Vision therapy is a series of treatment procedures prescribed by optometrists to improve certain types of vision problems that cannot be helped with only glasses or contact lenses. Vision therapy is much akin to physical therapy for the eyes, during which vision disorders are corrected to improve patients’ visual function and performance.
Vision therapy treats vision problems children have when using their eyes up close, especially at school. Problems with tracking, eye teaming, and focusing make it impossible for children to read, learn, and remain on task. Vision therapy also corrects lazy eyes and crossed eyes, and this is done without the need for surgery. The science of modern vision therapy began in the 1930’s and is supported by decades of research, not to mention the testimony of thousands of patients whose vision and lives have been improved.
Vision therapy is prescribed by optometrists who specialize in children’s vision. Before a child can begin a vision therapy program, he or she must be seen by the doctor for a complete developmental vision evaluation and diagnostic workup. In addition to checking the child’s eye health and sharpness of vision (visual acuity as measured by the eye chart), the doctor will complete a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the child’s eye teaming, tracking, focusing, visual perception, and eye-hand coordination skills. The doctor interprets the results of the exam, notes any areas of concern, and makes a recommendation for therapy based upon the test results.
Before the child begins therapy, the doctor will meet with the therapy staff and put together an individualized therapy program and set of treatment goals for the patient. The child’s vision therapy program consists of an individualized plan of treatment procedures using lenses, prisms, instrumentation, visual exercises, and occlusion meant to return the patient to normal vision.
A trained therapist under the direction of the doctor works with the patient once or twice a week for a period from three to twelve months, depending upon the nature and severity of the patient’s condition and how often the patient is seen in the office. The patient is regularly seen by the doctor for progress examinations as he or she proceeds through therapy and meets each set of treatment goals.
- Source: Childrens Vision Information Network
Answers to some commonly asked questions about our services:
Q. What is a developmental optometrist?
A. A developmental optometrist is an optometrist that has received additional training in children’s vision, childhood development, and vision therapy.
Q. What can I expect from an Initial Evaluation from our developmental optometrist?
A. Your initial evaluation begins with a visit with the doctor. After the doctor has completed his initial evaluation, a therapist will finish any further testing needed. The evaluation will give the doctor the information he needs to determine if or to what degree your child is being impacted by vision-related learning problems. A comprehensive detailed report is then generated. Another visit will be scheduled for you as the parent so that the doctor can go through the comprehensive report one-on-one and have adequate time to answer all the questions you may have.
Q. How long should I expect the initial exam to take?
A. About an hour and half to two hours.
Q. If a separate visual perceptual evaluation is required how long will it take?
A. About 30 minutes. (It is part of the initial exam)
Q. Will my insurance cover the initial exam?
A. These types of vision problems are covered by your medical insurance and not vision insurance. The cost of the initial exam depends on your medical insurance coverage. Our insurance specialists are happy to work with your insurance company before your scheduled visit so that you will know exactly how much you can anticipate paying out of pocket.
Q. How much will the Initial Exam cost?
A. If you do not have medical insurance, an evaluation with the doctor, the visual perceptual testing, the generation of a detailed comprehensive report and a one-on-one visit with the doctor to go over the findings is $278.60.
Q. If my child needs vision therapy, how long does Vision Therapy last?
A. The length of vision therapy depends on the diagnosis and severity of the vision problem. At the parent-doctor conference, the doctor will let you know how much therapy is anticipated for your child.
A trained therapist under the direction of the doctor works with the patient once or twice a week for a period from four to twelve months, depending upon the nature and severity of the patient’s condition and how often the patient is seen in the office. The patient is regularly seen by the doctor for progress examinations as he or she proceeds through therapy and meets each set of treatment goals.
Q. What if I just had my child’s eyes checked?
A developmental optometrist is an eye doctor that specializes in children’s vision. Being seen by an eye doctor at least every 2 years is crucial for checking the child’s eye health and sharpness of vision. However, if your child’s eye doctor is not aware that your child is struggling with functional vision problems, these specific vision problems may be missed. At Washington Vision Therapy Center our developmental optometrist will work with your eye doctor to complete a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the child’s eye-teaming, tracking, focusing, visual perception, and eye-hand coordination skills. The developmental optometrist interprets the results of the exam, notes any areas of concern, and makes a recommendation for therapy based upon the test results.