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
- – 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 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
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.
- Eyesight and eye health: This is a standard exam that determines if lenses can improve your sight as well as documenting eye health.
- 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.
- 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.
Susie Collins, B.A., COVT
Director of Vision Therapy
Susie has been working at ECS Vision Care as a Vision Therapist since March 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 a vision therapist because it allows her to be a part of influencing many people’s lives in such a positive way. She also thinks her job is super fun and loves being part of the team here at Pediatric & Adult Vision Care!
She resides in Munhall with her best friend and husband, Jason, along with her furry daughter, Summer, who is an English bulldog. In her free time, Susie loves watching reality television as well as kayaking and mall walking.
Megan Stavor, B.A., COVT
Megan has been with our ECS Vision Therapy team since February 2011. Her favorite part of being a vision therapist is getting to meet and work with both kids and adults, and help to improve their visual skills. Seeing the difference vision therapy can make is and has been a very gratifying part of her work. In 2007, Megan graduated from California University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, she became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist.
Megan resides in the South Hills with her husband, Dane, her daughter, Morgan, her son, Wyatt, and fur-baby, Jack. As a Pittsburgh native, Megan loves rooting for the home sports teams, but especially enjoys the Pittsburgh Penguins! She loves to cook for her family, but also enjoys trying new restaurants. Her and her husband have dreams of retiring and relocating to Key West, FL someday!
Maggie Cole, B.S., COVT
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, when she flew to Puerto Rico for her final oral interview.
Maggie resides in Wexford with her husband, Tim, and two children, Kelsey and Travis. She spends her summers at her camp on the Allegheny River. Maggie strives to live a healthy lifestyle by spending her time in the kitchen, cooking meals from scratch for her family.
Susan Roperti, B.S., COVT
Susan Roperti began working at ECS in 2016. She lives in Beaver County with her two daughters, Abby and Ella. Susan also has a big furry Goldendoodle named Bean who loves to take her for walks. Susan completed her Certification as an Optometric Vision Therapist in 2018.
Her studies keep her busy, but when she has extra time, she enjoys watching movies with Abby and Ellaor going for long hikes in the woods. Susan feels extra lucky to be able to use her Elementary/Early Childhood degree from Slippery Rock University to help so many people. She absolutely loves that she has so much fun at her job. However, she loves that she is able to help people achieve their goals and make their everyday lives easier even more.
Sarah Wojichowski, B.S., COVT
Sarah Wojichowski began working at ECS in June of 2016. Sarah became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist in 2018. She is originally from New Jersey but moved to Pittsburgh after marrying her wonderful husband. Sarah graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013 with a bachelors of science in Child Development and Family Relations.
Sarah and her husband currently live in Bethel Park with their dog Bosa. In her spare time Sarah loves to run and bike on nearby trails as well as spend time with family and friends. Now working as a Vision Therapist, Sarah enjoys working alongside the wonderful team to help people of all ages improve their visual and perceptual skills.
Erin Finley, B.A., COVT
Erin joined ECS as a Vision Therapist in April of 2017 and became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist in 2019. She graduated from Point Park University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with 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 Ben Avon with her husband Ben along with their two rescue cats Binx and Cuddles. Erin is a diehard Pittsburgh fan and in her spare time enjoys going to as many Pirates, Penguins and Steelers games as she can. She also enjoys fishing, and spending time with her niece and nephews. Erin loves being part of the team at ECS because it allows her to help people of all ages improve their lives by improving their vision!
Kaitlyn Kennedy, B.S., COVT
Kaitlyn joined ECS as a Vision Therapist in August of 2017. She was certified by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development in 2019. Kaitlyn graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Child Development and Family Studies. Before joining our team, Kaitlyn worked as a Pre-K teacher in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Kaitlyn is originally from New York and has recently moved to Pittsburgh. She lives in the North Hills area with her boyfriend and their Goldendoodle , Luna. Kaitlyn enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing and visiting museums.
Joe Colangelo, B.S., COVT
Joe joined ECS as a Vision Therapist in August of 2017. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2015 with a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education, Special Education and a minor in Adaptive Physical Activity. Joe earned his Certification from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development in 2019. In addition to working at as a Vision Therapist, Joe works as a youth leader where he mentor’s children that are fatherless.
Joe currently lives in Cranberry Township with his beautiful wife Christen. Joe has a passion for working with the intellectually disabled and is very excited to be part of the team at ECS with the goal of changing the way the world sees.
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.