Vision Therapy and Accommodation
What is accommodation in the eyes? Think of it as one of the most important functions of the vision system: your natural response to trying to see something in your hand or up-close.
Accommodation (or eye focusing) responds naturally to see fine details up close in clear focus – much like the autofocus of the camera on a smartphone or tablet.
A health education video at the University of Utah demonstrates the eye ability to focus on near objects along with convergence and pupil restriction to help.
- Increased lens power – A muscle in the ciliary body that surrounds the eye’s lens contracts to enable the lens to change shape and increase its power to bring the near object into clear focus.
- Convergence – The line of sight of each eye must move toward the other (converge) to keep the near object aligned with the fovea centralis of each eye, a section of the retina responsible for sharp, focused vision.
- Constriction – The pupils get smaller (constrict) to increase depth of focus.
Eye accommodation typically weakens with time, and most people need optical help in their 40’s or 50’s. However, this challenge to see clearly and comfortable up-close can occur in school (about 10% of the time) and reading glasses or vision therapy are solutions.
There four kinds of accommodative dysfunctions:
- Accommodative insufficiency –If your near-vision reflex falls below what a doctor would expect for your age group, it’s called an accommodative insufficiency.
- Ill-sustained accommodation – The normal accommodation response reduces while reading over time.
- Accommodative infacility – Distance vision gets blurry after prolonged near vision (or vice versa).
- Accommodative spasm or excess – The accommodation reflex overreacts to a visual stimulus.
To determine candidacy for vision therapy to help improve clear comfortable vision and accommodation (eye focusing), a 2-hour Initial
Assessment is completed. This testing is a critical appraisal of 12 visual skills related to visual performance, that goes far beyond the basic eye exam and 20/20 vision clarity; it assesses visual efficiency (eye focusing and teaming), reading eye movements and visual information processing (VIP) skills. If two or more of these visual skills are significantly below normal then they are likely creating visual-anchors and reduced performance. These deficient visual skills are remedial with diligent effort with vision therapy that is doctor directed.