What is Vision Therapy?

Common Questions about Vision Therapy

There is more to vision therapy than simply strengthening the eyes. It also enhances the neurological connections between the eyes and the brain. Eyes are the windows of the brain. It directly influences sight based on how it interprets images received. A healthy connection between the eyes and the brain is essential for good eyesight.

These videos below gives some great insight into what convergence insufficiency is and what Vision Therapy can do to help out!

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the nature of vision therapy:

How Does Vision Therapy Work?

Dr. Marran works directly with every vision therapy patient to provide personalized, high level and efficient treatment. Sessions last 50 minutes with an additional 10 minutes to review assigned home therapy.  Patients come in once or twice a week and do a minimum of 20 minutes a day, 4 sessions a week of assigned home therapy.  Dr. Marran provides an estimate of the length of treatment before commencing therapy. Specialized computer programs, therapeutic lenses, prisms, filters, and engaging games and exercises are used to help patients master the visual skills needed to perform optimally in the classroom and/ or on the athletic field.

What is the purpose of the vision exercises?

Vision exercises are designed to help patients improve basic visual skills that connect the eyes with the brain. We work with both top down and bottom up processing. 

      

Do these exercises simply strengthen eye muscles?

Nothing about vision therapy is centered on strengthening eye muscles. This therapy is all about improving vision problems by strengthening the neurological pathways between the eyes and the brain. Vision is a learned ability. The pathways may have never developed properly, particularly in the cases of an  eye turn or an undetected difference between the two eyes' prescription.Or the pathways can become compromised during a person's development from an inherent weakness or excessive stress. The problems become apparent as near work demands increase in school or work.

What are the first steps in a Vision therapy program? 

All patients are screened for eye teaming, tracking and focusing problems during a routine eye exam. If there are any red flags, she has patients return for a Visual Efficiency Exam (VEE) which takes about 45 minutes  and allows a thorough assessment of the accommodation, vergence and eye movement systems that together support comfortable, efficient vision.

The results of the VEE allow Dr. Marran to target specific problem areas in her therapy and also serves as a baseline to  measure a patient's progress in therapy.

How long does it take?

Patients commit to a minimum 8 week unit of Vision Therapy because it takes about 4 weeks for the patient to begin to see and feel the results, though Dr. Marran typically sees significant changes within 2 sessions. 

After 7 weeks of vision therapy, Dr. Marran evaluates if the condition has resolved, by repeating the Baseline Assessment VEE. If it has resolved, the patient continues home therapy at a reduced level and returns in 3 months for a quick check. If no problems are identified, the patient returns for  their annual routine exam.  Dr. Marran will then screen for eye teaming, tracking and focusing problems as she would with any patient.

The length of therapy depends on the severity of the condition and whether the patient does their home therapy.  Patients who struggle with home therapy are helped by coming in twice a week.  Most patients  enjoy both office and home therapy, and come in smiling and with less symptoms than when they started. An organized system utilizing a "Magic Box" that contains all the patient's equipment (patch, lenses, training devices), a notebook for worksheets and weekly home therapy calendar. Patients are rewarded at each session with small prizes for homework completion.   As we like to say, "It's not really magic, it's all your hard work.. but sometimes it really does feel like magic.

Is there scientific evidence that it really works?

It does work. Studies on vision therapy show it is effective in improving the lives of patients. Data shows that this therapy can improve visual function enough to keep it from interfering with a patient's ability to absorb information and learn. Vision therapy is as effective as physical therapy or occupational therapy. 

Can Adults Benefit from Vision Therapy? I was told I was too old for any help.

It can be a useful tool for helping children and adults alike. In fact, Dr. Marran sees many adult patients, many who have struggled all their lives and never knew why. "It's fun to see the light bulb go off when I explain what my tests tell me about how they have been seeing. A motivated patient is a patient who will be successful. We know today that brain plasticity lasts throughout life if a person is basically healthy. If you learned anything reading this page, new neuronal connections occurred, your brain changed, you just demonstrated plasticity!

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