What is Vision Therapy & How Could It Help My Child?
Vision therapy is a treatment option for correcting vision problems without the use of invasive surgery. Vision therapy consists of visual activities that work to correct sight issues or improve eye performance. This type of therapy can be used to replace, or in conjunction with, other types of vision care such as prescription glasses/contacts or surgery. Frames and lenses work to balance or compensate for an individual’s visual setbacks. Eye surgery changes the eye in order to correct the problem. There are some vision corrections that can’t be made through traditional methods and that is when vision therapy is even more essential.
How It Works
Vision therapy is really akin to physical therapy for the eyes. The goal is to retrain or teach the eyes the proper way of working so that they self correct. There are a variety of techniques that go into vision therapy including filters, lenses, digital technology, prisms and other tools.
The medical research behind neuroplasticity proves that the brain has the ability to change when subjected to external stimuli. These changes are not only present during childhood growth but are also possible in adults. Therefore, vision therapy is capable of inspiring neurological changes in vision.
Vision Therapy for Children
Often this method is popular for treating vision problems in children. Since a child’s body is still not fully developed and is consistently experiencing growth, therapy as opposed to surgery can be preferable. Also, there are studies that imply that vision therapy can assist in correcting reading problems within young children.
Eye strain, due to the increased use of technology, is another common issue with young people. Vision therapy can help in the case of computer vision syndrome or other types of digital eye strain.
Vision therapy works best when all parties are willing to participate – including the eye doctor, parents and the child. Often exercises will be assigned to complete at home since this type of therapy needs regular practice.
If you believe your child is experiencing setbacks that could be due to a potential vision problem, the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with their eye doctor. This way a professional can check your child’s vision for common issues such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
This vision test should give you a good indication of your child’s visual strengths and weaknesses. If glasses are not prescribed and the exam comes back with perfect or near perfect vision, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t something visually keeping your child from being successful. The next step would be checking with an optometrist to do a comprehensive eye exam. Be sure to pick a professional with experience in binocular vision and vision therapy so they know to look beyond the basics.
Unfortunately, there is information out there that might suggest that vision therapy will work for certain learning disorders and disabilities. Since conditions, like dyslexia, are triggered by the brain and not by eyesight – vision therapy is not an avenue to select for treatment. This is also true for other learning setbacks. Vision therapy is designed to self-correct problems with sight but many learning disabilities are due to different wiring in the brain.
While vision therapy isn’t for everyone, it can be a remarkable solution to a challenging situation. It’s difficult, as a parent, to watch your child experiencing setbacks at school. If vision therapy can help improve your child’s reading experience – it is certainly worth trying a method that is non-invasive instead.