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What are the Most Effective Vision Therapy Exercises?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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Vision therapy is a type of therapy used to correct or improve certain vision problems. Vision therapy exercises are usually performed to strengthen and train the eyes. Some of these exercises can be done to correct such problems as lazy eyes, convergence problems, defective binocular vision, and eye strain. Eye exercises should only be performed as instructed by an individual's ophthalmologist.

Some of the most common vision therapy exercises are used to correct a condition known as amblyopia, or a lazy eye. Wearing a patch over the normal eye can help strengthen the bad eye, or lazy eye. Depending on the severity of the problem, these patches are usually worn for a certain amount of time each day, or for the entire day. This exercise can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to months.

Individuals who have problems switching the focus of their vision from far away objects to closer objects and vice versa often have something referred to as a convergence insufficiency. Vision therapy exercises that force a patient to switch his focus repeatedly may help in these cases. Sometimes these are known as pencil push-ups.

To do these vision therapy exercises, many people use the eraser end of a pencil, but the tip of a finger will work as well. The eraser of the pencil is placed at the tip of the nose, and the patient focuses on it. He then slowly extends his arm to move the pencil away from his face, but he should still stay focused on it. When his arm is extended, he can then start moving the pencil back toward his nose, still focusing on it. This should be repeated 20 or 30 times each time the exercise is performed.

Binocular vision refers to the ability to use both eyes to work together to focus on objects. Individuals with defective binocular vision, sometimes called stereo vision, may benefit from vision therapy exercises that use 3D pictures. Stereograms as well as 3D images that need glasses with different colored lenses to be seen may help individuals train their eyes to use both eyes together.

Eye strain is a common problem for many people who spend a lot of time focusing on small details at close range for long periods of time. Some doctors recommend hanging the front page of a newspaper on a far wall, 6 to 8 feet (1.83 to 2.44 meters) away, to reduce eye strain. By looking away from the close up work every so often and focusing on the newspaper, an individual can minimize blurriness in his vision and prevent tired eyes.

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