Friday, July 17, 2009

How to Find a Vision Therapist

I often get emails from people looking for a vision therapist in their area. 
On the College of Optometrists in Vision Development/COVD website, there is a "Locate a Doctor" tool.  You can search by zip code (see box on left side of page) or by city and/or state, you must first select a country.  COVD is the certifying body for doctors in the optometric specialty called Behavioral/Developmental Rehabilitative Optometry. It is important that you like your vision therapist, as this will hopefully be a long relationship, so like any doctor, pick someone you feel comfortable with.  
Good-luck and work hard!

7 comments:

  1. I have a high deductible insurance plan with Aetna, meaning that I pay for the first $1,500 of charges, before they start paying 85% of my costs. I am new to having my own insurance, and I had no idea how expensive medical care is until I visited a COVD.

    Visiting a COVD was a harsh lesson in how expensive doctor visits are. After two evaluation appointments, I received a bill for $905, $685 of which is covered by my insurance, but due to the high deductible I have to pay this out of pocket until I reach the $1500 threshold.

    I spoke with the office, and they agreed to settle one of the bills outside of insurance for $225, so now I only pay $525 out-of-pocket, $300 of which goes towards my high deductible. Perhaps I could lower this further by settling the other bill outside of insurance as well -- I'll have to try.

    Anyway, none of this includes the actual vision therapy, which I don't know if it would be covered by insurance at all. I am disappointed that vision therapy is so costly.

    I was prepared to spend maybe $5000 out-of-pocket on the whole therapy, but it seems like these first two evaluation appointments were designed to shirk me out of a lot of money before I even decide to get therapy.

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  2. Dear Rashkov,
    I am sorry to hear about these high charges you are incurring. Who is your vision therapist? I would like to ask my doctor about this, as I did not incur these very high expenses at Eye Care Associates of Fairfield, CT. I do know that unfortunately Vision Therapy is not covered by insurance, which I think is completely ridiculous, as it has helped me a lot.
    I have been doing VT for a little over a year-close to a year and a half. It has been an amazing experience. Let me know how things go for you and please let me know what the name of your doctor is...I would be curious to know.

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  3. Some more info:

    The first appointment was billed at $300 to my insurance, and I called yesterday to see if the office will let me settle it outside of insurance for a cheaper rate. They'll get back to me soon.

    The second appointment was billed at $605, but the office previously agreed that we can settle it outside of insurance for $225.

    If they give a similar discount on the first appointment, that will only cost $112 and my total for both appointments will be 225 + 112, which is $337 dollars. This is more reasonable, although it will unfortunately not apply to my deductible.

    I am not comfortable publicly discussing which doctor this is, yet. I would first like to see how they cooperate with lowering my bill first.

    Thanks again. The cost aspect is not something I have seen discussed very much on any blogs or vision therapy websites. It is nice for me to be able to get this out there a bit.

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  4. Hi Rashkov,
    If you would like to email me directly, please feel free to do so. It sounds like the Dr. is working with you, but again, I would be curious why all the charges. I am a very severe case of Strabismus (as you can read from my blog entries~!) and I did not incur any major charges for evaluation. I realize each person is completely different, and perhaps there were tests that were required for your case, I don't know...
    I spoke with my Dr. yesterday about your comments and he said something about some kind of expensive test but I can't remember the name. He didn't seem to think it necessary...but again, this is territory that I am not qualified to speak on, as I am obviously not a Dr.
    Please email me if you like. I would also be interested in hearing more about your vision.
    Heather
    boykingroup @ mac dot com

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  5. I just got a call from the office and they agreed to drop my cost down to $140 for the first appointment. So I'm paying $140 for the first appointment, and $225 for the second. The second appointment was for a "sensorimotor evaluation" which is what cost $225. The first appointment was for an eye exam, plus some prism tests to measure the misalignment of my eyes. These revised, out-of-pocket costs are more acceptable to me.

    If I want to proceed with this, my next appointment would be a conference to discuss the course of my therapy with the doctor and anyone I want to bring (family, significant other, teachers, etc). This would be okay to show my parents what this is about, but I am 23 years old and I don't think it is very necessary at $110 dollars for the appointment. The doctor insists on it because he feels it makes the therapy more successful when the family is involved. I could probably insist on not having this appointment, but I already have a bad impression of the way this office runs. I need a doctor with a no non-sense approach. It is encouraging to hear that you are having a good experience.

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  6. I'm a 42 year old mom of 3 and have had strabismus since I was born. I recently had a consultation with a vision therapist and was told I'd need to wear prism glasses 24/7 to move forward. Other than making my eyes tired, they are ok when I wear them. I think they are 4 diopters so not a lot of prism. The problem is that when I take them off my eyes feel out of control. My eyes are cosmetically fairly straight due to surgeries except when tired but after wearing the prism glasses, they appear out of alignment. Can you comment on whether you wear yours full time and what you see when you take them off (do you see double?). Also, I have read that once you start wearing them, you get dependent on them. I'm concerned about this. I had decided my life was good as-is but then I found your blog and am re-thinking it!

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  7. Hi Anne,
    Thank you for your comment. I have a much more severe misalignment. I am not a professional, so I am not really sure about wearing the prism glasses all the time. I would think that if your eyes are misaligned after you wear the glasses, then that is NOT a good thing. I think you are absolutely correct in getting a second opinion on this. Is your therapist certified by COVD? I know that is important. I would dig deeper into this, as I too have heard that they eyes get used to the prisms... so please keep researching this.
    Have you had your stereovision tested? Do you have stereovision or do you switch back and forth between eyes? I have switched back and forth since i was about 9 years old, after my third surgery.
    Please feel free to email me directly and perhaps I can connect you to someone to get some more info on this. But again, I think you are right in questioning the use of wearing your prisms all the time... My prisms are difficult to see out of, so I was told to take short walks with them on, but not to wear them all the time.
    Here is my email address: boykingroup@mac.com
    Heather

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