The majority of our patients are from the Austin metro area; however patients and patient families come to OCVT Austin from as far as El Paso, Texarkana, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Dallas and Ft. Worth. They tell us our optometric vision therapy expertise and personalized practice philosophy makes their distant travels worthwhile. Patients are referred to OCVT by other professionals, patient families, patient’s friends and our patients. Others select OCVT by doing their research comparing different optometric vision therapy practices based on doctor/staff qualifications and other factors they deem significant and relevant. OCVT strongly endorses an objective process in the patient’s/patient family’s selection of a vision therapy practice.
At the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy, we limit our services to vision therapy, vision therapy evaluations, neuro-optometric rehabilitation, pediatric optometry and other vision therapy related services. To ensure that our expertise and resources are fully allocated and devoted to providing you our patients with the best optometric vision therapy services, we refer all non-vision therapy related services to other optometry practices.
Patients from El Paso, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Texarkana, Dallas and Ft. Worth travel to the OCVT practice in Austin because of Dr. Larson’s optometric vision therapy expertise and her commitment to provide personalized patient care.
Our Patient Groups
Learning-related Vision Disorders
Research indicates that 25% of children are affected by a learning-related vision disorder. In these cases, one or more of a child’s visual systems has a deficiency that is inhibiting their ability to learn and achieve at their highest potential. There are two primary types of visual skills that can be affected: efficiency and processing skills. Efficiency skills are related to the mechanics of how the eyes move, track, team, and focus together. If any of those skills are deficient, then the information being sent to the brain could be incorrect, causing a child to lose their spot when reading, inaccurately perceive depth, or copy the wrong word from the board. Processing skills are related to how the sensory information provided by the eyes is processed in the brain. If one of these skills are deficient, children may not be able to quickly grasp math concepts and number values, spell age-appropriate words correctly, or may reverse or transpose letters or numbers when either reading or writing. All of these skills can be tested by a developmental optometrist, and if deficiencies are found, an individualized course of vision therapy can help bring those skills up to age-appropriate levels, allowing the child to learn and achieve their best.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is being diagnosed with increasing frequency in both children and adults. ADHD is often diagnosed with children who display inappropriate inattention, impulsivity, distractibility and sometimes hyperactivity for their mental and chronological age. Undetected and untreated vision problems can prompt some of the same signs and symptoms that are commonly attributed to ADHD. In order to determine if a vision problem is causing some or all of these symptoms, a full functional eye exam should be completed with a Developmental Optometrist. Vision Therapy can develop visual skills that will increase visual attention and overall visual function that will allow the individual to sustain attention for longer periods of time.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia, often referred to as a “lazy eye”, is a condition where an eye is unable to see clearly due to neurological neglect. This occurs as a result of either strabismus (eye-turn) or an untreated refractive error. The brain learns to ignore an eye that does not have proper optic nerve development in order to avoid either double vision or blur. As a consequence of the brain receiving input from only one eye, depth perception or seeing in three dimensions does not occur. Vision therapy treats amblyopia by teaching the brain to receive feedback from both eyes in order to increase acuity and binocular functioning. “Learning to see” at any age is the basis of amblyopia treatment.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of childhood developmental conditions characterized by social, behavioral, and communication deficits. Many individuals with ASD commonly have problems with sensory integration that often affect the visual system and other sensory-processing abilities. Vision therapy enhances the neurological connections between the eyes and brain to help individuals with ASD better perceive what their eyes see and make better sense of their environment. Research has found that vision therapy benefits individuals with ASD by improving eye-contact/gaze, visual attention, central and peripheral integration, visual spatial abilities, posture and balance, and visual efficiency and eye-tracking.
Balance / Dizziness Disorders
The vestibular system, which controls a person’s sense of balance, is controlled by three different systems: the central nervous system, the auditory system, and the visual system. If any one of these three systems isn’t sending the correct signals, then the vestibular system may begin to deteriorate, causing a person to experience vertigo, dizziness, and even motion sickness. If you begin to experience these symptoms, a visual efficiency evaluation may provide answers to the root cause of your symptoms, and an individualized program of vision therapy could help remediate the concerns.
Behavioral-related Vision Deficiencies
Deficiencies in eye-focusing, eye-teaming, tracking and visual processing abilities can cause a child to experience difficulty in efficiently performing visual tasks. As a result, these deficiencies can contribute to behavioral problems including inattentiveness, impulsiveness, anger, frustration, defiance, and avoidance of schoolwork. Consequently, children with visual problems can commonly misbehave and be uncooperative in classroom settings and at home. At OCVT, our professional team has experience in thoroughly evaluating the proper diagnosis to determine if an underlying visual deficiency is contributing to specific behavioral concerns. Vision therapy has shown positive improvements in behavioral problems in children with an underlying visual component.
