Vision disorders are one of the most underdiagnosed yet common conditions in the World today. Vision therapy is a result of modern medicine that offers numerous strategies to ease or possibly alleviate these vision disorders that can affect every aspect of life, from driving to learning and socializing.
Vision therapy is a treatment developed by optometrists, who specialize in how vision is used, known as behavioral optometry or developmental optometry. This is different than the standard optometrist, who identifies and corrects defects in acuity (clarity) and looks at basic eye health – mostly known as “20/20” vision.
Optometry looks at eyes that are otherwise healthy, but function poorly due to disruptions in development or brain injury, this is different from Ophthalmology, which is a specialty that focuses on pathology (disease) of the eye. Because the brain tells the eyes what to do, vision can be poor even when standard eye tests have found nothing wrong. Vision therapy is a non-invasive and proven effective option in addressing a variety of vision issues, including eye turn, “lazy eye” (amblyopia), convergence insufficiency, double vision, and more. There are numerous benefits to vision therapy, and it can be used to treat a wide variety of disorders, including:
There are many aspects to Optometry including; general practice, contact lens, refraction, education, pathology, low vision, public health, syntonic, electrodiagnostic, research, rehabilitation, and behavioral to name some. It is important to remember they are all a part of Optometry.
The expression “your perception is your reality” comes to my mind when I start to think of behavioral Optometry. How we acquire, process and put meaning to visual information all fall under the umbrella of modern Optometry. Starting at birth, movement and the visual process are inseparable from each other. How anyone interprets and seeks out or responds to visual information contributes to situational judgements, which manifest as behaviors that are clues to the use of the visual process.
Optometry, practiced in a behavioral way, is looking at how one’s vision should reflect Optometric data, observations and patient behavior. These clues can be used to diagnose, design treatment alternatives, guide treatment and even to judge treatment outcomes. Looking at the visual process in such a holistic way opens up many more options for life long quality-of-life patient care.
Practicing the behavioral aspects of Optometry is an exciting way to view your patients’ visual conditions and enjoy a dynamic full scope career in Optometry. Optometry Changes Lives!
Blurred vision, sleepiness when reading, reluctance to drive, covering one eye, head tilt, blind spots, floaters, double vision, dizziness, problems with depth perception, poor memory, needing to re-read frequently, and problems with eye tracking all could potentially indicate a vision disorder. Left untreated, symptoms can cause frustration, anxiety, fatigue, and lower quality of life.
The first step towards determining if you or a child may benefit from vision therapy is a full eye exam by a licensed provider. These exams go beyond the standard “20/20″ exam in order to find potential problems in how the brain processes information from the eyes, rather than only testing the physical capability of the eyes to see. This can uncover issues that would be missed in most standard vision exams. The comprehensive exam includes close vision acuity, color blindness, how well the eyes team together, how well they make the transition from near to far, tracking and focus, eye movement skills, vision-vestibular integration, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, primitive reflexes, and more.
To learn more about the education of Vision Therapy and OEPF’s research in this field, please consult our other website pages.