May Newsletter: Can Vision Therapy Help with Fluctuating Vision?

Woman has trouble with her vision.

Can Vision Therapy Help with Fluctuating Vision?

Periods of blurry vision that come and go could mean you have a problem with your eyesight. Fluctuating vision is a symptom of many conditions that vision therapists treat.

What Are the Symptoms of Fluctuating Vision?

If you have fluctuating vision, you may notice:

  • Blurry or Double Vision. Your vision may blur or you may see two of everything occasionally.
  • Eyestrain, Fatigue, and Headaches. Your eyes and brain must work harder when you have a vision problem. As a result, you may notice red, sore eyes, frequent headaches, or fatigue.
  • Clumsiness. Do you wish you weren't so clumsy? Your lack of coordination could be caused or worsened by your fluctuating vision.
  • Reading Issues. It's difficult to keep your place or remember the last page you read if your vision fades in and out.

What Causes Fluctuating Vision?

Fluctuating vision has many causes, ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure to medication side effects. Vision fluctuations can also occur if you have a vision condition. Many people assume that they can't have a problem with their vision if they can read an eyechart easily or wear contact lenses or eyeglasses.

Although the sharpness of your vision is important, it's not the only factor in good vision. Your eyes must work as a team and be properly aligned for you to see well. Your brain must process the information it receives from the eyes, convert it into images, and store the information in your memory for future use. The brain also sends messages that tell the eyes how and when to move. Any issues in this chain of events can to fluctuating vision.

Common causes of fluctuating vision include:

  • Convergence Insufficiency and Convergence Excess. Convergence insufficiency happens when one or both eyes don't turn inward enough when focusing on near objects, while convergence excess occurs when your eyes turn inward too much.
  • Strabismus. Strabismus, or "crossed eyes," occurs when your eyes are misaligned. Although strabismus is often diagnosed during childhood, subtle misalignments may go undetected for years. Misaligned eyes send conflicting information to the brain, which makes it hard to produce a single sharp image.
  • Amblyopia. Amblyopia, commonly called "lazy eye," happens when the brain doesn't pay attention to the information from one eye.
  • Nystagmus. Nystagmus is characterized by jerky, uncontrolled eye movements that cause blurry vision. Your eyes may move from side to side, up and down, or in a circle.
  • Eyestrain. Blurry vision can also be caused by eyestrain, a condition that has become more common in recent years due to the use of digital devices. Eighty percent of Americans reported eyestrain symptoms in a 2022 Vision Council survey on digital habits. If you have an underlying vision issue, like focusing problems, strabismus, amblyopia, or nystagmus, you may be more likely to develop eyestrain.

Improving Fluctuating Vision with Vision Therapy

Vision therapy improves your visual abilities by helping your brain and eyes communicate better. The therapies employed also enhance eye teaming, eye movement, visual processing, visual perception, visual memory, depth perception, eye-hand coordination, peripheral vision, and focusing skills. During vision therapy, you may play computer or virtual reality games designed to help your eyes work together as a team, slow your eye movements, or encourage the brain to recognize information from both eyes.

Your vision therapy plan may also include hands-on activities. For example, you might follow the numbers on a swinging ball to improve your visual tracking skills or use special glasses with red and green lenses to help your brain recognize signals from both eyes. Your vision therapist will offer helpful strategies and may recommend a few eye exercises you can do at home to enhance your treatment.

Vision therapy offers a proven way to improve many vision conditions and can even change the areas of the brain responsible for vision. Vision therapy increased functional ability in the brain and improved clinical function and visual symptoms in young adults with convergence insufficiency in a research study published in the Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in 2019.

Struggling with fluctuating vision? Contact our office to schedule an appointment with the vision therapist.


The Vision Council: The Vision Council Releases Focused Insights 2022: Digital Habits, 11/4/2022

NCBI: Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society: Clinical and Functional Imaging Changes Induced from Vision Therapy in Patients with Convergence Insufficiency, 7/2019

All About Vision: Gradual or Sudden Vision Changes: Is This Normal?, 1/23/2020

Review of Optometry: Managing Amblyopia: Can Vision Therapy Cut It?, 10/15/17