VISION THERAPY:

Key Words & Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

What is Vision Therapy?

  • Vision Therapy (aka "Vision Training") is a specialized program that helps correct visual, developmental, & perceptual problems that are not helped through glasses or contact lenses alone. Think of Vision Therapy as Physical Therapy for the eyes & brain. It is a highly individualized & supervised treatment program designed to correct visual-motor &/or perceptual-cognitive deficiencies with exercises that enhance the brain's ability to control eye alignment, coordination, focusing, & visual processing. It builds skills & endurance through the use of specialized computers, optical devices, therapeutic lenses, prisms & filters. These skills are continuously reinforced & made automatic through repetition & integration. 

 

How do I know if Vision Therapy is right for me?

  • The first step to determine whether Vision Therapy is a viable treatment option, is a thorough evaluation to assess the eye's efficiency (ability to take in information) & the brain's ability to process that information. 

 

How long does it take to complete?

  • Noticeable benefits & results depend on the type of vision problem being treated, as well as the motivation of the patient to practice the prescribed activities & procedures. The exact activities & procedures are determined once testing & consultation have occurred.

 

What is the difference between a Vision Therapy Exam & a Regular Eye Exam?

  • A Vision Therapy Exam will test the visual efficiency (e.g. eye tracking, eye teaming, eye coordination) &/or processing skills (those required to function properly in a learning or working environment).  A Regular Eye Exam tests your visual acuity, refractive error, & general health of the eyes. 

 

Can I be too old for Vision Therapy?

  • People of all ages can benefit from Vision Therapy. Although it is beneficial to intervene at an early age, patients who are willing & motivated will encounter good results no matter the age.

 

Can Vision Therapy help with learning problems?

  • Vision Therapy is used toward resolving visual problems that interfere with educational instruction & some learning problems. It can help to improve visual function so the student is better equipped for academic success.

 

What conditions does Vision Therapy help to treat?

  • Convergence Insufficiency, Amblyopia (aka Lazy Eye), Strabismus (aka Crossed or Eyeturn), Focusing Insufficiency & Excess, Ocular Muscle Dysfunction, & Learning-Related Vision Disorders (e.g. ADHD, Dyslexia).

 

What symptoms does Vision Therapy help with?

  • Excessive blinking or squinting

  • Frequent closing of one eye

  • Turns head while reading to favor eye

  • Exhausted during & after reading

  • Posture issues (e.g. raising one shoulder or tilting head)

  • Difficulty catching or throwing

  • Confusion with rights and lefts

  • Problems with moving through space (e.g. known for being clumsy)

  • Rubs eyes frequently

  • Skips &/or repeats words when reading

  • Short attention span when reading or writing

  • Uses finger to read

  • Eyes cross or wander

  • Frequent motion sickness (see convergence insufficiency)

  • Moves & tilts head instead of moving the eyes only

  • One eye turns, drifts, or aims toward a different direction than the other eye

  • Crossed eye or eyes

  • Does not recognize word from a few lines before

  • Poor eye-hand coordination

  • Reverses letters

  • Homework takes longer than it should

 

What are Binocular Vision Disorders?

  • Binocular Vision Disorders are conditions where the eyes are unable to align properly. This causes overcorrection or overcompensation for the misalignment, creating strain on the muscles of the eyes because the brain is constantly trying to re-align the eyes to eliminate blurriness & double vision.

 

What are symptoms of a Binocular Vision Disorder?

  • Dizziness, headaches, & nausea

  • Unsteadiness while walking 

  • Anxiety as a result of difficulty driving or reading 

  • Trouble concentrating while reading

  • Trouble with reading comprehension 

  • Fatigue while reading

  • Restless sleep

  • Poor eye contact

  • Avoidance of work

  • Double vision

  • Can appear similar to ADD/ADHD

 

What is Convergence Insufficiency?

  • A common binocular disorder where a person's eyes don't work cohesively at a close range. It is an eye-teaming problem where eyes drift apart or cross during reading & other close activities.  It may not be noticeable because the brain can & will often ignore the input of one eye to avoid double vision. This suppression of one eye can cause loss of binocular vision & depth perception. Without good binocular vision & depth perception, coordination can be gravely affected & can have a domino effect on sports, eye contact, &, in some cases, can cause motion sickness. Often goes undiagnosed because that individual may have 20/20 eyesight. 

 

What is Amblyopia (aka "Lazy Eye")?

  • An eye disorder that occurs when there is a reduction in the vision of one or both eyes (unable to see 20/20) despite correction.  In most cases, one eye has poorer vision because a breakdown in how the brain & eye work together has occurred & therefore the brain is unable to recognize sight coming from the poorer seeing eye.  Over time, the brain ends up relying more & more on the stronger seeing eye & the poorer eye's vision gets worse & worse.  It often begins in childhood & is considered the most common cause of vision loss in children. If diagnosed early enough, treatment can reduce the risk of permanent vision loss, visual disability & in some cases legal blindness (if left untreated).

 

What is Strabismus (aka "Squint" or "Eyeturn")?

  • A binocular vision disorder where the eyes don't work together correctly.  The eyes may appear misaligned or looking in different directions all the time or sometimes.  A symptom of strabismus is double vision; if the eyes are pointed in different directions & the brain continues to receive input from both.  At some point, the brain may start to solely rely on the vision of one eye, & the part of the brain that is connected to the less-favored eye may fail to develop properly resulting in amblyopia.  Strabismus can be present in very young children & babies as a result of their new and developing visual systems.  In addition, a family history of strabismus can influence a child's likelihood to develop it.  It can be detected in any well-baby check up, however all children should have a formal vision screening in the preschool years.  When detected early, it can be treated & not cause long term effects.

 

Is there a connection between Vision Therapy & Learning Disorders?

  • Studies suggest that children with specific learning disorders (those that affect reading, writing, & spelling) have a high frequency of binocular vision disorders. As a result, Vision Therapy can play a large role in improving binocularity.

 

Can Vision Therapy help after Head Injury or Concussion?

  • According to an article found in Neurosurgery by Targeted Evaluation & Active Management (TEAM) (2016 Dec; 79(6):912-929), Vision Therapy is "beneficial for patients with concussion & mild TBI that exhibited common oculomotor issues such as reading difficulty, vergence, accommodation, saccade, or pursuit impairment.  Vision therapy employs a variety of vision exercises & tools designed to improve oculomotor control, focusing, coordination, & teaming".

4950 Barranca Parkway, Suite 101

Irvine, California 92604

(949) 733 - 1400

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

9:30a-4:30p

Turn onto Woodbridge Square & go straight back.

Family Tree Optometric is on the right.

Find us on the first floor of the Woodbridge Medical Center building.

We have an outside entrance.

Clearer vision, that's comfortable.

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