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The Importance of the Visual Perceptual Evaluation

boy at a vision therapy evaluation

Understanding a patient’s vision is the first step in deciding if vision therapy is the right path. To begin vision therapy at Focus Eyecare, there are two required evaluations - the binocular vision evaluation with Dr. Robyn Dragoo, OD and the visual perceptual evaluation with Melissa Hoyer, the lead vision therapist of our clinic.

When I see a patient for an evaluation, I am an observer of many things. My overall goal is to get a complete picture of vision skills and how this person uses vision on a daily basis. The following will outline the specifics of this evaluation.

The following skills are assessed in a variety of methods:

Infantile Reflexes - These reflexes are present at birth and should become integrated to be replaced with higher level skills. It is common for our vision therapy clients to have reflexes that have not been integrated.

Gross & Fine Motor Skills - These skills form the foundation for vision development and delays can be roadblocks in development. We complete a brief assessment of gross and fine motor skills that relate to vision.

Awareness Skills - This is a collection of skills that are vital in daily life - Body Awareness, Spatial Awareness, Perception of Time, Laterality & Directionality.

Visual Skills - In addition to the binocular vision evaluation, additional data is collected regarding vision skills. These include: Fixation, Saccades, Pursuits/Tracking, Convergence & Divergence, Accommodation, Central Peripheral Integration, and Visual Fields.

Visagraph - When appropriate, clients complete a visagraph to gain visual data relating to reading including speed and comprehension. The visagraph is a specialized pair of goggles that uses infrared sensors to study eye movements.

Visual Perceptual Skills - Depending on the client, we have many ways to assess visual perceptual skills. We use observation and assessment to gain information about the following skills: Visual Discrimination, Figure Ground, Visual Closure, Form Constancy, and Visual Motor Integration.

Behavior & Making Choices Assessment - Many of our younger clients struggle with focus, attention and making good decisions. Part of our evaluation assesses the ability of the client to remember the past and visualize the future.

Visual Thinking - Visual thinking skills include visual memory & visualization, the highest level of visual skills. These skills make daily life easier and more efficient for all our clients.

Academics - An assessment of spelling, reading, writing, letter formation, basic math skills and more is completed during the evaluation to determine the impact of vision skills on life and learning.

This evaluation is unique - in fact, it is so unique that it is not covered by insurance*. It is the one portion of our program that is always an out of pocket cost. As a compromise, we complete re-evaluations to assess progress throughout the program with the patient’s vision therapist at no cost. Following the initial evaluation, a detailed report is provided along with complete supporting documentation as necessary for schools, other professionals, etc. In fact, we will support you both during and after the evaluation and vision therapy in any way possible. The facts gained from both evaluations form the basis and goals for a completely customized vision therapy program.

*There is no insurance procedure code that is an accurate description of the visual perceptual evaluation - the scope of assessments is too broad and also includes assessments relating to academics, attention, focus and other skills that are not covered by medical insurance.

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