04. Wellness

3 Uses of Vision Therapy and Neuro-Visual Rehabilitation

April 27, 2017

In today’s digital world, we often hear about how technological devices are affecting our vision. Given that approximately 28% of people spend 10 or more hours in front of digital devices daily, it’s no wonder our eyes are feeling the strain. Common symptoms of digital eye strain include redness, dryness, blurry vision and headaches.

Underlying Vision Problems

Existing eye conditions, however, may play a key role in digital eye strain and yet, often go undetected. After all, a lot of people only consult an optometrist if they are unable to see clearly (20/20). Nevertheless, optometrists know that being able to see clearly is only a small part of what makes up your vision.

Statistics show, for instance, that 80% of what we learn is through our eyes. As a result, impaired vision can have a profound impact on how people learn and process incoming visual information. Untreated ocular conditions can be particularly damaging to children and can further worsen digital eye strain.

Vision Therapy

An increasing number of optometrists, therefore, are starting to offer vision therapy, also known as neuro-visual rehabilitation, as an integral part of their practice. Vision therapy provides patients with the right opportunity to develop new neurological pathways relating to the control of the eyes. Developing new pathways is helpful when it comes to perceiving and processing incoming information.

Vision therapy can help with reading comprehension, reading speed, attention deficit disorders related to vision conditions, hand eye coordination, balance and brain injury rehabilitation. A natural part of vision therapy is learning and implementing new technologies. NeuroTracker, a multiple object tracking tool, is one of these technologies.

1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A learning-related visual problem directly affects how we learn, read, or sustain close work. Many children with convergence insufficiency and other binocular vision disorders display symptoms identical to ADHD.

When it comes to diagnosing ADHD, it’s important to look for anything that could relate to the learning issue. In other words, diagnosing ADHD should be a diagnosis of exclusion. It’s important to evaluate tracking and other visual problems during testing for learning disabilities. If the individual in question does have vision problems, then vision therapy could be effective.

2. Dyslexia or Reading Disorder

Similarly, vision therapy can also be helpful with dyslexic symptoms if there are deficits in visual function. For instance, if there are deficits in how the eyes track, work together, or how the brain processes the visual information. At its core, dyslexia simply means difficulty with reading, spelling and writing. So, when professionals test for dyslexia, vision problems may not actually be ruled out since they are told that the ‘vision is fine’ (the individual sees clearly 20/20).

If the dyslexia is a result of vision problems, then vision therapy treatment may help dyslexic symptoms disappear. The positive aspect about dealing with vision conditions is that they are objectively measurable.

3. Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (mTBIs)

New research shows that vision is one of the things that a concussion, or a mild traumatic brain injury, impacts most. Concussions often affect how the eyes work, causing issues relating to balance, dizziness, nausea, reading speed/comprehension, light sensitivity and fatigue. As a result, it can make returning to work, school or competitive play very difficult.

Many pro sports leagues are already using visual testing to measure when athletes are actually healed and ready to get back into the game. For some concussion rehabilitation clinics, vision therapy has become an integral part of their practice. Consequently, neurotechnologies have also become an important tool for post-concussion recovery sessions.

It’s clear that dysfunctional visual skills affect our quality of life. So whether you’re suffering from vision-related learning difficulties, recovering from a concussion, or need help navigating a busy environment, vision therapy could be a beneficial solution. Not to mention that as digital device use increases, you’ll definitely want to fix any underlying eye issues to prevent further aggravation from digital eye strain.

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