THE HISTORY OF VISION THERAPY
Vision Therapy is a holistic approach to understanding the complex nature of vision and offers a practical method for improving and maintaining eyesight without the use of glasses.
Vision Therapy continues to be an increasingly popular natural alternative to glasses and contact lenses. Pioneered in the early 1900’s by Dr. William H. Bates, an American ophthalmologist. This work is now continued internationally by well known vision therapists including Peter Mansfield, Meir Schneider and Roberto Kaplan, many of whom attend the annual International Conference of Holistic Vision where ideas and knowledge are shared through presentations, private discussions and workshops.
Over many years of practice Dr. Bates realised that the condition of ‘eyesight’ was a much more complex phenomenon than the profession of ophthalmology was prepared to acknowledge. In his vast experience he observed many patients whose vision problems did not fit popular ophthalmic explanations. Dr. Bates was not prepared to make these problems conform to the ‘textbook’. He preferred to consider each as unique to the individual experiencing the vision difficulty. In other words Dr. Bates, the best part of a century ago, was looking at vision from a holistic perspective.
The central conviction of Vision Therapy is that eyesight, no matter how poor, will improve naturally with encouragement and in conducive circumstances. Vision is an integrated mind-body experience and as such, seeing is learned and developed just like any other human skill.
From observations, experiments and experience with vision even so-called ‘normal vision’ is subject to transient variations and eyesight can improve as well as worsen. Poor vision and eye disease are two sides of the same coin. In addition the nature and quality of vision is a reliable indicator of the general health and well-being of the individual.
The focus of Vision Therapy is on vision re-education. In other words, the pupil (NOT the patient) is learning to see better. For the student, this educative process has three main components:
- Developing an understanding of his/her vision difficulty from a holistic perspective.
- Increasing awareness of seeing habits.
- Learning to use a variety of practical activities to promote relaxed and therefore improved seeing.Vision therapy involves letting go of ‘bad habits of seeing’ and developing new and better ones, it requires the individual to be actively involved in the learning process and committed to personal growth and the challenges inherent on such a path.
Vision therapy challenges not just seeing with your eyes but your ‘vision’ in its broadest sense.
The benefits of Vision Therapy are both specific and general. It is helpful in all types of eyesight difficulty including eye disease. The therapy particularly addresses the balanced integration of both eyes and therefore supports essential binocular function.
When people become able to see in a relaxed integrated way there will always be a change/improvement in their experience of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being and an increase in intellectual performance. Individuals begin to experience and practice effortless seeing, effortless learning and effortless living.