Studies show that greater than 50% of patients with a neurological impairment, either from traumatic brain injury, cerebral vascular accidents, etc. experience some sort of visual and/or visual-cognitive disorder. These can include problems with visual efficiency such as the ability to accurately coordinate the eyes or quickly shift gaze from one object to another, and also problems with vision perception, such as eye hand, foot or body coordination and visual spatial organization. Vision therapy can help to re-train these skills and others in order to help improve a person’s overall visual efficiency and control of their visual system.
Convergence Insufficiency / Eye Teaming
Convergence is the ability to accurately coordinate the eyes on an object in space in order to see a single, three-dimensional image. Equally as important, is the ability of both eyes to team together and give simultaneous feedback to the brain in order to process the target correctly. More than 20 million people in the US suffer from Convergence Insufficiency, the inability to coordinate their eyes when performing close work. Symptoms can include: eye strain, headache, double vision or dizziness and motion sickness. Vision therapy can help to improve eye coordination and teaming abilities as well as eliminate symptoms and discomfort.
Dyslexia language-based processing disorder can hinder reading, writing, spelling, and sometimes even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness or the result of impaired hearing or vision. In fact, most children and adults with dyslexia typically have healthy eyes and sharp vision, yet a large number of individuals with dyslexia have other undetected vision problems.
Although not a cure, Optometric vision therapy treats vision problems that can interfere with learning to read, reading to learn, and the learning process in general. Some of these visual deficiencies can include but are not limited to: oculomotor, vergence, accommodation, binocularity and visual perception skills. By developing these skills, individuals can better cope with the challenges that are often related to dyslexia.
Eye Focusing Problems
The ability to change focus rapidly when looking far away, close up, and back again is called accommodation. The accommodation system is responsible for maintaining clear vision at all distances which is important for visual stamina throughout a day of frequent changes in focus from chalkboard to book, computer, paper, etc. Reduced accommodative skills often contribute to blurred vision, eye strain, headaches, difficulty reading, avoidance of near work, or eye fatigue at the end of the day. A program of vision therapy can help reduce these symptoms by improving eye focusing and increasing the efficiency of the accommodation system.
Eye Tracking Deficiencies
Eye tracking is the coordinated precise eye movements crucial for reading efficiency and sports performance. Fixations are tracking skills of sustained and steady gaze required for visual attention and recall. Saccades are precise eye movements from one target to another that are important for reading efficiency and pursuits are the coordinated eye movements essential for following moving targets and accurate eye-hand coordination. Deficient eye tracking skills can result in loss of place or skipping lines while reading, re-reading lines, or poor eye-hand coordination. Vision therapy can help re-train the eyes to improve those skills needed to track words and objects accurately.
Learning Challenges – Giftedness
Intellectually gifted children and adults oftentimes do not perform at their full potential due to an undiagnosed vision problem. A gifted child or adult may receive above-average levels academically, but commonly will over-compensate for underlying visual deficiencies including tracking and eye teaming. Specific deficiencies in visual information processing can commonly be present in gifted individuals, contributing to academic learning challenges. At OCVT, comprehensive visual efficiency and visual information processing evaluations identify potential visual deficiencies in gifted individuals. Through remediation of these specific deficiencies with an individualized vision therapy program, we have helped gifted children and adults achieve their full potential.
Research shows that 70% of people with developmental delays also have visual efficiency concerns. This can include anyone with special needs diagnoses from Autism to Down’s syndrome. If visual deficiencies are found in an examination by a developmental optometrist, vision therapy can improve the individual’s visual system to help them achieve their fullest potential. Patients with special needs often find developmental optometrists’ offices more accommodating of their needs, as well. Developmental optometrists receive specialized training that allow them to accurately test an individual without needing subjective feedback, so non-verbal patients and patients who aren’t able to provide reliable feedback can still receive the testing necessary to determine their visual skills.
Sports Enhancement Needs
All sports performance requires the use of the visual system to coordinate the body’s movement in some way. In any sport involving a ball, the player must be able to efficiently follow the ball as it moves across the field and be able to accurately discern depth to determine when to catch or kick the ball. Other sports such as golf and archery require players’ eyes to quickly shift focus between far and near targets. If you are interested in improving your performance in any sport, and have increased your practice but are still not attaining the level at which you wish to perform, there could be a visual concern limiting your performance. A personalized vision therapy program would help the athlete hone his or her visual skills to help improve their sports performance.
Strabismus (Eye Turns)
Strabismus, often referred to as an eye turn, is a condition that describes the improper alignment of the eyes. The deviation of one eye often is due to the lack of coordination between the muscles of the eyes. The inability for both eyes to point in the same direction and feed the brain with the same visual information can result in double vision or the appearance of two images inaccurately overlapping. In order to avoid visual confusion, as an adaptation, the brain can learn to suppress/disregard the image seen by the turning eye, which can consequently cause binocular vision dysfunction and the lack of depth perception (3-D vision). Vision therapy helps reduce or correct the eye misalignment, and train the brain to simultaneously use both eyes to merge the images seen by each eye into a single 3-D piece of information. Additionally, vision therapy works on the reinforcement of neurological pathways that ensure eye teaming in all gazes and over a range of distances.
