Vision therapy is a non-surgical means of treating different types of focusing, tracking and eye teaming disorders. It involves in-clinic therapy and at-home training procedures to make the eyes and brain work together more efficiently. The treatments are individualized to each patient’s diagnosis and involve a course of therapy activities and progress evaluations lasting about three to nine months, depending on the diagnosis. Using prescription lenses, prisms, patches, filters and other patient-specific equipment, the optometrist is able to set up conditions by which a patient can gain meaningful insights regarding the use of their vision and learn to properly develop or improve their visual skills.
How Vision Affects Learning
Vision involves three areas of brain activity: Visual Input; Visual Processing; and Visual-Motor Output. If any of these three areas is compromised, there can be reduced efficiency with one’s overall learning process. In many cases where a person’s vision may interfere with learning, a child’s eyesight at far is 20/20 or better. Because most school screenings test distance visual acuity alone and do not assess a child’s eye tracking, eye teaming, focusing or perceptual skills, parents who have a child that passes a school vision screening may remain under the false impression that their child’s vision is just fine. It is not unusual that children and adults who struggle in the classroom and/or workplace may have an undiagnosed vision problem interfering with efficient performance. They can often be associated with a host of observable signs and symptoms (see checklist).
Vision problems that go undetected can be major contributors to behaviors such as difficulty concentrating and poor attention to detail. With proper diagnosis and treatment, nearpoint activities such as reading may improve significantly, comprehension increases, and even sports performance can improve. It is important to watch for visual disorder symptoms in both children and adults.
The first step in setting up an exam is to take the Symptoms Checklist and record the score. If you are referred by an Optometrist please have the records faxed from your most recent eye exam to our office prior to your exam. (701) 772-8161
The exam process is set up with at least two of three separate appointments: a Comprehensive Vision Examination (amended or omitted if a previous exam has been performed) and a Visual Efficiency Evaluation. When developmental delays are suspected, a third evaluation of Visual Information Processing may also be required, especially if such testing has not been been done previously. After these evaluations, a detailed report will be sent to the parents and interested parties and a conference scheduled with the doctor to review the results.
We require that all paperwork is completed prior to your arrival. Please click on the links below and print out the required forms.
The consult is for the parents and/or any professionals the parents would like have to sit in.
We will review the exam results and discuss treatment options.
Vision Therapy FAQ
Many vision problems do not require surgery for correction. In these situations, vision therapy is typically an option. Vision therapy is a form of physical therapy used on the eyes and brain. It is designed to resolve vision problems that can contribute to learning disabilities. This therapy can also be used an effective treatment for problems like lazy eye, crossed eyes, or double vision.
Common Questions about Vision Therapy
There is more to vision therapy than simply strengthening the eyes. It also enhances the neurological connections between the eyes and the brain. Eyes are the windows of the brain. It directly influences sight based on how it interprets images received. A healthy connection between the eyes and the brain is essential for good eyesight.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the nature of vision therapy:
How does vision therapy work?
It uses progressive vision exercises performed under the supervision of your eye care provider. Each set of exercises is tailored to meet the individual visual needs of a patient. These exercises are done 1-2 times per week in sessions lasting 30 minutes to a full hour. The exercises are designed to continue until visual processing problems show improvement.
What is the purpose of the vision exercises?
Vision exercises are designed to help patients improve basic visual skills that connect the eyes with the brain. These exercises can improve visual efficiency by changing how a patient interprets images. This helps them see and understand images correctly.
Do these exercises simply strengthen eye muscles?
Nothing about vision therapy is centered on strengthening eye muscles. These muscles can be strengthened through orthoptics if they need strengthening. This therapy is all about improving vision problems that may interfere with learning by strengthening the neurological pathways between the eyes and the brain.
What is the first step in a vision therapy program?
A comprehensive vision exam is necessary before starting therapy. Following the exam, your eye care provider can determine whether or not this type of therapy is the recommended treatment for your vision problems.
Is there scientific evidence that it really works?
It does work. Studies on vision therapy show it is effective in improving the lives of patients. Data shows that this therapy can improve visual function enough to keep it from interfering with a patient's ability to absorb information and learn. In its own sphere, this therapy is as effective as physical therapy or occupational therapy..
Who typically needs vision therapy?
It can be a useful tool for helping children and adults alike. Children with learning or reading problems can benefit from the vision boost these exercises provide. Eyeglasses are not the solution when the problem is visual processing. These problems can't be detected without tests done by an eye doctor. Adults can see vision improvement through this therapy as well. It can help curb eye-strain related vision processing problems brought on by working with computers all day.