Vision therapy is a personalized vision treatment program prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. It is also called reeducation or visual rehabilitation. Its purpose is to reduce the problems related to the precision of the movements of the eyes, the focusing and the coordination between the two eyes. An eyecare professional who is specialized in vision therapy prescribes vision exercises for his patients to do every day. The treatment is a tailor-made visual exercise program to correct vision problems. Thus, the eye muscles become more efficient, thanks to the prescribed exercises.

Who is vision therapy for?
This type of therapy can be prescribed for both adults and children. However, children are more commonly prescribed these exercises because their visual system is still in the developing process. Thus, vision therapy can improve certain visual skills that have not developed normally. For example, the therapy is able to correct amblyopia, a condition commonly called "lazy eye". Amblyopia is characterized by poor vision in one eye compared to the other. This condition can be completely resolved if treated before the age of six. Amblyopia can be corrected by glasses or visual rehabilitation, depending on the case.

Vision therapy can also help little children with learning in school. A dysfunction of the eye movements can affect certain skills, especially in class. After a successful vision therapy program, eyestrain can be reduced and reading can be easier.

What techniques are used in visual rehabilitation?
Traditional tools, such as a stick with a small target, can be used by eyecare professionals during vision therapy. Some exercises can also be done on a computer, using specialized software.

What medical conditions can be treated with vision therapy?
Vision therapy is used to treat squinting and other eye alignment problems. It can also treat eye movement disorders, head trauma issues, and accommodation difficulties, such as difficulty focusing.

Young man during his vision therapy exam

What happens during a vision therapy session?
It is during an eye exam that an optometrist can diagnose vision problems which can be treated during a vision therapy session. During the visual assessment, the patient passes various tests with the optometrist, including an eye mobility test. It involves following a target at the end of a stick with your eyes that the optometrist moves in order to examine the movements of the eyes. Following diagnosis, realignment therapy may be recommended. The optometrist prescribes visual exercises every day, and follows up a few weeks later. In some situations, therapy will not be effective. In this case, eye surgery can sometimes be considered, as well as the installation of prisms or filters in the patient's glasses. To increase the chances of successful visual rehabilitation, eyecare professionals must rely on the patient's attendance and willingness to perform the prescribed visual exercises. Vision therapy can last a few weeks, several months or a year, depending on the case.

To ensure that your eyes and those of your children are working properly, don't forget to have a regular eye exam! Do you have any other questions regarding vision therapy? Consult your optometrist for more information.