As humans, we possess an incredible visual system that gives us the ability to see our world in three dimensions and judge distance with a great degree of accuracy. Our eyes, set a small distance from one another, give us a sense of “depth perception,” allowing us to gauge the distance to, and dimensional characteristics of, an object. The remarkable ability to use both eyes together to produce a single, unified image, as interpreted by the brain, is known as “binocular vision.”
Vision disorders involving binocular vision occur when there is a failure of the eyes to work together properly, making binocular vision difficult or impossible. This can happen during development in childhood, or later in life with conditions such as acquired brain injuries and post-concussion syndrome. Symptoms of these disorders may include poor eye movement control, inability to properly focus, poor eye-hand coordination, and difficulty with motor skills, figure-ground perception and eye-teaming abilities. It is possible for even those with 20/20 vision, or better, to experience binocular vision disorders. In some cases of binocular vision disorder, such as with amblyopia and strabismus, surgery is often the accepted method of correcting the issue. In other cases, surgery is not an option and patients must live with the detrimental effects of their binocular vision disorder.
Vision therapy is becoming increasingly well-known and popular for the treatment of binocular vision disorders, both in cases that have traditionally been corrected with surgery as well as those in which surgery is not an option.
How Can Vision Therapy Help with Binocular Vision Disorders?
A properly tailored vision therapy program may be able to reverse the effects of many eye conditions that cause issues with binocular vision, as well as develop and improve your binocular vision skills. In the same way that physical therapy uses repetitive motions and exercises to strengthen the legs, arms and other parts of the body and accustom them to working more effectively, Vision Therapy uses repetitive exercises to strengthen the eyes and increase their effectiveness.
Customized to the needs of each and every patient, Vision Therapy usually consists of in-clinic sessions scheduled once or twice a week and supervised by an eye doctor. The patient is often given “homework” to further promote the process of strengthening binocular vision skills. These exercises help patients see more clearly, efficiently and comfortably by training both eyes to work together in unison. Often, sensorimotor evaluations are conducted from time to time, in order to track how well the process is working, and to decide the best way to move forward with treatment.
For more information about binocular vision disorders and how Vision Therapy can help, contact your eye doctor today.