One of the most common questions that I am asked at networking events is whether Vision Therapy is new. Given the seemingly recent growth of our sub-specialty, this is certainly a very fair question to ask. Being immersed in the world of VT, I’ll occasionally forget that awareness of our services has not yet permeated society – making it reasonable to assume that we are the new kids on the block, actively working to hone and perfect new and exciting techniques. As we’ll discuss in the next few paragraphs, this actually couldn’t be much further from the truth.
History Of Vision Therapy
While awareness of our services is increasing and somewhat new, Vision Therapy as a specialty is actually quite old. The use of eye-teaming activities, exercises, and devices that encourage fusion between our two eyes dates back nearly 80 years and has been integral to our profession for decades. Many of the major Optometry schools around the world have been teaching these techniques since the mid-1900s and we have entire collections of textbooks, along with 3 major journals that publish science related exclusively to Optometric Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation. We truly are not as niche as we may first appear.
Following graduation, those who would like to expand their knowledge in this field are able to choose between 21 different year-long residencies – in which they immerse themselves entirely in the world of vision therapy. We also have countless opportunities for continuing education around the world each year and can be certified as providers of Vision Therapy by an international board via a fellowship process that takes an average of three years to complete. As you can see, the checks and balances for our work go well beyond the mind of each individual clinician or practice.
Future of Vision Therapy
While evolving, the foundational elements within Vision Therapy are very well-established and have been integral to our profession for a very long time. This is not a specialty in its infancy, but merely a life-changing service that is starting to enjoy the expanding popularity that it so sorely deserves. With growing awareness has come exciting new players to our industry who are taking the principles of decades past and putting modern twists on them using the latest and greatest technology available. For providers such as ourselves at Okanagan Vision Therapy, this only makes what we do all the more fun and exciting.
Given the incredible work of many pioneers within our field and the passionate community whose lives have been touched and bettered by this work, providers of Vision Therapy are in the midst of exciting change and growth. For those who are just learning of this service, stay tuned – you’re liable to hear a lot more about the incredible impact of Vision Therapy on academics, visual recovery, and sporting performance over the coming decade. The next chapter in the long story of VT is likely to be the most exciting yet, and we couldn’t be happier to do our part to help write it.
Until next month,
Dr. Paul Rollett, OD, FCOVD