Visual skills are developed over time, like any other skill you have. So these skills, like all others, can be improved by training. This training can be life-changing for those whose visual skills didn't develop fully or properly.
Who Can Benefit from Vision Training?
There are some vision problems that would be managed better by vision training, instead of glasses or contact lenses. These problems might exist at birth, or be caused by trauma, or from weakening as a person ages. One important question to ask yourself is: do you see better at some times than other times? If so, this would suggest that muscle weakness, fatigue, and coordination problems may be at play.
In my practice, I've seen patients learn to control their eye muscles with vision training and overcome many kinds of vision problems including eye teaming, depth perception, tracking, and eye-hand coordination.
Vision Training In Practice
Here is a great video that explains how vision training is used:
Vision training uses many different devices containing lenses and prisms, which challenge eyes to produce coherent images. Eyeglasses with colored lenses and polarized materials are also sometimes used. In some practices, including my own, we also use computerized therapy on a large touch screen television -- this is quickly becoming one of my favourite tools to use. The software incorporates activities for eye-hand coordination, visual search patterns, tracking and jumping eye movements, site-word recognition, binocular work and much more. It has been a huge success with all of my patients because it is interactive, gives immediate feedback and allows me to track improvement over time. Many of my patients proclaim how much they love our computerized visual training tools and actually look forward to coming in each week!
Just like training for a sport, exercises begin at an easy level and gradually become more difficult in order to improve the flexibility and coordination of the eye muscles. Training programs will typically last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and occasionally even up to a year.
Practicing vision training techniques at home is something I prescribe for my patients as it is important to practice regularly. Sometimes I'll give my patient lenses, prisms, and cards to use at home, depending on what the visual weakness is. Improvement in eye sight can come quickly, but it will revert if the patient stops practicing for a large length of time before the training period ends.
Watching a child open up over the course of a vision training program is one of the most fulfilling parts of doing this work. I've seen an introverted little child open up to become more social, visually and verbally interactive and improve in their academic function.
Do you have more questions? Please get in touch with me!
By Dr. Nazima Sangha of Family Eyecare Centre