Vision is a vital aspect of our daily lives that allows us to perceive the world. However, some people may experience difficulties with their vision due to various reasons, such as eye diseases or developmental issues. Vision Therapy is a treatment option that can help address such problems by providing a non-invasive, non-surgical approach.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a treatment approach that involves a series of exercises and activities designed to improve visual function. Vision therapists customize the exercises to meet each patient's specific requirements. A comprehensive vision therapy program comprises a combination of in-office and at-home exercises that gradually increase in difficulty as the individual's visual skills improve.
Vision therapy can improve visual acuity and visual skills, such as eye tracking, focusing, and depth perception. Vision therapy can result in an overall improvement in quality of life, including better performance in school, work, and sports.
7 Eye Conditions That Can Be Treated With Vision Therapy
Vision therapy may not completely cure myopia, but it has shown potential benefits for some nearsighted individuals. Certain vision therapists have reported improvements in myopia during or after the vision therapy process. Researchers have linked myopia to reduced focusing skills, and studies indicate that an accommodation lag could contribute to the development and progression of this condition.
Accommodative spasm, also known as "pseudo-myopia," occurs when the eyes lock their focus on a near object and have difficulty releasing the focus to view distant objects. Optometrists consider it false myopia because it is related to the lens's focusing mechanism rather than the eye's elongation, which is myopia's primary characteristic. Vision therapy can be effective in treating pseudo-myopia, assuming that accommodation spasm is the only cause of blurred distance vision. Completing a vision therapy program may eliminate the need for prescription lenses to correct vision.
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. Double vision and difficulty with depth perception can occur due to this. Vision therapy can treat strabismus by improving eye coordination and alignment by teaching the eyes to work together, to reduce or even eliminate the eye turn, allowing the eyes to straighten and function correctly.
Convergence insufficiency occurs when the eyes have difficulty working together when focusing on near objects, which can cause eyestrain, headaches, and difficulty with reading and other close work. Convergence insufficiency is a common binocular vision disorder that affects about 5-15% of children and adults. A study published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities found that children with convergence insufficiency had lower scores on reading comprehension tests than their peers without the disorder. Vision therapy can effectively treat convergence insufficiency by strengthening the eye muscles responsible for convergence and improving eye coordination.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. In amblyopia, glasses or contact lenses cannot correct reduced vision in the affected eye. This condition typically develops in childhood and can result from various factors, such as unequal refractive error between the eyes or strabismus. Vision therapy can effectively treat amblyopia by strengthening the weaker eye and improving visual integration between the two eyes. Vision therapy can help to enhance the eye-brain connections to improve vision in the affected eye.
Vision Problems From Down Syndrome
Down syndrome (DS) is often associated with eye conditions such as strabismus, nystagmus, and amblyopia, impacting visual processing and motor skills. Vision therapy aims to improve visual skills such as eye teaming, tracking, and focusing, which can help individuals with Down syndrome better navigate their environment and perform daily activities.
A study published in the Journal of AAPOS found that vision therapy improved eye teaming, eye movement control, and visual acuity in children with Down syndrome. Another study published in Optometry and Vision Science reported that vision therapy improved visual skills and reading performance in children with Down Syndrome.
Autism-related Eye Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can also be associated with various eye-related issues. Studies have shown that individuals with ASD often have difficulty with eye contact and tracking and problems with visual processing and sensory integration. Some common eye-related conditions in individuals with ASD include strabismus, amblyopia, and convergence insufficiency. Vision therapy can help address these issues by improving eye teaming, tracking, and focusing abilities. By improving visual skills, vision therapy can help individuals with ASD better navigate their environment, communicate more effectively, and engage in social interactions.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer vision syndrome (CVS), or digital eye strain, is a common condition affecting people who frequently use computers and other digital devices. One of the most common causes is the blue light emitted by computer screens which can lead to a decreased blinking rate and cause dry eyes. With the increase in computer use for both work and leisure, the prevalence of computer-related eyestrain and vision problems has become more prevalent. Studies show that between 50% and 90% of computer users experience some form of eyestrain, including headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.
Vision therapy has shown promising results for many patients. What sets vision therapy apart is that it is personalized to the patient’s needs to improve their visual acuity and alleviate their symptoms.