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                 OFFICE   541 382-5701

Integrated Eyecare of Bend, Oregon

Vision Therapy

About Vision Therapy


Research in Visual Skills and Learning

Good vision goes beyond clear sight measured at distance and includes the ability to accurately acquire and process information received through the eyes. In fact, a person can have normal sight and healthy eyes, yet experience difficulty with visual fixation, focus or teaming needed for efficient eye function.

​According to the American Optometric Association, "Among school-age children, visual disorders affect one in every four. While many of these students have refractive errors commonly treated with corrective lens, some have additional problems in the functioning of the vision system that are most appropriately treated with optometric vision therapy."

The December 1, 2002, Boston Sunday Globe article, "Vision Therapy Helps Children with Hidden Disability," quoted Gary Orfield, a professor of education and social policy at Harvard University. He stated that too 

Proper vision skills enable children to be more responsive to educational instruction and help adults perform to their full potential.

  • Sight problems affect the clarity of things we see.
  • Vision problems can affect our lives - our ability to learn and perform well in school, on the job and on the playing field.
  • 75 to 90 percent of classroom learning is done visually. Reading, chalkboard work and computer use are among the tasks students must tackle all day, every day.

Benefits of Vision Therapy

Vision and Learning


Common symptoms that can strongly indicate vision performance problems include:

  • Discomfort from eyestrain or visually induced headaches
  • Inability to concentrate when doing visual tasks
  • Reading errors such as loss of place, reversals, seeing double and blurred vision
  • Clumsiness
  • Poor sports performance

Vision therapy can help children and adults improve visual performance, leading to enhanced classroom and sports achievements. Treatment is similar to physical therapy because optimal results depend on following prescribed activities. Patients supplement our office-based program with 10 to 15 minutes of prescribed daily exercises conducted at home. Those completing treatment report substantial improvements in visual function and comfort.

Vision therapy improves comfortable and efficient eye function and eliminates or reduces related symptoms. It treats a variety of visual problems, including inefficiency in using both eyes together, misalignment of the eyes, lazy eye, focusing problems and visual rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury or stroke.

  • Learning, reading and computer use:   Vision therapy improves visual information processing and the ability to sustain visual functions over time. These are skills required by children in the classroom, as well as by someone using a computer or reading a book.
  • Sports performance:  Vision therapy can help an athlete enhance already good visual processing skills and sustain peak performance.
  • Vision therapy and learning disabilities:  While vision problems do not cause learning disabilities, poor vision skills can interfere with the learning process. Vision therapy should be part of a multidisciplinary approach to address learning disabilities.

This treatment for the visual system rehabilitates brain control of eye muscles through a series of individually prescribed, progressively difficult exercises.

  • Weak visual skills will not go away over time without treatment.
  • Individuals can improve vision skills at almost any age.
  • Vision therapy programs range from several weeks to several months.
  • Vision training deals with the difference between seeing and interpreting what is seen. It underscores the difference between sight (the ability to see) and vision (the ability to interpret and understand information that comes through the eyes).
  • Individualized visual training programs and computerized home training programs can help eliminate focus, fusion and tracking problems that cannot be solved with corrective lenses alone.

Read what our clients have to say about the results they achieved after vision therapy:

"When my daughter started vision therapy, she had trouble reading for very long. Eight weeks later, 
her teacher said she had made a 'dramatic improvement.' In June, she tested in the 
90th percentile of third grade reading. She is only in second grade!"  
-- Parent of a second-grade child.

"Your vision therapy program helped my son more than I ever could have expected. He is reading 
so much better and is catching up to his grade level very quickly. I am sold on vision therapy!"  
-- Parent of 10-year-old boy

"I was impressed at how dramatically my concentration and reading improved. I can read for longer periods of time

and it is easier for me to stay on task."  
-- Adult patient

"My son's teacher has seen a huge improvement in his reading."  
-- Parent of 9-year-old boy

"It was so incredibly rewarding to see the improvements in my daughter's vision."  
-- Parent of 11-year-old girl

"I only wish every child were tested and treated for these hidden visual difficulties. 
It could save a lot of heartache."
-- Parent of 8 -year-old girl

"Great, positive environment for children. My daughter had fun while improving her vision!"  
-- Parent of 7-year-old girl

Vision Therapy can help children and adults improve visual performance, leading to enhanced classroom and sports achievements. Treatment is similar to physical therapy because optimal results depend on following prescribed activities.

Neurophysiological research supports what optometry has demonstrated clinically. Although a child can see clearly, he or she may not have basic skills needed to acquire visual information easily from a printed page.

Neurophysiological research has identified differences in the brain's cortical and sub cortical functions of normal and poor readers. Studies reveal that poor readers use significantly different skills when attempting to comprehend printed information. These findings are based on 15 years of research conducted at leading academic institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University Laboratory for Brain Behavior and Function.

National Institutes of Health-Sponsored Study Proves Superiority of Vision Therapy In a recently completed multicenter clinical trial conducted, vision therapy proved to be a superior treatment for convergence insufficiency in children, resulting in dramatic improvements compared to other therapies and placebo treatment. Convergence insufficiency is a condition in which eye muscles have difficulty turning inward or working together to aim or point accurately on near objects.

The pilot study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute was published in the January 2005 issue of "Archives of Ophthalmology." It evaluated the effectiveness of office-based vision therapy (the technique used by Integrated Eyecare), placebo vision therapy and home-based pencil push-up therapy, which involves exercises focusing eyes on a moving pencil. Researchers concluded that vision therapy is more effective than pencil push-ups or placebo vision therapy. The study revealed that vision therapy reduced symptoms and improved signs of convergence insufficiency in children ages 9 to 18 years.

Clinical Practice guidelines offer Visual Training as Treatment of choice for Visual Performance skills.

The American Optometric Association's Clinical Practice Guidelines published in 2000 recommend vision therapy as proper care for patients with focusing and fusion problems, as well as learning-related vision problems. 238 references are cited from the literature.

often, students with vision problems end up in special education classes instead of getting visual therapy. The news story also highlighted a study of 6,000 New York State students, revealing that while 23 percent had vision problems and an astounding 93 percent of those in special education programs suffered from these challenges.

Diane McGuiness, Ph.D., a cognitive developmental psychologist and University of South Florida professor, states in her book, "Why Our Children Can't Read and What We Can Do About It": "Children with serious problems in binocular control tend to telegraph this in noticeable behaviors. They frequently rub their eyes, squint at the page, cover one eye or turn sideways to read, or move their head from left to right instead of their eyes. Any one of these behaviors, if persistent, is an indication that parents should have their child tested by an optometrist specializing in diagnosing and treating visuomotor problems. Binocular fusion and controlled scanning are highly trainable."

In Hans Furth and Dr. Henry Wachs' book, "Thinking Goes to School," it is noted that: "A child who does not have the habit of coordinated visual tracking across a horizontal sequence should not have to acquire this coordination at the same time they are trying to learn to read. The child would be in danger of failing in both. But once they have control of the general skill of visual tracking then they can give their undivided attention to what is specific in learning to read."

About Visual Performance

Research in Visual Training