Frequently Asked Questions

Initial Evaluation

What can I expect from an initial evaluation?

The initial evaluation or consultation is scheduled in two parts. The first part evaluates the foundational visual skills and efficiency. From these results the doctor will determine what other specific tests are needed to prescribe the best and most efficient treatment for you/your child. This second visit is especially important to gain information if you have sustained a concussion, had a stroke, suffered a mild brain injury, have dyslexia, lazy eye (amblyopia), an eye turn, trouble reading, and/or depth perception challenges.

What if I just saw my family eye doctor?

We love this! It is so important to have comprehensive eye exams at least every 2 years. Good eye health and sight is a necessary foundation. Our team will work together with your family eye doctor to address the concerns for which we are uniquely qualified. We will have you request your records be sent to us to review and look forward to seeing you for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation.

If you have not had a recent eye exam, please contact us so we can schedule the appointments you need to evaluate your visual needs.

How often should I, or my child, have an eye exam if we are not aware of any concerns?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends infants should receive their first comprehensive eye exam as soon as six months old. Another eye exam should occur between age 2- 3 years old, and again before they enter kindergarten.
For older children and adults, it is recommended to have a comprehensive visual evaluation every 1-2 years.

Do I need to be referred to your clinic?

No referral is needed. However, if you have been seen by your family eye doctor within the past year to check your eye health, we would like to request those records prior to your appointment.

What training do the doctors have?

Our doctors are all doctors of optometry, with the designation O.D. They have then received additional training in the areas of visual development, visual rehabilitation and vision therapy including: amblyopia, strabismus, functional vision as it relates to learning, sports  and work, and visual challenges related to concussions and brain injuries. Our doctors have either received or are working towards becoming a fellow within the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

Will I have to be dilated if I was just dilated by my family eye doctor?

Sometimes. At times, we may need to confirm or perform further functional visual testing with a dilation. This will be discussed with your doctor at your initial evaluation.

Do you prescribe glasses?

Yes, but we do not have an optical. When glasses would be helpful, we will write a glasses prescription for you to take to your family eye doctor.

Do you prescribe contacts?

No. We do frequently recommend contacts, but we do not have an optical or contact lens evaluation sets at our office to ensure you have the best and healthiest contact lens prescription for your eyes. We will work with your family eye doctor for this piece, and sometimes it is helpful for vision therapy progress too! If you need a referral to an optometrist for contact lenses in our area, we would be happy to assist you.

Does insurance cover the initial evaluation?

We are in network with several insurances as you will see listed on the website homepage. Depending on your diagnosis, the evaluation may be billed under routine vision or major medical insurance. It is always a good idea for you to call and double check with your insurance even though we may be contracted. There may be a medical diagnosis. If there is, we can bill as a medical visit.

If we are NOT contracted with your insurance, we can still see you for an evaluation, but you will have to pay at the time of service. We can provide you with an itemized receipt that you can submit to your insurance yourself for possible reimbursement.

Vision Therapy

What is vision therapy?

Vision therapy is an personalized one-on-one learning experience to help develop, rehabilitate, or retrain the brain, eyes and body to work better as a team and improve visual functioning.

If vision therapy is prescribed, how long does it take to see results?

We typically see changes in the first three months. The total length of vision therapy is dependent on diagnosis, severity, and evolving goals.

Does vision or medical insurance cover vision therapy?

Sometimes. A portion of vision therapy may be covered under major medical insurance plans (not routine vision plans). Coverage is different from plan to plan and may depend on a patient’s diagnosis and age. Certain insurance companies may deny or place limitations on the amount of coverage as cost savings measures. The denial has nothing to do with the need of care.

Can vision therapy be done at home?

Research shows that office-based therapy with a vision therapist paired with home support is the most effective treatment model. Teletherapy may be an ideal option for a portion of your vision therapy.

How does vision therapy work?

At Alderwood Vision Therapy Center we provide a one-on-one program of Optometric Vision Therapy that is personalized to your specific needs and goals. The doctor/therapist team will arrange the conditions with each activity in the office to work towards creating high level thinking, visual attention, and changes in the brain and visual system with new neural pathways through novel experiences. Our vision therapy tools are used to engage and give feedback so that visual learning takes place. It is a process that uses everything from very low tech activities, such as bubbles and feathers for tracking to high tech activities with virtual reality.

Vision therapy is prescribed by the doctor and scheduled in units of 12 sessions for the same day and time, once a week or twice a week. Vision therapy sessions are 40 minutes in length. The 40 minute sessions include answering any questions you may have and if applicable, may include reviewing home support activities. (For ages 17 and under, a parent/guardian must be present during the first session. For all other sessions, the therapist will communicate with the parents/guardians if they will need to be present for the last 10 minutes of the vision therapy session to go over home support activities. Parents/guardians are welcome to join every session but space is not available for siblings.) 

Progress Evaluations are mandatory office visit appointments and are only conducted in our Lynnwood office. You are responsible to schedule a P.E. during the 10th week of your unit, regardless of the number of vision therapy sessions you have attended. It is important that the doctor monitors your visual findings and goals as they will change throughout vision therapy.

Who can benefit from vision therapy?

Vision therapy can help patients of all ages. Our youngest in therapy has been 4.5 months old and our oldest 97 years young! Vision therapy can be helpful for a variety of diagnoses and symptoms including: strabismus, amblyopia, autism spectrum, sensory processing disorder, visual symptoms post-concussion or traumatic brain injury, visual skills to support academics and sports vision, myopia progression, and dizziness.