What is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy is an individualized treatment program designed to re-mediate visual and/or perceptual-cognitive deficiencies. Vision Therapy includes procedures designed to retrain the brain’s ability to control, eye alignment, eye tracking, eye focusing, and visual processing skills.  Visual skills and endurance are developed through the use of specialized computer and optical devices, including therapeutic lenses, prisms, and filters. During the final stages of therapy, the patient’s newly acquired visual skills are reinforced and made automatic through repetition and by integration with motor and cognitive skills.

Common Visual Dysfunctions:

  • Binocular Dysfunction – Difficulty using the two eyes together as a team
  • Convergence Insufficiency – An eye teaming problem where the eyes tend to drift outwards when doing close work
  • Ocular Motor Dysfunction – The ability of the eyes to simultaneously and smoothly follow words on a page or follow moving objects in space
  • Amblyopia – ‘Lazy Eye’ lowered visual acuity that can not be corrected with glasses or contact lenses
  • Strabismus -A visual impairment where the two eyes point in different directions (in, out, up, or down)
  • Visual Processing Delays/Cognitive Development – Visual memory, discrimination, spatial organization, visual-motor integration, directionality, visual capture, and visualization

Common Signs and Symptoms of Visual Deficiencies:

  • Blurred or double vision when reading
  • Skipping or repeating lines/words while reading
  • One eye turning in or out
  • Reading below expected grade level
  • Difficulty copying from the chalkboard
  • Headaches or dizziness after near activities
  • Head tilting, closing or blocking one eye
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Difficulty with handwriting
  • Poor/inconsistent performance in sports
  • Performing below potential in school

Take the quiz below to see if you need to schedule an exam.

We treat the whole person, rather than just the eyes.

The doctors and therapists at EyeCare Specialties have studied with multiple top researchers and practitioners in the field of vision therapy. Because of this, they have been able to put together a quality vision therapy program utilizing the best of what these professionals have to offer.

At ECS Vision Therapy, we conduct one-on-one therapy sessions to meet the unique needs of all the clients in our programs.  In addition, our program is monitored with timely progress evaluations by the doctors. All of our Vision Therapists at ECS Vision Therapy are board-certified or are in the process of becoming certified. This means the therapists have gone through extensive testing to show that they are extremely knowledgeable in all areas of vision therapy. ECS Vision Therapy is one of the largest vision therapy facilities in the country with two convenient locations in Wexford & Fox Chapel and state-of-the-art equipment. ​Unlike many vision therapy programs.

We have found the key to good results in vision therapy is the timely use of visual-motor activities, peripheral awareness and expansion, and the integration of visual processing activities, which teach the patient how to use their visual system in the most efficient and effective way possible. ECS Vision Therapy is proud to be one of the few vision therapy offices in the world that offers Integrated Visual Learning (IVL). IVL is a program developed over 15 years by a behavioral/developmental optometrist, a psychologist, and an educator. IVL is vision therapy with a cognitive finish. Instead of simply giving the clients the visual abilities to learn, we train them how to use their visual systems to learn.

Our Evaluation Process

After over 30 years of experience treating patients with visual issues that impact learning, we have created a more affordable evaluation that takes less time and gives you answers you are looking for on the same day. This evaluation probes multiple areas of visual development to determine if the patient is suffering from visual deficits that are likely to impact performance in academics, particularly attention, efficiency in reading and writing as well as creative thinking.

The assessment is broken down in to three areas.

  1. Eyesight and eye health: This is a standard exam that determines if lenses can improve your sight as well as documenting eye health.
  2. Visual efficiency: This exam evaluates binocular vision skills, focusing skills, and tracking skills. We also do testing to asses visual stamina which can impact attention and concentration.
  3. Visual processing abilities: Here we look at visual memory, visual capture, eye-hand coordination and reversal tendencies. When compared to grade or age norms, we can determine if a lag in development in this area is present and create a treatment plan individually designed to help stimulate development.

All of the testing described can be done in one visit and the results will be explained to you in a way that will help you understand how visual development can impact learning ability. A treatment plan and a report of findings will be produced for your records and for other professionals as requested.

Please plan on being here for a total of 75-90 minutes. This will give us enough time to perform the testing in a relaxed and professional manner, answer your questions and review an individualized treatment plan.

 

The cost is $199

Call us today to arrange a time for your child to receive this valuable service.

There is more to healthy vision than meets the eye. Most people believe that good vision means simply having 20/20 acuity, or seeing clearly in the distance. However, vision is the brain and eyes working together. Vision has a tremendous impact on the learning process for both children and adults. ​80% of what we perceive, comprehend, and remember depends on the efficiency of our visual system. EyeCare Specialties’ Vision Therapy department is dedicated to helping children and adults take in information efficiently, process it accurately, and react appropriately.

Meet Your Vision Therapists

Our world-class team is based at ECS Pediatric & Adult Vision

Susie Collins, B.A., COVT

Director of Vision Therapy

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Susie has been working at ECS Vision Therapy since March of 2008. She graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2006 where she studied psychology and special education.

She was certified by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development in 2010. Susie loves being part of the vision therapy team and hopes to impact people’s lives in a positive way with our program.

Sarah Wojichowski, B.S., COVT

Lead Vision Therapist

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Sarah began working as a Vision Therapist in 2016 and became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist (COVT) in 2018. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013 with a Bachelors Degree in Child Development & Family Relations with a minor in Health & Human Services. Sarah is from New Jersey and moved to the South Hills in 2015.

She loves spending time with her husband, son Cade, and dog Bosa. Sarah is so thankful to be part of such a wonderful team and loves being able to help her patients achieve their goals.

Maggie Cole, B.S., COVT

Vision Therapist

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Maggie has been with the ECS Vision Therapy team since November 2007. She loves to be able to work with people of all different ages and circumstances. Seeing patients reach their goals and improve aspects of everyday life is very rewarding! In 2005, Maggie graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitative Sciences. She became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist (COVT) in October 2010.

In her free time, Maggie enjoys running and spending time on her boat with her husband and 2 children.

Susan Roperti, B.S., COVT

Vision Therapist

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Susan joined the ECS family in 2016 and became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist (COVT) in 2018. She graduated from Slippery Rock University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education.

Susan loves to spend time with her two grown up daughters, Abby and Ella. She also enjoys hiking with her dogs, Bean and Arlo.

Susan truly appreciates that she is able to be a part of the ECS family and looks forward to getting to know her patients so that she can help each of them help them to reach their full potential.

Erin Finley, B.A.,
COVT

Vision Therapist

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Erin started working as a Vision Therapist in 2017 and became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist in 2019. She graduated from Point Park University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. Before joining ECS, Erin worked at a Residential Treatment Facility for at-risk youth. She provided residents with therapeutic support and coping skills to make healthy life decisions. Erin resides in Allison Park along with her husband, daughter and two cats.

In her spare time Erin enjoys fishing and creating crafts with her cricut.

Erin loves being a part of the family at ECS because it allows her to help people of all ages improve their lives by improving their vision.

Joe Colangelo, B.S., COVT

Vision Therapist

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Joe joined the ECS family in 2017 and became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist (COVT) in 2019. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood special education and holds a minor in Adapted physical activity. In his free time, Joe loves to spend time with his dog Apollo and enjoys the great outdoors. Joe loves how every person has a story to tell and is passionate about changing the way the world sees.

Dana Formaini, B.S., COVT

Vision Therapist

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Dana joined the ECS family in 2018 and became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist (COVT) in 2022. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with degrees in both English and Sociology. Dana is originally from Erie, PA and moved to the Pittsburgh area to be closer to her extended family. In her free time, she loves to crochet and spend time with her friends, family, and her cat, Ralph.

Dana loves being part of such an incredible Vision Therapy team and is grateful to be able to help our patients every week.

Karen Vaina, M.S.

Vision Therapist

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Karen began working as a Vision Therapist in 2011 and became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist (COVT) in 2012. She graduated with a master’s degree in Adult and Organizational Learning and Leadership in 2021 from the University of Idaho, and also has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Karen loves to spend time with her family and friends hiking, biking or standup paddle boarding.

Karen is passionate about helping her patients see their potential while working towards their goals and is grateful to be a part of the ECS family.

COVT

What do the letters after your therapist’s name mean?

When you see the letters COVT after your therapist’s name, they mean he or she is a Board Certified Optometric Vision Therapist by the College of Optometry in Vision Development (COVD).

What is COVD?

Established in 1971, The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is a non-profit, international membership association of eye care professionals including Optometrists, Optometry students and Vision Therapists.

What is a COVT?

Board Certified Optometric Vision Therapists are a distinguished group of professionals that have undergone additional training and demonstrated advanced competency in the areas of vision development, visual information processing, binocular vision, vision therapy and vision rehabilitation. Additionally, COVT’s complete a number of continuing education hours annually in order to maintain certification. Ultimately, your therapist cares about delivering high quality healthcare.

What does the certification process entail?

A Bachelor’s Degree or higher with emphasis on the behavioral sciences, vision development or vision rehabilitation and 1000 clinical hours.
Phase One: A Mentor Guided Study which includes the completion of nine essays designed to deepen the understanding about specific aspects of developmental optometric care and vision therapy.
Phase Two: A rigorous written examination of the eye care professional’s knowledge and abilities in providing developmental and behavioral vision care for patients.
Phase Three: Completion of an oral interview conducted by the International Examination & Certification Board at the COVD annual meeting.