What is Occupational Vision Therapy and how does it work?
If your child has trouble with his/her eyesight, you may want to consider Occupational Vision Therapy. Here are the basics of this kind of therapy and how the trained therapists at The Therapy Place can help.
What is Occupational Vision Therapy?
Occupational Vision Therapy is a non-surgical treatment used to correct and treat many common visual conditions. During therapy, your child will regain or improve the function of eye teaming, tracking, convergence, visual perception, eye-hand coordination, and visual motor skills.
Which eye conditions can be addressed through therapy?
- Convergence insufficiency is a condition that affects how your eyes work together when you look at objects that are close.
- Inefficient eye teaming is the eyes inability to work together to see clearly. This is usually as a result of a condition such as convergence insufficiency.
- Misalignment of the eyes is a condition in which the eyes do not always point or focus in the same direction.
- Amblyopia is poorly developed vision that will result in what is often referred to as a lazy eye. The lazy eye will point in an opposite direction of the eye that is normally developed.
- Accommodative dysfunction is when there is an inability to look from near to far without any blurring.
- Visual information processing disorders are when someone has difficulty copying and telling the difference between letters, numbers, and shapes.
- Oculomotor dysfunction is a result of a brain injury which affects how the eyes move with accuracy.
- Visual motor and perceptual disorders affect the way that a child learns to read, write, color, and copy information which often leads to a shorter attention span.
- Visual related learning disorders can include headaches, blurred vision, reading or writing close to the face, and frequently rubbing of the eyes or reversing letters, words, and numbers.
In vision therapy one or multiple conditions will be treated by a trained and licensed therapist.
What are the treatment options available?
There are many treatments and exercises available to treat the many different vision difficulties in children. Here are some of the therapies and treatments used:
- Concussion treatment often includes working with the eyes to work better together, tracking, focusing, and letter reversals. This therapy is proven to eliminate headaches and nausea and will improve coordination, school work, and help manage visual overstimulation following a concussion.
- Ocular exercises include repeated focusing exercises that last 10-15 seconds each, the therapist will improve the range of motion of the eyes as well as the way the eyes work together as a team when tracking information when reading.
- Low vision aids are tools used in vision therapy to improve vision. These include prism reading glasses, handheld magnifiers, loupes, and small telescopes. The goal is to improve the vision with these tools while simultaneously improving the ways the eyes work together to process information.
- Peripheral awareness training will include exercises similar to ocular exercises. When children and adults fail to use their peripheral vision correctly this can negatively impact concentration and driving.
- Scanning therapy will involve exercises that will help the eyes track without moving the entire head. Visual scanning is an important skill to be able to complete everyday tasks both as a child and adult. In therapy the goal is to work on how the eyes communicate with the brain to take on information.
- Visual perceptual activities help the eyes communicate with the brain to make sense of what they see. These activities are known to improve hand eye coordination, processing skills, memory, special relationships and more.
When to seek occupational vision therapy?
There are many signs that it is time to seek help for vision trouble. Some signs are more obvious concerns but others are not. If your child experiences one or more of these symptoms you should consider contacting us to discuss vision therapy.
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty reading and/or writing
- Difficulty tracking moving objects
- Eye fatigue
- Eye strain
- Light sensibility
- Missing vision
- Poor visual endurance
- Problems with peripheral vision
It is important to remember that the goal of therapy is not to strengthen the eye muscles. The goal is to regain or improve the eyes ability to take in information and translate that information to the brain.
Occupational vision therapy can help children with a variety of visual impairments. It can also help those who are at risk of developing these conditions. The goal of therapy is not just to be reactive but also proactive in our approaches to healthcare. Here at The Therapy Place we aim to partner with you and your child to improve their quality of life through improved vision and information processing.
Maria. (n.d.). Learning related vision problems. Brain Vision Institute. Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://www.brain-vision.org/who-we-can-help/learning-related-vision-problems/
Vision therapy for concussions. Concussion Alliance. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://www.concussionalliance.org/vision-therapy
Oculomotor dysfunction. The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy. (2020, September 26). Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://ocvt.info/oculomotor-dysfunction/
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Convergence insufficiency. National Eye Institute. Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/convergence-insufficiency
Accommodative dysfunction. AOA.org. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/accommodative-dysfunction?sso=y
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): Causes, symptoms & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10707-amblyopia-lazy-eye