Vision therapy is the art and science of developing visual skills to optimize vision, performance and comfort. These programs are designed to improve vision in a lazy eye (amblyopia), get the eyes working together in strabismus (eye turn), make the eyes work more efficiently to reduce eye strain, and/or improve school performance by eliminating vision-related problems. Glasses, contact lenses, and laser eye surgery make it possible for most of us to see 20/20, but there is more to good vision than just seeing well. Despite having 20/20 vision, these conditions will affect the ability to use the eyes efficiently and in addition to causing negative symptoms, they can sometimes contribute to learning and reading difficulties. The goal of therapy is to teach the visual system to correct itself to provide lasting benefits.
Unlike other forms of exercise, the goal of Optometric Vision Therapy is not to strengthen eye muscles. Your eye muscles are already incredibly strong. Instead, Vision Therapy aims to retrain the learned aspects of vision through the recently-understood concept of neuroplasticity: the ability to change its structure and function in response to external stimuli. And these neurological changes in the brain, once thought to occur only during early childhood, have been demonstrated to occur in adults as well. It seeks to "rewire" or rehabilitate the neural connections between the eye and the brain. This approach is also common to occupational therapy and speech therapy. Unlike eyeglasses and contact lenses, which simply compensate for vision problems, or eye surgery that alters the anatomy of the eye or surrounding muscles, vision therapy aims to "teach" the visual system to correct itself so that the patient can perform to his or her full potential in school and in life.
Our optometrists test a patient’s visual and ocular-motor skill level to assess the need for Vision Therapy. Conditions we treat include: amblyopia, strabismus, convergence insufficiency, general binocular dysfunction, traumatic brain injuries, oculomotor dysfunctions, and vision information processing deficits. Vision therapy can include the use of lenses, prisms, filters and computer-assisted visual activities. Other devices, such as balance boards, metronomes and non-computerized visual instruments also can play an important role in a customized vision therapy program.
It is important to note that vision therapy is not defined by a simple list of tools and techniques. Successful vision therapy outcomes are achieved through a therapeutic process that depends on the active engagement of the prescribing doctor, the vision therapist, the patient and (in the case of children) the child's parents.
Overall, the goal of vision therapy is to treat vision problems that cannot be treated successfully with eyeglasses, contact lenses and/or surgery alone, and help people achieve clear, comfortable binocular vision.
The first step for any vision therapy program is a complete vision assessment to accurately diagnose a visual problem and determine whether vision therapy would be the appropriate treatment. After a referral is made to see Dr. Tong, she will complete a thorough evaluation using various tools and lenses and recommend a treatment plan if required. Sometimes a DVA (Developmental Vision Analysis) might be recommended. Scroll down to the “What is a DVA?” link to learn more about that.
What should I expect during Vision Therapy?
The vision therapy patient will go through an individualized program of exercises and procedures that help patients develop or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities, and improve efficiency and comfort.
Therapy is accomplished under direct supervision of the optometrist 1-2 times per week for 45 minutes at a time. Therapy is continued throughout the week with 15-20 minutes of daily “homework” to reinforce the visual skills learned in sessions.
Many techniques and equipment will be used throughout the course of therapy, such as corrective and therapeutic lenses, prism lenses, eye patches, computer systems, and visually directed games and exercises.
What are the Benefits of therapy?
What is the duration of therapy?
Individual sessions of vision therapy are 45 minutes in length: 30 minutes of active therapy and 15 minutes to go over home exercises. The length of therapy will vary depending on the condition, the patient’s motivation and the patient’s commitment to completing home exercises.
#102-7885 6th Street
Burnaby, BC V3N 3N4
Phone: (604) 526-3937
|Monday:||9:30am - 5:00pm|
|Tuesday:||9:30am - 5:00pm|
|Wednesday:||9:30am - 5:00pm|
|Thursday:||9:30am - 5:00pm|
|Friday:||9:30am - 5:00pm|
|Saturday:||9:30am - 4:00pm|
40388 Tantalus Road
Squamish, BC V0N 1T0
Phone: (604) 390-3788
|Tuesday:||10:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:30-2:00|
|Wednesday:||10:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:30-2:00|
|Thursday:||10:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:30-2:00|
|Friday:||10:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:30-2:00|
|Saturday:||10:00am - 3:00pm|
639 2nd Ave West
Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1H1
Phone: (250) 627-8892
|Monday:||9:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:00-2:00|
|Tuesday:||9:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:00-2:00|
|Wednesday:||9:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:00-2:00|
|Thursday:||9:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:00-2:00|
|Friday:||9:00am - 5:00pm closed 1:00-2:00|