• Travis Igne

The Cost of Vision Therapy

Updated: Jun 28

There is a lot to consider when talking about the "cost" of Vision Therapy, much of it beyond the financial cost, and there are many ways to look at the "costs" of Vision Therapy. First, I'll discuss the financial cost. Then, the personal cost or toll for the individual diagnosed with a condition that can benefit from Vision Therapy exercises. One should also consider the time associated with completing the Vision Therapy process as a cost. We’ll do our best to discuss each here and how they can affect the outcome and true "cost" of Vision Therapy.

The Financial Costs

We’ll begin with the financial cost of Vision Therapy. The financial cost of vision therapy can be difficult for some to understand, this is because, unlike purchasing glasses, there is no tangible good received for the expense. I’ll do my best to explain while being as transparent as possible with what your fee covers and the costs associated with them. As of this writing, the cost of Vision Therapy is usually between $125 and $250 per session. The price is determined by the practice where the therapy is taking place; and has a variety of reasons why it differs. Some practices charge different amounts based on who will be providing therapy sessions. You may see a trained vision therapist, or a doctor, depending on availability. The financial expense per session doesn't just cover the time spent in session though; there is a lot going on "behind the scenes". Most therapy sessions are around 45 minutes to an hour with time set aside for discussing any homework or computer programs to continue therapy at home. Before the patient arrives, the therapist prepares the prescribed activities and reads through the session notes from the previous appointments. During this time, they recognize any modifications needed to make these activities more effective for the set goals for the current session and patient in order for positive progress to be made. In some cases, if a modified activity is required, the doctor may prepare additional training for the therapist to ensure confidence in following the doctor’s requirements. This is individualized for each patient, as each patient’s brain and experience are different and will require individual modifications throughout to adjust. After each session, notes and charts are completed and the doctor is updated in order to determine prescriptions for the next therapy session.

Another financial cost to consider is the equipment and space used during the sessions. Along with the cost of support staff and any other operating costs involved, the space required for therapy can be quite large. The equipment is also highly specialized and usually built specifically for vision therapy. These can be expensive, and the costs are spread across years and multiple patients. Much of this equipment also has maintenance and updates required in order to continue proper use. Also, with so many people handling this equipment, it can sometimes be damaged and need replacement, many of the parts and equipment are plastic or paper/ cardboard and simply wear out over time.

"Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them." William Arthur Ward

There may also be some financial considerations if a patient does not complete the vision therapy exercises. It would be difficult to quantify, but I have personally heard of people who had chosen not to do the therapy and allow their child to live with the diagnosis. In one instance, a child had been in several car accidents in their teens, leading to a very high insurance cost. In addition, this child, having grown up with these issues, was now going to start college soon, knowing they had a vision issue and wanted help, but their parents chose not to do Vision Therapy. In this case, this patient will have to work much harder in school, the information perceived through their eyes will be processed inefficiently, causing added stress and pressure to achieve the grades they hope for.

For some, there is a cost associated with additional tutoring to try to make up for the difficulty they are having in school and studies. These tutors can last for years as a child progresses through their educational career. There may also be expenses made for other types of therapies that may be related to vision, like balance issues, which, if they don’t support the base vision diagnosis, can end up costing more for a longer period. I have read on many Facebook groups (Michelle Hillman's group “Vision Therapy Patients Unite"), stories of parents who decided to do vision therapy first and later find out they no longer needed the other therapies.

There can also be additional costs associated with diagnostics from other specialties as well. We had a patient who always felt like something was off. When we saw him, he was in his teens. He and his parents had been searching for answers to his difficulties, and after several tests with various specialists, their answers were always “He’s fine”. Needless to say, his vision diagnosis was life-changing, it gave him the assurance that he “was not crazy” and that there was something legitimately wrong. Not only that but there was also a way to fix his frustrations. He is one of those success stories that left the program as an extrovert even though all the years of being told he was fine pushed him into this “introverted” mindset, we’ll discuss this more below.

The Personal Toll

Next, we’ll discuss the personal cost or toll for the patient diagnosed with a condition that can benefit from vision therapy. In many ways, this