Sunday, 25 May 2014

Trying out Vision Therapy

The other day we started "vision therapy" with 3 of our children.  I didn't know much about this type of therapy, but on multiple recent assessments, from a variety of professionals it had been recommended.  After doing a lot of research on the topic we decided it was worth setting up an appointment with a developmental optometrist to further investigate this as a method to help our children.

This type of therapy has been around since the early 1800's but was not  actively implemented until the mid 1900's.  One type of treatment used in vision therapy that you may be aware of is the patching of an eye when the patient has a "lazy eye".  Vision therapy is like physical therapy for the visual system, including the eyes and brain parts that control vision.  Unlike eyeglasses the vision therapy aims to teach the visual system to correct itself.  Vision therapy is a controversial topic in vision care with not all eye doctors believing in its effectiveness.

When we saw the "developmental optometrist" he did a variety of tests with the children, discussed their medical challenges and then discussed options with us.  Out of the 5 kids, 3 of them had 20/20 vision (which we were aware of) however they still presented with balance issues, coordination challenges, dyslexia, comprehension challenges when reading, head aches, double vision, etc.  The doctor tried different shaped lenses (concave and convex), prisms and filters in the form of glasses and with some you were able to see sudden improvement with their balance and ability to catch a ball.  The doctor was also very upfront and didn't claim to be able to fix everything.  He felt that by prescribing glasses with different shaped lenses he could give a slight improvement  for a couple children but until their seizures are under control he wouldn't do anything else.  For the other 3 kids he felt they would benefit from glasses that help work on the deficit present in their eyesight and 30 weeks of vision therapy.

At vision therapy the kids did different exercises with their eyes, for some exercises one eye was patched while the other eye preformed the exercise and some exercises included both eyes.  They did exercises involving reading up close and at a distance, for those who haven't mastered reading they used pictures.  They also worked on catching or hitting a ball (fortunately the ball was attached to a string suspended from the ceiling so it wasn't a game of fetch).  There was eye tracking exercises and a computer game also.  The hour long therapy appointment went by extremely fast and the kids enjoyed themselves.  We were sent home with homework that we practice daily until our next appointment.

We were told that we won't see immediate results but we are looking forward to positive results.  Have you our your child tried "vision therapy"?  How did it work for you?

shared at


  1. Our daughter had one eye patched followed by drops in that eye to encourage the other 'lazy' eye to work better. The drops were more effective but they also resultd in months of meltdowns, so after a year we stopped the drops. However, her eye has remained stable and she no longer has a lazy eye.

  2. We did the type of vision therapy you are describing with one of our sons. After about 3-4 weeks the amount of time he was able to sustain reading activities increased from 10 minutes to about 30. Apparently words had been separating into red and black letters making it difficult to read. It's been about a year since he finished therapy. It was a good experience and helped him make progress. Part of what I learned was how to recognize when his eyes are too tired for productive reading. Hope you see benefits from the therapy. It helped me to compare it to the cost of orthodontics that are frequently done just for cosmetics.

  3. This sounds interesting. My daughter had glasses at the age of 2 and also wore an eye patch to help balance out her eye muscles. Before kindergarten, she no longer needed glasses or the eye patch but she is still not reading. This has me thinking that maybe some type of vision therapy could help? It's never been recommended to us but then again, we try a lot of things that we learn about on our own and aren't really recommended by anyone!

  4. My 2 children with FASD did vision therapy for nearly 2 years. We saw vast improvements. My son's balance and spatial awareness were so bad that he couldn't walk across a room without hurting himself or others. Now, he rarely bumps the walls, and hardly ever hurts anyone. As a bonus, he has learned to read! He is 8, with mild intellectual disability. My 12 yo daughter has jumped about 3 grade levels in reading. I would say you will see some improvement in daily function within a month, and reading improvement in about 3 months. We were not great about doing the daily at home practice. If you stay on top of that, you will see faster improvement.

  5. I would love to try this with my developmentally delayed (step)son. He also did well with drum group therapy. I love how creative therapies are getting. Thank you for sharing. I hope it's covered by our insurance. Blessings~

  6. Thank you for posting this. We are about to embark on vision therapy with my son and I had no idea what to expect!