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What is Vision Therapy?

By K T Solis
Updated: May 17, 2024

Vision therapy is a special therapy for the eyes, designed to correct vision problems. It is sometimes used for patients with a lazy eye, double vision, crossed eyes, and other vision problems. It may also be used in hopes of treating reading or learning disabilities; however, it is not known whether vision therapy is useful in treating such cases.

Vision therapy does not involve surgery; it is merely a series of exercises for the eyes. The therapy is performed in the optometrist's office under the supervision of a doctor. The therapy often consists of one or two treatments which last for about 30 minutes. The exercises are practiced at home as well in order to reinforce the treatment administered at the doctor's office. Each therapy program is tailored to the specific needs of the patient.

The exercises are designed to improve and develop a patient's vision. Optometrists may decide to supplement the therapy by using a variety of devices. Such devices may include eye patches, corrective lenses, prism lenses, therapeutic lenses, balance boards, optical filters, computer software, and other tools designed to develop and improve the patient's visual abilities.

Patients of all ages can benefit from vision therapy, whether they suffer from congenital, developmental, or acquired vision dysfunctions. Vision therapy may be the ideal choice for adults and children who struggle in school or at work because they have vision problems. It may also be necessary for those whose enjoyment of recreation or sports activities is limited because of problems with their vision. Receiving vision therapy will help such individuals improve their performance at work, school, and in other areas of life that require efficient vision.

Before recommending this particular type of therapy, an optometrist will provide the patient with a thorough vision exam in order to determine if he or she is a good candidate for vision therapy. If a patient begins this kind of eye therapy, the treatment he or she receives will help to change the way the patient interprets or processes information seen through the eyes. The therapy may also help to improve overall visual skills.

Vision therapy may be covered by health insurance in some major plans, but other insurance companies might deny or limit coverage for this particular medical treatment. If a patient's therapy is denied, he or she should contact the health insurance company to request a review of the service that was denied coverage. Even if health insurance refuses to cover the therapy, the optometrist can often arrange a payment plan with the patient in order to make the treatment more affordable.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Rundocuri — On Sep 21, 2014

@heavanet- Another problem with vision therapy is that insurance almost never covers it. I have several friends with children that have been advised to get this type of therapy for various problems. Each time these families have tried to get their health insurance policies to pay for vision therapy, they have been declined.

By Heavanet — On Sep 20, 2014

Vision therapy is also very good for people with vertigo issues. Through a treatment regimen that requires the patient to focus on fixed items and move and steady his or her body, the brain is basically retrained to override the issues that are causing the person to be dizzy in the first place.

The problem for many people may be finding a qualified vision therapist. This is a highly specialized field, and people in small cities and towns may find that they have to travel to larger areas to get vision therapy.

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