Top 10 Ways Vision Therapy can Benefit Your Visual Health
Are you or someone you know struggling with visual problems that impact daily life? Whether it’s difficulty reading, driving, or working on a computer, visual issues can make it challenging to perform everyday tasks. Vision therapy is a non-invasive, yet highly effective treatment option that can address a wide range of visual problems and improve visual skills. From enhancing visual perception and processing to reducing strabismus and amblyopia, the benefits of vision therapy are many.
In this blog post, we will delve into the top 10 benefits of vision therapy and how it can help you see better, live better, and improve your overall visual health. By understanding the potential benefits of vision therapy, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right choice for you or your loved one.
Who benefits from vision therapy?
Many people can benefit from vision therapy. Some of the most common groups of people who may benefit from vision therapy include:
- Children with visual problems such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), and visual perception disorders like dyslexia.
- Adults with visual problems such as binocular vision disorders (double vision, convergence insufficiency), acquired brain injuries, and visual problems caused by trauma.
- Athletes of all ages who want to improve their visual skills, such as hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and visual tracking, in order to enhance their sports performance.
- People who have suffered from a stroke or have been diagnosed with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, or cerebral palsy.
- Individuals who experience visual symptoms such as headaches or eye strain caused by visual problems, or those who have been diagnosed with a specific visual disorder such as myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism.
- People who have had cataracts or other eye surgery and need to rehabilitate their vision.
- Individuals who have reading difficulties, difficulty with eye-hand coordination, or those who are experiencing difficulties in school or at work due to visual problems.
It’s worth noting that vision therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution and not everyone will benefit from it. An eye examination and consultation with a vision therapist are necessary to determine if vision therapy is appropriate and beneficial.
Also Read: What is Vision Therapy? How is it helpful in treating Vision Problems?
What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy works by targeting specific areas of the visual system, including the eyes, the brain, and the nerves that connect them. The therapy includes a variety of exercises and activities that focus on improving visual skills such as eye coordination, focusing, and tracking. These exercises can help to strengthen the muscles in the eyes, improve the brain’s ability to process visual information, and rewire neural connections.
Additionally, vision therapy can also address issues with binocular vision, which is the ability of the eyes to work together as a team. This can be particularly beneficial for people who experience double vision, crossed eyes, or lazy eye. The therapy can target specific areas of the eyes such as the Extraocular muscles, the ciliary muscle, the retina, the optic nerve, and the visual cortex in the brain.
The therapy is usually performed under the guidance of an optometrist or ophthalmologist who specializes in vision therapy. The treatment plan is customized based on the patient’s specific visual problem and goals. With regular therapy sessions, patients can see significant improvements in their visual skills and overall visual health.
Must Read: Vision Therapy Exercises for Lazy Eye
Note, that all vision therapies are based on the concept of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to new experiences or training.
Top 10 benefits of vision therapy
1. Improving visual Acuity
Visual acuity is the measure of a person’s ability to see clearly and sharply. Visual acuity is an important aspect of overall visual health and can be affected by a variety of factors, including refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism), cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases.
Vision therapy can help improve visual acuity by specifically targeting the anatomical constructs of the visual system, that determines acuity. Vision therapy works by providing visual experiences that are different from what the brain is accustomed to, which in turn, helps to rewire neural connections, creating new pathways in the brain and strengthening existing ones.
For example, when a person has a refractive error, like nearsightedness, the brain has learned to process visual information in a certain way to compensate for the error. Vision therapy can help to retrain the brain to process visual information in a different way, which can lead to an improvement in visual acuity.
A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Optometry found that 74% of patients with amblyopia (lazy eye) who received vision therapy showed an improvement in visual acuity.
2. Treating strabismus and amblyopia
Vision therapy can be used to treat strabismus and amblyopia by retraining the eyes and brain to work together more effectively.
For Strabismus, the therapy can include exercises to target the extraocular muscles, to help the eyes align properly, and improve the coordination between the two eyes, this can be done through eye patching, occlusion, or other vision therapy exercises that force the use of the affected eye.
For Amblyopia, the therapy can include exercises to improve the visual acuity of the affected eye, such as using traditional penalization techniques like eye patches or using lenses that blur the vision of the strong eye. Or, modern dichoptic therapy-based video-game vision therapies.
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus found that vision therapy is effective in improving eye alignment in patients with strabismus, and it’s also more effective than patching alone in treating amblyopia.
3. Enhancing Visual Perception and Processing
Visual perception and processing refer to the brain’s ability to make sense of the information that the eyes take in, and vision therapy can help enhance this ability. Visual perception and processing involve several parts of the brain, including the primary visual cortex, the occipital lobes, and the parietal lobes.
During vision therapy, patients engage in a series of visual exercises that stimulate these areas of the brain to process visual information in a different way.
For example, visual perception exercises may involve identifying and matching patterns, tracking moving objects, or completing visual puzzles. These exercises can help to improve the brain’s ability to process visual information and can be beneficial for people with visual perception disorders such as dyslexia.
4. Improving Visual-Motor Integration
Visual-motor integration refers to the ability of the brain to coordinate visual information with the movement of the body. It involves the coordination of the eyes, the hands, and the body to perform tasks such as writing, drawing, and playing sports.
In vision therapy, patients engage in a series of visual exercises that stimulate the cerebellum, the brainstem, and the occipital lobes, which are all responsible for coordinating visual information with movement.
For example, visual-motor exercises may include activities such as tracing a line with a pencil, following a moving target, or playing sports-specific drills. These exercises help to improve the brain’s ability to process visual information and coordinate it with movement, which can be beneficial for people who struggle with writing or sports.
