How Vision Therapy Works

Lenses and eye surgery can correct many vision problems, but some eye problems cannot be fixed by glasses, contacts or laser treatment. In fact, some people may have 20/20 vision and still require vision therapy. The treatment, also known as vision training, can help correct a variety of issues from amblyopia to various eye strain and fatigue issues.

What Vision Therapy Is

Your individual experience with vision therapy will vary depending on what you need. The therapy makes use of a variety of different treatments, tools and programs, all supervised by a doctor in visits that can take place once or twice a week. While treatment can focus on alignment and eye muscles, it can also focus on perception issues and the connection between your eyes and the parts of your brain responsible for vision control, as well as eye focusing and visual processing. Depending on what type of treatment you receive, you may use corrective, therapeutic or prism lenses, optical filters, eye patches, balance boards and various computer programs. Much of your treatment will take place in the doctor's office, but you may also be given "homework," or exercises to perform at home in between visits.

What Vision Therapy Is Not

While vision therapy can be extremely effective in treating a variety of visual problems, it is not a miracle cure. Don't go into vision therapy expecting to throw away your corrective lenses or attain near-perfect vision. It is also not provided through a self-help kit; proper therapy is monitored and supervised by a doctor over the course of routine visits. Proper vision therapy programs will be endorsed by the American Optometric Association or similar eye care organizations. While there are certainly exercises you can try at home on your own and free of supervision, they are not considered vision therapy.

Who Vision Therapy Can Help

Vision therapy can be extremely effective on children because of how easily a child's brain can change and learn — an effect known as neuroplasticity — but the same effect can be found in adults. Treatment is not limited to children, and while the best results can generally be achieved by starting treatment before the age of two, positive results from vision therapy have occurred in all age groups. Adults may need more treatment, but it is not true that only children can benefit from vision therapy or that it is "too late" to seek help.

Where To Start

Before starting vision therapy, schedule a routine eye exam with your optometrist. While this test generally only covers basics, it can help rule out the possibility that other treatments may be available. If treatments like surgery and corrective lenses aren't available to you, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist who specializes in vision development and binocular vision. This exam will take more time and will require you to undertake a variety of different visual tests. The results of this exam will likely tell you what you need to work on and what treatments will be necessary to help you.

For more information, visit an optometrist in person or via their website, such as