There are some vision problems that can be improved without invasive eye surgery. Conditions such as double vision and crossed eyes may be alleviated with non-surgical treatment such as vision therapy. If you or your children suffer from any of these issues, consider talking to an eye care professional about participating in a vision therapy regimen. The following guide provides a primer on the technique and how it can help improve eye health and overall quality of life.
Conditions That Vision Therapy Can Improve
If you suffer from amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, you may have problems with depth perception and favor one eye over the other. In addition, your eyes may not appear to be in alignment. One eye may wander outward or inward. Vision therapy is a common treatment for lazy eye.
Other eye movement problems that eye specialists treat with vision therapy include strabismus and phoria. Strabismus occurs when you cannot keep your eyes aligned properly when reading or focusing on close objects. Phoria is eye misalignment that occurs intermittently when you attempt to focus on a single object.
With vision therapy, eye specialists can help you learn how to focus on objects and improve your eye movement control. While you may still need to wear corrective lenses, with vision therapy you may experience less eye strain, minimal double vision or fewer headaches when you are reading and performing tasks that require concentrating on objects close to your face.
Types of Vision Therapy
The main types of vision therapy include adhering to a program of eye exercises recommended by an eye specialist.
Behavioral vision therapy includes exercises that help to improve visual perception, concentration and eye tracking. Orthoptic vision therapy helps to improve your binocular vision so both eyes can focus on an object together. You can also obtain vision therapy treatment to help improve nearsightedness.
Depending on your specific condition, eye specialists will use some of the following tools to help you complete eye exercises:
- Eye patches
- Optical filters
- Computer software
- Timed electronic targets on LED light boards
- Prism lenses
- Balance beams and boards
- Syntonics (applying light frequencies through an eye)
- Convex and concave lenses
Some vision therapy also includes playing games with a Marsden ball, a tool used to help athletes improve their spatial recognition. The ball has letters and numbers printed on the surface. You complete sets of exercises that include focusing on the symbols of the ball without moving your head.
Vision Therapy and Learning Disabilities
If you or your child suffers from vision problems as well as a learning disability, your optometrist may suggest vision therapy as a supplement to other treatments.
As soon as you notice that your child has trouble reading out loud or writing, you should schedule a comprehensive vision exam. Vision therapy can alleviate symptoms of common learning disabilities. With proper treatment, you or your child can overcome problems such as losing your place while reading and difficulty focusing on printed content.
Vision therapy can also help you read for long periods of time without suffering from eye fatigue. For children, the earlier problems like lazy eye and double vision are diagnosed, the earlier they can be reversed with the help of vision therapy techniques.
In general, vision therapy may be an effective treatment for common eye problems. While it may not prevent you from having to wear glasses or contacts, it can enhance your overall eye health. Instead of thinking that you have to go through life with conditions like crossed eyes that affect your appearance, seek help from a medical professional that specializes in vision therapy.
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