Vision Therapy

Question:

Will vision therapy help with dyslexia?

Answer:

According to the Joint Policy Statement of the American Academy of Optometry and American Optometric Association, “Vision therapy does not directly treat learning disabilities or dyslexia.” Rather, dyslexia is a learning problem that can be overcome through educational counseling or tutoring.

However, many of the symptoms that are commonly associated with dyslexia can also be the result of vision problems. Vision therapy addresses problems that result from weaknesses in eye muscles or other problems in the way the eyes are used, through a series of exercises and skill-building sessions, or with physical devices such as special lenses.

Two common examples of problems that can be addressed with vision therapy are tracking or convergence problems. “Tracking” means that an individual is not able to use her eyes to scan the text left-to-right. “Convergence” or “teaming” means that the two eyes are not working together properly, so that the person may see double, or may lack binocular vision.

It is very possible for a person to have both dyslexia and vision problems that can be addressed with vision therapy. When the person is known or suspected to be dyslexic, we recommend starting with Davis Orientation Counseling, either by working with a Davis Facilitator or following the instructions set out in The Gift of Dyslexia. This is because many misperceptions experienced by dyslexics are the result of disorientation; unless this is corrected, vision therapy may fail simply because the student is not able to accurately interpret what they are seeing due to continuing mental confusion. Since Davis Orientation can be quickly learned, we think it makes sense to learn this technique at the outset.

(Answer by Abigail Marshall)

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Advice and evaluation concerning vision therapy should be obtained from a Developmental Optometrist. You can get listings of qualified providers and advice about choosing an optometrist from this web site: