Our Focus
is your child's vision

Vision Therapy

The sections below outline the purpose of vision therapy and how it works.

There is more to your
child's vision than
seeing clearly

Vision and Reading

Vision and learning are closely linked, especially within the context of reading. Successful reading requires the eyes to be positioned, focused, and tracking in a way that provides automatic, clear and single vision with efficient collection of visual information. The failure to do so may result in vision-related learning difficulty, which is a reduction in academic or reading performance as a result of discomfort, inefficiency, or inattention caused by poor visual skills.

Common Reading Symptoms
Classic vision-related symptoms include near blur, eye strain, eye fatigue, covering or closing an eye, intermittent distance blur, loss of place, and skipping lines. Nonspecific symptoms with potential visual involvement include poor reading fluency, avoidance of reading, and frontal headaches.

Stages of Literacy
There are two main stages of literacy development: learning to read and reading to learn. Visually speaking, learning to read relies on the ability to interpret visual information. These skills are important in learning and reproducing alphabetic principles. In addition, they set the stage for visual data collection in higher levels of reading. Reading to learn involves more sustained viewing of smaller, more continuous text and requires the eye muscles to more fully exercise their focusing and movement skills.

Learning Disability and Vision
Dyslexia and other learning disabilities are disorders of central processing in the brain. We uphold the official position of the American Optometric Association that vision therapy does not aim to treat these disorders. However, visual deficits may coexist with or masquerade as a learning disability. In these cases, vision therapy can work to resolve any concurrent visual dysfunction, making the true learning disability easier to manage.


What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is like physical therapy for the eyes. It maximizes visual performance by teaching the brain to use the eye muscles more effectively and efficiently. Vision therapy can also enhance the brain’s ability to make sense of what the eyes see.

Areas of Focus
Visual Efficiency is a child’s ability to use the eye muscles appropriately. It centers on the brain’s use of the muscles in the eye to quickly and accurately provide clear and single vision, as well as generate eye movements that enable efficient intake of information. Deficiencies often emerge around or after third grade when a child enters the “reading to learn” stage of literacy development. Visual efficiency therapy enhances focusing, converging, and tracking skills.
Visual Perception is a child’s ability to make sense of what the eyes see. It involves the interpretation of visual information in the brain. Deficiencies in this area emerge when a child is learning to read and may present as difficulty learning letters or poor directional orientation. Thanks to the ever-increasing availability of computer software and media apps, many perceptual therapy activities may be performed on a computer or tablet.


Our Philosophy

In most cases, the decision to prescribe vision therapy is based on the presence of the classic vision-related reading symptoms, as described above. With more nonspecific reading symptoms in which a vision link is not clearly established, we rely heavily on the presence of coinciding, measureable visual deficits. It is those visual deficits that we aim to resolve as we monitor for any changes in academic performance. For some patients, particularly those identified with sensory processing or fine motor delay, we provide the option of “reading readiness” vision therapy which anticipates that underdeveloped visual skills may persist and negatively impact the reading process.


Home-Based Vision Therapy

In order to make vision therapy as affordable and accessible as possible, we provide home-based vision therapy. Patients are prescribed a regimen of eye exercises to do at home and return to the office every three weeks for a progress evaluation. For best results, this method requires cooperation among the child and parents to maximize compliance. In contrast, office-based vision therapy consists of multiple-weekly sessions with an orthoptist or vision therapist. This method tends to be more expensive and time consuming, but the child benefits from professional supervision.


Insurance Coverage

Several vision insurance plans only cover one office visit per year. However, because many diagnoses of visual dysfunction are medically-based, progress evaluations may be billed to your medical insurance. Out-of-pocket expenses may include co-pays, materials purchases, or exam fees if your deductible has not been met.


Resources and Articles

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Northwest Pediatric Eye Care
Forest Office Park
14645 Bel-Red Road
Building E, Suite 102
Bellevue, WA 98007

Phone: 425.732.6056
Fax:     425.732.6059
Email:   info@nwpediatriceyecare.com

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