Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to new experiences.
It was once thought that the nerve fibers in the brain were incapable of adaptation or change above the age of eight— when the brain was thought to be completely developed.
Fortunately, with modern science technology, we now understand that the brain can in fact adapt and change— and it does so without us even being aware— throughout our entire lives. This is the principle of neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity allows you to constantly create neural pathways every time you learn something new.
Whenever we think, feel, or perform an action, the brain sends electrical impulses down the neural pathways— so when we change our behavior or perform an action in a new way, the brain builds a new pathway to transmit these impulses.
The more we perform an action, the more we strengthen the neurological pathway and teach the brain to become accustomed to that behavior.
Strengthening new behaviors not only strengthens those neural pathways, but also weakens the “old” pathways to help you adapt to this change.
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How does neuroplasticity relate to vision?
The discovery of the brain’s neuroplasticity has been an important one, especially in the field of developmental and neuro-optometry, as it serves as a basis for the efficacy of vision therapy and neuro-optometric rehabilitation.
The ability to rewire and retrain the brain is what makes optometric rehabilitation possible.
The goal of optometric rehabilitation is to improve and strengthen the neural connections between the brain and the eyes, and to stimulate the nerves responsible for the performance of the visual skills, such as eye tracking, focusing, convergence and stereopsis.
An optometric rehabilitation program may involve the use of eye exercises, lenses, prisms and other therapeutic tools to strengthen the visual system— through the phenomenon of neuroplasticity.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a vision problem, neuroplasticity teaches us that it is never too late to seek help.
With a program of optometric rehabilitation, you can strengthen your visual skills to improve your vision— and your quality of life.