What are visual skills?
The visual skills that must be learned for optimal visual performance include eye tracking, eye teaming, eye focusing, and eye-hand coordination. Visual skills are learned during development and help us interact with our environment at school, work, or sports.
When our visual skills are working properly we have clear, comfortable, and stable vision. However, when visual skills are inadequate we may experience double vision, poor depth perception, difficulty reading, or poor sports performance.
- Eye tracking: The ability to accurately move from point to point (such as reading words or math problems) and follow a moving object (such as a ball in sports).
- Eye teaming: The ability to coordinate the eyes together for optimal depth perception and comfortable vision.
- Eye focusing: The ability to automatically make an object clear at multiple distances and sustain a clear vision for extended periods of time.
- Eye-hand coordination: The ability to accurately coordinate our vision and motor skills for activities like catching/throwing and handwriting.
Can you improve your visual skills?
Yes, visual skills are developed over time and can be enhanced and retrained. Visual skills may be inadequate due to developmental history, visual stress or concussion/brain injury. Some visual conditions cannot be treated with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery but can be improved with vision therapy.
Convergence insufficiency is one of the most common vision problems successfully treated with vision therapy. Convergence insufficiency involves poor coordination of the eyes at near and can cause blurry vision, headaches, eye strain, double vision, visual fatigue, and words to move or jump when reading.
What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is a customized program of eye exercises including lenses, prism, and other specialized equipment. Vision therapy is similar to physical therapy but targets the eye-brain connection to improve eye coordination, depth perception, eye tracking, eye focusing, and eye-hand coordination. Vision therapy is also known as vision training, vision rehabilitation or Neuro-optometric rehabilitation.
Who can benefit from Vision Therapy?
Children and adults can benefit from vision therapy to improve many types of vision disorders. Even someone with clear 20/20 vision can have underlying vision problems. The most common reasons to seek a vision therapy evaluation include:
- Double vision
- Skips words or lines when reading
- Eye strain, fatigue or headaches
- Closes or covers 1 eye to see better
- Slow reading or uses finger to keep place
- Eye turn (Strabismus) or lazy eye (Amblyopia)
- Visual processing related to a learning problem
- Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury
Please contact our Whittier office for an appointment with Dr. Jana Giebel, OD, FCOVD to see if you or your child may benefit from vision therapy.
Can you do Vision Therapy at home?
Some eye doctors will recommend home activities or home computer programs. Vision therapy is most effective when performed under doctor supervision and results occur faster utilizing a combination of in-office vision therapy and home reinforcement.
The doctor will create a custom treatment plan specific to your vision problems and goals. Like anything, the more you practice the faster you will notice improvements and in-office vision therapy ensures the exercises are being done correctly.
Home vision therapy or “self-taught” eye exercises can do more harm than good so it’s important to work closely with a doctor.
Does insurance cover Vision Therapy?
Most insurance plans do not cover vision therapy. Some insurance plans may cover a portion of the evaluation and treatment if there is a specific eye muscle problem being treated by vision therapy. Learning-related vision problems are not covered by medical insurance.
If you’d like to learn more about vision therapy and discuss your options with an experienced eye care professional, book an appointment at Poolsaad Family Vision Optometry. We look forward to meeting you.