Adults: What is Vision Therapy (Behavioral Vision Care)?
Having a daily routine of eye exercises is becoming more relevant these days with the dramatic onset of computer use, and overall close-up work required daily for students and professionals. Eye exercises help maintain healthy vision, reduce or eliminate the effects of eyestrain, and ultimately help to preserve eyesight (see eye exercise programs further down the page).
In the case of learning disabilities, vision therapy is specifically directed toward resolving visual problems that interfere with reading, learning and educational instruction. Optometrists do not claim that vision therapy is a direct treatment for learning disabilities.
Vision therapy, a type of physical therapy for the eyes and brain, is a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems such as lazy eye, crossed eyes, double vision, convergence insufficiency and some reading and learning disabilities. Many patients who have been told, "it's too late," or "you'll have to learn to live with it" have benefited from vision therapy.
Who needs vision therapy?
The simple answer is: "Everybody!" All can benefit from more efficient vision. However, certain individuals will especially benefit from this type of care:
- those who use their near vision a great deal at work or school such as those that spend many hours everyday day on a computer, reading small print, examining small objects, etc.
- students who have been diagnosed as 'learning disabled'
- individuals who have suffered from a brain injury or other cerebral trauma
- people who are myopic (nearsighted), hyperoptic (farsighted), and/or have presbyopia (similar to farsightedness that begins usually after the age of 40.
- anyone interested in improving their vision naturally
History of Vision Therapy
Vision therapy is not new. Physicians in the mid-1800s originally introduced many of the techniques that are used today. Modern Optometric Vision Therapy was introduced in the United States in 1928. Throughout the years, vision therapy has been called various names such as visual training, orthoptics, or eye exercises.
The Bates Method for Improving Eyesight is a method discovered at the beginning of this century by Dr. W. H. Bates, M.D. (1865-1931), a prominent American ophthalmologist, developed the Bates Method for Improving Eyesight which focuses on improving sight and restoring natural habits of seeing, which have been lost through strain, tension and the resulting misuse of the eyes. Dr. Bates had learned to help people see without eyeglasses as early as 1891.
- What is computer vision syndrome (CVS)?
- Is eyestrain from binocular vision problems related to learning disability?
- What is vision therapy?
- Who needs vision therapy?
- Why did this happen to me?
- Will I have to do vision therapy forever?
- Can I wear glasses to avoid vision therapy?
- How much time do I have to spend doing vision therapy?
- What is accommodation?
- What is convergence?
- What is fusion?
- What is stereopsis?
- Research materials: Summary of studies on vision therapy
What is computer vision syndrome (CVS)?
It's a condition, recognized by the American Optometric Association, that affects users of computer monitors and causes eyestrain symptoms, such as blurred vision, dry or burning eyes, delayed focusing, and headaches. It can arise from failure of the eye muscles to work properly.
Is eyestrain from binocular vision problems related to learning disability?
Generally, yes. Children who tire easily from eye muscle problems have a greater workload when reading or using a computer. This additional load may make it harder for them to learn.
What is vision therapy?
Also called orthoptics or vision training, it's a treatment process for improving visual function including eye movement skills, accommodation and binocular vision. It involves a series of eye exercises of progressive difficulty, performed several times a week, until symptoms are resolved.
Who needs vision therapy?
People who have eye muscle problems that cause eyestrain symptoms - such as blurred vision, headaches, fatigue or concentration difficulty - including computer vision syndrome and vision-related learning problems.
Why did this happen to me?
Our eyes were not made to fixate on two-dimensional written pages or computer screens for hours at a time. Our eyes are more geared for the distance vision primarily used by people in agrarian societies.
Will I have to do vision therapy forever?
Usually, no. Once your eye muscles have been reeducated, they remember their new skills - and automatically use them all the time.
Can I wear glasses to avoid vision therapy?
Usually, no. You don't have a seeing problem, you have an eye muscle problem - that usually can't be helped by eyeglasses alone.
How much time do I have to spend doing vision therapy?
That depends on how quickly your eye muscles learn the needed skills. Most people need to practice computerized HTS Home Vision Therapy Program for 20 minutes a day, five days a week, for about two to three months.
What is accommodation?
The ability of the eyes to focus clearly on objects at various distances.
What is convergence?
The aiming of the eyes inwards towards an object.
What is fusion?
The process by which what is seen separately, by each eye, is integrated into a single perception.
What is stereopsis?
The ability to perceive relative depth -- due to each eye having a different vantage point -- commonly called 3D vision.
Vision Therapy Products for Use at Home
For Myopia (near-sightedness), Astigmatism and eye imbalances.
Program for Better Vision The best-selling step-by-step system to improve nearsightedness, astigmatism and eye imbalances in minutes a day. Easy to use eye exercises for better vision. Kit includes:
- 3 audiotapes
- 80-page Program Guide
- 2 Vision Charts
- Fusion String
- Toll-Free Support
For Presbyopia (middle-age vision) and Hyperopia (farsightedness)
Read Without Glasses Method developed by Dr. Ray Gottlieb, is an excellent program targeted to reverse presbyopia, or middle age sight. In as little as six minutes a day you can:
- Keep yourself from needing reading glasses
- See better up close without reading glasses
- See better in dim light
- Reduce the strength of your glasses
- Avoid, eliminate or reduce the need for bifocals.
DISCLAIMER: These vision therapy programs should not replace competent optometric or medical care, but should be used as an adjunct to your eye doctors evaluation.