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Computer vision therapy is a form of treatment that employs computers to help re-train the eyes when people are suffering from different eye disorders. This type of treatment is only one small part of an entire battery of eye exercises and therapies that are used as part of a comprehensive program to improve different aspects of eye movement and focusing. During a computer vision therapy session, various programs will generate objects on a screen to test and train the way the eyes and the brain perceive the world. Some versions of computer vision therapy can involve computer programs that are run and used at home without the supervision of a trained professional.
A computer vision therapy session is usually administered in an office setting under the direction of an optometrist or orthoptist. In general, a computer program is run and the eyes are drawn to one or more objects on the screen. These objects can shrink or grow in size to help work on the focus of the eyes, or they can move slowly around the screen to develop eye tracking. Other variations exist, such as objects that blink from one location to the next, objects that have fuzzy edges and programs that help to develop peripheral vision.
Using a computer to assist in vision therapy is a widely accepted practice, although it is only one part of the therapy. Most of the other exercises involve the doctor physically interacting with the patient and using objects in the office and visual aids such as special lenses to help develop different aspects of vision that need treatment. The combination of computer vision therapy and traditional therapy has been shown to be more effective than exclusively using a computer at home.
There are commercial home computer vision therapy programs that are sold with the claim that they can help to correct vision problems without requiring trips to a doctor’s office. These programs can be beneficial to some degree but might not provide a complete change in vision without the additional treatments that would be provided under the watch of a doctor. The most effective type of vision therapy requires office visits and consultation with a professional.
There is a branch of computer vision therapy known as behavioral vision therapy. This type of treatment is based on the concept that, by repairing vision problems, other related problems also can be improved. Learning disabilities often are mentioned as being related to vision problems. As of 2011, there is no scientific research that suggests behavioral vision therapy has any significant effect on areas beyond the eyes and visual perception.
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