What is Vision Therapy?
Vision therapy is much like “physical therapy”, but rather than treating the muscles of the body, it works on the eyes and visual system. It is an invaluable tool that has changed not only our patients’ vision, but has improved many related areas of their lives as well.
The first step of a vision therapy program is a thorough examination with Dr. Zeller or Dr. Green to determine if vision therapy is the best course of care. Having had extensive experience treating patients of all ages, they are expert at making their younger patients comfortable during this exam.
Next, the doctor will prescribe an individualized program of vision "exercises" that train your brain to make your eyes to work together, track, perceive and focus properly. Strengthening these basic visual skills can really change the way you see, allowing you to enjoy activities, such as reading, that may have been difficult before.
Research has shown that vision therapy can be instrumental in helping increase visual attention spans for children learning to read. Often, children who had been falling behind in reading are able to improve their performance greatly by reducing the effects of their vision problems. Vision therapy truly allows kids to enjoy learning and become more confident, happier people.
How does vision affect learning?
The large majority of learning occurs through our vision. Research has shown that over 60% of children who struggle with reading and learning have undiagnosed vision problems contributing to their difficulties. These types of vision problems are often referred to as "Learning-Related Vision Problems." Typically the main symptom that you will see when a child has a Learning-Related Vision Problem is poor attention with schoolwork or reading and difficulty with comprehension and/or tracking.
For school-age children, in particular, it is very important that vision problems be detected and treated. Untreated vision problems can cause great frustration and undue stress in what should otherwise be an exciting period of learning.
Optometric vision therapy does not treat learning disorders, but does treat vision problems that can cause attention and behavioral problems as well as many learning difficulties. These vision problems have often been misdiagnosed as ADHD or a variety of different learning disorders.
Can vision therapy help people with learning problems?
Yes! Vision therapy can be an important part of the overall treatment of a person’s learning problem.
Vision and sensorimotor deficits can cause eyestrain, headaches, blurred or double vision, reading problems, and attention difficulties. Even intelligent, highly motivated people can be severely handicapped by these problems in the academic or work environment. Correcting these deficits allows affected people to benefit from academic remediation and to achieve their full potential in the classroom and workplace.
How long will I have to do Vision Therapy?
The number of office visits required depends on the diagnosis and the age of the patient. Vision therapy programs typically involve several in-office sessions throughout the week, for a varying number of months depending on need. We also prescribe home exercises to reinforce the skills learned through in-office therapy.
Why should I choose to do Vision Therapy instead of surgery?
Your first step is to have a developmental vision evaluation. Once that is completed the doctor will be able to explain your treatment options to you, including the pros and cons of surgery versus vision therapy. Vision therapy is a non-invasive treatment for many types of vision disorders, many of which cannot be treated surgically. In cases where surgery is appropriate, vision therapy before and after will help improve the surgical outcome.
Is Vision Therapy a new type of therapy? My ophthalmologist that I have been going to for years has never mentioned it.
French ophthalmologist Louis Javal developed what was then called “Orthoptics” late in the 19th century, but Vision Therapy was first accepted and practiced in the America’s in 1928.
Vision therapy is a specialty service within optometry. There are not many optometrists who provide Vision Therapy due to the extensive amount of post-graduate education required for certification and Fellowship in COVD (the College of Optometrists in Vision Development). Fewer than 500 COVD Fellows practice worldwide. Both Dr. Zeller and Dr. Green are COVD Fellows, Board Certified in Vision Development and Vision Therapy.
Where can I buy glasses?
Here is a list of trusted opticians in our local area. We have had positive feedback on all of these providers.
Virginia Vision Associates
3800 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, 703-522-3454. www.virginiavision.com
Drs. Klessman and Rosenblatt Washington Eye Doctors
Bethesda Vision Care
4300 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301-656-0775. www.bethesda.optometry.net
Apex Optical Co.
2001 L St., NW, 202-466-8344;
4200 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-244-1308;
10317 Westlake Dr., Bethesda, 301-767-5900.
6740 Old McLean Village Dr., McLean, 703-356-1292;
635 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, 202-546-2838; www.eyecentral.net
1035 Connecticut Avenue NW, DC, 202-833-9455
3301 New Mexico Ave NW, DC, 202-363-5087
5300 Wisconsin Ave NW, DC, 202-244-7114
7101 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, 301-469-9058
5442 Westbard Ave, Bethesda, 301-652-6490
10231 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, 301-530-6266
530 King St, Alexandria, 703-683-3822, www.voorthuis.com
4942 St Elmo Ave Bethesda 301-657-3332
10130A River Rd, Potomac 301-229-5222
718 Center Point Way, Kentlands 301-990-0398
1776 E Jefferson St, Rockville 301-881-7422
550 N Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg 301-926-2464, www.colonialoptics.com
The Vision & Conceptual Development Center offers specialized treatment and care solutions for visual challenges in both children and adults. Call our office today at 301.951.0320 or fill out our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your appointment.