Vision therapy is an individualized treatment program designed to eliminate or improve conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed or wandering eye), eye teaming (binocular vision), focusing, and tracking disorders, and visual processing (perception) problems. It can also be very helpful with treatment of post-concussion vision issues. Many of these types of disorders are not treatable with glasses or surgery, and vision therapy can be a very effective option in improving the visual skills necessary for efficient school, work or sports performance. Vision therapy involves the use of lenses, prisms, 3D activities, specialized instrumentation and computer software.
In addition to striving for the highest possible success rates, our goal is to solve the patient’s problem as quickly as possible.
The therapy is administered by well trained vision therapists under the direct guidance and supervision of Dr. Gallaway or Dr. Gallaway Beckett. The average vision therapy program for eye teaming, tracking, and focusing disorders involves one or two 45 minute office visits per week along with 15 minutes of supportive home therapy 3-4 times per week. Most of these problems can be eliminated in 14-24 office visits. More complicated problems may require additional time. Visual processing problems are more complicated and generally require longer periods of therapy, generally 30-40 visits. Telemedicine or virtual vision therapy is also available.
Vision Therapy and Physical Therapy
Vision therapy can be thought of as physical therapy for the eyes. But vision therapy is not about strengthening eye muscles, but rather improving the connections between the eyes and the brain. Recent research shows brain changes visible with functional MRI after vision therapy.
Research shows changes in visual function with vision therapy are long-lasting.
Visual skills are like other coordination (or motor) skills – once they are learned, the brain retains that ability. Hitting a ball, keyboarding, or riding a bike are examples of motor skills that once learned, are retained for long periods of time. Vision therapy is brain therapy that enables new visual skills to be used easily in many different school and daily living activities.
Vision therapy can start with children as young as three years of age, although five is generally a more appropriate age when children have the attentional and language skills necessary for more advanced therapy. There are no upper age limits for vision therapy as our brains have the flexibility to learn new skills, including visual skills, throughout life.