February 04, 2020
You can have 20/20 vision and still suffer from eye issues such as binocular dysfunction, crossed eyes, double vision, or lazy eye which cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Instead, you will need to undergo vision therapy. Vision therapy is the process of changing the way the eyes and brain communicate. Enhancing the neurological connections can correct different eye conditions without surgery. This therapy has shown to be effective in treating both children and adults.
Vision therapy creates neurological changes by taking advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the neuron’s ability to change behavior and connections after taking in new information. Neurons can deviate from their normal functions and create new pathways that allow the brain to relearn information and change behaviors, regardless of age.
During vision therapy, patients create new pathways to help their eyes and brain work together. Patients undergo different exercises in the office and at home, repeating the same processes for 30 minutes to an hour at a time. Each session lays additional groundwork, and eventually, the brain forms new neurological connections. As these connections start to form, it’s important to continue the therapy to cement them in place.
These new connections can improve visual skills, ease, and efficiency. Vision therapy is also used to change how patients interpret and process information.
Vision therapists use different tools to create new pathways in the neurological system. These tools might include corrective lenses, prism lenses, optical filters, balance boards, or eye patches. Since each program is customized to the patient, the tools used will differ from one patient to the next. Additionally, some patients might take tools, such as eye patches, home to use between appointments, while others will only use them in the office. Patients find out exactly what’s expected of them when they go over their customized treatment plans.
Patients must undergo a full examination before starting vision therapy. The exam begins with a basic eye test to ensure that the patient doesn’t have a refractive issue. If they do, the eye doctor will provide eyeglasses or contact lenses to see if that corrects the problem. If it doesn’t, the patients are then examined for nonrefractive issues. This exam tests depth perception, eye teaming, eye movements, and focus along with visual-perception and visual-motor skills.
When a nonrefractive problem is present, the eye doctor will create a plan for vision therapy. The plan will include the type of tools and exercises needed to treat the problem as well as a timeline for treatment. While the duration of treatment can change, the eye doctor can still give an estimate so that patients will know what to expect when they begin vision therapy. The eye doctor will also explain if they need to complete exercises at home or in the office.
Do you want to learn more about vision therapy, or think you might be a good candidate? Call Family Vision Care Associates at 914-359-3300 to learn more about this process.