Common Questions about Developmental Vision Care and Vision Therapy

Indiana Vision Development Center, PC is the regional referral center for patients who require optometric vision therapy. Indiana Vision Development Center, PC specializes in office-based vision therapy, proven through research to be safe, effective and the standard of care in the treatment of deficiencies in eye coordination and visual processing.

Vision therapy, also known as vision training, or visual therapy, is a group of personalized techniques directed at correcting and bettering visual-motor and perceptual disorders. Vision Therapy incorporates a large variety of non-surgical methods designed to increase the brain’s capacity to control:

  •  Eye alignment
  • Eye focusing abilities
  • Eye movements and/or visual processing
  • Eye teaming
  • Lazy Eye
  • Visual Sensory and Motor Integration
  • Visual Rehabilitation after Acquired Brain Injury (ie. Trauma or Stroke)

Through the use of highly specialized equipment, such as lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other aids, including computers, vision therapy guides the patient through the process of developing improved visual function in all of the above areas. As a patient progresses through vision therapy, they will find that their newly acquired visual skills are continually reinforced and become automatically integrated permanently into all of their motor and cognitive processing.

Vision is a learned skill.  Most people develop their visual skills during the first twelve years of life.  These skills are shaped by health, one’s personal experience and the environment.

 

Because these visual skills are related to eye movement and brain function, they can be learned at any age.  This is why many athletes use vision therapy; it’s a method of training their eye muscles and their brain to work more efficiently, which improves their performance.

Yes! Vision therapy can be an important part of the overall treatment of a person’s learning problem. Vision and sensorimotor deficits can cause eyestrain, headaches, blurred or double vision, reading problems, and attention difficulties. Even intelligent, highly motivated people can be severely handicapped by these problems in the academic or work environment. Correcting these deficits allows affected people to benefit from academic remediation and to achieve their full potential in the classroom and workplace.

Approximately 25% to 40% of the general population is affected by some degree of learning related vision disorder. This percentage increases dramatically in learning disabled and remedial reading populations, where as many as 90% of the people have a significant visual disorder component to their learning problems.

Turned or crossed eyes (strabismus) can be effectively treated with vision therapy. In fact, vision therapy is often the only alternative to surgical intervention. Lazy eye (amblyopia) can also be successfully treated with vision therapy at any age. Visual consequences of traumatic brain injury can also be effectively treated using vision therapy.

Indeed!  Not only is vision therapy much safer than eye muscle surgery (which requires general anesthesia.) Vision Therapy has a far better functional cure rate than surgery provides.  Eye muscle surgery generally provides only a cosmetic appearance of straight eyes.  The true alignment of the eyes, allowing for good binocular performance and good depth perception is seldom achieved with eye muscle surgery.  In addition, due to the un-predictability of surgery and the very precisely innervated eye muscles, it is very frequent that multiple surgeries (and therefore multiple general anesthesia exposures) are required.  Each surgery also results in additional scar tissue being produced, which in turn makes the outcome of the surgery even less predictable and leaves the eye with additional limitations of movement.  Even though the eyes may appear to be straight after eye muscle surgery, the brain still doesn’t know how to properly team the eyes together, binocularly.  As a result, the brain will often continue to suppress vision out of one eye, which leads to poor depth perception and stereo blindness.

 

A turned eye is not the result of a muscle problem, but is rather a problem at the level of the brain’s control of the muscles. Vision therapy works through the principles of neuro-muscular re-education to provide a safe, functional and long-lasting cure.

Yes! People with vision problems often have a history of underachievement and frustration. They often conclude that the reason for their low achievement is that they are not as “smart” as other people. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence are often the result of this conclusion. Correcting the vision problems that interfere with normal performance can have dramatic effects on both performance and self-esteem.

A large percentage of students don’t have visual problems, and conducting these tests on every child would be costly. It’s why typical screenings are limited in scope to reading letters on a distance eye chart, a test that does not detect vision-based learning problems.

Visual processing or developmental vision problems can’t be detected unless your optometrist specifically tests for them. In the absence of these symptoms, these tests are typically not incorporated into the exam. In the presence of these symptoms, optometrists may conduct more extensive tests and/or refer patients to the Indiana Vision Development Center.

There are up to three appointments before any treatment begins:

 

  • First, the Initial Evaluation (92014) is where the doctor will perform an expanded assessment of binocular vision (eye teaming skills), accommodation (eye focusing skills), oculomotor function (eye tracking skills) and prescribe lenses if needed.
  • Second, when indicated, an Assessment of Visual Processing (99215) is ordered to evaluate visual information processing and visual motor abilities.
  • Lastly, the final appointment is the Conference where the doctor will discuss the findings from the previous examination(s) and the recommendations for treatment.

 

Each appointment is approximately 60 to 90 minutes in length

The duration of treatment is based on a variety of factors, including the patient’s diagnosis and personal goals chosen by the adult patient or parent of the child patient. The doctor will outline the estimated number of vision therapy sessions at the Conference.

The cost of vision therapy is based on the duration of the patient’s treatment plan. At the Conference appointment we will review the fees of treatment and offer a variety of payment options so that treatment can be made affordable.

Vision therapy/orthoptics (92065) is considered a major medical procedure code. Because major medical insurance companies offer a variety of coverage and plans, Indiana Vision Development Center, PC serves as an advocate to help you get reimbursed through your health insurance provider.

Most healthy vision therapy patients enjoy long-term resolution of their visual problems. Using the newly acquired visual abilities in the activities of daily life allows these skills to become self-reinforcing. Efficient vision becomes a habit, as hard to break as any other habit. Patients with strabismus, amblyopia, or traumatic brain injury may need to perform a minimum level of maintenance therapy to sustain the high levels of visual performance attained during in-office therapy.