therapy: sounds like a good idea, right? After all, at ‘Rebuild Your Vision,’
we’re all about improving your vision naturally, and if this type of therapy
can help with other ailments too, what’s not to love? Unfortunately, for some
people, it’s not that simple. Vision therapy is much more controversial than
you may have thought.
therapy is a way to treat eye ailments and some learning disorders through a
series of eye exercises. Patients perform these exercises under the direct supervision of a developmental optometrist. The purpose of vision therapy is to improve eye coordination and visual perception. Sounds great, right? Keep reading to learn more about this controversial topic.
What Is Vision Therapy?
therapy is a highly individualized program meant to address each patient’s
unique vision/learning problems and rate of progress. It is a progressive
program that constantly challenges patients with new exercises and procedures.
Most doctors who treat patients with vision therapy see their patients once or
twice a week for 30 minutes to an hour. Some doctors may even give homework to
the patients to complete at home.
on the eye ailment or the learning disorder, the procedures of vision therapy
vary. Doctors use this therapy to help patients improve their fundamental
visual skills and abilities. Therapy proponents also use vision therapy to
alter how the patient processes or interprets visual information. The hope is
to also improve the patient’s visual comfort and efficiency.
are several specialized tools doctors use to perform visual therapy with
patients. These include: corrective lenses, therapeutic lenses, prism lenses,
optical filters, eye patches, computer software, balance boards and
visual-motor-sensory integration training devices.
Advocates of Vision Therapy
who are believers in the benefits of vision therapy believe that it will help
improve reading skills, learning disabilities and coordination. Doctors address
learning disabilities like Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder
through vision therapy.
of vision therapy believe that it is a great alternative to eyeglasses, contact
lenses and eye surgery. They believe that vision therapy can teach the vision
system to correct itself. They feel that vision therapy mimics physical therapy
used to address many medical issues.
are studies which have shown that vision therapy can correct vision problems
that interfere with reading among school-aged children. It is also found
to reduce eye strain for computer users (both in adults and children). But the biggest finding to aid in the push for validating visual therapy is directly related to neuroplasticity.
experts believe that certain irregularities associated with vision development,
visual perception or visual function can be altered by neuroplasticity. If
these components can change because of neuroplasticity, then vision therapy is
very likely to work. Some doctors believe they can treat accommodative
(focusing) disorders, amblyopia (lazy eye), binocular vision problems, eye
movement disorders, strabismus, and other problems with vision therapy
is commonplace for many other ailments, but vision therapy is often seen as a
snake oil treatment by many medical professionals. For instance, speech
therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy are widely accepted. But,
since a group of doctors (who were opposed to vision therapy) decided that
vision therapy can’t improve vision, this has become accepted as fact by many
people. These same doctors do not believe that vision has much to do with a
person’s ability to learn. But some less outspoken doctors and educators
believe wholeheartedly that vision therapy is the next step in overcoming
The Opposition: Why Is Vision Therapy
of the biggest opponents to vision therapy is the ‘American Academy of
Pediatrics.’ The American Academy of Ophthalmology is another opponent. These
two organizations released a joint statement in 2009 criticizing vision therapy
as “scientifically unsupported.”
Sheryl Handler of the American Academy of Ophthalmology wrote, “Ineffective,
controversial methods of treatment such as vision therapy may give parents and
teachers a false sense of security that a child’s learning difficulties are
being addressed, may waste family and/or school resources, and may delay proper
instruction or remediation.”