Not many parents or children with sight deficiencies have heard about vision therapy. Vision therapy is an eyesight improvement program that includes various eye exercises and activities meant to eliminate sight problems. The program is customized, so it deals with the specific problem of a certain patient, and it is supervised by a doctor.
Vision therapy can be used by both children and adults. It involves a series of activities designed to improve eye movements and the connection of the eyes with the visual center in the brain
Although vision therapy is a scientifically based strategy of treating sight problems, some optometrists are reluctant to recommend it, suggesting that only glasses or surgery are efficient and reliable solutions. However, not all optometrists are trained and knowledgeable about vision therapy, and that is what might cause their skepticism. Add the fact that those people make money from prescribing glasses or surgery, and you will understand why vision therapy is not as popular as it should be, considering its amazing results.
What Is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy includes various activities meant to educate the visual system, so that it corrects itself. People who suffer from sight problems are encouraged to do eye exercises that force the visual system to adapt better to the environment. Depending on the problem of the individual, different types of tasks are suggested.
In time, this re-education program for the visual system will lead to an improvement in your symptoms, a clearer vision, less tension, and better performance.
…and this is achieved without surgery – just through a set of training activities.
In vision therapy, many specialists use prisms, computerized activities and lenses that do nothing more than to diversify the activities the patient’s eyes are encouraged to perform. Vision therapy is a complex process that involves not only techniques and instruments, but also the perseverance and ambition of the patient, doctor, and vision therapist. Recovery can be a lengthy process, but has some of the most impressive results, especially with children.
When Is Vision Therapy Recommended?
Sometimes, glasses or surgery are not viable solutions to eyesight problems. Vision therapy is an alternative to standard treatments, and works best in cases of reading problems among schoolchildren, computer vision syndrome, lazy eye, strabismus, or eye movement disorders. This type of therapy is usually prescribed for children, but it can also work for adults. Here are the most common eye problems that can be treated through vision therapy:
1. Lazy eye – this condition is diagnosed especially in children, and it refers to the situation when an eye is less developed than the other one. In order for the lazy eye to regain visual clarity and a normal developmental level, vision therapy exercises are suggested.
2. Eye movement disorders – correct eye movement is necessary for clear vision. Patients who suffer from eye movement disorders can train their eyes through vision therapy, so the movements become accurate, and vision is improved.
3. Strabismus – This condition refers to improper eye alignment or eye turn. Many children who suffer from this problem can eliminate it and achieve proper eye alignment through vision therapy. The best results are achieved in the case of convergence insufficiency, a form of strabismus diagnosed in children who cannot keep their eyes aligned when reading, but do not have any problems when looking at distant objects.
4. Focusing disorders – when the child has problems focusing, vision therapy can help the eyes focus properly through different activities.
Why Vision Therapy Works
Vision therapy is a scientifically proven treatment method. The research in vision therapy and the assumptions it is based on are aligned with the newest discoveries in neuroscience. One concept of great importance in vision therapy is neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to adapt continuously, improve, and learn, no matter the age of the individual.
Scientists have established that learning modifies the structure of the brain. This fact alone gives a lot of credibility to the power of vision training. Vision therapy is, in fact, a learning program, and its results can be seen at the neurological level. The neurological changes caused by vision therapy are the ones that explain the improvement of sight and the impressive reduction of the initial symptoms.
In other words, the therapy program trains the brain and eyes to see better, and corrects all the disorders that caused the symptoms in the first place.
The goal of vision therapy is to correct not only ocular problems, but also the visual function and the areas of the brain that control vision. This therapy is aimed at the entire visual system. This includes the eyes, the surrounding muscles, the nerves, the brain and the visual functions. Through this holistic approach, vision therapists hope to make lasting changes in the visual system, so that eyesight problems never return.
How Much Does Vision Therapy Cost?
Because it is a long and complex process that requires the joint efforts of both optometrist and vision therapist, vision therapy could seem to be a little pricy. After all, it is a customized program that takes into consideration the specific needs of every patient. Unfortunately, not many parents can afford vision therapy for their children. And, to make matters worse, insurance policies do not cover for vision therapy.
So what is the alternative?
The Bates Method
The Bates method is a natural solution to eye problems, and it resembles vision therapy in many ways. This method suggests doing various eye exercises, in order to improve eyesight, improve focusing and visual clarity. Unlike vision therapy, the Bates method can be applied at home, without the supervision of a doctor. It is free and has no risks, so there is no downside to trying it.
So, in case you or your children have been diagnosed by a specialist with an eye condition that responds well to vision therapy, but you cannot afford it, you could try the Bates method. This method has proven to be successful, and many people report that it has helped them improve their vision.
To learn more about how you can use natural vision improvement techniques at home, click the link to read my article on how to improve eyesight naturally.