Vision Therapy Diagnoses

Vision Therapy

Individuals who are lacking functional visual skills—meaning, the eyes’ ability to properly coordinate, work together, stay accurately aligned, and clearly shift vision back and forth from near to distance vision—will often compensate in neurologically-inefficient ways, which can cause headaches, blurry or double vision, eyestrain, or other symptoms that can create challenges at school, work, or on the field.

Below are brief explanations of common Vision Therapy diagnoses that can best be treated with Optometric Vision Therapy. Much like physical therapy can improve general motor function, Optometric Vision Therapy successfully improves visual function by enabling an individual to learn more efficient ways to perform visually.

Convergence Insufficiency (CI): A binocular vision disorder characterized by the eyes’ inability to turn in, or converge, during sustained near work. A patient will often cover or close an eye, avoid reading, or experience eyestrain, headaches, blurring of print, double vision, or reduced reading comprehension.

Oculomotor Dysfunction (OMD): A condition of deficient eye tracking skills. Individuals with untreated OMD develop compensatory techniques – such as moving the head while reading, or tracking with a finger in order to keep their place when reading.

Accommodative Insufficiency (AI): A condition of deficient focusing skills at near. The symptoms of AI are known to include blurred distance vision, fatigue, headaches, motion sickness, double vision, and lack of concentration; most commonly detected in school-aged children or following a concussion.

Binocular Vision Dysfunction (Eye Teaming Difficulties): The inability to coordinate the eyes together effectively. It reflects the brain’s inability to align and coordinate both eyes as a team. With this condition, the eyes have difficulty functioning efficiently or simultaneously. Common symptoms include difficulty with near vision, sore eyes, inconsistent, blurry, or painful vision, and trouble with night vision.

Strabismus: Misalignment of the eyes, commonly referred to as ‘cross eye’ or ‘lazy eye’. Strabismus may present as a result of uncorrected refractive error (farsightedness or nearsightedness), family history of Strabismus, or as an accompaniment to medical
conditions like down syndrome or cerebral palsy. Those who have previously suffered a stroke are also at higher risk for developing Strabismus.

Strabismic Amblyopia: Strabismic amblyopia is a condition in which a constant eye turn negatively impacts the development of visual acuity. This can be due to a constant eye turn inward or outward. Left untreated, this can result in reduced acuity and improper eye-teaming skills.

Exotropia: A common form of Strabismus characterized by the outward deviation of an eye (eye turns away from the nose). Exotropia is further broken down into constant and intermittent Exotropia; with constant Exotropia presenting as an outward eye turn at all times, and intermittent Exotropia appearing during stressful situations or when the patient is tired or sick.

Esotropia: A common form of Strabismus characterized by the inward deviation of an eye (eye turns toward the nose). Esotropia is further broken down into constant and intermittent Esotropia; with constant Esotropia presenting as an inward eye turn at all times, and intermittent Esotropia appearing during stressful situations or when the patient is tired or sick. Historically, the only treatment for esotropia was surgical intervention, which has a very low success rate. Thankfully, Optometric Vision Therapy has been proven to effectively treat esotropia without invasive procedures.

Deprivation Amblyopia: A condition that occurs when one or both eyes are deprived of visual stimulation due to cataracts or a similar congenital condition. Left untreated, this deprivation may result in reduced acuity and improper eye-teaming skills.

Refractive Amblyopia: Refractive Amblyopia is a condition in which the refractive error of one or both eyes negatively impacts the development of visual acuity. This can be due to a difference between the eyes or a large refractive error in both eyes. Left untreated, this can result in reduced acuity and improper eye-teaming skills.

Visual Perceptual Deficit: The deficient neurological processing of the information taken in by the eyes. This may be due to poor eye movements, eye teaming, or focusing, as well as difficulty with motor or auditory processing. A patient may exhibit difficulties such as confusing similar symbols of all types, difficulty retaining what is seen or read, prolonged time copying assignments, difficulty organizing tasks, difficulty recalling information presented visually or auditorily, and difficulty with spatial directions.

Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome (PTVS): A condition caused by damage to regions of the brain that are involved in various aspects of visual function. This damage, often caused by a brain injury such as concussion or stroke, disrupts the stored “programs” for how the visual system functions. PTVS may affect one or more specific areas of visual function, so the effects can be varied – but can often affect one’s ability to read, comprehend, and sustain attention. It can also cause dizziness/vertigo and headaches/migraines.

Concussion: A mild traumatic brain injury, which can result in a loss of eye-brain
connection or optic nerve damage. Though not often listed as common after-effects of a concussion, 90% of concussions result in visual impairments like oculomotor dysfunction. Other vision difficulties such as focusing issues, double vision, and difficulty integrating central and peripheral vision, may persist long after a concussion occurs.

Stroke: Also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), a stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off, causing brain cells to die. A stroke can have long-lasting effects on visual processing. The most common visual processing problem after a stroke is visual neglect, also known as spatial inattention, which can affect your perception of things around you as you may be unaware of objects to one side.

Computer Vision Syndrome: Also referred to as digital eye strain, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Common symptoms of CVS include eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck/shoulder pain. The extent to which individuals experience these visual symptoms often depends on the level of their visual abilities and the amount of time spent looking at a digital screen; and often decline after digital device use. However, some users may experience continued reduced visual abilities after stopping computer/digital device work.

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