Although children may be a considerable portion of the patient pool for any given office, this is certainly not the case. The reason you might find more children, adults, or young adults in therapy is for a few reasons. Generally, diagnosing and treating a visual disorder early is one of the most effective ways of getting someone’s system back in order. The longer we leave a problem unchecked the more likely it will worsen as the years go on. Never believe the classic phrase “It will get better on its own”, we’ll end up seeing you in therapy years later with triple the amount of work to do. Having a bulk of children in therapy tells us something. It tells us that the parents are proactive in their children's life about seeking the proper healthcare treatments to make sure they excel and their quality of life isn’t diminished. Second to that, adults of all age ranges can be found in therapy. From the high school athlete who wants to improve his vision to the Grandfather who wants to retain functionality of his eyes without further degradation, to traumatic brain injury patients. For whatever particular reason a person comes through the door, there's a spot for everyone and anyone who stands to benefit from therapy, not just children.
Not surprising but Doctors and therapists alike get this a lot. Scientific research is important in emerging and established fields, treatment options, and medicine in general. When it comes down to vision therapy, this claim is easily falsifiable. For the most common binocular disorder, convergence insufficiency, there is research that shows vision therapy is one of the most effective treatments. The Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT) is a randomized clinical trial that scientifically demonstrated that in-office vision therapy is the most effective treatment method for convergence insufficiency an the study also suggests that it can be an effective treatment for those who are also amblyopic or strabismic. This research alone is enough to disprove the notion that there is no science backed research for vision therapy and its efficacy in treating binocular disorders.
Sometimes surgery is the only option, but it's the way in which we arrive there that matters. Thinking surgery is the only option from the jump is where this line of thinking goes wrong. Sometimes surgery is the answer but it’s hardly the only answer and is typically the last one as well. Most cases that might prompt someone to seek surgery first could actually, and do, benefit from vision therapy. The effects of therapy can typically do one of two things: eliminate the need for surgery altogether by achieving proper alignment or significantly reducing the misalignment to the point where surgery might not be considered as a treatment option anymore. There’s another downside to just doing surgery without therapy and this might be the most important point. I’ve seen countless patients, mostly strabismic, decline therapy after a vision therapy exam in order to pursue the surgical route. What happens is surgically the muscles surrounding the eyes are shortened, physically moving the eye or eyes into alignment. The problem is that the brain was never paired with the eyes, neurologically, that would hold them there and because the patient doesn’t know how to maintain that posture with mind-eye connection then they drift out of alignment once more. In order for a surgery to have its greatest effect it generally has to sit upon the bedrock of a solid vision therapy routine.
Often we hear some things about vision therapy and although they seem believable they end up not being true. Misinformation is a slippery slope. It can stop us from getting the help we truly need and truly deserve so let’s dive into a couple of these myths and debunk them so we can shed a little light on the truth and get us on the right path.