Vision Therapy Assessment
Vision Therapy Assessment is a thorough functional vision and visual information processing examination with a Developmental Optometrist that can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours to perform depending on the type of testing required. The examination may require one appointment or be split into two separate appointments.
Difference between a sight test (or vision screening), comprehensive eye exam and vision therapy (or functional vision) assessment
Sight test (or vision screening)
Children and adults often get routine sight tests (or vision screenings) at their family doctor’s office, school, pediatrician or a local glasses store. This test requires the patient to read the eye chart at a certain distance based on which it is decided whether or not they need glasses. One can easily pass a sight test (or vision screening) and still have functional vision problems that can severely impact their school learning, work performance and day to day life. Our vision does a lot of more than just reading letters on a chart, it works closely with the brain to make sense of and interact with the world around us, which requires many more visual skills than being able to see at far.
Comprehensive Eye Exam
These are your annual eye examinations performed by an Optometrist. They assess your vision and visual function at all distances and include a thorough examination of your eye health. If a child is performing well developmentally and academically, then they should get comprehensive eye exams every year but if they are struggling at school, get bored easily with reading, have a short attention span in the classroom or have been diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, they should get a functional vision/ vision therapy assessment. For adults, if they have experienced a concussion, motor vehicle accident, or feel that they still have visual concerns such as headaches, blurred vision, eyestrain despite wearing glasses and/ or contact lenses, they should get a functional vision/ vision therapy assessment.
Vision Therapy (or functional vision) assessment
A vision therapy (or functional vision) assessment examines a person’s functional vision and visual information processing speed. It is a separate exam from your routine eye examinations that involves a different battery of tests that assess our visual system far beyond the visual acuity. A functional vision assessment helps in the diagnosis of visual dysfunctions such as strabismus, amblyopia, convergence insufficiency, ocumolotor dysfunction, and visual perception dysfunctions related to autism, dyslexia and ADHD.
A person needs 17 visual skills to succeed in reading, learning, sports, and in life
A Vision Therapy Assessment examines the 17 visual skills that contribute to a well-functioning visual system. These visual skills include:
The ability to see “20/20” at far and near.
The ability to move both eyes together, to focus on an image, or path. Each eye has six muscles that work together to control eye position and movement.
Quick, simultaneous movements of the two eyes between two or more points of focus, an important skill required for reading words and sentences across a page.
Smooth movements of the two eyes between two or more focus points, an important skill required for moving between paragraphs on a page or when tracking a moving ball.
The ability of the eyes to continuously and effortlessly change their focus from far to near and vice versa, an important skill required when copying from the board in the classroom to make the print on the board clear and then immediately make the print on your notes clear.
The ability of the eyes to maintain focus for reading and other near tasks over an extended period of time, an important skill required when using the computer, laptop or tablet for several hours or when doing homework.
The ability of the two eyes to accurately work together as a team. If one eyes is weaker than the other, then it can result in a lazy eye.
The ability of the two eyes to turn inwards towards the nose at the same rate as a team to focus on a book, computer screen, toys or any object at near, a skill that is essential for reading and academic success.
The ability to remember what is seen both short-term and long-term. Poor short-term visual memory would make it difficult to copy notes form the board and cause spelling difficulties.
Ability to think about and analyze what is seen, an important skill required for math and reading comprehension.
The ability to move through your surroundings using your visual information to guide you, without bumping into anything, an important skills required for playing sports.
The ability to perform near activities with accuracy using your visual information to guide you, an important skill required for writing and texting.
Being aware of your environment and what is going on around you in your visual field (the area you can see).
Bringing together your vision with your other senses to perform complex tasks such as tying your shoelaces, catching or hitting a ball, copying from the board in a noisy classroom, threading a needle.
The ability to be able to see on either side of you while your eyes are pointed forward.
Also known as “3-D vision”, this is the ability to tell that things are further away and closer up relative to each other.
The ability to tell apart different colours, an important skill required to for accurate interpretation of colour-coded materials such as charts and graphs.
A person can have 20/20 vision and yet fail the tests in a vision therapy assessment due to an underlying functional vision problem. Similarly, one can pass all vision screenings but still struggle with poor focus, reading problems, learning problems, headaches, convergence insufficiency, amblyopia, poor eye-hand coordination, which can all be diagnosed through a vision therapy assessment and addressed through vision therapy.
Vision Therapy assessment exams may also include an in-depth Visual Perceptual examination, which assesses the patient’s visual information processing speed. Visual Perception refers to a person’s ability to process visual information. It involves higher processing centres in our brain and determines how we interact with our environment through our vision. The following areas may be assessed:
The ability to discriminate dominant features of objects, such as their shape, position, and form.
The ability to perceive the positions of objects in relation to oneself and/or other objects.
The ability to recognize a stimulus item after a brief interval.
The ability to recognize a series of stimuli after brief interval.
The ability to recognize and label an object when seen in a different size, shape, or orientation.
The ability to identify an object from a complex background or surrounding objects.
The ability to identify a whole figure when only fragments are presented.
Children with visual perceptual delays often have 20/20 vision but may present with other difficulties such as getting their lefts and rights confused or confuse b’s and d’s and/or p’s and q’s. They may have difficulty remembering what they have just read or find it challenging to learn new words. These children may struggle with schoolwork in general and may have a short attention span or poor reading abilities despite being bright. Frequently, these symptoms may point us in the direction of a behavioral disorder when in actuality, it is a visual perception problem, and since vision is a learned skill, the accuracy and speed of our visual perception can be trained through vision therapy.
At Vision Therapy Centre, we perform vision therapy assessments, visual perceptual examinations, assessments on patients with learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries as well as patients with special needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- No. A vision therapy assessment is a thorough examination to detect any functional vision or visual information processing delays. If any of those are detected, then vision therapy is recommended, and the severity of the conditions and the estimated length of treatment can be determined. However, if it is found that the person’s symptoms are not due to an underlying visual condition, then vision therapy is not required. Thus, if you suspect a functional vision or visual information processing delay with yourself or your child, the first step is always to book a vision therapy assessment with the Developmental Optometrist. At the end of the assessment, the doctor will be able to tell you whether or not vision therapy can help.
Absolutely! A vision therapy assessment is different from a routine comprehensive eye examination. A vision therapy assessment examines the 17 visual skills required for a well-functioning visual system and involves a different battery of tests compared to a comprehensive eye exam.
No, you do not require a referral to book a vision therapy assessment. You can simply call our office at (825) 413-0912 to book an appointment.
Book an Appointment
Schedule a Vision Therapy Assessment with our board-certified developmental optometrist, Dr. Arora, for a thorough assessment of your visual skills and visual processing speed.