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Optometric Vision Therapy

What is Optometric Vision Therapy?

Behavioral optometrists may prescribe optometric vision therapy (OVT) to help patients retrain their brains to make better use of their eyes and of visual information.

OVT is an individualized program of activities designed to develop, support, and enhance visual skills and/ or visual information processing.  Each treatment program is customized for the specific challenges of each patient, identified during the evaluation process.

What are Visual Skills?

Visual Skills help us to gather visual information.
Deficits in the following visual skills may interfere with the quality of information gathered by the visual system:

  • Visual acuity:

    The ability to see a clear, detailed image.

  • Focusing (Accommodation):

    The ability to adjust the lens (inside the eye) in order to obtain or sustain a clear image.

  • Eye teaming (Binocularity):

    The ability to maintain accurate eye coordination and single vision at different distances (near/far) and different directions of gaze (left/right/up/down).

  • Eye Tracking (Oculomotor skills):

    The ability to accurately follow a moving target, and the ability to keep one’s place when reading.

What is Visual Information Processing?

Visual Information Processing refers to how we make use of available visual information. An evaluation of these skills can identify relative strengths and weaknesses which support or interfere with the learning process.

Visual Information Processing Disorders may affect any or all of the following processing skill categories:

  • Visual Perception:

    The ability to understand and recognize visual information. These are the most basic visual abilities required for learning and reading.

  • Eye- Hand Coordination:

    The ability to use the eyes to guide the hands in both gross and fine motor activities. These skills are critical for sports, building, drawing, and handwriting development.

  • Visual Imagery:

    The ability to remember or form pictures in the mind. This is critical for sight word recognition when reading, and for abstract thinking and planning.

  • Visual Spatial Organization:

    The ability to make sense of a complex visual environment.  This includes organizing one’s own space and “seeing the big picture.”  These skills are critical in conceptual development, perceiving relationships between objects, and securing one’s personal relationship with the world around them.

What can I expect from OVT?

With a comprehensive, holistic approach, OVT provides multiple opportunities for growth and change, with impacts far beyond the visual process! 

Common results include improvements in:

  • Self-perception
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-confidence
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Interest in reading
  • Academic performance
  • Athletic performance
  • Memory
  • Focus
  • Planning
  • and more!

For more details, see Vision Therapy  and Vision Therapy FAQs!