Vision therapy is a sequence of brain-based exercises to guide the visual system into a more efficient pattern. You can think of it as physical therapy for the eyes: we are teaching the visual system to function in a better way. Each patient receives an individually-prescribed regimen, based on his or her symptoms and needs.
Vision therapy is not tutoring. We do not instruct our patients in reading or other academic subjects. But vision therapy can improve the visual skills that may be affecting reading.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can benefit from vision therapy?We believe, and have seen in our practice, that visual deficits are not permanent and can be rehabilitated. We have success in treating the following cases with vision therapy:
- Lazy eye or Amblyopia
- Convergence or eye teaming difficulties
- Double vision
- Eye tracking difficulties
- Visual perceptual difficulties
- Visual rehabilitation after head injury or stroke
- Sports vision enhancement
I'm interested in doing vision therapy. What's my first step?
Whether you heard about vision therapy from one of our patients, or you have done some research on your own, we look forward to starting this journey with you! The first step is to have a binocular vision evaluation performed by one of our doctors. Even if you or your child has already had a routine eye exam, this evaluation allows our doctors to do in-depth testing to ensure that vision therapy is an appropriate treatment plan, as well as giving them the opportunity to get to know you and understand your visual goals. To schedule an evaluation, please submit the new patient paperwork, and someone from our office will be in contact with you.
What does a typical vision therapy session look like?
At our office, visits are scheduled for 45 minutes, in a one-on-one setting with the patient and one of our vision therapists. The patient will work through different exercises based on his/her individual diagnoses. Some of these exercises will be computer-based, but many are in free space, teaching the eyes and the brain in its natural environment. During the last 5-10 minutes of the session, the parent or caregiver will be included to review progress and demonstrate home vision therapy activities for the week.
Some of our patients drive a great distance for the specialty services provided at the Center for Vision & Learning. It may not be possible to attend vision therapy each week. In those cases, your doctor may also be able to prescribe a home-based vision therapy program designed just for you.
Can vision therapy cure dyslexia?
Vision therapy does not cure dyslexia, but vision therapy can eliminate the visual impediments to learning. This often improves academic performance and reduces frustration.
Can vision therapy cure ADD or ADHD?
Vision therapy does not cure attention problems, but many children diagnosed with ADHD also have eye teaming and tracking difficulties. Once we eliminate these vision problems, attention often increases markedly in the classroom and homework environment. Some of our patients find that they are able to discontinue medications after they have completed an in-office vision therapy program.
What is the cost of vision therapy?
Vision therapy fees are similar to other types of one-on-one therapies and tutoring sessions. At our office, you can choose to pay weekly or we offer a discount for a block of sessions. You are never locked in to a long-term treatment plan; we prefer to offer our services in blocks of 8 or 12 visits, and then a re-evaluation with the doctor is performed to see if the patient will benefit from additional visits. Please call our office for specific pricing and information.
Does insurance cover vision therapy visits?
In some cases, yes. Vision therapy is not covered by any vision plans--these plans are structured for eyeglasses and contact lenses, not medical vision services.
Your major medical insurance may cover vision therapy and if it does so, it is generally included in the same category as physical therapy or occupational therapy. We encourage you to contact your medical insurance provider for clarification and we will be happy to provide the procedure codes and diagnosis codes to help you. Our office staff also will contact your insurance on your behalf prior to beginning vision therapy, in order to obtain preliminary estimates for cost, but no estimate is guaranteed until the insurance company processes the claim.
My doctor says vision therapy doesn't work. Is there any research for this type of treatment?
There are thousands of research articles showing the benefits of vision therapy. This treatment has been around for over 50 years! Check out our research page for articles. For more information on the specific type of vision diagnosis, we encourage you to visit the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, which has compiled a list of research articles on the benefits of vision therapy.
I am already receiving vision therapy with another provider; how is your therapy different?
We work closely with occupational therapists and physical therapists, as the eyes are a part of the overall body system. Some of these providers incorporate vision exercises into their therapeutic programs. Our program is different in that only optometrists can utilize lenses and prisms to assist the visual system in making real and lasting changes. It is our goal to shorten your overall therapy regimen by providing specific, focused visual activities based on your diagnosis. We will not be replacing your current therapy, but we will supplement those therapies.