COVD in order to provide skilled vision therapy techniques for her patients, as well as trained under Fellow COVD members. She has also been involved in research regarding “Binocular Anomalies in Elementary School Children with Reading Problems”, presenting the preliminary findings with her co-collaborators at the COVD annual meeting.
In order for Dr. Schellenberg to initiate vision therapy, she first conducts a binocular vision evaluation. If her evaluation indicates that you would benefit from vision therapy, she then formulates a plan to address each patient’s individual needs.
Please inform our staff that you require or are interested in a binocular vision examination or vision therapy so we may book you the appropriate time for assessment.
For further information:
Christian, L., Peddle, A., Pennifold, S., Schellenberg, B. (2012, October). Binocular Anomalies in Elementary School Children with Reading Problems: preliminary results from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science, External Pediatrics Clinic. Research presentation at the 42nd Annual COVD Meeting, Fort Worth, TX.