What is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy is a proven individualized neuro-optometric program performed under the supervision of a Developmental Optometrist that works at the level of the brain to improve our functional vision and visual information processing speed. When a person has “20/20” vision, that means that they have the ability to see small details at a far distance, however, it does not necessarily mean that they have good functional vision.

Functional vision is the ability of the visual system to not only obtain clear vision, but also comfortable vision at various distances for prolonged time periods. It contributes to the overall efficiency of the visual system. Visual information processing is the brain’s ability to take the information provided by the eyes and making sense out what is being seen. 

0 %

of school aged children have vision problems that can be corrected with vision therapy

0 %

of school-based learning is visual

A person needs
0

visual skills to succeed in reading, learning, sports, and in life. Seeing ‘20/20’ is just one of those visual skills

Take our quiz to assess if you or your child require a Vision Therapy Assessment

If you or your child exhibit any of the following symptoms, they may need Vision Therapy

Difficulty reading
Poor academic performance
Short attention span
Skipping words or lines when reading
Poor eye-hand coordination
Confusion between lefts and rights
Letter reversals (b’s and d’s, p’s and q’s)
Lazy eye or crossed eye
Headaches
Double vision
Blurry vision or eyestrain
General loss of interest in reading or near work
Difficulty staying focused
Head Tilt when reading
Tendency to use a rule or finger when reading
Difficulty copying from the board in the classroom
Print moving on the page when reading

A well-functioning visual system requires a 3-step process to provide clear and comfortable vision:

Step 1: Eyesight
Eyesight, or visual acuity, refers to the eyes being able to see and the degree of clarity. It is a physical ability that, if not functioning adequately, can be improved and corrected by wearing glasses and/or contact lenses. The goal of this step is to achieve 20/20 vision.
Step 1: Eyesight
Step 2: Functional vision
Once the eyes have achieved adequate visual acuity, they need to interact with the brain to achieve adequate functional vision. Functional vision includes oculomotor function (eye tracking), accommodation (eye focusing), and binocularity (eye teaming). If any of these components are not functioning adequately, they can be improved and corrected by vision therapy. The goal of this step is to achieve comfortable vision.
Step 2: Functional vision
Step 3: Visual information processing
Once the eyes and brain have achieved adequate functional vision, the brain further processes the visual information received by the eyes to interpret and analyze it. If this step is not functioning adequately, it can be improved by vision therapy. The goal of this step is to analyze visual information using the higher-level processing centres of the brain in order to help the individual effectively interact with their surroundings.
Step 3: Visual information processing

To achieve clear and comfortable vision at all distances, the 3-step process should be working efficiently. A dysfunction in any of the steps can result in symptoms such as headaches, eyestrain, poor reading ability and concentration, words moving around on the page, and eye-hand coordination difficulties.

Vision therapy comprises of an individualized series of vision procedures and exercises that help develop and improve upon our functional vision and visual information processing speed. The sequence and extent of therapy procedures is customized for each individual based on the condition(s) being treated. Typically, the vision therapy program consists of weekly in-office sessions that are 30 minutes long and daily home exercises that require 15-30 minutes. Exercises are performed with the aid of therapeutic lenses, prisms, occluders/patches, targets with timing mechanisms, specifically designed worksheets, colored filters, and visual perceptual exercises (when required).

Exercises are delivered to focus on the needs of each patient on a one-on-one basis and are customized to tailor to their specific visual condition. The length of the program varies for each individual based on factors such as age, type and severity of the condition(s) and compliance. Repeated practice and reinforcement from exercises brings the targeted visual skills to conscious awareness and allows them to gradually become automatic. Frequent progress checks are performed by the doctor throughout the program to monitor progress.

Who can benefit from Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy can benefit people of all ages. It is specifically used to treat the following:

Visual dysfunctions can interfere with several aspects of learning, including reading speed, accuracy, and binocular vision efficiency. Vision therapy can help individuals with developmental delays such as dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorder and ADHD.

Amblyopia refers to the presence of poor vision in one or both eyes that does not have a disease etiology. Vision therapy is often used in combination with spectacle wear and patching to treat amblyopia.

Strabismus refers to a condition where one eye is turned inwards or outwards that can result in visual dysfunctions such as double vision, headaches and lazy eye. Vision therapy can help align the two eyes without the need for surgery.

This is a condition where the two eyes are unable to turn inwards at the same rate when looking at near objects or performing near work resulting in eyestrain, double vision and headaches. The treatment for convergence insufficiency is Vision therapy

This is a condition where the eyes are unable to move at the same rate when reading resulting in skipping words, lines and loss of place when reading. The treatment for oculomotor dysfunction is Vision therapy.

This is a condition where the eyes are unable to either make things clear at near or they are unable to sustain clear vision at near resulting in blurry vision, eyestrain and headaches. The treatment for accommodative dysfunction is Vision therapy.

Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) suffer from damage to certain brain functions, often due to motor vehicle accidents, concussions, or any other external physical impacts. Common symptoms of a TBI include problems with balance, dizziness, eyestrain, reduced ability and efficiencies in reading, double vision, or visual memory problems. Other symptoms may include visual hallucination and light sensitivity. Vision Therapy can provide significant improvements in performance, comfort and quality of vision as the brain is re-trained and the connections are rewired by introducing repeated stimuli in the form of exercises.

Vision therapy can help treat the visual dysfunctions associated with autism spectrum disorder by improving visual perceptual and information processing functions.

Vision therapy can help treat the visual dysfunctions associated with dyslexia by improving visual perceptual and information processing functions such as laterality, directionality and spatial relations.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses only correct our eyesight. They do not have the ability to correct eye tracking, eye focussing, eye teaming or visual processing functions, which are necessary for our visual system to work efficiently. Dysfunctions in these areas are treated by Vision Therapy
 
  • Functional vision abnormalities hinder our ability to learn and perform well in school. If not treated properly and in a timely manner, they turn into lifelong abnormalities that effect our career choices and lifestyle in the long run
 
  • Functional vision abnormalities are developmental and can be detected during childhood. If left untreated, children with a functional visual abnormality turn into adults with a functional visual abnormality that impacts their day-to-day tasks, work performance and quality of life. Vision Therapy can help at any stage of life and has repeatedly been shown to improve visual function for individuals of all ages
 
  • It is possible for a child with a functional vision dysfunction to perform adequately in school in the early years as the reading load is mild and they use other stimuli such as auditory cues to perform tasks in the classroom. However, these children eventually start to fall behind in school despite being bright as their visual system starts to hold them back. It is important to detect and treat their visual delays in a timely manner before they start to impact school performance
 
  • Vision therapy is frequently performed by athletes to enhance their normal functioning visual system to improve reaction times, eye-hand coordination and overall athletic ability

Yes! Vision therapy can be successfully performed on children as well as adults. The neuroplasticity of our brain makes it possible to train and re-train it at any stage in life.

The number of sessions required depends on the type and severity of the condition(s) being treated. It can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to complete the program. 

Vision Therapy may be covered under medical insurance and most health spending plans. This is different from vision insurance, which typically covers routine eye examinations, eyeglasses and contact lenses. At the end of the vision therapy assessment, our clinic provides you with medical diagnostic codes that apply to the conditions that were diagnosed during the assessment and a detailed report of the diagnosis and treatment plan. This information can be submitted to the insurance company.

Book an Appointment

Schedule a Vision Therapy Assessment with our board-certified developmental optometrist, Dr. Arora, for a thorough assessment of your visual skills and visual processing speed.