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Visual Training: Current Status in Ophthalmology

American Journal of Ophthalmology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajo.2005.06.003
  • Design
  • Medicine


Purpose To inform ophthalmologists of the current status of visual training. Design Personal perspective. Method A perspective and analysis of current practices that include a review of the literature and personal experiences of the author. Results Visual training of some sort has been used for centuries. In the first half of the twentieth century, in cooperation with ophthalmologists, orthoptists introduced a wide variety of training techniques that were designed primarily to improve binocular function. In the second half of the twentieth century, visual training activities were taken up by optometrists and paramedical personnel to treat conditions that ranged from uncomfortable vision to poor reading or academic performance. Other visual training has been aimed at the elimination of a wide variety of systemic symptoms and for the specific improvement of sight and even for the improvement of athletic performance. At present, ophthalmologists and orthoptists use visual training to a very limited degree. Most visual training is now done by optometrists and others who say it works. Based on an assessment of claims and a study of published data, the consensus of ophthalmologists regarding visual training is that, except for near point of convergence exercises, visual training lacks documented evidence of effectiveness. Conclusion Although visual training has been used for several centuries, it plays a minor and actually decreasing role in eye therapy used by the ophthalmologist. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, most visual training is carried out by non-ophthalmologists and is neither practiced nor endorsed in its broadest sense by ophthalmology.

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