Vision is so much more than simply seeing 20/20. We depend on our eyes to not only see clearly but also to work together as a team and to process the visual world. This requires coordination between the eyes, the visual pathway, and the brain. Sometimes, our eyes see perfectly but our visual system is not functioning at the highest level because there is an issue with visual efficiency and/or visual processing.
This is where vision therapy can significantly impact our lives! Vision therapy is a form of physical therapy used on the eyes and brain. It can assist in a number of different circumstances, such as:
Learning Disabilities - poor tracking, fixation, focusing, eye teaming, and visualization and processing skills can all lead to learning difficulties. Did you know that up to 80% of what children learn comes directly from their visual processing?
Special Populations - vision therapy is used to treat a number of neurological issues that can affect visual processing in the brain. These include strokes, concussion/traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, developmental delays, multiple sclerosis, and many others.
Crossed Eyes(Strabismus) and Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) - Vision therapy can be used in combination with surgery to assist with the treatment of eye turns/crossed eyes. Sometimes, surgical intervention can even be avoided! Vision therapy works best on these conditions if they are identified at an early age (importance of InfantSEE eye exam!) but we can achieve results for patients of any age.
So how will you know if you or your child needs Vision Therapy? This can be one of the most challenging aspects because children often do not verbalize the struggles they are having, simply because they have no baseline for how their eyes should work.
Click Here to review some common signs/symptoms that you or your child may be struggling with visual efficiency or visual processing.
The best way to find out if you or your child needs vision therapy is to take them to your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye health and vision exam. Unfortunately, school screenings typically do not screen for visual efficiency or visual processing issues. Further, not all doctors are comfortable performing specific assessments in this area. So make sure you ask your doctor about this area or mention that you are having these specific concerns so that they can direct you to a doctor who specializes in this field.
The following video is a short but wonderful look into the importance of vision and learning, as well as some of the most common binocular vision disorders. Check it out, it is worth it!