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Can Vision Therapy Be Done at Home?

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a young girl covers one eye during vision therapy

Vision therapy is a supervised program for effectively treating impaired visual function. With vision therapy, patients develop the skills they need to cope with learning-related vision problems and other visual disorders. 

The recommendation is that the patient complete this vision therapy with a trained vision therapist under the supervision of an optometrist. However, supplemental exercises continue at home between in-office sessions. 

Vision therapy aims to restore or achieve a clear, comfortable vision. Let’s delve more into vision therapy and how it works. 

All About Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is non-surgical, non-invasive, drug-free, and safe for children and adults. Vision therapy isn’t just eye exercises.

They are based on neuroplasticity and retraining the brain, creating new neural pathways, and strengthening the neural connections between the brain and the eyes to reinforce visual skills. So, what are visual skills?

There are 17 visual skills that we need to succeed in everyday life. Some of them include:

  • Tracking or eye movement accuracy
  • Focusing control
  • Convergence which is the coordination of the two eyes
  • Visual acuity
  • Depth perception

Visual skills are vital for reading, learning, and even playing sports. Factors affecting them include brain injuries, like concussions or stroke, neurological issues, and other visual challenges. 

a child uses a prism flipper during vision therapy

Symptoms indicating a vision problem can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Eye strain
  • Discomfort
  • Reading problems
  • Eye movement issues
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Poor performance

How Does Vision Therapy Work?

A visit to your optometrist and a comprehensive eye exam is the first step before beginning a vision therapy program. Eye exams for children and adults help your vision therapist and optometrist determine the best therapies tailor-made to your individual needs. 

Vision therapy includes eye exercises, with the use of some or all of the following:

  • Lenses
  • Prisms
  • Filters
  • Patches
  • 3-D activities
  • Virtual reality
  • Balance boards
  • Electronic targets

In-office vision therapy can start with weekly one-on-one sessions, which can last between 30 minutes to 1 hour. At-home vision therapy is in the form of daily homework between sessions. 

Repeating tasks and exercises enhances vision in the following ways:

  • Coordination
  • Strengthens and improves eye movement
  • Focusing ability
  • Straightening eye alignment

Length of treatment varies, lasting anywhere from weeks, months, and sometimes even a year or more. Success and results can range from patient to patient, motivation, compliance, and maintenance of therapies. 

The treatment program depends on the vision problem, the patient’s age, and how long the problem has existed. Your eye doctor may recommend one therapy or a combination of them. Vision therapy programs also include regular checks to ensure progression. 

Vision therapy techniques are different for every condition. They can sometimes be as simple as prescribing glasses or contacts, and other times, glasses and contacts are not effective alone. Other equipment and instruments help increase the eye’s ability to see and the ability of the brain to understand that visual information. 

Most visual therapy techniques engage specific movements that can benefit individuals who struggle with activities such as reading or writing. Many devices come equipped with virtual reality environments allowing for personalization and workouts for different visual challenges.

Vision therapy benefits children and adults with the following conditions:

Children suffering from poor eye movement, eye teaming, eye focusing, and visual processing skills benefit from vision therapy. A child might need vision therapy if they show the following signs:

  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Headaches during close-up tasks
  • Words running together when reading
  • Forgetfulness
  • Short attention span
  • Writing that slopes up or downhill
  • Holding objects close to the face
  • Omitting small words while reading
  • Clumsiness

Improving Visual Skills for Better Vision

Vision therapy strengthens the eyes’ ability to adjust to focus on objects and recognize things in the environment. It’s also for eye muscle strength and coordination. 

Depending on the visual condition, therapy can positively affect one’s lifestyle. By undergoing vision therapy, the patient may find themselves looking at life in a whole new way. 
Vision therapy should be started by first consulting your eye doctor. They can provide more specific information and a personalized treatment program to help improve vision. Book an appointment with Brantford Eye Care today to learn how vision therapy can work for you.

Written by Dr. Cynthia Markarian Bahoshy

How many doctors does it take to change a lightbulb?”

One or two.

Clear, comfortable vision is such an integral and important part of our lives. I enjoy interacting with our patients, learning about them and their visual needs and I get great satisfaction when I can improve their quality of life by providing them with optimal eyesight at the same time as screening for and treating potentially sight-threatening conditions.

I have been an optometrist at Brantford Eye Care (previously known as Dr. Robert Schumacher and associates) since 2002. I became the new owner of Brantford Eye Care in October 2012.

I attended the University of Ottawa where I studied Biochemistry as part of my undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree. I completed my Doctor of optometry (OD) degree at the University of Waterloo in 2002.

My externship was completed at the Houston Eye Associates in Texas. During that time, I gained extensive experience in all aspects of ocular health diagnosis and management. This included exposure to various retinal conditions, glaucoma, cataracts, children’s vision, binocular vision, and other aspects of ocular disease.

I worked as a student researcher at the Centre of Contact Lens Research at the School of Optometry, University of Waterloo where I gained extensive experience in all aspects of contact lenses. I also worked as a student researcher at the Ottawa General hospital in the Department of Ophthalmology during my university years.

I am an active member of the Ontario Association of Optometrists, The Canadian Association of Optometrists, the Ontario College of Optometrists, and the Hamilton and District Area Society of Optometrists. I am certified in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Diseases.

My main interests are in dry eyes, contact lenses, and in children’s vision. I have experience working as an optometrist at a Toronto LASIK centre and I am able to answer any questions you may have regarding LASIK and other refractive surgeries. We are affiliated with the various LASIK centres and can refer you for a complimentary LASIK consultation as well as perform your pre and post-op examinations at our office.

I enjoy many activities such as swimming, yoga, playing the piano, and spending time with my family. I enjoy solving visual issues and challenges and meeting new people.

I’ve been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful patients and families at our office. I enjoy being a part of Brantford’s health care team and look forward to seeing you at the office!

More Articles By Dr. Cynthia Markarian Bahoshy
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