Vision training/therapy (VT) is a subspecialty of optometry that strives to improve, enhance and/or develop visual performance through a prescribed treatment program that is designed to literally build new neural patterns.
A good vision therapy program uses Learning Theory to arrange conditions that optimizes the opportunity to learn new skills (build new schemes) and works within a framework of developmental hierarchies. It is important for a patient to self discover through the exercises prescribed in order to derive meaning and form a foundation that they can use in familiar, as well as new visual situations.
Patients learn to use their visual abilities in new or more efficient ways by participating in various vision exercises that utilize the use of lenses, prisms, filters, patches and other materials and equipment. Exercises are designed to bring a skill or set of skills to conscious awareness, practice using those skills to mastery so they become automatic.
Vision therapy is similar to physical therapy. In physical therapy, you relearn or enhance the use of various muscles and body parts that are not functioning correctly and/or causing a great deal of discomfort so that you can use those parts more efficiently. In occupational therapy, which strives to restore, reinforce and enhance performance, they are also based on the principle of brain plasticity, where you are able to enhance brain and body function through exercises. In fact, there are crossovers between occupational therapy and vision therapy, particularly in the area of visual perception, eye-hand coordination and visual motor integration, though occupational therapists do not receive near the depth of training in vision nor are they trained in the use of lenses, prism and filters. Vision is a sensory-motor set of systems, so many times if a patient has difficulty with sensory integration, it is co-managed with occupational therapists.
In vision therapy, individuals relearn or enhance the use of different brain (or thought) processes to alleviate visual discomfort and use visual skills more efficiently. This is possible because vision is a learned process and eyes are actually modified brain tissue.
The overall goal is to alleviate signs and symptoms of vision problems, maximize visual and overall performance and comfort, meet the patient's needs and improve the patient's quality of life.
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Suite 130, 2880 Glenmore Trail SE | Calgary, AB T2C 2E7 | Phone: 403-242-1800