Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vision Therapy information from the Health Insurance Network

The Vision Help Blog has uncovered some great information on vision therapy from the Health Insurance Network.  As noted by Vision Help, it was not always easy to find knowledgeable, up-to-date and bias-free information about vision therapy from groups outside of optometric organizations.  Indeed, other groups generally lack the in-depth knowledge to talk about vision therapy intelligently.

The Health Insurance Network has succeeded in putting together some accurate, easy to understand and basic information on vision therapy that should be very informative for anyone seeking information about vision therapy or developmental optometry.  It's so good that we may start printing it and giving it to patients who are referred to us by other doctors for vision therapy as a good introduction.

Here is the Health Insurance Network on vision therapy:

Vision Therapy for Children

Vision therapy is a type of treatment that can be prescribed by optometrists in order to improve and correct certain types of vision problems. Usually, these types of vision problems cannot be helped solely by the use of glasses or contact lenses that are soft, so vision therapy is used in order to provide patients with some relief. Like physical therapy helps the body, vision therapy helps the eyes. Both visual function and performance are improved when patients use this therapy, and it’s a popular option for dealing with disorders in kids.

Vision therapy is mostly used to treat problems that children have when they are using their eyes up close for activities such as reading or writing, especially when they are doing so at school. If a child has problems when it comes to eye teaming, tracking, or focusing, it can make it virtually impossible for the child to focus on the tasks at hand and to learn anything in school. Vision therapy can also be used to treat lazy eyes or crossed eyes, and these treatments are done all without the use of surgery.

Vision therapy programs are all different, so your child needs to be seen by a doctor for an evaluation and a diagnostic. The optometrist will look at your child’s eye health as well as tell his or her visual acuity. Overall, the doctor is going to be looking at an evaluation of the child’s tracking, eye teaming, focusing, and eye-hand coordination skills. Sometimes, doctors take computerized recordings of a child’s eye movement while he or she is reading, as this can help to determine what the real issues are. If you want your child to go through a visual therapy program, all of this needs to be done.

Undergoing Vision Therapy

If your child needs vision therapy, his or her course of treatment is going to depend on what your eye doctor thinks is best. Your child’s doctor may rely on a variety of different procedures that include the use of things like prisms, lenses, and other instrumentation. The doctor will lead your child through a variety of different visual exercises that are designed to help your child return to normal vision. Keep in mind that your child’s treatment is going to differ from treatment used on others. Keep faith that your eye doctor is going to know what is best.

Vision therapy is something that your child will have to really take seriously, and it will often require work outside the doctors office. Most of the time, your eye doctor is going to recommend home therapy as a means of reinforcing the skills that your child is learning during treatment. Throughout the course of the therapy, the child is going to be seen regularly by the doctor in order to determine progress, but this therapy might be something that goes on for a number of months. Treatment goals will need to be met before moving on.

Vision Therapy and Learning

The great thing about vision therapy for children is that it can go a long way in helping your child with vision-based learning problems. A lot of children have these type of problems and they can go unnoticed for a long time. If you take the time to talk with your child about his or her vision and you consider using vision therapy, you could help your child have a lot more academic success. If you suspect that your child might have a vision issue that is making learning difficult, see an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What is 3D Vision Syndrome?

The proliferation of 3D media in movies, video games and in the classroom is bring a new vision disorder into focus: 3D Vision Syndrome, or 3DVS.  Here is a video produced by the American Optometric Association that does a good job of summing up lots of science and research into a short and easily understandable presentation:

3DVS  is comprised of a group of symptoms that, taken together, indicate a functional vision disorder while watching 3D content. Symptoms include but are not limited to visual discomfort and fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, eyestrain, diplopia (double vision), dizziness/nausea and vision induced motion sickness after watching a 3D movie, 3D television or atfer playing a 3D video game.

Most people with 3DVS have an problem with the the way their eyes work together or focus.  Eye movement problems like this are often classified as binocular vision problems, the most common of which is convergence insufficiency.  Binocular vision problems are effectively treated with vision therapy.  To read research studies on convergence insufficiency and binocular binocular vision, click here.

A famous case of a developmental optometrist using vision therapy to treat 3D vision problems was the subject of the book Fixing My Gaze as well as the New Yorker piece by Oliver Sacks titled "Stereo Sue".