What Is Vision Therapy?
Behavioral optometrists have developed and used visual training to:
- Prevent and treat eye problems, like accommodative (focusing) disorders
- Develop the visual skills needed to achieve more effectively at school, work or play
- Enhance functioning on tasks demanding sustained visual effort such as computer use or reading
Vision therapy is like physical therapy for the eyes.
Most of the activities done during "In-office" Vision Therapy, can be done at home at your own pace. The Vision Therapy program that I have designed works for all types of visual problems, and can be done at home or on the go.
Through visual training, people are able to develop more efficient visual performance.
The visual skills, which can be developed and enhanced through visual training, include:
I. Visual Acuity is the sharpness of sight.
a. Snellen chart- the way of measuring acuitynot vision. Wearing glasses rarely eliminates a reading problem with school aged children.
II. Mechanical Skills can be described as how well the muscles in and around the eyes are controlled by the brain
a. Accommodation -is the ability to maintain focus at all distances. This focal change is a change in contraction of they eye's ciliary muscles. Close work requires a high demand of accommodation, while looking in the distance requires a relaxation of accommodation. This change in focus needs to occur instantaneously. Copying notes off the board is a visual disaster for a person who has an accommodation problem. The symptoms are very similar to a person who needs reading glasses; the words go in and out of focus.
b. Binocularity-is the teaming of the eyes so they can converge properly. In order to read both eyes must converge on the same word at the same time. Poor binocularity is what causes people to skip or confuse words or skip lines while reading. Precise eye movements are not only necessary for reading, but also for following the ball in sports, and depth perception for driving.
c. Ocular Motor Fixation-is simply looking at an object or word accurately. This is essential for reading and writing.
d. Eye Hand Coordination, or visual motor integration, is the ability for our eyes to guide our hands
e. Peripheral Vision enables us to see the things around us while looking straight ahead. Good peripheral vision is demanded of all athletes and is also beneficial for all drivers.
III. Perceptual Skills allow the brain to organize and interpret information that is seen, and give it meaning.
a. Visual Form Perception involves the ability to recognize shapes from its background, the ability to choose objects that have the same shape but different size or position, the ability to identify symbols or objects when only part of it is seen, and the ability to see and understand differences in size, shape, position, and color. These are referred to as Figure-ground, Form consistency, Visual closure and Visual discrimination.
b. Spatial Relations - are the ability to interpret directionality and laterality or the concepts of right, left, front, back, up, and down. Knowing that when the letter p points to the left, it's a q, and when a d points to the right, it's a b is necessary for reading and writing. It is common for a four or five year old to put his shoes on backwards or write from right to left, but at six years old this can lead to greater problems.
c. Visual Memory - is the ability to recall and use visual information from the recent past. This skill helps children remember what they read and see.
d. Visualization-is the ability to create and/or alter mental pictures or concepts on the basis of past visual experience and memory. It is essential in reading and playing sports