By Walesby Vision Center
Unlike orthoptics, which is a method to straighten the eyes muscularly, Vision Therapy is an entirely different treatment, which encompasses not only strengthening the eye muscles, but also improving visual perception, visual brain signaling, developing the ability to follow text efficiently, and hand-eye coordination. While it does improve eye muscle strength, it’s better described as enhancing the complete visual system and cognitive process. Developmental Optometrists specialize in vision therapy.
Vision therapy works by retraining the brain in response to external stimuli. There have been multiple studies on children and adults with vision system and learning complications. During the studies, the diagnostic testing shows increased gray matter in the brain of the examined patients (1). This change suggests brain structure regeneration occurs with vision training, as well as an uptake in increased learning abilities.
Advantages of Vision Therapy
While visual training is better known to improve learning abilities for children, it is also used for adults and the aging population to correct concentration levels and other disabilities. It is so effective that it is even used to enhance an athlete’s eye and hand coordination for specific sports and better performance levels.
Who Would Benefits from Vision Therapy?
• Children with learning disabilities
• Adults with cognitive decline, or learning disabilities
• Individuals with brain damage
• Issues with following text when reading
• Athletes needing to hone specific hand-eye coordination skills
Symptoms of Visual Field Complications
• Blurry vision
• Double vision
• Excessive blinking to clear eyesight
• Eye aches
• Inability to concentrate
• Loss of place when reading
• Need to reread text
• Need to rub eyes to see more clearly
At Home Training Vs. Medical Specialty Training
Vision Therapy is an individualized, supervised, treatment program designed to correct visual-motor and perceptual-cognitive deficiencies. Experts like Dr. Walesby and Dr. Thomas of the Walesby Vision Center works with his patients one on one to develop specific protocols to help improve their entire visual system and cognitive strengthening. With the methods implemented by Walebsy Vision Center, visual-motor skills and endurance are corrected through the use of specialized computer and optical devices, including therapeutic lenses, prisms, and filters. During the final stages of therapy, the patient’s newly acquired visual skills are reinforced and made automatic through repetition and by integration with motor and cognitive skills.
Many individuals have heard and utilized some forms of at home training like push-ups. A pencil push-up is when you hold a pen or pencil at arms length and read the text, while gradually bringing the pencil closer and closer toward you. This is thought to enhance eye muscles. At home training like a pencil push-up can be effective for acuity and muscular strengthening, but it will have no benefit on any cognitive or learning issues, and it would never compare to an in-office, medically supervised vision training program (2).
Vision Therapy sessions Include Procedures Designed to Enhance the Brain’s Ability to Control the Following:
• Eye alignment
• Eye movements
• Eye trackig (following text and images efficiently)
• Visual Focusing
• Visual processing
In addition, vision training is not the same thing as visual acuity. 20/20 vision can be achieved with glasses or contact lenses in most cases, but there can still be underlying visual incompetency that may affect a child or adult’s ability to concentrate on and comprehend text and learning. With routine eye exams, Walesby Vision Center can pinpoint their patient’s specific needs regarding the entire visual system including the need for vision therapy.
1. Cannonieri GC, Bonilha L, Fernandes PT, et al. Practice and perfect: length of training and structural brain changes in experienced typists. Neuroreport 2007 Jul 2;18(10):1063-6
2. Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial Investigator Group. A randomized clinical trial of treatments for symptomatic convergence insufficiency in children. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126:1336–1349.
Where Vision is more than just 20/20
2510 West Waters Ave, Tampa, FL 33614
24444 State Road 54, Lutz, FL 33559