Being a vision therapist can be a rewarding career, because you are helping people to improve their visual function and to treat the underlying visual deficits. However, it is important to ensure that you are fully trained and certified before you can provide vision therapy. You must also be supervised by an eye doctor/optometrist who also must have the necessary accreditations and qualifications in vision therapy.
To become a vision therapist, it is essential to receive the stipulated course certification in the relevant country. Once you have completed the course, you must be supervised by an eye doctor/optometrist who is board certified in vision therapy in order to ensure that the treatment is carried out effectively.
In the area of vision therapy, the American College of Optometrists in Vision Development awards the international fellowship and board certification to eye doctors/optometrists after completing 3-5 years of postgraduate studies in children visual development (FCOVD qualification). If the area of speciality is in Neuro Visual Rehabilitation (e.g. brain injuries), the FNORA qualification is typically awarded by the American Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association.
There are similar accreditation processes for vision therapy providers in other countries, such as the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists (Australia) and the British Association of Behavioural Optometrists (UK), which awards the FACBO and FBABO qualifications respectively.
In the area of vision therapy, it is also possible to complete the U.S. Fellowship/Diplomate in Binocular Vision, Perception and Paediatric Optometry with the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO).
In summary, you can become a vision therapist if you attend the stipulated certificate course and remain supervised by an eye doctor/optometrist who is board certified in vision therapy.
The eye doctor/optometrist has specialised interests in children visual development, neuro visual rehabilitation and behavioural optometry, which are important aspects to consider when formulating a treatment plan for the patient.
The internationally-recognised qualifications for eye doctors/optometrists are: FBABO, FNORA, FACBO, FCOVD, FAAO (Dip BVPPO).
If the vision therapist is not supervised by a board certified eye doctor/optometrist, he/she is generally not allowed to conduct the vision therapy.
* Eye doctors / optometrists refers to a ‘Doctor of Optometry’ or an equivalent qualification in optometry. This differs from an eye surgeon / ophthalmologist.