Vision vs. Eyesight

Before understanding how Vision Therapy can benefit you/your child, we must first understand the difference between EYESIGHT and VISION. Yes, there IS a difference!

Eyesight is the ability to see clearly. A common misconception is that 20/20 eyesight means you have perfect vision – unfortunately, not only is that not true, but it is also dangerous to assume that looking at an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet for a few seconds is going to provide enough information on how someone uses their eyes.

Vision is the dominant sense. 80% of what we are required to learn comes in by way of sensory input through the visual system. Vision is a complex combination of learned skills, including eye movement coordination (tracking), binocular fusion (eye teaming), accommodation (focus) and visualization.

The level of development of a person’s visual skills determines how well they are able to acquire and process information through the eyes. If that input is poor, output is poor.

Often times when visual skills are poor, there are difficulties with visual form perception (recognizing the difference in shapes); figure-ground perception (ability to pick out information that matters from that which is irrelevant); directionality in space (ability to tell up from down and left from right as in the case of differentiating b,d,p,q and ‘was’ from ‘saw’); and visual-motor coordination (integrating vision and body in situations requiring eye hand skills such as writing or catching a ball).

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision is learned. Because it’s learned, it requires appropriate development, and unfortunately it is possible for visual development to take a path leading to a number of issues that can cause difficulty in reading, writing and processing of information.

Vision therapy refers to an individualized program of activities designed by a trained Optometrist for the visual system to develop and enhance these deficient visual skills, to improve visual comfort, ease, and efficiency, and change how a person processes and interprets visual information.

Vision therapy – sometimes also called visual training – works on the eye-brain connection allowing the brain more efficient processing of information which is taken in by the eyes.

Who Can Benefit from Vision Therapy?

Research has demonstrated vision therapy can be an effective treatment option for:

Learning-Related vision issues consisting of:

  • Eye movement
  • Binocular fusion
  • Accommodative disorders
  • Strabismus (misalignment of the eyes)
  • Amblyopia (poorly developed vision)
  • Visual issues following brain injury / concussion
  • Visual information processing/perceptual disorders, including visual-motor integration and integration with other sensory modalities

How Long is a Typical Vision Therapy Program?

A program of vision therapy can range from a few months to a year. This depends on a number of factors, but most vision therapy programs are completed within 3-8 months.

Nebraska Visual Integration Center is unique in that Dr. Gates is in the vision therapy room at all times and, if needed, has the ability to adjust treatment activities immediately, without having to wait until the next progress evaluation. Progress evaluations are performed every 2 months where further recommendations as well as a more specific time frame of completion is made.