What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy is a type of specialized therapy that is designed to improve the functioning of the visual system. It is a non-invasive treatment approach that involves a series of exercises and activities that are tailored to the individual needs of the patient.
Vision therapy assessments
Functional eye exam
Functional vision is how your eyes, brain, and visual pathways work together to help you interact with your environment. At our Farmington Multispecialty Center, we can assess patients of all ages. Our team of specialists have worked with patients ranging from birth to 90 years of age. We have the advanced training and equipment required to perform a functional eye exam, which includes tests on visual skills, including:
Healthy eyes maintain position on objects when they are still or moving through space and change position from one object to another (or word to word when reading). If your eye movement is compromised, you may have difficulty holding fixation for balance, directing gross motor or fine motor activities, reading, writing, or tracking a ball.
Healthy eyes see an object clearly and shift focus between objects at different distances. If your eyes are not correctly focusing, you may experience headaches, eyestrain, visual fatigue, and/or inattention. In addition, words may be unclear, and you may be unable to shift your focus from close to distant objects.
Healthy eyes align to focus on the same point and work together in a coordinated and precise way, allowing efficient, single, comfortable vision and depth perception. If your eyes are misaligned and point in different directions, you may have trouble with attention and/or avoid near activities. Additionally, you may lose depth perception and experience double vision, eyestrain, or fatigue.
Types of Assessment
Using advanced technologies, we can assess how efficiently and accurately your eyes function when reading. Sensors measure how many fixations and regressions your eyes make while reading and assess how long you hold each fixation. The Readalyzer also provides information on how well you comprehend the information you read and provides us with a simulation of eye movement over the text you read.
Functional visual field evaluation
The visual field is your entire scope of vision, including central and peripheral vision. A functional visual field assesses the quantity of visual information your brain can process at one time and the environment your visual system is functioning in. A collapsed functional visual field may cause difficulty in balance, movement, and information processing. Many patients with collapsed visual fields experience dizziness due to a mismatch of visual and vestibular input.
Visual information processing evaluation
This evaluation assesses how well your brain processes visual input. Our specialist looks at your brain’s ability to see that two objects are similar or different and to detect detailed information against a busy background. We assess how your visual system directs your motor output, how your visual/vestibular/auditory systems are integrated, and if the primary reflexes associated with your visual function are integrated.
Vision Therapy Treatment
We diagnose and treat children and adults experiencing visual function or sensory processing conditions. These conditions may result from developmental dysfunction, acquired brain injury, or medical events. Our goal is to restore your capabilities so you can comfortably and confidently perform everyday activities and enjoy optimal function for a lifetime.
Our neuro-optometric rehabilitation team helps patients develop the skills needed for great vision. We are the only center in Connecticut that utilizes an in-office collaborative treatment approach, combining vision therapy, occupational therapy, and mind-body restorative disciplines.
Vision therapy taps into the brain’s ability to form new neural connections and pathways, a capacity referred to as neuroplasticity. With over 20 years of experience in vision therapy techniques and the latest technology in visual rehabilitation, we can customize each treatment plan utilizing treatment modalities that best fit each patient. As we retrain a patient’s brain to direct their visual system efficiently and accurately, we also help them re-learn how to process the visual information that their brain receives from their eyes. Our goal in vision therapy is to correct any underlying conditions, not teach you to adapt to them.
Our neuro-optometric rehabilitation helps patients develop the skills needed for good vision. Vision therapy can help improve functional vision problems experienced because of:
- Acute events like stroke, concussion, or brain injury
- Developmental issues like sensory integration challenges, learning difficulties, developmental delays, or autism
- Diseases like multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or other neurological ailments.
Get started with vision therapy
The first step in any eye vision therapy program is a comprehensive eye exam so that the doctors at SIGHT can get a better understanding of the current state of vision and eye health. Following this thorough evaluation, our doctor can advise you as to whether you or your child are a good candidate for vision therapy and guide you through the program.
If you would like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to get started with vision therapy services, please contact us today.
Vision therapy FAQs
Below are answers to some of the most common questions about our services. If you have a question that isn’t answered, we’d love to hear from you. Please call us at (860) 231.8491 so that a member of our staff can provide a personalized response.
How does vision therapy work?
Is vision therapy a standardized program?
No, each patient’s vision therapy treatment program is customized based on their medical condition, associated symptoms, testing results, age, and cognitive ability.
Is vision therapy done at an office or at home?
Vision therapy is typically performed in the office, followed by at-home treatment aimed at reinforcing neuroplasticity. Home activities typically average 10 minutes per day. The number of days of at-home treatment varies depending on the number of in-office visits per week.
How often are patients assessed during their vision therapy treatment program?
Patients receive a formal assessment by one of our doctors every 10 sessions and the treatment is modified at each vision therapy session, based on symptoms or the performance of the visual system.
Is vision therapy a lifelong treatment?
No, patients graduate from vision therapy once they reach age-related norms for visual function and/or functional goals are met.
What would cause a patient’s visual system to change after graduating from vision therapy?
An acute event like a stroke or concussion could change visual function. A patient can also change how their visual system functions with poor visual hygiene.
How young can you start vision therapy?
Our multispecialty approach provides patients the opportunity to begin a modified vision therapy program that focuses on the foundational skills needed for visual function as early as 6 months of age.
Is there an age limit for vision therapy?
No, we successfully treat patients of all ages. Some of our patients receive vision therapy for a visual system that never developed accurately or efficiently. Some patients receive vision therapy after an acute event like a stroke. Rehabilitation and loss of visual function after a stroke is similar to rehabilitation and loss of the ability to write after having a stroke. The structure is there, we just have to retrain the brain on how to direct the hand or, in our case, direct the eyes.
How many vision therapy treatment sessions are needed for a patient?
Patients will receive an estimated number of visits at their initial evaluation. The number of sessions depends on the number of sensory systems compromised and their level of function. The final number can vary based on patient participation and how the brain responds to therapy. Our doctors reassess the patient’s visual system every 10 sessions to modify and discuss treatment plans including sessions needed for the completion of treatment.
Are the results and number of total treatments dependent upon the patient’s participation?
Yes, patient participation is vital to retraining the visual system with vision therapy. I like to compare it to a gym membership. Changes are not going to happen if you show up at the gym 2 times per month with no work in between. Consistency with vision therapy reinforcement at home and in the office is key to success with vision therapy.
Is the vision therapy assessment covered by insurance?
Yes, the vision therapy assessment is covered under a patient’s medical insurance plan. We are in-network with most medical insurance plans and out-of-network for all other plans.
Is there an at-home kit I will need to purchase?
Yes, the at-home kit is an integral part of your treatment and maintenance plan. It includes the necessary equipment for at-home reinforcement as well as individualized access to our Binovi app. The Binovi app provides instructions, videos, timers, metronomes, and communication with our team.
If I don’t have insurance coverage can I pay per visit? Do you offer package discounts?
Patients that utilize their insurance benefits are billed per visit with a diagnosis and procedure code based on the results of their vision therapy assessment, following insurance guidelines and rules. Our self-pay patients have the option of paying per session or can receive a discount on pre-paid packages. We also participate with CareCredit.