The distinction between vision therapy and orthoptics

Optometric vision therapy is a program of care used to develop, restore, or enhance visual function and performance.  The procedures are conducted under the supervision of a developmental optometrist and are individualized to meet the needs of each patient.  Depending on the case, vision therapy is prescribed to develop or remediate fundamental visual skills and abilities; improve visual comfort, ease and efficiency; and / or enhance how a person cognitively processes visual information and uses it to direct and monitor actions.

Vision therapy is generally conducted in-office in a one-to-one environment with the therapist, once or twice weekly for 30 minutes to an hour, often supplemented with procedures done at home between office visits.  The goal of optometric vision therapy is to automatize normative function, not to strengthen eye muscles.  It should not be equated with self-directed programs of eye exercises or computerized vision therapy programs marketed to the public.  Many specialilzed procedures and equipment are used in vision therapy programs including therapeutic lenses and prisms (regulated by state licensure).  Optometric vision therapy is a blend of medical, developmental and behavioral therapies which may include:

  • Pursuit and saccade therapy (to improve the speed and accuracy of eye movements)
  • Visual-vestibular therapy (to integrate eye movements with balance)
  • Visual perceptual therapy (to enhance visual information processing)
  • Eye-hand coordination therapy (to develop visually guided movement)
  • Accommodative therapy (to enhance focusing stability, flexibility, and comfort)
  • Visual attention therapy
  • Peripheral awareness therapy (enhances the use of vision as a simultaneous sense, synchronously receiving and processing multiple inputs)
  • Visual-spatial awareness including laterality, directionality, and visual imagery
  • Visual-auditory integration
  • Orthoptics (mechanics of eye movements)

Although optometric vision therapy evolved from orthoptics, orthoptics is only one of many therapies which are used in contemporary optometric vision therapy.  Orthoptics, which literally means straightening of the eyes, is limited to eye exercises to treat eye coordination problems by increasing the range of binocular fusion.  The treatments used during optometric vision therapy go well beyond the limited definition and scope of orthoptics to treat disorders of the visual system, indicative of vision as a collaboration between the eyes and the brain.

In summary, optometric vision therapy is a complete program of habilitatiave and rehabilitative therapeutic vision care of which orthoptics is a subset.  Optometric vision therapy is not synonymous with orthoptics, home vision therapy or computerized vision therapy programs.

Improvement Starts Here

With over 25 years of proven success, you can trust Advanced Vision Therapy Center to provide the care you need.

Our Clinical Director is Idaho's only residency trained optometrist in vision therapy and neuro-optometry and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.  His residency at University of California, Berkeley means he has the expertise and experience to treat even the most complex cases.

Read what our patients have to say.

  Vision therapy can be a bit unfamiliar to some people. We are going to begin this blog by discussing briefly when vision therapy is used. Many visual conditions can be effectively treated and managed with prescription glasses or contact lenses. However, for other visual conditions (convergence insufficiency, binocular vision dysfunction, etc) prescription glasses or contact lenses cannot correct the vision problem. It is in these cases that vision therapy may be prescribed.   ... Read More
  Many people are unaware of the differences between an optometrist, a neuro-optometrist, and a behavioral or developmental optometrist. Sure, they sound alike but the services they provide are quite different. And if you, or someone you know, has a vision problem that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses this blog is for you.   ... Read More
  At Advanced Vision Therapy Center our results speak for themselves. Jonah, however, wanted to share his story with you. We invite you to watch this short video to learn more about Jonah's experience and success.   ... Read More
  It's a dangerous world we live in today! With October upon us, people are thinking about spooky, creepy crawly things, and of course things that go bump in the night. Most ghoul hunters know that to protect themselves from the evil lurking in the shadows this time of year, they need the necessities such as garlic, silver bullets, a know, for protection.     ... Read More
  Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a term used within the medical community to describe an injury to the brain which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative. Traumatic Brain Injury can be result from a blow to the head, whiplash, seizure disorders, tumors, stroke, toxic exposure, or infectious diseases to name a few. The incidence of prevalence of brain injury outnumbers breast cancer, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDs combined.   ... Read More
  Many people have heard of vision therapy, but don't know a lot about it. As with any type of therapy, the effectiveness of the program is dependent upon several factors. It is advisable to ask questions and do your homework. Vision therapy programs vary greatly from provider to provider.   ... Read More
  Everyday in our schools students are presented with information that they are required to look at, interpret, and process that information. For years it was believed that the eyes had nothing to do with learning. That is definitely not the case. Did you know it is estimated that 80% of what we learn is through visual information?     ... Read More
  Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is a common eye-teaming problem which occurs when the eyes are unable to maintain the ocular posture necessary for reading or near tasks. Convergence Insufficiency results from misalignment of the eyes when focusing on up close, such as when reading. The eyes have a strong tendency to drift outward when reading or doing close up work. The exact cause is unknown.    ... Read More
  After this abnormally tedious Boise winter, we are all ready to get outside and play in the sun! Hold on though, before you rush outside, have you taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself for ultraviolet rays? There are three types of ultraviolet rays, these wavelengths are not visible to the human eye and are shorter than violet wavelengths of light.    ... Read More
  Whether you are playing sports as a hobby or competitively there is a lot to consider. Are you using proper form? Is your equipment up to date? Are you warmed up? Are you wearing the appropriate safety gear? Is your opponent looking bigger and stronger than last time? Seriously, did he grow six inches? Whatever your thought process or preparation is you may be missing a key step. Are you wearing your protective eye-wear?   ... Read More
Contact Us

7960 W. Rifleman Street, #155
Boise , Idaho , 83704 USA
Phone:  208-377-1310
Fax:  208-321-1952