The Osteopathic Use of Optometric Lenses

February 13, 2019

Here at Insight Medicine, Dr. Stason is using optometric lenses to reduce strains related to vission in his patients. The purpose of this treatment is to determine an eyeglass prescription that minimizes physical strain and creates a ‘neutral’ visual experience.




For over 80 years, the osteopathic profession has recognized the presence of rhythmic patterns of motion in the normal skull and its associated tissues.  The human skull is composed of multiple bones connected through ‘sutures’ that, like any joint, permit motion.  Over the years, D.O.’s have found ways to diagnose and gently release abnormal restrictions that impair this motion.

For the past few decades, through the practice of cranial osteopathy, we have learned that the eyes and vision can be affected by strains in the skull.  Conversely, we have also noticed that conventionally prescribed glasses can actually create strain.  This can lead to headaches, neck pain and body pain.  People might not realize that their glasses might be a significant contributor to these symptoms but they know that they feel better when not wearing their glasses. Occasionally this gets to the point that people cannot ‘tolerate’ their new, supposedly perfect, eyeglass prescription.  We have come up with a new way… letting the body tell us what prescription feels right!




Starting with your most recent prescription as determined by your optometrist/ ophthalmologist, we monitor your cranial motion as you look through your glasses.  If we feel a strain, we then use test lenses to find a different prescription which eliminates vision-associated physical strain.  In other words, our goal is to determine a prescription that results in no strain or impairment of cranial motion when you look through the lenses.  This is what we call a “balanced” prescription or a “neutral” visual response.




Some patients notice a greater sense of ease in their vision and body as soon as they start looking through a “balanced” prescription.  Chronic strain patterns in the rest of the body that were previously reinforced by visual reflexes start to soften up and resolve.


When patients with vision problems wear lenses that reduce physical strain, we find that osteopathic manipulation treatments (OMT) are more effective.  When treating chronic problems, the use of balanced lenses will complement and augment osteopathic manipulation.


Patient Expectations:




Prescribing glasses this way is great – but it does have a cost or trade-off. In exchange for having less pain or other negative symptoms the perfect clarity of central or distant vision is no longer there.  A “balanced” prescription typically provides acuity of 20/25 or 20/30 rather than 20/20.  Most people don’t even notice the difference.  While less than perfect distant vision isn’t ideal, a reduction in headaches, neck or back pain may be a worthwhile trade-off.




The use of “balanced” lenses usually results in a change of vision after an interval of time, often leading to a slight reduction in prescription strength.  These changes are likely to occur in the first few months.  Some patients (by no means all) progress to the point that they have adequate and strain-free vision without the use of corrective lenses.  But remember - the purpose of this form of treatment is not to “get rid of glasses” but to reduce physical strain.


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