Could Your Child Benefit From Vision Therapy?

Does your child struggle with reading and writing?  Does he or she have a short attention span, and complain of sore eyes and/or headaches?  There may be visual problems at play that contribute to his or her problems learning.  A vision therapy clinic would be able to help you assess your child's needs, and potentially improve visual issues that could be standing in the way of his or her success.

Beyond 20/20 Vision

Typical vision screenings done in schools test for visual acuity, or seeing clearly, but they do not test for other problems such as eye teaming, tracking, focusing, and visualization.  Even a child with 20/20 vision can have functional vision problems.  And if your child has trouble seeing exactly what is written on a page, it is no wonder that he or she could get tired, distracted, or even frustrated.

At vision therapy clinics, a licensed and experienced doctor can test your child for such issues and prescribe the therapy sessions that will be best for his or her needs.

What Vision Therapy Entails

You may have heard of at-home "exercises" you can do that claim to improve visual acuity so that you won't need contacts or glasses anymore.  This is not what vision therapy is.  Vision therapy consists of visits to a licensed optometrist, who uses tools as well as exercises to train the eyes to function properly together.  These visits are usually once to twice a week, lasting for 30 minutes to an hour each.  The doctor may suggest "homework" to be done in between visits to keep your eyes in training as well.

While in the office, the doctor will use lenses, prisms, and filters for visual activities that will test and train the eyes.  He or she may also employ non-medical devices like balance boards, metronomes, or other devices to improve vision functionality.

Specific Problems Eye Therapy Helps With

There is a variety of visual problems that vision therapy aims to correct, from severe to slight. Some of these issues include:

  • Amblyopia, also called "lazy eye."  This is a problem where one eye fails to develop the same visual acuity as the other.
  • Strabismus.  This is when the eyes are not properly aligned.  There are varying degrees of strabismus, but the cases in which vision therapy are the most successful are when the eyes fail to align properly when reading, even though they are properly aligned otherwise.
  • Other binocular vision problems.  This includes eye alignment problems that do not cause the eye to visibly turn out of alignment but still cause eye strain that make it difficult to focus properly when reading.
  • Other eye movement and focusing disorders.

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