Vision Therapy: The Basics

   Hi all, The Center for Vision Development is starting a bi-weekly blog in order for anyone who is interested in vision therapy to learn more about it in a detailed, yet simplified way! Although vision therapy is not a new practice, it is still relatively unknown to the general public. We, along with numerous other practices and developmental optometrists, are striving to spread the word about this amazing field that has transformed so many lives.

   What is vision therapy exactly? Well, one of the most common misconceptions is that it strengthens the muscles in your eyes. Actually, our eye muscles are already extremely strong and do not need to be strengthened! What VT actually does is train the brain to better communicate with the visual system. As vision therapists, we create individualized plans in order to help your eyes and brain make those connections, which eventually become automatic habits! Our visual systems are entirely trainable because our brains have the capacity to change based on new external stimuli.

   What if your eyesight is 20/20? Your visual acuity, which is sharpness of vision, measured by the ability to discern letters or numbers at a given distance, is no indication of whether you need vision therapy or not. Routine eye exams merely test for whether you need glasses and/ or surgery. They do not cover essential visual skills such as eye movements, focusing, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, visual memory, and so many more which are necessary for basic tasks in your daily life.

   We not only teach visual exercises that progress in difficulty over time, but what makes us unique from other kinds of therapies, is that we utilize corrective and therapeutic lenses, prisms, filters, and numerous other specialized medical equipment.

   Who and what kinds of visual deficiencies do we treat the most? While most of our patients are children, it is very important to know that it is never too late to treat your visual deficiencies! That is a myth that needs to be dispelled. We treat patients of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. The most common types of visual issues we see and treat are convergence insufficiency, learning-related vision problems, poor binocular vision, amblyopia (lazy eye), diplopia (double vision), strabismus (crossed-eyes, eye turns), stress related vision problems, visual rehabilitation for special needs, and sports vision improvement.

   Many of these terms and concepts are not familiar to the general public, so I will be covering these along with activities we do to treat them in more depth in blog posts to come! I will also attach scientific articles, success stories, informative videos, and more!

-Emily Thompson, Vision Therapist