Optometrists conduct over 85% of the eye tests performed by all eyecare professionals.
When you have a vision problem, it may be difficult to know where to turn. In most cases, the first stop is a visit with an optometrist.
What does an optometrist provide?
Optometrists spend 4 to 5 years of university-based undergraduate training and will conduct comprehensive eye exams to ensure your eyes are healthy, and determine the best optical prescription to ensure your vision is clear.
Optometrists, also known as eye doctors, can diagnose and treat the many types of eye conditions that may be affecting your vision, such as cataracts, glaucoma and dry eye syndrome, or prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct your blurry vision.
For specific vision problems that involve the visual function, you may be referred to an optometrist that provides vision therapy.
Developmental optometrists, also known as behavioral optometrists, focus on the connection between the brain and visual system, which can be improved by a process known as vision therapy.
What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy is a customized program of eye exercises designed to improve visual skills.
Improved visual skills can lead to enhanced reading, learning, concentration and attention.
Vision therapy is a personalized treatment program that is more than just simple eye exercises — it improves brain-eye communication and the effective operation of the child’s visual system.
The aim of vision therapy is to enhance the visual skills, including eye-tracking, focusing, convergence, eye-hand coordination, visual processing speed and more!
Which conditions are treated with vision therapy?
Vision therapy typically includes specific programs to treat:
- Convergence Insufficiency
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Strabismus (crossed-eyes)
- Double vision
- Eye teaming and tracking problems
- Focusing difficulties
- Eye fatigue
- Depth perception and 3D vision difficulties
- Hand-eye coordination difficulties
- Visual perception and processing issues
If you feel you or your child could benefit from Vision Therapy, schedule an appointment with a vision therapy eye doctor and they will answer all your questions.
SEE RELATED: Vision Therapy: When will I See Improvements?
Find a Vision Therapy Eye Doctor Near You
Do all optometrists provide vision therapy?
Developmental optometrists are a subset of optometrists that have undergone extensive post-graduate training to become vision therapy providers.
A developmental optometrist will evaluate the functioning of the entire visual system, including visual skills, and provide vision therapy to strengthen those skills when necessary.
When to contact a developmental optometrist?
Developmental optometrists are generally recommended when there is a binocular visual dysfunction that affects a child’s academic or athletic performances.
A visual dysfunction can have major impacts on a child’s grades, athletic abilities, behavior and even their self esteem. Poor academic success can cause a child to be mislabeled as ‘lazy’ or ‘learning disabled’. On the sports field, these children may be stigmatized as ‘bad in sports’ or ‘clumsy’.
In many cases, these children are often just struggling as a result of a vision problem.
A developmental optometrist will understand that a vision problem may be at the root of these difficulties and assess the visual skills associated with these issues for a proper diagnosis.
Clear and comfortable vision is not only dependent on your vision clarity, but also on your visual skills, and how well your eyes work in sync with one another.
A developmental optometrist can help with this.
LEARN MORE: Guide to Vision Therapy
If you or your child has a vision condition that can be treated with vision therapy, schedule a functional vision evaluation with a developmental optometrist near you.
If you or a child has a lazy eye or an eye turn, is reading below grade level or has an attention issue, they may benefit with vision therapy.
Vision Therapy: How Do I Get Started? »