How do I know if I need Vision Therapy?
Updated: Sep 14, 2022
Vision therapy is a doctor directed program (by an optometrist) that is aimed at training the brain and eyes to work together. Vision therapy helps to develop coordination of the visual system. Throughout a vision therapy treatment program, no muscles are being strengthened. This means that after the coordination has been developed, usually no maintenance is required.
Knowing whether or not vision therapy will be helpful can sometimes be a challenge. Searching for information online may be helpful, but it also may be confusing. Identifying a binocular vision dysfunction (this is what vision therapy treats) is not as easy as identifying a broken arm. Unless a clinician (usually an optometrist) is specifically looking for a binocular vision dysfunction, it may be missed.
Binocular vision delays that include strabismus (eye turn), and amblyopia are easier to identify. However, when the binocular dysfunction is not as obvious it is often helpful to consider the symptoms. Utilizing this survey may be helpful, otherwise symptoms of a binocular vision dysfunction include:
Feeling as though eyes straining, especially with near work
Headaches more so at the end of the day
Blurred vision, especially with near related tasks
Difficulty with reading efficiency
Omitting small words when reading
Adding different endings or beginnings to words when reading out loud
Finding an optometrist who understands binocular vision dysfunction is important. Often routine eye exams for glasses/contacts do not include tests for binocular vision dysfunction. Search for an optometrist that specializes in binocular vision and/or vision therapy, this is usually mentioned on the office website. Also, you can ask for a referral or recommendations when you are visiting your primary care optometrist. Another useful resource is covd.org, this website includes a “doctor locator” function that lists optometrists who are more inclined to test for binocular vision dysfunction.