Blog Hero

How Does Vision Therapy Work?

Book Appointment
Young women undergoing vision therapy with her optometrist

Vision is the sense that we use most during our day to day interactions with the world around us. Typically when we think of someone with “perfect” vision, we refer to them as having 20/20 sight, but there are actually many more visual skills that are essential to allow us to navigate our world. Clear vision is only part of the picture! While many of these skills develop naturally in children, in some cases a child may have a delay in one or more areas that can impact their ability to see effectively . Your optometrist can identify any issues your child may be having during a comprehensive eye exam

When visual skills don’t develop well, they can affect your child’s learning and self-esteem. The goal of vision therapy is to help retrain these visual skills, or in some cases to help a patient relearn skills after they have been negatively impacted by a brain injury or stroke. 

Continue reading to learn more about vision therapy, including what it is, how it works, and who can benefit. While vision therapy can benefit both children and adults, today’s blog will focus on vision therapy for children. 

What is Vision Therapy? 

Vision therapy is a specialized form of treatment for improving visual skills and abilities. A patient in vision therapy is given a number of challenges, and with the help of a trained therapist, learns how to address the challenges in a way that is more efficient than what they may have previously learned how to do. 

Vision therapy includes a mixture of in-office and at-home exercises to help your child’s vision. Your child may benefit from vision therapy if they: 

  • Read below their grade level
  • Lose their place or miss words when reading
  • Confuse similar letters
  • Reverse letters like b, d, p, & q
  • Writes numbers backward
  • Judge depth poorly

Your eyes and brain must work together to perform everyday tasks. Good vision is necessary for your child’s development as they grow into adulthood. 

Your Child’s Vision is Important 

Vision is crucial for your child’s development. Nearly 80% of learning is visual, and your child needs to read, write, play, and interact with others as they grow. A vision problem can affect their school performance, social interactions, and self-esteem

Your child’s visual skills will help them succeed in many aspects of life. These essential skills include: 

  • Eye movement control
  • Depth awareness
  • Simultaneous focus from all distances 
  • Peripheral vision 
  • Central vision

Your optometrist can assess what issues your child is facing if they struggle in school or other areas of life. After diagnosing a problem, your eye doctor may recommend vision therapy. What conditions can this treatment address?

What Can Vision Therapy Treat? 

Vision therapy can address several eye issues. Your eye doctor can help determine if this treatment is beneficial for your child’s needs. Some common problems vision therapy can address include:


Another name for amblyopia is a lazy eye. This condition occurs because of abnormal vision development in early childhood. One eye is weaker than the other, often wandering

This condition typically develops between birth and age 7, but your child may not notice any problems at first. The developed eye tends to become dominant when completing visual tasks. Your optometrist can diagnose this condition during a comprehensive eye exam

After diagnosing amblyopia, your optometrist can recommend vision therapy or another treatment they think can best address your child’s condition. 


Strabismus is a condition where your child’s eyes aren’t properly aligned. Also known as crossed eyes, this condition can lead to double vision or amblyopia, as the child’s brain typically learns to ignore the turned eye. 

This condition is common in children under 6. You’ll typically notice strabismus because one or both of your child’s eyes will wander. After diagnosing this condition, your optometrist can recommend vision therapy,  eyeglasses or sometimes surgery as a suitable treatment. 

Optometrist examining the eyes of young women using a ophthalmic device

How Does Vision Therapy Work? 

Vision therapy helps train your child’s eyes to work together effectively. Their eye muscles are already strong, but they may lack coordination. Vision therapy aims to help retrain aspects of your child’s vision that don’t work as effectively. 

There are several goals for vision therapy, depending on your needs. Your optometrist wants to help your child

  • Develop or improve fundamental visual skills & abilities 
  • Improve visual comfort, ease, & efficiency 
  • Change how they process or interpret visual information 

Your child accomplishes these goals through the use of different exercises to train their weak visual skills. These exercises are either in-office under supervision or at home for additional strengthening of skills. 

Besides these exercises, your optometrist will use many supporting tools during your child’s treatment, including: 

  • Therapeutic lenses
  • Filters
  • Prisms
  • Occluders or patches
  • Electronic targets with timing mechanisms
  • Balance boards
  • Specialized tools designed for unique vision therapy activities 

How Long Until You See Results? 

The length of treatment depends on the severity of your child’s vision problems. Some people may need a few weeks, and others may require months to see noticeable changes. Your optometrist can answer any questions you have about vision therapy and how long it takes to see results. 

Is Vision Therapy Only for Children? 

While visual issues can be common in children, anyone can benefit from vision therapy. Visual skills can improve at any age. Vision therapy can help you work and focus more effectively. 

Vision Therapy Can Help

Whether you or your child or having visual issues, your optometrist can help. Vision therapy can improve how your eyes work together. If you’re interested in vision therapy, contact your optometrist and see if you can benefit from this form of treatment. 

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
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax