Essay: Vision Therapy is a Necessity

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No child should have to struggle in school due to visual problems, considering around 90 percent of information processed by the brain is visual. Both children and concussion victims can have severe underlying visual issues that disguise themselves as learning disorders. Because they are not, the victims often feel like they hit walls when no progress is made with other learning disorder treatments. Visual therapy is used to combat this. Children and concussion victims do not deserve to be secluded from normal life when there are options to heal them, like vision therapy. Although vision therapy has not been around as long as other methods, and had a few things that needed to be ironed out at the beginning of its usage, there are many cases where it has worked. Tons of parents have watched their child’s mind grow with vision therapy, and tons of trauma victims have regained what they once had.

It can be observed through countless examples of how vision therapy has worked that it is necessary for many people. In a comprehensive study pioneered by Michael Gallaway (OD), post-concussion patients were recommended vision therapy, and the results of the therapy over 18 weeks were recorded. It was concluded that “Vision therapy had a successful or improved outcome in the vast majority of cases that completed treatment” (“Vision Therapy for Post-Concussion Vision Disorders : Optometry and Vision Science” 68-73). Because this is a study, there is no counter-argument or debate. The facts are stated clearly and detailed. It is based solely on the evidence and statistics found from the experiment. This study provides recent and accurate proof that vision therapy has worked and will work for post-concussion victims.

Vision therapy is primarily used with children who have learning disorders. At Boston’s Children’s Hospital, David G. Hunter, opthamologist-in-chief, stated: “While many ophthalmologists think vision therapy doesn’t work… I have seen enough treatment successes that I think it has to be studied. Here at Children’s, we want to offer this service to our patients rather than give them no choice but to seek help elsewhere, and at the same time study its effectiveness” (2011). His article begins by defining behavioral vision therapy. It then describes instances where it has worked, and explains how Boston Children’s uses it. They use it to help kids with learning disabilities. This article helps validate vision therapy, as it shows how it is used in a large-scale hospital, and how experts believe in it as well as parents.

Parents are possibly the main supporters of vision therapy and behavioral vision therapy. Many have seen how it has worked for their children and think that it should be used for other children worldwide. In “Vision Therapy Draws Fans, Skeptics” by Gayle Worland, anecdotal evidence is used to describe a child’s experience with behavioral vision therapy. It stated that the child had to tilt his head and cover up one eye while simultaneously wearing glasses just to read and had issues listening to his teachers due to this. The child’s mother turned to behavioral vision therapy for help, and after a year the boy no longer struggled with reading and even ditched his glasses. Although this article contains only anecdotal evidence, it is a prominent example of how vision disorders go into effect in the home, and how the correction of vision disorders benefit not only the child affected, but also the parents, teachers, and fellow students. This article did add to my claim that behavioral vision therapy is useful in treating children with learning disorders, but it is not the strongest article I have found evidence wise.

Although currently there are few people who are against the practice of vision therapy, before there was valid research it was an enormously controversial issue in the world of Optometry. “Vision Therapy: Are You Kidding Me? Problems with Current Studies” exposes the issues with some studies. In the article, vision therapy is first defined and explained. Then the issues with all of the studies are exposed, and it is inferred that vision therapy should not be used yet. This article shows a different side of vision therapy. The author, Sarah Whitecross, is an O.C.(C). This article was presented as part of the American Orthoptic Council, the American Association of Certified Orthoptists, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. There is not a lot of bias in this article.

The author herself stated, “There is a lot of evidence supporting the role for vision therapy or orthoptic therapy for the treatment of symptomatic CI” (“Vision Therapy”). Although the author does cite her resources clearly, this was written in 2012. Because it involves scientific research, I believe it is not current enough to be accurate. This article is helpful to me because it shows how even though there was evidence in favor of vision therapy it might not have been accurate. Currently, there are more than enough correct studies that prove the effectiveness of vision therapy.

Another, lesser-known disease that vision therapy can cure is amblyopia. The article “Managing Amblyopia: Can Vision Therapy Cut It? New Technologies Are Making This Once-Controversial Treatment Option More Viable,” Kara Tison and Amanda Nicholas explain how vision therapy can treat amblyopia. They wrote about amblyopia, defined as: “a visual development that occurs in childhood”(Managing Amblyopia: Can Vision Therapy Cut It? New Technologies Are Making This Once-Controversial Treatment Option More Viable.) and the different ways it can be treated. It covers spectacles, occlusion, and vision therapy. Vision therapy can reduce the amount of therapy time required for treatment. The article mentions how it, in addition to occlusion, is more effective than occlusion on its own. It describes how vision therapy works on children and how the exercises are practiced in-office and at home.

Both authors have experience working in vision therapy, and they built their arguments using research and evidence from sources like The American Optometric Association and other renowned ODs. Dr, Tison is currently an assistant clinical professor at the University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry, and Dr. Nicklas is a staff optometrist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in the department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. The article was written recently in October of 2017. All of the facts included are clearly cited and explained. The purpose of this article is to prove that vision therapy is necessary and has worked in many cases, however this article barely mentions behavioral vision therapy. The word choice in this article is formal and This information supports my claim that vision therapy is useful. This article goes into depth about how it can and has helped children with disorders.

Vision therapy is useful for many circumstances. It helps children who suffer with learning disorders and amblyopia, as well as post-concussion victims.

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