How do I know if my child or I need a developmental vision evaluation or vision therapy?
Common symptoms that may be from deficient visual skills include:
- Eyestrain/tired eyes
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Words “moving” on the page
- Covering an eye
- Avoids reading
- Rubbing eyes/squints
- Poor reading comprehension
- Able to read for only a short period of time/short attention span
- Loses place while reading/skips lines/uses finger to keep place
- Poor depth perception
- Turning of an eye in, out, up, or down
- Poor eye-hand coordination
- Difficulty following a moving target
- Motion sickness
- Difficulty copying
- Poor handwriting
- Letter and word reversals
I think my child or I may need vision therapy. What do I do next?
Studies show that about one in four people have some sort of visual limitation that will affect their academic, work and personal life. Our office focuses on identifying and remediating those deficiencies. Please call Aspire Vision Care so that we can schedule an initial evaluation. It is during this initial phone call that we will gather some preliminary information for Dr. Guenthner and you will also have the oppurtunity to ask questions. If you were referred by another doctor, it is at this time that you will have the chance to discuss what they found. We understand that most people want to ask questions and gather information before they make any commitment to treatment.
You can assist in this process by filling in this symptoms checklist. It is scored and has been scientifically normed so you can get an idea of what might be going on. The higher the score, the more likely it is that vision is a factor in any problem. Dr. Guenthner will use this information as part of her evaluation.
Your first appointment (initial evaluation) will be to determine the general nature of the problem. If the problem is more complex, a second tier of tests—called the perceptual evaluation will follow. Dr. Guenthner will then prepare a report with exact diagnosis, develop a specific treatment plan and then you will be asked to return to go over the report and make a choice regarding treatment.
We know that people need time to be certain that the problem is vision related, and that the program of care is the best way to resolve it.
What kind of treatment is this?
The treatment for this general type of visual difficulty relies on the ability of the brain to rewire itself (plasticity). It consists of sessions with a trained therapist who guides patients through a process of re-learning how to use the visual system efficiently and effectively. The therapy involves lenses, filters and prisms and occurs over a period of time that varies according to the nature of the problem.
As many as 20 distinct visual motor (neural) skills and abilities are involved in the most common problems, such as reading and learning skills, poor two-eyed vision (seeing double, poor depth perception) and even suppression of vision of one eye. The perceptual battery tests each of these and is the basis for prescribing a program of care specific to your case.
In cases where head trauma, stroke or similar injury is involved, this therapeutic approach has proven highly effective. In fact, the U.S. Army uses this approach for many of their traumatic head injury patients.
Where can I get more information?
We strongly recommend that anyone that suspects a vision problem takes the opportunity to attend one of our regular workshops on vision at no cost. These 90 minute sessions give basic information about vision, and then address the specific concerns of every one there. We will give you the dates and times of workshops when we call or you can find them listed on our website.
How can I learn more?
Please call with any questions you may have or attend one of our free workshops about how vision can affect school attention, work and even trigger changes in behavior. Or, visit these web sites:
What evidence is there that supports the use of vision therapy?
Vision therapy has been successfully used in the treatment of vision problems for more than 70 years. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development maintains an archive of published research articles and clinical studies on the effectiveness of vision therapy. In addition, thousands of patients each year who experience the benefits of vision therapy can attest to its positive impact on their lives.In 2008, the National Institute of Health published a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology which demonstrated that in-office vision therapy is the most effective treatment for convergence insufficiency, a vision problem which impacts children and adults.
What are “Learning-Related Vision Problems?”
Learning-Related Vision Problems affect the way a child’s eyes work with each other and the brain to collect and interpret visual information. They can be as simple as an inability to see close-up (eye focusing problem) or as complex as a cognitive inability to “visualize” or interpret what their eyes are seeing or a problem with how the eyes converge (convergence insufficiency). These vision problems can cause a child’s visual abilities to not be sufficiently developed for him/her to be able to read – or learn to read – effectively. Unfortunately, children with learning-related problems usually don’t tell a parent or teacher they have a problem. They don’t realize they are supposed to see letters, numbers, objects – the world – in a different way.
What causes Learning-Related Vision Problems?
Research indicates the problem can be due to a difficulty in either acquiring or processing the information we receive through our eyes. The visual skills needed to see effectively may be lacking or the brain may not be sufficiently trained to interpret what the eyes see. Without these abilities, the child or adult spends so much energy just “looking at” and “decoding” the written word, there is little mental energy left to comprehend and remember the word’s meaning.
What specific visual dysfunctions contribute to Learning-Related Vision Problems?
Inadequately developed or ineffective visual abilities in the following areas can lead toLearning-Related Vision Disorders:
- eye tracking skills (eyes staying on target)
- eye teaming skills (eyes working in a synchronized fashion)
- binocular vision (blending images from both eyes together at the same time)
- accommodation (eye focusing)
- visual-motor integration (eye-hand coordination)
- visual perception (visual memory, visual form perception, directionality)
What is the difference between a vision screening, an eye exam, and developmental vision evaluation?
Vision screenings will typically only check distance visual acuity. This of course is important, but many visual issues can be missed in these screenings. The typical eye exam will include evaluating the need for glasses or contacts and examining eye health. This is what the majority of the population may need, but it may not assess for underlying deficient visual skills and/or delays in visual information processing, which are necessary for optimal visual performance. A developmental vision evaluation fully tests all aspects of the visual system. We will evaluate the need for any glasses or contacts, examine the health of the eyes, and test all visual skills, including eye teaming, eye focusing, and visual information processing.
Will insurance cover the Developmental Vision Evaluation (DVE) or Vision Therapy?
Most of the time they will not. If your insurance covers these services or not, do not let that get in the way of the best treatment option for you or your child. Some medical insurance plans may provide a reimbursement for the DVE, and some may even reimburse for vision therapy. At Aspire Vision Care, we are dedicated to taking care of our patients and not paperwork, so we do not accept insurance for the DVE or vision therapy. Payment is due at the time of service, but we will do all we can to help you file claims with your insurance company for partial reimbursement. We also offer payment plans and Care Credit, a healthcare financing program.
Please do not allow your insurance company to dictate what is best for you or your child!