Vision Therapy for Children

Many children have vision problems other than refractive errors such as shortsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. These include amblyopia (“lazy eye), eye teaming problems, focusing problems, and visual perceptual disorders. Left untreated, these non-refractive vision problems can cause eyestrain, fatigue, and headaches, and can underlie learning problems at school.

What is vision therapy?

Vision therapy (also called vision training) is an individualised program of eye exercises and other methods to treat non-refractive vision problems. The optometrist is usually specially trained to deal with children’s vision problems. The therapy is usually performed in an optometrist’s office, but most treatment plans also include visual tasks and eye exercises to be practised at home.

Can vision therapy eliminate the need for glasses?

Vision therapy is NOT the same as prescription lenses for refractive errors, and doing eye exercises does NOT eliminate the need for glasses if there is a refractive error.

In contrast, vision therapy is the treatment of non-refractive vision problems, and there are many studies that demonstrate its effectiveness.

Not every vision problem can be resolved with vision therapy. The degree of success depends on factors such as the type and severity of the vision problem, the patient’s age and motivation, and whether the patient performs all visual tasks as directed.

Vision therapy is customised and specific

The activities and eye exercises prescribed as part of a vision therapy program are tailored to the specific vision problems of the child.

Vision therapy and learning disabilities

Vision therapy does NOT correct learning difficulties. However, children with learning difficulties often have vision problems which may be contributing to their learning problems, and vision therapy can correct the underlying vision problems.

If the child has been diagnosed with a learning difficulty and vision problems are found, the optometrist can communicate with the child’s teacher and other specialists, resulting in a multidisciplinary approach to remediating the problem.

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