Vision Therapy: Proudly Serving Toronto
What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is an individually prescribed therapy program to treat various functional vision issues that cannot be addressed with glasses or surgery. The goal of vision therapy is to strengthen the brain’s ability to control the visual system, which includes visual skills and visual information processing skills. Visual skills, such as eye teaming, eye focusing, eye movement, and eye-hand coordination are essential for the eyes to effectively take in visual information. Visual information processing is a critical part of vision representing how the brain interprets visual information received. As approximately 80% of learning is done visually, a strong visual system is critical in achieving good academic performance, especially in children. Vision therapy can enhance these skills, and uses equipment including therapeutic lenses, prisms, polarized 3D targets, and anaglyphic 3D targets. Vision therapy can address many functional vision conditions, including:
- Strabismus (crossed eye or wandering eye)
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Convergence insufficiency (cross eye teaming issue)
- Other Binocular dysfunction (eye teaming issue)
- Accommodative dysfunction (eye focusing issue)
- Oculomotor dysfunction (eye movement issue)
- Learning-related vision problems
- Post-concussion vision problems: Post-concussion vision rehabilitation is a sub-specialty in vision therapy that helps patients suffering from Post-Trauma Vision Syndrome (PTVS) – see below for additional information.
Unfortunately, many of these functional vision issues can be missed during regular eye examinations, especially when one has “20/20 vision”. Having clear vision does not necessarily translate to having a comfortable or effective visual system.
If your child is having difficulty with reading, learning, and/or paying attention at school, we recommend starting with a full comprehensive eye examination to rule out any of the conditions mentioned above as a cause. The next recommended step is to assess the child’s full visual skills and visual information processing functions to rule out other vision related causes that may contribute to learning difficulties. If the assessments indicate visual diagnoses, they may be improved through our vision therapy services. As a child’s visual skills develop through vision therapy, their corresponding academic performance is expected to improve.
Dr. Kelly (Sung Hee) Lee is a residency-trained optometrist in vision therapy, rehabilitation, and pediatrics, and will conduct a thorough visual skills and perceptual assessment to diagnose functional visual dysfunctions and prescribe an individualized vision therapy program based on the identified conditions. A vision therapist will carry out the program during weekly one-hour sessions, along with prescribed daily home exercises (30-40 minutes). Similar to other therapies, vision therapy is a gradual process that requires dedication to the program from both the supervising professionals and the patients.
Post-Concussion Vision Assessments and Vision Rehabilitation
Post-Trauma Vision Syndrome (PTVS) refers to deficits in the areas of the brain that are involved in various aspects of visual function. PTVS typically results from concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI). Symptoms of PTVS include:
- Blurry vision
- Double vision
- Difficulty reading (losing one’s place, re-reading lines, inability to recall what was read)
- Difficulty changing focus from near to far (and vice versa)
- Motion sensitivity
- Light sensitivity
- Feeling overwhelmed in crowded or busy environments
- Difficulty navigating through space
- Difficulty balancing
- Trouble with depth perception
- Difficulty with visual memory
If visual symptoms persist longer than two weeks post-concussion, we recommend undergoing a specialized concussion/PTVS visual skills assessment. Based on the assessment, we can make various recommendations including individually prescribed glasses with specialized features such as:
- Colour tints for light sensitivities
- Prisms to improve eye teaming and/or spatial interpretation
- Additional power to help relax/focus better at near
- Partial lens occlusion to help with visual overstimulation
In addition, we may recommend a vision rehabilitation program to help restore the visual functions and address any deficits uncovered during the assessment. Rehabilitation programs are individually customized and prescribed by an optometrist who specializes in the field. Vision rehabilitation programs consist of weekly one-hour sessions, along with prescribed daily home exercises (20-30 minutes). Similar to other rehabilitation programs, vision rehabilitation is a gradual process that requires dedication to the program from both the supervising professionals and the patients.
After a concussion and prior to a PTVS assessment, a primary care eye examination should be performed to rule out any primary diagnoses. Examinations should include tests for visual acuity, glasses prescriptions, eye health, and visual field (peripheral vision).
We are able to bill directly to Health Claims for Auto Insurance (HCAI) for those experiencing PTVS due to a motor vehicle accident and are covered under insurance,