Vision therapists generally work at eye doctors' offices and vision centers and hold at least a college degree in optometry or a related field. Although doctors of optometry (O.D.) primarily diagnose and treat visual health problems, some also specialize in vision therapy. Generally, these therapists provide individual treatments for those who have vision disorders, such as lazy eyes (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), difficult focus, and learning difficulty due to vision disorders.
Vision therapists work with infants, children, and adults, generally on non-surgical procedures. Their treatment programs are usually customized based on individual patients' needs in order to improve or correct vision problems or skills. Other treatments are performed by staff members who are not optometrists themselves, but are supervised closely by optometrists or visual therapists.
Some employers require that vision therapists have designation as fellows of Certified Optometric Vision Therapists (COVT). To become COVT-certified, vision therapists must pass a rigorous exam related to eye care knowledge and abilities and demonstrate behavioral and developmental care related to vision problems (this certification is issued by the COVD International Examination and Certification Board). Visual therapists must have excellent interpersonal and communications skills and be able to troubleshoot minor problems related to their work instruments. They may be required to attend various classes, workshops or conferences and are encouraged to read relevant professional journals. They may also have to train or coach new or junior vision therapists.
Vision Therapist Tasks
Perform and document an initial exam, evaluate medical records and physician's referral and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
Record prognosis, treatment, response and progress in patient's chart or computer database.
Discharge patient from therapy when projected outcomes have been attained and provide for follow-up care or referrals.
Administer and explain eye exercises, massage to help relieve pain, or prevent eye muscle crippling.