Getting an Eye Exam for Vision Therapy

In a Developmental Eye Exam, we assess all the visual processes that affect a child's ability to perform and learn inside and outside of the classroom.

Getting an Eye Exam for Vision Therapy in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

An eye exam is necessary when visual problems arise. And while eye exams are tailored to meet individual concerns, most include an assessment of corneal shape, determination of near and farsightedness, measurement of peripheral vision, and an evaluation of the pressure caused by the fluid in your eyes. 

Standard tests are critical to determining how well a person can see and if they have a visual impairment. However eye exams for vision therapy (VT), address how well a person can use their eyes. By addressing use over function, a VT exam, also known as a functional eye exam, can pinpoint cognitive deficiencies, visual efficiency, and perceptual problems even if the actual eye is structurally sound. 

How to Know when a Functional Eye Exam is needed

Standard eye exams are typically needed when a child is unable to see the board from a distance, it becomes difficult for someone to read small print, or you need a new eyeglass prescription. These exams are thorough, but cannot provide an in depth explanation as to why, for example, your child writes diagonally, your student sees more clearly when they cover one eye, or you find it difficult to understand the words you can read with ease. 

How to Know when a Functional Eye Exam is needed

Functional eye exams are recommended for all children as they check distance vision and all aspects of our visual processing that impact our ability to function well in the classroom and out. A functional vision exam is particularly important if you are experiencing: 

  • Pain in the eyes
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty with word recall 
  • Poor balance
  • Bad handwriting
  • Difficulty with sports
  • An inability to pay attention and concentrate on tasks at hand
  • Poor reading and aural comprehension 
  • Light sensitivity
  • An inability to track words and objects
  • Eyestrain and headaches
  • Words that “move” as you read 
  • Unintentional skipping of words and lines while reading
  • The need to insert extra large or small spaces between letters and words.

What Happens During a Vision Therapy Eye Exam

In order to improve the way your child’s eyes respond both neurologically and visually, a functional eye exam will determine how their eyes work individually and together, how brain function impacts how and what you can see, and whether or not their eyes are appropriately aligned. 

Functional Vision Exam

After reviewing your child’s overall health history, a series of individualized tests will be administered. These tests will assess anything from learning issues, to developmental delays, to sports needs, and brain function. It usually takes around an hour to thoroughly determine how well your child’s brain and eyes interact.


Prior to Your Child’s Eye Exam

A number of factors will be assessed prior to your child’s functional eye exam. Amongst them are color perception, eye tracking, binocular vision and integration, and how the eyes move during reading.

How to Know when a Functional Eye Exam is needed

During The Eye Exam

As your child’s exam progresses, more visual skills will be evaluated. These range from visual acuity, eye alignment, and convergence and divergence of the eyes, to how flexibly the eye can focus, overall ocular health, and pupil reflexes.


After the Your Child’s Eye Exam

Upon evaluating your child's eyes and visual function, our optometrist will design a treatment plan to address any visual deficits that may be affecting their success. You will be informed of the skills that need to be addressed and how, together with our eye doctor and therapist, you can accomplish this.

Common Questions

After a plan of care has been established and visual dysfunctions identified, you will be assigned a vision therapist who will oversee the therapy of exercises intended to improve your child’s visual function. A full course of vision therapy normally consists of 20-40 sessions depending on what visual skills require therapy, with each session lasting about 45 minutes. In-office appointments are scheduled weekly and assigned eye exercises are to be practiced da
Not necessarily. Although a functional eye exam is needed to determine if you need vision therapy, you may learn after testing that you need a stronger eyeglass prescription or another type of intervention altogether.
Getting an Eye Exam for Vision Therapy
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Eye Exams for Vision Therapy Help Everyone

Vision therapy is an effective treatment for school age children, professional athletes in need of upping their game, those who suffer from traumatic brain injury, and many others. What’s more, when vision therapy helps the patient, it ultimately helps the teachers, co-workers, and loved ones in that patient’s life.

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