Our Hours
Mon-Thu 10am-6pm
FriĀ 1pm-6pm

Click on the questions below to view each answer.

1. How old do you have to be? What is vision therapy?

Typically our patients are 5 years old or older, and even include adults.  However, depending on the vision problem, Dr. McDermed is often able to prescribe specific activities which parents can do at home with children under 5 years of age that will help prepare them for an in-office program of optometric vision therapy.

Vision therapy is a non-surgical treatment for many common visual deficits, such as poor eye tracking (eye movement), double vision, inadequate focusing abilities and lazy eye. The course of treatment varies greatly from one individual to the next depending on the diagnosis, but typically includes a series of specific exercises that provide the patient with immediate feedback so they can learn how to use their eyes correctly.  For more information, please see our What We Do page.

2. Can vision therapy help with learning problems?

The large majority of learning occurs through our vision. Research has shown that over 60% of children who struggle with reading and learning have undiagnosed vision problems contributing to their difficulties. These types of vision problems are often referred to as "Learning-Related Vision Problems."   Typically the main symptoms that you will see when a child has a Learning-Related Vision Problem is poor attention with schoolwork or reading and difficulty with comprehension and/or tracking.

For school-age children, in particular, it is very important that vision problems be detected and treated.  Untreated vision problems can cause great frustration and undue stress in what should otherwise be an exciting period of learning.

Optometric vision therapy does not treat learning disorders, but does treat vision problems that can cause attention and behavioral problems as well as many learning difficulties. These vision problems have often been misdiagnosed as AD/HD or a variety of different learning disorders.

3. Does insurance cover the evaluation and vision therapy?

Most insurances will reimburse you for the evaluation.  Some insurances may reimburse you for part of the vision therapy program, but not all of it.  The majority of insurances will not cover vision therapy completely.  Similar to braces, many insurance companies consider vision therapy to be an elective service which needs to be paid directly by the patient.  However, our staff will provide you with the necessary paperwork for you to submit to your insurance company.  In addition, when necessary, we will also follow-up with your insurance company.

The best thing to do is to schedule the evaluation as your first step.  Whether or not you decide to pursue treatment the most important thing is to determine to what degree a vision problem is contributing to your or your child's difficulties with reading, etc.

4. What is "orthoptics"?

In explaining coverage, insurance companies will often refer to vision therapy programs as “orthoptics”.  However it is only one small part of a vision therapy program.  Orthoptics focuses on the eye muscles only and there are very  specific diagnoses that insurance will cover.  In many cases, a more in-depth program of vision therapy is required to help our patients achieve their visual goals. 

For more information on the difference between orthoptics and vision therapy please read the following article:

5. What is a learning-related visual disorder or vision-based learning problem?

These terms are used interchangeably to describe a number of vision problems that interfere with one's ability to read, learn and perform visual tasks necessary for schoolwork. 

6. The occupational therapist said my child has visual motor problems; can you clarify what this means?

"Visual motor" refers to the ability to use vision to help guide writing and drawing. It is normally measured by a child’s ability to copy shapes, letters, or numbers from a picture.

It is normal for children to have some trouble with visual motor tasks during early development. It is an ability that must be learned and developed over time. However, extensive difficulty that causes a child to fall behind in school requires that the root of the problem be determined and remedied. The source of the problem is often due to poorly developed visual skills which fortunately can be corrected with vision therapy.

While occupational therapists are able to help children with visual motor deficits, depending on the depth of the vision disorder they may not able to fully resolve the problem until the actual visual dysfunction is treated.  If you have been told your child has visual motor problems, you need to schedule a developmental vision evaluation.

7. The teacher said my child has trouble tracking; what does that mean?

When we read our eyes move from left to right and then have to jump from the end of the line precisely and accurately to the beginning of the next line.  This is called tracking.  When we follow an object that is moving, that is also called tracking.  When a child moves their head a lot when reading, or skips lines, rereads lines, loses place when reading, these are all signs of a tracking problem. The clinical term for tracking problems is oculomotor dysfunction.

The good news is that tracking problems are typically very treatable.  If your child has difficulty tracking, please call our office to schedule a developmental vision evaluation.

8. My eye doctor said my child has a binocular vision dysfunction; what is that?

The right and left eyes each see a different image of the world.  For instance, you may have noticed that when you close one eye, and then the other, that the image from each eye is slightly different.  The images from each eye must combine properly to create a final three-dimensional image.  This is called binocular vision, binocular basically means "2 eyes."

In some cases, the eyes don't work together as they should. This causes various problems such as poor depth perception, blurry vision, a sense of words moving around on a page and more.  The good news is that binocular vision disorders are very treatable. 

9. Approximately how many children are affected by undetected vision problems that interfere with learning?

One out of four children struggle with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems.

According to a conservative estimate from the American Optometric Association, "Sixty percent of children with learning disabilities have undiagnosed vision problems."

10. How long do most visual therapy programs run?  

The length of any vision therapy program depends on the individual patient's specific diagnoses.  Generally, an average vision therapy program will last somewhere between 6 and 10 months.  However, a patient with a less severe vision problem may only need 3 months of therapy and a patient with more severe developmental vision issues may need 12 - 14 months of therapy. 

It is important to understand that in the milder cases sometimes Dr. McDermed is able to prescribe reading glasses which can often resolve the patient's difficulties and there is no need for vision therapy.  During the evaluation, Dr. McDermed is able to determine if reading glasses alone can help or if therapy is necessary and, if so, make a reasonably accurate assessment of how many months of therapy your child will need to correct any vision problems found. 

11. Who administers vision therapy?

Dr. McDermed will design the vision therapy program specifically for your child. Implementation of the program will be done by our vision therapists who are well trained in how to work with children as well as vision therapy. The program and your child's progress are continually monitored by Dr. McDermed.

12. Does vision therapy cure learning disorders, such as ADD or dyslexia?

Vision therapy does not treat learning disorders, such as AD/HD or dyslexia, but does treat vision problems that cause attention and behavioral problems as well as many learning difficulties.

13. Does vision therapy work for visual spatial learners?

The term “visual-spatial learner” refers to someone who thinks primarily in pictures, and relies heavily on vision for learning new things.  The opposite is an “auditory-sequential learner” who relies more on listening and following step-by-step instructions.

Visual-spatial learners respond well to vision therapy.

14. What if a child has sensory integration issues?

Remember that vision and motor skills are closely linked, and therefore, vision is a very important component in the overall sensory development of a child.  Therefore, while vision therapy would not be the primary therapy for treating sensory integration issues, it very often plays a critical role in the overall program for children with these problems.

Our office works closely with occupational therapists to coordinate care to make sure all children with sensory integration issues receive the best and most appropriate care.