Vision therapy, or VT, is a subspecialty of optometry that uses a prescribed program of treatment, customized to improve visual performance in people diagnosed with vision problems. Through carefully designed exercises and the use of various lenses, prisms, filters, patches and other tools, patients learn to use their visual abilities in new, more efficient ways. This noninvasive, drug-free treatment alleviates the visual discomfort and accompanying symptoms faced by people of all ages who struggle with vision problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between vision and eyesight?
Vision is a process by which the brain gathers information observed via the eyes. This process is learned and provides the brain with a way of observing the individual’s movement and surroundings.
Vision entails several skills including eye teaming, eye tracking, perceptual relationships, and focusing.
Eyesight is a physical process involving the detection of patterns of contrast and light via the eyes. Eyesight gives the individual the ability to see objects clearly at a predetermined distance. Eyesight is measured by visual acuity. Perfect eyesight is considered to be 20/20.
What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy is designed to correct deficiencies in the visual system caused by inadequate sensory and motor development, stress, or trauma to the nervous system.
Each of these deficiencies hinders the body’s ability to properly use the visual system. Because an individual’s vision deficiencies are unique, vision therapy is provided as a personalized treatment program.
During vision therapy, the brain learns how to utilize the eyes as a way of successfully gathering information, processing that data, and reacting to it accordingly.
Vision therapy usually entails the use of special filters, prisms, and lenses, along with processes known to improve the brain’s ability to direct eye movement, alignment and teamwork, and focusing ability. During vision therapy sessions, the body’s visual motor endurance and efficiency are developed and monitored.
All of the skills are combined to form automatic responses encouraged by integration of the cognitive and motor skills.
Can vision therapy help individuals that suffer from learning problems?
Vision therapy is an excellent resource for individuals with learning problems. It can be a vital portion of the total treatment plan for the person involved.
Sensorimotor and vision deficits have the ability to induce headaches, eye strain, double vision, blurred vision, problems with attention, and reading and learning deficiencies.
These ailments can affect highly intelligent and motivated individuals who are unfortunately handicapped by these vision problems, causing challenges in both professional and educational environments.
By correcting functional vision inabilities with therapy, an individual has the opportunity to function successfully at both work and school.
What if the eyes are healthy and eyesight is 20/20 – is there still a need to believe the problem may be vision related?
Don’t count out vision skills simply based on one’s eyesight ability and healthy eyes. Perfect eyesight does not translate into perfect vision skills.
Most individuals who experience sensorimotor or vision deficiencies maintain healthy eyes and 20/20 vision. The handicap often lies within the eye’s ability to focus, align, and endure the challenges of performing simple assignments.
For this reason, visual learning problems can be missed during a traditional eye exam or school screening
Can an individual’s self esteem be affected by a functional vision problem?
Absolutely. Individuals who suffer from vision dysfunctions often experience constant frustration and underachievement.
In turn, the individual may determine that he or she is ineffective because they are not as “smart” as their peers. This conclusion can lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem.
Therefore, by correcting the vision problem, the individual can improve his or her self-esteem and performance significantly.
What other problems can vision therapy treat?
Strabismus (eye turns in or out) can be successfully treated with vision therapy. Aside from surgical intervention, vision therapy is actually the only alternative form of treatment for this condition and generally gets much better long term results than surgical intervention.
In addition, vision therapy can be used to treat amblyopia (lazy eye) regardless of age.
Lastly, visual impairments caused by injury to the brain can be treated with vision therapy.
What are the costs associated with a visual exam and therapy?
A Behavioral Vision Exam and Perceptual testing completed by a Behavioral Optometrist to determine visual deficiencies runs between $500-$800 dollars. Vision Therapy plans are a lot like braces in regards to cost and setting appropriate programs based on findings from the exam. Once an exam has been completed, and the full extent of the visual system challenges is determined, a therapy plan is detailed by the Behavioral Optometrist. Based on the patients needs the therapy plan can last anywhere from 3 months to a year or more. These programs cost on average $2500-$8000 and include all therapy, re-evaluations with the doctor to evaluate progress and equipment used during therapy.
Does my medical or vision insurance coverage pay for my testing and therapy?
Our office does not accept insurance for payment of any procedures. However, upon payment we provide our patients with a receipt that documents the diagnosis and procedure codes used during the visit. This receipt may be submitted to the insurance company with a request for reimbursement for the services provided. The patient’s insurance contract will determine if coverage is available and the dollar amount that will be reimbursed. Our Patient Care Coordinators are happy to help you with this process.