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Vision Therapy: Facts and Myths

5 Vision Therapy Myths 640Vision Therapy is a customized program to train the brain and the eyes to work together more effectively and efficiently.  We would like to explain the facts and address some of the myths about Vision Therapy.

5 Myths and Facts about Vision Therapy

1. Myth: Vision Therapy is just for children

Fact: People of all ages benefit from Vision Therapy.

Vision Therapy is often prescribed for younger patients, but many adults benefit as well.  The basis of vision therapy is neuroplasticity, meaning, the brain’s ability to change and learn new habits.

Your brain is capable of forming new neural pathways throughout your entire life, so Vision Therapy is effective at any age; whether someone has amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (an eye that turns in or out), sports vision.  Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation is a special form of Vision Therapy to help individuals who have suffered a stroke, brain injury, or concussion.

2. Myth: Vision Therapy isn’t based on scientific research

Fact: Many scientific studies that have been funded and published by the National Eye Institute (NEI), prove the effectiveness of Vision Therapy.  Vision Therapy has been available and effective for nearly 100 years !

One study, funded by the National Eye Institute, states that Vision Therapy is the most effective treatment for a common binocular vision problem, Convergence Insufficiency.  Vision Therapy is also effective to treat Amblyopia (lazy eye), Strabismus (eye turn), and difficulties related to reading and learning.

3. Myth: All Vision Therapy is the same

Fact: Vision Therapy is directed to the specific problem that someone has.  A Developmental or Behavioral Optometrist is the expert in the diagnosis and treatment of Vision problems.  At times Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists say they offer Vision Therapy.  Vision is complex and to be the most effective, it should be addressed by someone who understands the visuals system.

Our Vision Therapists have been trained in our office to use the specific technique and the specific time it is needed within the Vision Therapy program.  The various techniques in a Vision Therapy program must be done in a specific sequence for it to be most effective.  There are various awareness procedures so the individuals learns the skill so they own it and apply it to their schoolwork, driving a car, or playing a sport.  Within the program, we use computer programs, lenses, prisms, and other equipment for treatment.

4. Myth: Eye surgery is the only option for treating eye misalignment

Fact: Eye surgery to “correct” strabismus (misaligned eyes) usually does not yield the intended outcome and it is common for an eye surgeon to then recommend more and more eye surgery.  At best, it gives the appearance as though the eyes look straight to others, but it is rare for  the individual to then develop the ability to use the two eyes together as a team.

The best way to obtain eye alignment is to improve binocular function.

In other words, surgery attempts to correct the mis-alignment but doesn’t teach the eyes and brain to work together. Vision Therapy is recommended for patients who have had strabismus surgery or those that are considering it.

5. Myth: I don’t need Vision Therapy, I have 20/20 eyesight

Fact: The notation 20/20 tells us how each eye sees individually.  It is not a measure of how the individual uses the two eyes together as a team.  The 20/20 notation is a measure of eyesight and not a measure of Vision.  Vision includes the ability to use peripheral vision, color vision, integrate the central and peripheral vison, tracking, saccades ( jumping from one word to the next), making sense of what we are seeing, etc.

Therapy has little to do with eyesight, and everything to do with how your eyes function.

Even a person with 20/20 eyesight can have poor tracking skills, eye movement skills, depth perception, and other visual deficits.

In fact, you may have poor visual skills and not even know it. If you experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, eyestrain, or difficulty with concentrating and reading, it may be time to have your vision evaluated by a doctor who is expert in this are.

To schedule a Vision Evaluation for these issues, for you or your child, call Family Eye Care today!  You can reach us at 1-732-679-2020.

Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison, and throughout New Jersey.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno

Q: #1: What is Vision Therapy?

  • A: Vision Therapy is a customized program of eye and brain exercises and procedures.  The initial therapy is done in-office and home activities are encouraged.  Vision Therapy enables the visual system to develop and trains the eyes and brain to work in unison.  Duration of treatment varies from patient to patient, and is dependent on the problem that someone has.  Each person responds differently. Speak to us to learn more about what we offer and how we can help.

Q:#2: Is Vision Therapy covered by insurance?

  • A: Vision Therapy may be covered in part under major medical insurance plans.  Medical Insurance is very selective on what types of problems they will cover.  Vision Therapy is most often applied to a medical policy rather than a Vision Plan.  Medical insurance companies may deny or place severe limits on coverage for Vision Therapy to limit their financial exposure. It is important to ask the right questions, and know the diagnosis and procedures.  We find that often medical insurance representatives may say one thing, but ultimately when the claims are submitted, the medical insurance may not necessarily parallel what was told.

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