Also Read: Are Orthoptics and Vision Therapy the same?
5. Enhancing Learning and Reading Abilities
Vision therapy can help to enhance learning and reading abilities by addressing underlying visual problems that may be affecting a person’s ability to process visual information. This type of therapy can improve visual skills such as visual acuity, visual attention, visual memory, and visual-spatial skills.
For example, visual acuity exercises can be used to improve the clarity of vision, which can be beneficial for people who struggle with reading small print. Visual attention exercises can be used to improve the ability to focus on a specific task, which can be beneficial for people who struggle with staying focused while reading. Visual memory exercises can be used to improve the ability to remember visual information, which can be beneficial for people who struggle with memorizing facts or information.
Visual-spatial exercises can be used to improve the ability to perceive and understand the spatial relationships between objects, which can be beneficial for people who struggle with understanding diagrams, maps, and charts.
6. Treating Traumatic Brain Injuries
Vision therapy can be used to treat the visual symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries (TBI.) Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can cause damage to the brain, which can affect the visual system and result in visual symptoms such as double vision, visual field loss, and problems with visual attention and visual perception.
Vision therapy exercises targeting the primary visual cortex, located in the occipital lobes, are helpful in managing visual field loss symptoms. Exercises designed to stimulate the parietal lobes, located at the top and back of the brain, are helpful in dealing with visual attention and visual perception symptoms. Vision therapies targeting the cerebellum region can address symptoms such as hand-eye coordination.
A study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development in 2016 found that vision therapy was effective in improving visual-motor coordination, visual attention, and visual-spatial abilities in individuals with TBI. The study included 20 individuals with TBI who underwent an average of 20 hours of vision therapy, and found that all participants demonstrated significant improvements in visual-motor coordination and visual attention.
7. Improving Sports Performance
Vision therapy can improve sports performance by addressing underlying visual problems that may be affecting an athlete’s visual processing abilities and motor coordination. These visual problems can occur as a result of various factors such as poor visual acuity, poor binocular vision, or visual perception disorders.
A variety of vision therapy exercises including visual-motor coordination exercises, visual attention exercises, visual perception & memory exercises, and visual-spatial exercises are used in combination to enhance an athlete’s physical and mental abilities.
8. Reducing Eyestrain and Headaches
Eyestrain and headaches can occur as a result of visual problems such as poor visual acuity, poor binocular vision, or visual perception disorders. These visual problems can cause the brain to work harder to process visual information, which can lead to fatigue and strain on the eyes, resulting in headaches and eyestrain.
Apart from the typical vision therapy exercises that stimulate, strengthen, and soothe the nerves and neural connections (between the eye and the brain,) it also addresses visual problems that cause the eyes to have to overcompensate, such as a convergence insufficiency, leading to eye fatigue and headaches.
A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Optometry in 2017 found that vision therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of eyestrain and headaches in individuals with convergence insufficiency. The study included 40 participants who underwent vision therapy, and found that 85% of the participants reported a reduction in symptoms of eyestrain and headaches.
9. Non-Invasive alternative
Vision therapies can present themselves as non-invasive alternatives on several occasions such as treating amblyopia, strabismus, visual perception disorders, visual-motor integration disorders, visual processing disorders, and improving sports performance. They can be an alternative to eye patches, surgery, or medication. However, it’s important to consult with a medical professional specialized in the field to determine if vision therapy is the best alternative for a specific case.
10. Improving quality of life
Vision therapies are great benefactors of ocular and nervous health. Even if you are not suffering from any specific visual or neural condition—you can consider vision therapies to uplift your general wellness. Their unique ability to train specific areas of our brain, nervous system, and visual system, make them the ideal solution to—improve our visual and nervous abilities, and on occasion, even helps us destress!
Uplift your ocular health with dichoptic-therapy-based modern video game therapies
Dichoptic therapy is a type of vision therapy that is used to treat binocular vision disorders such as amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed or misaligned eyes). The word “dichoptic” comes from the Greek words “di” meaning “two” and “optic” meaning “of the eye,” which refers to the use of different images presented to each eye.
The therapy works by training the eyes to work together by providing different visual input to each eye. This can be achieved through the use of special glasses or goggles that present different images to each eye, or by using an occlusion patch on one eye while the other eye is viewing an image. The brain is then trained to process the different images from each eye and to improve binocular vision.
Dichoptic therapy can be used to improve visual acuity, improve depth perception and 3D vision, reduce double vision, and improve visual attention. It can be used as an alternative to eye patches or surgery in the treatment of amblyopia and strabismus, and can also be used in the treatment of other binocular vision disorders such as convergence insufficiency.
Also, Check out Vision Therapy Software.
The video-game-based vision therapy!
Dichoptic-therapy-based video games can act as vision therapy solutions by using the principles of dichoptic therapy in an interactive and engaging way.
The games are designed to target specific visual processing abilities such as visual acuity, visual attention, and visual-motor coordination. As the player progresses through the game, the difficulty level increases, providing a challenging and engaging environment for the brain to adapt and improve visual processing abilities.
The games can be used to treat various vision problems such as amblyopia, strabismus, and other binocular vision disorders, as well as for sports performance improvement.
Additionally, the interactive nature of video games can make the therapy more engaging and motivating for individuals, especially children, who may find traditional therapy methods boring.
At Bynocs we provide turnkey video-game-based vision therapy solutions like AmblyGo. We also have a professional team of eye care professionals to provide to with a personalized video-game, vision therapy software, and a treatment plan. Contact us to know more!