Vision Therapy Explained
Vision is so much more than ‘clear sight'! You may be able to easily see the bottom line on an eye chart but not comfortably use this vision in everyday tasks – many of which are done up close and have very little correlation with seeing a small letter on a distance chart.
Vision develops, therefore it is developable
Vision is learned, therefore it is trainable at all ages
Vision effects and is affected by posture
Vision problems develop into eye problems, ie structural changes measured as “ocular defects”
Vision problems and some eye problems are reversible, therefore vision problems are preventable
If a person cannot easily keep a page of print clear and single and accurately move their eyes from place to place, they will not work efficiently or at their full potential.
Some Symptoms of Vision Dysfunction
Vision related headaches are often experienced across the forehead or in the temples and sometimes at the back of the head. These can develop after sitting at close work tasks like computers, smart phones or reading for extended periods. Children and adults often complain of headaches midway through or towards the end of a school or working day.
Blurred or double vision
While reading, print may go in and out of focus (fuzzy) or even appear to move. This may also happen when using a phone or on a computer. It may also occur when looking up from doing close work.
Poor or erratic performance
Losing your place when reading, re-reading words or lines, difficulty understanding or remembering what you have read or reading very slowly are all examples of poor vision performance. When outdoors, misjudging when ball catching or hitting a ball, or over or under throwing one, or tripping or bumping into things are also examples of poor vision performance.
Discomfort and fatigue
Finishing a day at school or work and being excessively tired may be a sign of poor visual function. Children may rub their eyes when doing homework, or try to avoid it all together. Adults may notice that vision is much worse when driving home after work.
When the brain ignores information coming from one eye to prevent seeing double.
Other symptoms include:
Falling asleep when reading
Closing one eye to read
Motion sensitivity & dizziness
Difficulty judging distances while driving or sport
Poor comprehension or recall of visually
Many vision issues, such as far-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism can be supported with corrective lenses in the form of glasses or contact lenses. However, due to the complexity of the eye and its intimate connection to the body and the brain there are many vision inefficiencies or dysfunctions that corrective lenses alone will not improve. Vision Therapy is very beneficial in many of these cases.
Vision therapy is a program of activities prescribed by a Behavioural Optometrist and usually facilitated by a Vision Therapist. The program is individualised to meet the visual needs of each person. Therapy usually entails weekly in-office visits and exercises to practise at home.
To be successful, vision therapy must be done regularly and frequently. Your commitment will directly influence your required outcomes. The activities are designed to be fun yet challenging. As you work through the activities, you will learn to be more aware of your eyes and what and how you see. You will therefore have better conscious control of your eyes and have improved understanding of what you are seeing and reading.
Not Just "Eye Exercises"
Unlike other forms of exercise, the purpose of Optometric Vision Therapy is not to strengthen eye muscles. Your eye muscles are already incredibly strong! Instead, Vision Therapy aims to train or retrain the eyes to work more efficiently and with less effort. It will retrain learned aspects of vision through the recently-understood concept of neuroplasticity and is supported by ongoing evidence-based scientific research.
Optometric Vision Therapy is supervised by vision care professionals and may include a variety of specialized tools and medical equipment, including:
Occluders or patches
Each program of Vision Therapy is designed to suit the specific needs of each person. Diagnostic testing, training and the use of lenses and prisms may all be used in the treatment of a vision discomfort or disfunction. The frequency of consultation, the amount of home training and the duration of a course of Vision Therapy will vary depending on the nature and severity of the condition being treated and the specific needs of each patient.
Vision Therapy is prescribed to:
Help develop or improve your fundamental visual skills and abilities such as eye alignment and coordination sustained near focus, eye movements and eye-hand coordination
Improve your visual comfort, ease, and efficiency
Enhance how you process or interpret visual information
Help prevent certain visual problems
Improve a ‘lazy eye’ and / or eye turn
Rehabilitate visual skills lost through an acquired brain injury (including concussion)
After receiving Vision Therapy treatment, the patient (and usually their helper too) have much more awareness of their vision and their eyes. Younger patients usually notice that school work is much easier (less of an effort). They are often able to catch and hit balls more accurately. Generally self-confidence improves and they are able to attend to tasks for longer. Adults often become more confident when driving and notice improved efficiency doing office work. Most people find they read more easily and enjoy reading more.