These days vision therapy (VT) is something you may hear among fellow parents and even in the workplace. Read on to find out 10 things about vision therapy!
1. What is vision therapy?
Vision Therapy is a doctor supervised customized program of visual activities (think of it like physiotherapy for the eyes). It is designed to improve and treat an individual’s visual function. The goal is to improve visual skills by fixing the areas in the brain that aren’t wired correctly through eye exercises.
2. How long till I will see improvement?
It varies in each person, but most children will see an improvement in the first 10 weeks. Vision therapy for adults take a bit longer because as young children we have better plasticity of the brain (just like how it’s easier to learn languages when you’re a kid). Although learning happens faster when you’re younger it is still possible to see changes in your adult life!
3. What age is too late for VT?
Simply put, it’s never too late for vision therapy! If you have a visual dysfunction or challenge that you want to see improve, then there is never a time limit on when you can start to fix it.
4. What is an in-office session like?
In-office sessions are 50 mins long and are 1 on 1 with a vision therapist or optometrist. Progress checks are done every 8-10 weeks to ensure progress is being made. This allows the vision therapist/optometrist to adjust the program of activities to address the new weakness.
Overall it takes 20-40 weeks of vision therapy depending on the complexity of the issue.
5. What is the time commitment in between sessions?
While you or your child are in the training phase (while you are doing vision therapy), it is recommended to devote 10-15 mins a day for exercises 6 out of 7 days a week. We’re not asking much for long term results!
6. Do I have to do vision therapy forever?
Absolutely not! After you have an evaluation with the doctor, the length of the program will be discussed. Once you have completed your weeks of active therapy those new skills are yours to keep and are permanent. Pretty awesome.
7. What is the youngest age for someone to begin vision therapy?
Vision therapy can start as young as 5-6 years old but the formal in office sessions are more geared towards children 7 years and older, as there is better understanding of instructions.
8. As a parent, what signs would my child display that would indicate that they may need VT or what would I need to look for in myself?
Physical changes like an eye turns or a lazy eye are worth discussing with your optometrist. At school, if your child is failing to keep up or is having challenges with letter or word reversals past grade 3.
At home, something to watch for is if you notice your child has difficulty processing visual information – for example your child is looking at a pile of shoes and can’t find her own. These are just a few examples that may warrant further investigation.
9. Can any optometrist do VT?
No. Our vision therapy optometrists are part of COVTR (Canadian Optometrists in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation). This is a Canadian group of optometrists that have dedicated many hours of additional education to specialize in VT.
10. How do I get started?
First you will need an annual comprehensive eye exam to rule out any diseases that can mimic vision issues. Our optometrists will be able to identify any visual issues that can be improved with VT.
Afterwards a developmental vision assessment can be scheduled with a vision therapy optometrist to analyze visual skills and visual information processing. The VT optometrist will review results and create a treatment plan for your, or your child’s visual needs.