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You may be accustomed to the idea of pursuing treatment for eye diseases or refractive disorders such as nearsightedness or astigmatism -- but did you know that you or your loved ones may experience vision problems even in the absence of such conditions? Vision is the result of the communication between the eyes and the brain, and if anything interferes with the accuracy or completeness of that communication, a variety of vision issues may result. But these eye function abnormalities can often be corrected through the expert vision therapy services offered at each of our locations in Lancaster, NH, St. Johnsbury, VT and Montpelier, VT.
Eye function problems that require vision correction include:
Ambylopia - Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is the abnormal dominance of one eye over the other, perhaps due to a refractive error that makes one's input less clear or a problem focusing both eyes' input into a single image. the brain ends up ignoring or discarding the information from one eye, causing poor vision in that eye and reduced depth perception.
Strabismus - Strabismus, or eye misalignment, can be an underlying cause of ambylopia, but it's also an eye function problem in its own right. The misalignment between the eyes may be horizontal or vertical in nature. People with strabismus may experience problems with double vision.
Phorias - A phoria is a condition in which one eye drifts out of alignment occasionally instead of always being misaligned. If you tend to experience blurred or double vision after a long period of intense eye activity, for instance, you might have a phoria that requires treatment.
While eye focus problems typically appear in childhood as a developmental issue, they can also affect adults who have had a recent stroke, illness or injury.
While untreated refractive errors and eye muscle irregularities can influence eye function errors, it's important to note that the "disconnect" is really occurring in the the nerve pathways between the the eyes and brain, where all visual processing occurs. Since the brain is highly adaptable, especially in children, the right kinds of vision therapy can retrain it by reinforcing the efficiency of those nerve pathways.
Vision therapy employs several different techniques and technologies. In cases of ambylopia, for example, keeping the dominant eye patched or covered can make the brain depend more on the other eye, equalizing the two visual fields. Your optometrist on our eye care team can also prescribe atropine eye drops that blur the dominant eye's vision temporarily. Other helpful forms of vision therapy include lens filters or prisms to treat eye tracking or coordination problems and exercises to strengthen eye focus.
The earlier in life we can diagnose and treat an eye function problem, the more easily we can resolve it. Call your St. Johnsbury, Montpelier or Lancaster Optometrist at Shippee Family Eye Care for an eye exam!