Why You May Not Know About the Effectiveness of Vision Therapy

Why You May Not Know About the Effectiveness of Vision Therapy

Like most medical doctors, many Optometrists and Ophthalmologists follow the medical model of healing through medication, surgery, or prescription eyeglasses and will likely tell you that following eyesight improvement programs or performing eye exercises to naturally improve eyesight can only be psychologically beneficial.

One has to ask whether their doctor truly has an interest in healing them. Healing a patient increases the likelihood that many of their patients may not come back to see them. Fewer patient visits results in lower revenue for the office.

In the defense of medical doctors, many are only taught the medical model of healing, or only one way of trying to heal a person, which is treating only the symptoms of a disorder and not the cause of the problem.

In addition, eyeglasses and contact lenses do not improve eyesight; they merely balance visual defects by treating the symptoms of the problem, not the cause. Over years, wearing eyeglasses becomes a habit.

Consequently, the original problem that caused the decrease in vision persists, resulting in your visual acuity continuing to decline. As you lose visual acuity the strength of your correction, eyeglasses, or contacts, must increase or be adjusted. Your eyeglasses become the cause of blurry vision. As a result, you will constantly need stronger correction to see the same visual field clearly.

One viewpoint on the “medical model” of treatment was revealed in an interview by Rachel Cooper of Optometrists Network with Leonard J. Press, FCOVD, FAAO , who is the author of the textbook “Applied Concepts in Vision Therapy". Ms. Cooper asked Dr. Press why some ophthalmologists and their organizations would claim that vision therapy doesn’t work. Dr. Press responded that “In 1993, Paul Romano, MD, the editor of Eye Muscle Surgery Quarterly, conducted a worldwide survey of eye muscle surgeons. He asked surgeons to indicate whether they would favor a surgical or non-surgical approach to the treatment of intermittent Exotropia (a form of strabismus; a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned with each other. It typically involves a lack of coordination between the extra ocular muscles, which prevents bringing the gaze of each eye to the same point in space and preventing proper binocular vision, which may adversely affect depth perception.). 85% of the international group recommended non surgical approaches, as compared with only 52% of the American surgeons. Dr. Romano postulated three important reasons why this might be so:

  1. Insurance companies and single-payer systems outside of the U.S. have stricter medical standards in regards to approving payment of eye muscle surgery. Also, they do not pay as well for eye muscle surgery as insurance companies in the U.S.
  2. Non surgical therapy isn’t as economically rewarding for the surgeon in the U.S. due to the personnel and fees involved.
  3. Due to his lack of training in this area, the surgeon is reluctant to acknowledge the benefits of non surgical therapy for fear of losing patients."

The full interview can be found here.

Dr. Romano's statement seems to indicate that there is a correlation between the type of treatment recommended and how much that treatment is reimbursed by medical insurance companies.

Although Dr. Romano's statement is in response to treatment on intermittent Exotropia, the issues he addressed are applicable to the ideologies of surgical treatment for other disorders and for the medical model of healing in general.

Not All Doctors Blinded by Ignorance

Many Ophthalmologists and Optometrists are largely kept in the dark by ignorance. A disadvantage to filling a person's head with extensive "medical" knowledge is that the person is less likely to be open to invaluable effective alternatives. Think about it. Most eye doctors believe they know best, if they found and accepted that they did not, they would face an extreme life crisis that would result in the complete breakdown of their career, life, and the direction of their medical practice. Regardless of what they may be shown as evidence, most will refuse to accept or acknowledge alternative methods despite being presented with overwhelming evidence. Even with the majority of Ophthalmologists and Optometrists being unaware or unaccepting of vision therapy, it is growing and it is extremely effective.

Optometrists can become Board Certified in Vision Therapy from COVD, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development; for more information see article, “Does Vision Therapy Really Work to Naturally Improve Eyesight.”

Under Articles, also see:

Who Can Benefit from Vision Therapy?

Evaluating Vision Therapy Programs to Naturally Improve Vision

Computer Vision Syndrome Prevention

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