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What does independent research show about the effectiveness of vision therapy for children?
The scientific validity of vision therapy depends on the condition to which vision therapy is being applied and the components or exercise that are being offered to a patient as part of a vision therapy program.
There is scientific evidence, for example, that vision therapy is useful for the treatment of convergence insufficiency. This is a common condition that can be completely asymptomatic or can be associated with problems such as fatigue while reading, reading aversion, and difficulty reading. Vision therapy programs can increase a child's ability to converge the eyes, resulting in more comfortable vision at near, thus reducing symptoms.
Vision therapy usually does not cure the condition. Not all children with convergence insufficiency are candidates for treatment. If the condition is found in a patient who has no difficulties with near vision, treatment of the condition offers little or no logical benefit. Unfortunately, vision therapy is sometimes offered for problems that are found incidentally and that are not bothersome to patients and/or where there is inadequate scientific evidence to support its use. Such treatments can be expensive, time consuming, and misleading to parents and patients.
Answered by: David K. Coats, MD
Categories: Children's Eye Health
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