Optometric vision therapy is a therapeutic process and can be thought of as physical therapy of the eyes, the body, and the brain. It is effective, non-surgical treatment for vision problems such as lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), difficulties focusing (accommodation), difficulties tracking (ocular motor dysfunction) and eye teaming (binocular vision: i.e convergence insufficiency).
Optometric vision therapy works on the enhancement of the visual skills, including:
1. The ability to follow a moving object smoothly, accurately, and effortlessly with both eyes while at the same time think, talk, read or listen without losing alignment of eyes. This pursuit ability is used to read a book, follow a ball or a person, to guide a pencil while writing, to read numbers on moving railroad box cars, etc.
2. The ability to fix the eyes on a series of stationary objects quickly and accurately, with both eyes, and at the same know what each object is; a skill used to read words from left to right, add columns of numbers, read maps, etc.
3. The ability to change focus quickly, without blur, from far to near and from near to far, over and over, effortlessly and at the same time look for meaning and obtain an understanding for the symbols or objects seen. This ability is used to copy from the chalkboard, to watch the road ahead and check the speedometer, to read a book and watch TV across the room, etc.
4. The ability to team two eyes together. This skill should work so well that no interference exists between the two eyes that can result in having to suppress or mentally block information from one eye to the other. This shutting off of information to one eye lowers understanding and speed, increases fatigue and distractibility, and shortens attention span. Proper teaming permits efficient vision to emerge and learning to occur.
5. The ability to see over a large area (in the periphery) while pointing the eyes straight ahead. For safety, self-confidence and to read rapidly, a person needs to see “the big picture”, to know easily where they are on a page while reading and to take in large amounts of information, i.e., a large number of words per look.
6. The ability to see and know (recognize) in a short look. Efficient vision is dependent on the ability to see rapidly, to see and know an object, people or words in a very small fraction of a second. The less time required to see, the faster the reading and thinking.
7. The ability to see in depth. A child should be able to throw a beanbag into a hat 10 feet away, to judge the visual distance and control the arm movements needed. An adult needs to see and judge how far it is to the curb, make accurate visual decisions about the speed and distance of other cars to be safe.