Visual Processing Deficiencies
Visual processing skills, also known as visual perceptual skills, are crucial in analyzing and processing visual information. The ability to accurately interpret what is being seen is as important as the ability to correctly capture an image and relay it to the brain. When looking at an object, our eye teaming and eye focusing systems allow us to see a clear and 3-D image, but it is our visual information processing skills that allow us to understand what we see and give the image meaning. Visual perceptual processing is segmented into categories that include, but are not limited to: visual spatial, visual analysis, visual memory, visual-auditory, visual-vestibular and visual-motor skills. Individuals who have problems with visual processing skills, may present symptoms such as inability to differentiate right from left, letter and number reversals, difficulty remembering what is read or poor handwriting. These visual perceptual deficits often interfere with efficient learning in a classroom environment. If a visual perceptual problem is suspected, it is highly advised to consult an optometrist, who may recommend specific evaluations using standardized testing.
What is vision therapy?
Vision therapy is an individualized program of prescribed activities using specialized instruments and computer technology to retrain deficient visual skills. Through repetition and intensity, the improved and developed skills become automatic and transfer to everyday function that impact academic, work and sports performance. It is the treatment of choice for diagnosed visual disorders that contribute to reading and learning difficulties.
OCVT’s vision therapy treatment program consists of Doctor prescribed one-on-one in clinic sessions directed by a highly trained vision therapist. To reinforce the developed skills in clinic, a specialized program of activities are implemented at home. Regular progress evaluations monitor progress and modify treatments as needed. The Vision Therapy program duration is dependent on severity levels of performance on standardized testing, signs and symptoms and each patient’s individual needs. The program can vary from a few to several months.
Does insurance cover vision therapy?
Will Insurance cover Vision Therapy treatments?
Vision and eye care insurance plans that cover eye examinations, eye glasses or contact lenses do not provide coverage for Vision Therapy/Rehabilitation treatments.
Vision Therapy or Vision Rehabilitation is used to treat diagnosed vision disorders & conditions. In many cases, Vision Therapy/Rehabilitation is the only available treatment for these disorders & conditions. Treatments may be partially covered under major medical Insurance. However, most Insurance companies and managed care plans may deny or place severe limits on coverage for vision therapy services.
Your major medical insurance company may partially cover our Vision Therapy related services and we encourage you to seek reimbursement. To assist you, we will provide you with a detailed invoice with the procedural codes to submit with your claim. Prior to treatment, upon request and based on our initial consultation, we will provide you with procedural codes of the potential treatment program to allow you to have preliminary coverage discussions with your insurance company.
It is the responsibility of the patient or patient’s parents/guardians to contact and have discussions with their insurance company and ultimately file their insurance claim.
It is recommended that you do not allow Insurance Companies to make arbitrary decisions that prevent you or your child from receiving the required and appropriate treatment. As always, OCVT’s commitment is to provide the best vision therapy care service with YOU the patient as the focus of our practice.
Is OCVT In Network or Out of Network Provider?
The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy (OCVT) is an out of network provider for all insurance coverage. Out of Network coverage is usually paid at a different rate than In Network coverage. We are not under any contract or discount program with any insurance provider. You are responsible for full payment of services and when there is insurance coverage, you will receive reimbursement from your insurance company directly.
As a specialty optometric practice, being an Out of Network Provider enables OCVT to optimally allocate its optometric vision therapy expertise and resources thus providing our patients with the highest quality optometric vision therapy care.
If denied coverage, can a review/appeal be requested?
Under all forms of major medical Insurance plans, you have a right to request a review of any service that is denied coverage or for which coverage is severely limited. If you believe that your claim was incorrectly evaluated or the decision for coverage was made arbitrarily or unfairly, you should consider requesting a review. To determine how to file for an appeal, you should contact your insurance carrier.
Are all vision therapy treatment programs the same?
Not all vision therapy programs are the same. There are differences in the equipment, methods, approaches and application of vision therapy as there are varied clinical experiences and credentials of optometrists and therapists who provide vision therapy services.
Are the improvements from vision therapy long-lasting?
For most patients who complete their vision therapy programs, the abatement of signs and symptoms and the resolution of their visual problems are long-term. The everyday use of the acquired vision skills from the vision therapy program is self-reinforcing and becomes automatic. Some patients may require some level of vision therapy maintenance.
Will adults benefit from vision therapy?
Absolutely, whether the individual’s vision system disorders were deficiencies or conditions from periods when they were much younger or acquired just recently. With neurological plasticity, there is no age limit for the further stimulation and development of a person’s neuro-pathways and neurological system. Adults can definitely benefit from vision therapy.
What is a developmental optometrist?
A developmental optometrist is an optometrist who specializes and provides services related to visual skills and visual function. This optometrist may or may not be AAO Certified (FAAO), COVD board certified (FCOVD), a Fellow of NORA (FNORA) or certified in the completion of a Residency in vision therapy and rehabilitation.