Vision therapy is a doctor-supervised, customized program of visual activities for the eyes and the brain designed to treat certain vision problems and improve visual skills. It’s a highly effective non-surgical treatment for many common visual problems and certain reading and learning disabilities.
How Does Vision Therapy Work?
The first step in our vision therapy program is to receive a comprehensive vision exam. Following a thorough evaluation, our highly qualified vision care and board-certified professional, Dr. Amy Thomas, can advise you as to whether vision therapy would be appropriate treatment for you or your child. If vision therapy is appropriate, you’ll then receive a customized vision treatment plan supervised by one of our trained vision care professionals.
1STEP ONE: DIAGNOSIS
Visual Skills Exam
The first evaluation is a Visual Skills Exam. In this exam, Dr. Thomas will assess the functional visual skills for both near and distance vision. This testing will show both if there is a vision problem that is affecting daily life, and the extent of the problem.
The exam will take approximately one hour to complete. Dr. Thomas will check the following:
- Visual Symptoms
- Visual Acuity at Near and Far
- Ocular Posture (aiming skills)
- Eye Movement Skills
- Tendency to Suppress (shut off) an eye
- Refractive Condition
- Eye Teaming Skills
- Eye Focusing Skills
- Integration of Developmental Reflexes and General Coordination of the eyes and body
After the exam, Dr. Thomas will be able to offer a diagnosis and possible treatment options for you. Depending on the symptoms and findings, Dr. Thomas may recommend the second part of the exam, the visual perceptual exam.
Visual Perceptual Exam
The next part of the evaluation is the Visual Perceptual Exam. This exam will take approximately 1 and a half hours and helps determine the ability to take in visual information, process that information, and act on it.
Dr. Thomas will check the following:
- Eye-hand Coordination
- Reversal of Letters/Words
- Visual Discrimination
- Visual Spatial Relations
- Visual Memory
- Visual Memory with Graphic Output
- Color vision
- Focusing Endurance
- Visual Form Constancy
- Visual Figure Ground
- Visual Closure
- Tracking while reading text
- Preferred dominance of brain, eye, ear, hand, foot
- Eye-Body coordination
- Ability to learn new visual information
Vision Affects Everything in Life.
2STEP TWO: FINDINGS
Once the Full Evaluation is complete, a Complimentary Consultation will be scheduled with Dr. Thomas to discuss the results of the testing. At the consultation, we will discuss the doctor’s findings, how those findings affect your life, and recommended actions for treatment (glasses, therapy, referral to another specialty and/or observation). If a vision therapy program is necessary, the length of the program will be discussed.
3STEP THREE: TREATMENT
Vision Therapy Treatment Plan
If vision therapy is recommended, it is typically provided in 45-50 minute sessions once a week. This is a one-on-one session in which the therapist will introduce and monitor various visual exercises. The treatment plan also includes vision therapy at home activities assigned by the therapist. Vision therapy at home exercises are expected to be done 15 minutes per day on the days that you are in not in the office. Dr. Thomas will monitor the therapy throughout the program and also provide progress evaluations approximately every 10-12 sessions. Progress is evaluated 1, 3, and 6 months after the therapy is completed to ensure that all concepts were learned fully.
LENGTH OF PROGRAM
The length of our vision therapy program is based upon the severity of symptoms, diagnoses, age, and learning challenges. 20, 24, 32, 40, and/or 48 total* weekly session are typically prescribed.
*This does not include progress checks, which are scheduled at a separate time than regular vision therapy sessions.
CAN I DO VISION THERAPY AT HOME?
While our vision therapists do send home vision exercises as a major part of our program, we do not recommend pursuing a solely self-directed at-home treatment plan similar to the ones found online.
Our vision therapy programs are highly individualized and conducted under the supervision of a highly trained vision therapist and optometrist, giving you the best and most efficient results.
VISION THERAPY TECHNOLOGIES
There are a wide variety of specialized equipment that is used in vision therapy programs, such as:
- Corrective lenses
- Therapeutic lenses
- Prism lenses
- Optical filters
- Occluders or eye patches
- Electronic targets with timing mechanisms
- Computer software
- Balance boards (vestibular device)
- Visual-motor-sensory integration training devices