You might consider it mere word play, or perhaps semantics, but consider the distinction between describing what we ask the patient to do in order to master what they learn in vision therapy by engaging in “out of office therapy” vs. “home therapy”.
The traditional notion of prescribing “home therapy” for the patient smacks of a teacher assigning homework, and no matter how purposeful we tried to make it, there was always resistance. One of our newer colleagues on a vision therapy listserve inquired the other day about the advisability of requiring a patient to do more in-office therapy as to minimize what we ask to be done during home therapy. Her query was prompted by an article she cited about the importance of home therapy activities. You can read that article here.
It’s a timely discussion, because I had just raised the issue about “home therapy” with my staff last week, and floated it by colleagues who comprise our visionhelp group. Twenty years ago, OEP assembled a series of papers I coordinated into a monograph about the use of Computers and Vision Therapy Programs.
The monograph is still available through OEPF, and many of the advantages of computerized procedures still hold. They include the interactive nature of the therapy, the feedback provided, and the ability to document the patient’s performance and progress. The challenge of course is the evolution of the iPad, and the fact that many kids these days are jaded by the graphics and intellectual stimulation of the burgeoning apps. To put it mildly, they find the activities we prescribe for out-of-office use bawwww-ring. Granted, some are more engaging than others, but they still pale in comparison to iPad apps.
As an example, here’s an app marketed in the iTunes store called “Presents”, described as similar to light board exercises, where the child touches randomly lit up points on a board. It is described as a type of vision therapy that helps kids develop skills needed for reading. Bunny Foo Foo swipes for presents, and the tracking speed can be set as slow, normal, fast, or very fast.
Here’s one we blogged about previously, marketed for amblyopia therapy, called Captain Lazy Eye:
There was an app specifically marketed for vision therapy in the iTunes store that included random dot stereograms, but this seems to have been removed from the marketplace. The ubiquity of iPads (and now iPad Mini) used by even young toddlers (blogged about that here) led our visionhelp colleague, Dr. Carole Hong to develop along with her staff a nice list of apps suited for various visual skill development.