Vision therapy is a type of rehabilitation therapy that involves the eyes and brain to help children and adults with vision problems develop and improve visual skills. Vision therapy is offered to individuals when certain conditions cannot be adequately treated with glasses, contact lenses, patching or surgery alone. It can be a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems. To be effective, treatments are individualized to each patient’s visual motor and/or perceptual-cognitive abilities.
Common Conditions Which May Benefit from Vision Therapy
- Accommodative (Focusing) Disorders: This refers to when a person struggles to bring an object into focus clearly for a prolonged period of time due to muscle weakness. This causes objects to look fuzzy or blurred.
- Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): This is when the brain causes the person to favor one eye over the other which then suppresses images from the affected eye.
- Strabismus: When the eye is either constantly or intermittently turned in or out causing affected eye images to be suppressed.
- Convergence Insufficiency: When the eye muscles are unable to coordinate to see properly at near or far distances due to muscle weakness.
- Visual Processing Deficiencies: These may be due to stroke, traumatic brain injury or developmental disorders
Signs You or Someone You Know May Benefit from Vision Therapy
- Skipping words or letters when reading or writing
- Reversed or substituted words when reading or writing
- Below average reading performance in a child
- Poor handwriting skills
- Eyes feeling hurt or fatigued
- Excessive dry, watery or red eyes
- Motion sickness
- Poor body awareness making it difficult to participate in sports or making the individual prone to falls
- Difficulty with driving
Treatment for Visual Therapy
At Virginia Gay Hospital, our occupational therapy staff is trained to assess visual deficits with a comprehensive visual examination that includes an eye screen and other supplemental tests depending on the areas of concern. After this, an individualized care plan is implemented using a variety of activities, such as eye exercises, target tracking, hand-eye coordination, balance boards, visual motor and perceptual integration and computer software to address a variety of visual deficits. If you are struggling with daily tasks that rely heavily on your vision like school work or driving, please see your opthamologist/optometrist for a formalized examination and then he/she will provide you with a referral. Our therapy department will work closely with your provider to assure your vision needs are being met.
To learn more about therapy services at Virginia Gay Hospital, visit our Therapy Services web page.
Elizabeth Bonorden, OTR/L
Virginia Gay Hospital