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Vision Therapy? What’s that?

Most people I encounter in the “real” world have never heard of vision therapy. “Vision therapy? What’s that?” is a question I hear very often. I have found that the best way to describe vision therapy is that it’s a type of physical therapy, but for the eyes and brain. Vision therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment for some very common vision problems, such as convergence insufficiency (not being able to cross your eyes), double vision, poor eye-hand coordination, tracking disorder, lazy eye, and crossed eyes. Vision therapy is also used to treat reading and learning disabilities. Vision problems, like those listed above, can disrupt your visual system and make learning that much more difficult.
The first step in deciding if vision therapy is needed is a comprehensive eye exam. If the doctor finds or suspects that you are living with one of the vision problems listed above, they will refer you to have further testing. This testing is called a Sensory Motor Evaluation. It is composed of measurements of how your eyes align and tests of fusion and 3D vision.
If it is found that vision therapy would indeed be beneficial, the doctor will put together a treatment plan to meet the specific needs of the patient, and also set goals to be achieved throughout the vision therapy program. The vision therapy program is broken into eight week session. The patient will be treated by the vision therapist for 8 weeks, under the doctor’s supervision. After the 8 weeks, a progress evaluation is done by the doctor to check progress and determine if more vision therapy is needed.
During your vision therapy sessions, you can expect to be in the treatment room for 30-60 minutes. The vision therapy program consists of using lenses, visual exercises, and eye patching. Home therapy exercises are also given, and expected to be done 5 times a week, to reinforce the skills that are learned in the vision therapy room.
The school year is in full swing. Kids are adjusting and settling into their new routines. Remember, school screenings only test the acuity of your child’s eyes, their ability to see 20/20, not their functional vision. Don’t hesitate to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Vision therapy changes lives, it could change your child’s life, too!

Danielle Lecours, Vision Therapist