Vision Therapy Only Involves the Eyes
This is one of the biggest misconceptions and comes as a surprise to most patients and parents alike. But vision is not an isolated system. It is inseparable from the brain which is inseparable from the body. The Vestibular Disorders Association talks about how important the integration of the vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive (information perceived through our muscles and joints) systems are in order to successfully navigate the physical world.
The importance of integrating these systems shows how vision affects and is affected by more than just the eyes! Studies show that there is more neurological activity when young children are engaged in multi-sensory activities compared to predominantly visual motor activities. Some of the ways we incorporate this concept include primitive reflexes, balance boards, metronome, perceptual activities, walking rail, hand-eye coordination, trampoline, virtual reality, and more!
There Is No Evidence to Back It Up
Vision therapy is no stranger to skepticism. Because it is fairly new to the general public, it often falls victim to the dissemination of flawed information. We understand this and not only expect your concerns but welcome them! In addition to the vast number of personal success stories, vision therapy has the scientific research to back it up! Check out these links from Optometrists Network and The College of Optometrists in Vision Development which cite a number of different scientific articles:
I’m Too Old for Vision Therapy
Age is not a factor when it comes to benefitting from vision therapy! Many people think that our brains stop developing at a certain age, but that is simply not true. Since vision therapy is based around the concept of neuroplasticity, our brains always have the capacity to change based on new external stimuli, making our visual systems entirely trainable even later in life.
A great testament to this is neuroscientist and author of “Fixing My Gaze,” Dr. Sue Barry. In her book, Dr. Barry raves about how vision therapy treated her strabismus that she was diagnosed with as an infant, and even helped her see depth for the first time at age 47!
My Child Has Dyslexia, Can You Help?
Many parents come to us thinking their child is dyslexic because of symptoms such as reversing letters (such as b, d, p, and q). Actually, dyslexia is a language-based learning disability and so cannot be treated with vision therapy. This is a fairly common misconception because functional vision disorders are often misidentified as dyslexia because they share many similar symptoms. In both cases, their difficulty with reading seems inconsistent with their cognitive skills in other areas of learning. In reality, this could actually be a visual processing disorder in which they struggle with laterality/directionality, which means they have trouble distinguishing right from left.
This is relatively common in children in first grade and younger, but if the problem persists past the second grade, they may have a visual processing disorder or dyslexia. To determine which it is, it is important to first rule out a visual processing disorder by getting evaluated by a developmental optometrist.