Who Is a Candidate for Vision Therapy?
It seems incongruous that someone can see very clearly, yet experience vision-related challenges. But that’s the reality for people who have an excellent vision but lack what’s known as “visual skills.” The ability to track the path of a thrown ball or to read a sentence in a book both require well-developed visual skills. Such skills can be learned, at any age. Dr. Denise Smith can offer customized vision therapy to help people develop their visual skills and reach their potential.
Signs That a Person’s Visual Skills Need Improvement
Some children and adults with even excellent eyesight need help to improve their visual skills. They may misjudge the distance to the curb while riding a bike or driving a car or lack the hand-brain coordination needed to catch a ball. While reading, they may inadvertently skip lines of text. The strain of reading may cause them to rub their eyes, suffer from headaches, become fatigued or lose concentration, or hold books too close to their eyes. Their vision may become blurry. Their reading comprehension lags and homework goes undone.
It’s no small matter. Approximately 1 of every 10 children has a visual problem that hinders learning, and unless addressed, the problem will continue into adulthood. Vision-related challenges affect a person’s performance in school, at work, and even while playing sports.
What Vision Therapy Is and How It Can Help
Through a customized program, vision therapy can significantly improve the way the eyes and brain work together to achieve clear and comfortable vision at all times. Although vision therapy does not cure learning disabilities, it’s important that an eye doctor rule out visual problems, and treat them if diagnosed.
Vision therapy begins with a comprehensive eye examination with Dr. Denise Smith to test for visual acuity, depth perception, and whether the eyes are working in tandem; if vision problems are identified, Dr. Denise Smith can prescribe vision therapy, which would include exercises taught in the office once or twice a week, and reinforced through practicing at home.
Who Can Benefit from Vision Therapy
Vision therapy can help patients with these and other eye conditions:
- Amblyopia (“lazy eye”): the vision in one eye is weaker because there is a stronger connection between the stronger eye than the weaker eye
- Strabismus (“crossed eyes”): the eyes point in two different directions due to weak cranial nerves.
- Double vision
- Binocular-vision problems: eye strain that results from the eyes being slightly misaligned and not teaming as they should
- Eye-movement disorders, eye-alignment problems (“turned eye” or “squint”), and eye-coordination problems
- Accommodative disorders: trouble maintaining focus on a close-by object
- Ocular motility dysfunctions: abnormal eye alignment or difficulty controlling eye movements
- Visual-perceptual disorders and vision problems resulting from developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries
Vision therapy does not cure dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But many children and adults with these conditions also have visual problems, so a comprehensive eye exam is an important first step. Treating concurrent visual problems improves the lives of people who also have learning disabilities.
The Center for Vision Development serves patients in Austin, Waco, Round Rock, Buda/Kyle, and throughout Texas. We welcome your inquiries about whether vision therapy is right for you or your child.