OUR PATIENTS SEE THE DIFFERENCE
Vision Therapy is an individualized treatment program designed to correct visual-motor and/or perceptual-cognitive deficiencies. Vision Therapy sessions include treatments designed to enhance the brain’s ability to control:
- eye alignment
- eye tracking and eye teaming
- eye focusing abilities
- eye movements
- visual processing
Visual-motor skills and endurance are developed through the use of specialized computer and optical devices, including therapeutic lenses, prisms, and filters. During the final stages of therapy, the patient’s newly acquired visual skills are reinforced and made automatic through repetition and by integration with motor and cognitive skills.
WHO DOES IT BENEFIT?
Children and adults with visual challenges such as:
Learning-related Vision Problems
Vision Therapy can help those individuals who lack the necessary visual skills for effective reading, writing, and learning. This can include eye movement and focusing skills, convergence, eye-hand activity, visual memory skills, etc.
Poor Binocular Coordination
Vision Therapy helps individuals develop normal coordination and teamwork of the two eyes (binocular vision). When the two eyes fail to work together as an effective team, performance in many areas can suffer (reading, sports, depth perception, eye contact, etc.).
A common binocular (two-eyed) vision disorder and eye-teaming problem in which the eyes have a strong tendency to drift outward when reading or doing close work. If the eyes do drift out, the person is likely to have double vision. To prevent double vision, the individual exerts extra effort to make the eyes turn back in (converge). This extra effort can lead to a number of frustrating symptoms which interfere with the ability to read and work comfortably at near.
Amblyopia(lazy eye), Diplopia (double vision), and Strabismus (cross-eyed, wandering eye, eye turns, etc.)
Vision Therapy programs offer much higher cure rates for turned eyes when compared to eye surgery, glasses, and/or patching without therapy. The earlier the patient receives Vision Therapy the better, however, our office successfully treats patients well past 21 years of age. Recent scientific research has disproven the long held belief that children with amblyiopa (lazy eye) can’t be helped after age 7.
Stress-related Visual Problems (blurred vision, visual stress from reading and computers, eye strain headaches, and/or vision-induced stomachaches or motion sickness)
21st century life demands more from our vision than ever before. Many children and adults constantly use their near vision at school, work and home. Environmental stresses on the visual system (including excessive computer use or close work) can induce blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches, etc.
Visual Rehabilitation for Special Needs
Vision can be compromised as a result of neurological disorders or trauma to the nervous system. Vision Therapy can effectively treat the visual consequences of brain trauma, including those individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, birth injury, brain damage, head injury, whiplash, cerebral palsy, MS, etc. As well as, developmental delays, visual perceptual visual-motor deficits, attention deficit disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
DR. DAY AND DR. HATANAKA
VISION THERAPY PROGRAM
The first step in Dr. Day’s and Dr. Hatanaka’s Vision Therapy Program is a comprehensive Vision Therapy Consultation. This consultation determines whether a patient can benefit from vision therapy. The testing goes beyond 20/20 to evaluate many important visual skills, such as:
- Visual Acuity at Near – Is vision clear and single at close distances? Clear sight at short distances is critical to reading, writing, close work, computer use, etc.
- Eye Teaming Skills – Do the two eyes aim, move, and work as a coordinated team? Weaknesses in binocular (two-eyed) vision and eye teaming skills can cause numerous difficulties, including convergence insufficiency and poor depth perception.
- Focusing Skills – Do the eyes maintain clear vision at varying distances? Rapid, automatic eye focus adjustment is critical to learning, reading, writing, sports, etc. Deficiencies can cause visual fatigue, reduced reading comprehension, and/or avoidance of close work or other activities.
- Eye Movement Skills – Do eye movements show adequate muscle control, tracking, fixation, etc.? In the classroom, normal eye movements allow rapid and accurate shifting of the eyes along a line of print or from book to desk to board, etc. In sports, efficient eye movements contribute to eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time, and accurate tracking.
- Reversal Frequency – Is confusion or reversal of letters or words (b, d; p, q; saw, was; etc.) within the normal ranges for a given age? Past the age of seven, frequent visual and written reversals might indicate a visual perceptual dysfunction.
Once a patient is identified as being able to benefit from vision therapy, a course of treatment will be presented. Although each program is tailored to the patient’s specific needs, most programs are structured along the following guidelines:
- A progressive program of vision activities or procedures performed under the supervision of Dr. Day by her vision therapy assistant.
- Sessions which are generally conducted during 45 minute in-office visits once weekly.
- As well as supplemental activities done at home to develop and reinforce skills. This homework may include a specialized computer program, free-space activities, and/or close-work activities.
These procedures are prescribed to help patients develop or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities; improve visual comfort, ease, and efficiency; and/or change how a patient processes or interprets visual information.
FAQ about Vision Therapy
What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program prescribed to improve conditions like crossed-eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia) and to help you learn, relearn or reinforce specific vision skills. Such skills include eye movement control, focusing control , eye coordination and teamwork of the two eyes.
How does vision therapy work?
Like many skills, visual skills are developed. And since they are developed, they can generally be improved through proper therapeutic techniques. In vision therapy, the optometrist prescribes visual tasks to be practiced under controlled conditions. Repetition of these tasks enhances vision by straightening the alignment of the eyes.
What are some vision therapy procedures?
In addition to the use of lenses, prisms and filters, there are many different procedures that can be used in vision therapy. Some, using stereo-viewers or video games, may seem like child’s play. More sophisticated equipment and instruments are also used to increase the eye’s ability to see and the brain’s ability to understand the visual information.
How long does vision therapy take?
The length of time required for completion of a vision therapy program, including the number of visits per week, the length of each visit and the amount of out-of-office therapy, varies. This is dependent upon the type of vision problem(s) , how long the condition has existed , the motivation of the patient and the level of improvement desired.
A typical program may take from a few weeks to several months.
How will vision therapy affect my lifestyle?
Depending upon your vision condition , therapy can have a profound effect on your lifestyle. By undergoing vision therapy, you may find yourself looking at life in a whole new way. Your doctor of optometry can provide you with more specific information about how vision therapy can help improve your vision.
Free Vision Therapy Screening
We are pleased to offer a free vision therapy screening as a way to increase awareness about testing and treatment options for binocular vision problems. Sometimes patients suspect that they might have a vision problem but for whatever reason, have not had an eye exam. The results of this screening cannot give the patient a diagnosis for their individual case, but can indicate whether the patient should seek care from an optometrist who specializes in vision therapy.
Please contact our office at 415-925-9091 to request a vision therapy screening with our vision therapy assistant. The screening is only available on Monday and Wednesday afternoons at our main Larkspur location.
Want more information?
To read definitions of Vision Therapy by outside sources, see What is Vision Therapy? To browse through hundreds of stories written by parents, teachers, adults and children, go to a national catalog of Vision Therapy Success Stories. More information can also be found at College of Optometrists in Vision Development.