Q&A

Q?

Are Vision Therapy Results permanent or is constant therapy necessary?

A.

In most cases of vision problems that affect reading, the results are permanent and do not require additional training once results are achieved. For other problems, such as myopia control, it may require constant supervision and monitoring.

Q?

Can vision therapy allow my child to not need glasses anymore?

A.

Most likely not. For myopia control, we do our best to keep it from worsening but it does not mean we can make their eyes normal again. For other cases, we actually prescribe glasses to help the eyes focus better and attain better alignment and performance. In some cases of mild myopia, the patient is seeing blurry due to a focusing spasm in the eyes. Doing vision therapy can reduce the spasm so that the blur decreases and the prescription goes down.

Q?

Does insurance cover vision therapy?

A.

Vision therapy is a specialized treatment offered only by a select few optometrists and is not typically covered by insurance. In the event that your insurance covers it, we will be happy to submit your claims on your behalf so that you can be reimbursed by your insurance company for payments that you have made to us.

Q?

Why does my pediatrician or ophthalmologist say that vision therapy doesn’t work?

A.

Vision therapy is very well­ researched and well established in the optometric community.Unfortunately, medical doctors learn very little about vision science and visual information processing. They are trained in dealing with eye health problems but receive little to no training in how the brain uses the two eyes together as a team and how that affects the learning process. We like to say that they are the visual hardware experts, but they don’t know much about dealing with visual software.

Q?

What’s the youngest age that a child can begin vision therapy?

A.

Because vision therapy is composed of drills that require higher level understanding, for many vision problems we are unable to work with children younger than 5. However, in some types of problems such as amblyopia, the training activities may start off relatively simple, in which case we can start as early as age 3.

Q?

Can vision therapy get rid of astigmatism?

A.

We have found that people with high astigmatism tend to have poor autofocus. We work with them to improve their focusing system but do not claim to be able to make the astigmatism go away.

Q?

Why do so few doctors offer vision therapy?

A.

Vision therapy is something that requires a tremendous amount of time and practice to understand and there simply isn’t enough time during 4 years of optometry school to learn all of it. Also, to really understand how to treat a patient requires several months to a year’s time to treat a patient from beginning to end. Optometry school externships only last 3 months in any one location so it’s literally impossible to learn the evaluation and treatment process for any one patient within that time frame.

Q?

Can we just do the vision therapy at home ourselves?

A.

Unfortunately no. Vision therapy requires constant supervision by the doctor or vision therapist who can monitor whether a given activity is too easy or too difficult, as well as determine whether the patient is seeing the target correctly. If done improperly it may actually make vision less efficient. We do however, assign home therapy to be done in conjunction with in-­office therapy.

Q?

Are excessive reading and computer use bad for my child’s eyes?

A.

If your child is already nearsighted, spending too much time doing close work is definitely going to cause a gradual deterioration of distance vision because the focusing strain is going to cause an increase in the length of the eye.

Q?

Do bifocal contact lenses help with myopia control?

A.

Yes they can...in particular if the patient’s eyes have difficulty focusing up close and/or tend to cross in too much when reading. Bifocals do not work for everyone. You will need an exam to determine whether they are helpful and then they may be prescribed.

Q?

Are the results of orthokeratology permanent?

A.

No, wearing the lenses produce a temporary change of the cornea shape so that one can see clearly without glasses. Once you stop wearing the lenses, the prescription will go back to its original power within a couple of days.

Q?

Are there side effects associated with orthokeratology?

A.

As long as the lenses are properly fitted and no damage occurs on the eye, orthokeratology does not result in any side effects. Some patients with very large pupils will end up seeing halos at night. We will know beforehand whether this is a possibility. Considering that it is an overnight lens, patients must use common sense in handling and wearing the lenses to prevent injury or infection. We monitor all of our patients on a 4­-6 month basis even when no problems are present.