Ophthalmologist, optometrist checking child vision looking for problems and caring for eye

Vision Therapy

Vision is more than 20/20.  Eyesight simply means how small you can read the letters on the eye chart. Vision is how you use your sight to understand what you see and how best to interact with the world around you. So even if your eyes are seeing 20/20, they may not be working together well as a team, leading to increased effort and discomfort, or misinterpreting the information and leading to confusion. 

OptometricVision Therapy and Rehabilitation (VT) uses the science of neuroplasticity to establish new neural pathways to improve reduced visual skills or advance current visual performance. Vision therapy and neuro-rehabilitation is a prescribed program of visual-based activities specific to a particular person’s needs, directed by an optometrist and facilitated by an optometrist or vision therapist. 

Glasses with a neuro-functional prescription, (often including tints, prisms and selective occlusion), are often prescribed as a part of the solution for our patients. These lenses help ease the visual symptoms our patients are experiencing, (whether they are developmental in nature or a result of a concussion or brain injury), and help to improve visual performance. 

A person’s current visual habits are deeply rooted in the brain and often take a long time to develop in the first place. Therefore, there is no “quick fix” and time and a commitment to the process is necessary to develop the new brain connections for a better quality of life. 

In-office Vision Therapy programs at Kamloops Vision Therapy Optometry typically consists of one-on-one sessions once a week. Activities are also prescribed for practice at home to reinforce the new skills learned.  Program length will vary based on the conditions being addressed, but a typical program usually requires at least six months and can extend to a full year or beyond if necessary. Remote, online sessions can also be considered when extensive travel is required. 

We are all familiar with the typical eye exam: choosing between options 1 and 2, the bright lights as the doctor looks inside your eye and the dreaded puff of air to take the eye pressures! However, there is so much more to how the eyes work together and how they work with the brain! 

Before beginning any vision therapy program, there is first a thorough assessment of current visual skills. An assessment includes evaluation of the following skills:

  • Alignment of eyes
  • Focusing (accommodation)
  • Oculomotor movements (the smooth movements needed to following a moving target, called the pursuits, and the quick movements used to change fixation from one target to another, called the saccades).
  • Fusion and depth perception (stereoacuity)
  • How the eyes move in and then back out together to change fixation from near to far and back again and maintain single vision (vergence)
  • How visual skills interact with other systems including the vestibular system and motor output
  • Visual Perception Skills (visual thinking), including, when appropriate, laterality/directionality skills

The assessment, in total, is approximately 2.5-3.0 hours long, and is scheduled over 2-3 visits, (the last of which is a thorough discussion of the findings and recommendations). A detailed report is included.