The goal of optometric vision therapy is not to strengthen eye muscles, as they are already incredibly strong. Instead, vision therapy works to retrain the learned aspects of vision through the recently-understood concept of neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity or neural plasticity, is an umbrella term that describes lasting change to the brain throughout an individual’s life course. The term gained prominence in the latter half of the 20th century, when new research showed that many aspects of the brain can be altered (or are “plastic”) even into adulthood. This notion is in contrast with the previous scientific consensus that the brain develops during a critical period in early childhood and then remains relatively unchanged (or “static”).
Optometric vision therapy should not be confused with any self-directed program of eye exercises which is or has been marketed to the public. In-office vision therapy under the supervision of an optometrist is supported by ongoing evidence-based scientific research.
Vision Therapy is:
- A progressive program of vision procedures
- Performed under the supervision of an Optometrist
- Individualized to fit the visual needs of each patient (children and adults)
- Generally conducted in-office, sessions of 30 or 60 minutes in length, upon doctor recommendation
- Occasionally supplemented with procedures done at home between office visits
Vision Therapy may use:
- Therapeutic lenses
- Occluders or patches
- Electronic targets with timing mechanisms
- Balance boards
- A variety of special tools designed for specific and unique vision therapy activities
Vision Therapy aims to:
- Help patients develop or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities
- Improve visual comfort, ease, and efficiency
- Change how a patient processes or interprets visual information
Vision therapy in noninvasive, and does not require medication? Do I need vision therapy?
Vision therapy does not require medication or anything invasive. It can work in combination with other interventions or therapies, and effective for both children and adults!
Because visual skills such as tracking lines of text, coordinating the eyes, and focusing on close objects must be learned during development, these skills can also be improved later in life at any age.
It is estimated that 1 in 10 children have a vision problem severe enough to affect their learning in school, but school vision screenings can miss up to half of these problems. A comprehensive vision exam with a developmental optometrist checks all aspects of eye health, vision, and visual skills, and can ensure you or your child is not struggling unnecessarily with an undiagnosed vision problem.
Developmental Vision Exams
At A+ Eyes, our Optometrist who is a member of the COVD (College of Optometrists in Vision Development) emphasizes an expanded functional, developmental and behavioral approach to vision evaluations. Our approach to vision care is directed at correcting existing vision problems and enhancing visual abilities to allow our patients to see clearly and comfortably.
What can I expect as part of my vision evaluation?
- A thorough patient history, including general health and developmental history.
- A measurement of how clearly the patient can see in the distance and up close (visual acuity, e.g. 20/20)
- A measurement of the presence of any refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism)
- An assessment of eye focusing, eye teaming, and eye movement abilities (accommodation, binocular vision, ocular motility)
- An examination of the health of the eyes
Depending on the results of these evaluations, additional tests of visual development and visual perceptual abilities may be needed to effectively assess a patient’s total visual status.
Any reading or learning difficulties experienced by you or your child should be brought to the attention of the doctor. Request an evaluation to detect whether learning-related vision problems are present.
Once testing is completed, the doctor will review all findings with the patient or parent and provide consultation and recommendations regarding any needed treatment.