About Vision Therapy

Vision therapy has been practiced for centuries. It has evolved over those years and now offers new hope to patients with vision and visual processing problems. Recent studies have proven that vision and visual processing are linked to many reading disabilities, ADHD misdiagnosis and non-surgical options for lazy eye and Amblyopia as well as Acquired Brain Injuries (stroke, surgery, trauma). Below we hope you will find answers to your many questions about Vision Therapy.

About Vision Therapy Advanced Pennsylvania

Visual therapy is a broad group of techniques aimed at correcting and improving eye Alignment, binocular, Oculormotor, visual processing, and perceptual disorders. Various forms of visual therapy have been used for centuries. The concept of vision therapy was introduced in the late nineteenth century for the non-surgical treatment of misaligned eyes (strabismus). Collaboration of eye care professionals, educators and neuroscientists have produced an expansion of vision therapy into the treatment of other eye coordination (binocular) deficits as well as dysfunctions in visual focusing, perception, tracking and motor skills. (Source: Wikipedia)

To locate a Developmental Optometrist click here

Vision is more than just seeing clearly

Vision is the ability to understand and react to what is seen. Basic visual skills included in the Visual System are:

  • Focus our eyes,
  • Use of both eyes as a team, both functioning alone as well as together (lazy eye or eye turns)
  • Fusion: ability of the brain to fuse together images it receives from the eyes so that double vision does not occur.
  • Oculormotor Function: track objects and move across a written page.
  • Visual Discrimination: ability to tell the difference between "b" and "d",
  • Visualization: ability to "picture" in our mind what we see.
  • Visual Memory: remembering not only what we see, but how we see it.

Vision Development

Our visual system (which is comprised of the 7 factors listed above) is a constantly evolving skill. Factors such as genetics and environmental conditions (development of visual skills) are underlying factors in how our visual system develops. Different visual skills are tested, acquired and refined at different age levels. Vision development is a skill that continues to evolve throughout life.

Vision Testing

It is recommended, at minimum, that a routine eye exam be performed by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist as early as possible (by six months). In most cases, early detection and treatment of problems such as crossed eyes and eye misalignment can be controlled, corrected and/or prevented. However, a routine eye exam does not examine the visual system, but rather the vision and health of the eyes, as they relate to visual acuity (20/20 vision). That is why a Developmental Eye Exam is recommended when a routine eye exam does NOT alleviate the patients' complaints, such as headaches, blurred vision, trouble tracking word on a page, and reading comprehension, to mention a few.

Developmental Eye Exams (DEM):

Developmental vision testing goes beyond a Routine Eye Exam (which typically examines only for disease, vision at distance and near, and corneal health). A Developmental Eye Exam (DEM) by a developmentally trained Optometrist is the best way to determine if there are any deficits in the visual system. The DEM, is painless, and examines all areas of the visual system (see the list above). This exam takes approximately 45 minutes, and in 50% of cases, includes Perceptual testing. The perceptual testing goes beyond the visual system, and examines HOW the information from the eyes is being processed in the brain. Although there are several diagnostic measures and equipment used during a DEM, the Readalyzer is one of the most popular tests being performed when exploring the Oculormotor function of the visual system.

The Readalyzer was developed in Sweden and is an automatic reading analysis device that is fast becoming the diagnostic tool of the trade. The test is one simple step. The patient wears a pair of light weight goggles that are equipped with infrared technology to record eye movements. The patient then reads a grade-level story while wearing the goggles. The results are shown in a simulation video. This video depicts the eye movements (saccades) of the patient during the reading assignment.

In cases of Oculormotor dysfunction, the simulation result speaks for itself. The video simulation of a patient suffering from Oculormotor dysfunction show how the reader is skipping words and moves from line to line with no consistency.

Developmentally Training Optometrists

Developmentally Training Optometrists: If you don't have an Optometrist who is trained to perform Developmental Eye Exams (DEMs), you may click here, to be linked to Dr. Lauver, Strasburg Family Eyecare, LLC in central Pennsylvania, or for Optometrists outside Pennsylvania, click here.

Article: Choosing an Eye Doctor

How long is a Vision Therapy program:

Vision Therapy is the painless use of orthoptics (the science of how the visual system develop) to remediate abnormalities of the visual system and/or visual processing and perceptual disorders. Most therapy programs (which are prescribed by your Optometrist) include 12 -48 weeks of in-office therapy, coupled with at-home therapy 4 times per week. The length of your therapy will depend on the diagnosis and how long the deficit has been embedded into the visual system. Most of our patients are remediated of their symptoms with 12 weeks of in-office therapy, followed by 8 weeks of at home therapy. In most cases, the treatment is permanent so long as the environmental conditions which caused the diagnosis are removed or corrected.

What is expected of me:

Vision therapy is only as successful as the patients' will, desire and determination to correct the problem. Typically, your therapy will include one 30 minute in-office session per week coupled with a 4 days-per-week regimen of at home therapy (typically 15 min. per day). Most conditions, like Accommodative Excess/Insufficiency, require 12 weeks of in-office and home work, followed by 8 additional weeks of at-home-therapy. In general, and depending on several factors, including age, and severity of the disorder, most patients begin to experience results in as little as 4 weeks.

After the 8 weeks of post in-office therapy, your doctor should re-examine you to ensure that the issues have been resolved before you discontinue at home therapy. Success rate depends on 100% attendance for in-office visits as well as full completion of all at home therapy as prescribed. Any missed appointments or at-home-therapy, only slow down the remediation usually resulting in more in-office therapy.

Correcting and improving binocular, oculomotor, visual processing/perceptual and brain injury disorders.© 2018 Advanced Vision Therapy, All Rights Reserved.
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