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Vision Therapy & Rehabilitation

Unlike wearing eyeglasses and contact lenses, which simply compensate for vision problems, or performing eye surgery which alters actually the anatomy of the eye or the muscles that surround the eye, vision therapy is targeted specifically to re-educated and "teach" your ocular vision system to actually correct itself.                      

Similar to physical therapy for the bodies’ muscles and motions, Vision Therapy is for the entire visual system, including the eyes and the parts of the brain that control your entire vision center.  

Vision Therapy includes but is not limited to the use of lenses, prisms, filters, computerized visual activity programs and non-computerized viewing instruments. It is important to understand that vision therapy is not defined by a simple list of tools and techniques. Successful vision therapy outcomes are achieved through a therapeutic process that depends on the active engagement of the prescribing doctor, the vision therapist, the patient and (in the case of children) their parents.  

Many studies have shown that vision therapy can correct vision problems that interfere with efficient reading of school children and students. It also can help reduce eyestrain and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome experienced by many children and adults.  

Orthoptics and Vision Therapy    

Another name often associated with vision therapy is "orthoptics", a term, which literally means "straightening the eyes." Dating back to the early 1850s this terminology is limited to techniques for training eye muscles for the purpose of cosmetically straightening eyes that are misaligned due to strabismus.  

Orthoptics can be very successful and is one type of vision training, but the term "orthoptics" is not synonymous with "vision therapy," which describes a broader range of techniques used to treat a wider variety of vision problems.  

The emphasis in orthoptics is on eye muscles and eye alignment (at least cosmetically) only, the goal of Vision Therapy is to optimize the entire visual system, including the eyes and areas of the brain that control vision, visual perception and other vision-related functions. By treating the entire visual system, vision therapy targets to change reflexive (automatic) behaviors to produce a long lasting cure.  

In many cases of strabismus, vision therapy can be a better treatment choice than surgery. In other cases, it has proven a beneficial addition therapy combination before and after surgery to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.  

The Science Behind Vision Therapy  

You've probably heard the old adage, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." But recent research in the field of neurology suggests that when it comes to the human brain, that's not true. It just may take a little more time and effort but the work is well worth the results.  

Indeed, recent research shows that the human brain has a significant amount of neuroplasticity the ability to change its structure and function in response to external stimuli. And these neurological changes in the brain, once thought to occur only during early childhood, have been demonstrated to occur in adults as well.  

Problems Vision Therapy Can Correct      

Vision problems being treated with vision therapy include:  

Amblyopia   . Also called "lazy eye," amblyopia  is a vision development problem where an eye fails to attain normal visual acuity, usually due to strabismus or other problems of eye teaming.     

Strabismus   . Vision therapy is an effective non-surgical treatment for many types of eye misalignments, such as crossed eyes. The success of VT for strabismus depends on the direction, magnitude and frequency of the eye turn.     

Other binocular vision problems   . Other eye teaming problems that don't produce a visible eye turn can also be minimized or corrected with vision therapy. For example, recent research has confirmed that in-office optometric vision therapy is the most successful treatment for an eye teaming problem called convergence insufficiency, a binocular disorder that can cause eye strain and problems with near vision and reading.   

Eye movement disorders   . Studies have shown vision therapy can improve the accuracy of eye movements used during reading and other close-up work.  

Accommodative (focusing) disorders   . Other research shows near-far focusing skills can be improved with vision training.   

Other problems   . Other vision problems for which vision therapy may be effective include visual-perceptual disorders, vision problems associated with developmental disabilities and vision problems associated with acquired brain injury (such as from a stroke).     

You can find even more detailed information regarding Vision Therapy at the following locations.