Were open and seeing patients! (3)-1

Functional Vision Exam Helps Diagnose a Functional Vision Problem



The only way to ensure that all the essential visual skills are working correctly is by having a Functional Vision Exam.

The Vision Therapy Center provides a professional eye and vision examination, one that includes a comprehensive assessment of visual information processing, binocular function and other visual skills.

In adults and children, a Functional Vision Exam is necessary whenever symptoms of vision problems are exhibited. To be proactive, the exam should be performed in the following increments:

Baby – 6 months
Child – Annually


What is Functional Vision?

Functional vision is how your entire visual system -- the eyes, the brain, the visual pathways -- work together to help you interact with your environment. Functional vision includes the following visual skill areas:


Eye Teaming 

Occurs when the eyes align to focus on the same point on an object and work together in a coordinated and precise way. Good eye teaming allows efficient, single, comfortable vision and depth perception.

If the two eyes are not both aligned at the same point, the brain won’t be able to correctly combine the image from each eye. When this happens, a person will experience double vision and lose 3D depth perception. Poor eye teaming may also lead to eyestrain and fatigue.   


Eye Focusing 

This encompasses your ability to see an object clearly, and your ability to shift focus between objects at different distances.

For example, a person may have difficulty keeping reading material in focus and may experience intermittent or constant blur. Or a student may be able to see the text in a book clearly but have difficulty shifting focus from the book to the board and back.


Eye Movement

This includes your eyes’ ability to maintain fixation on a moving object through space, move fixation from one object to another, or sustain fixation on a stationary object.

Following a fly ball into your glove and moving your eyes across this line of text both require accurate and efficient eye movements. Maintaining eye contact when listening is an example of sustaining fixation on a stationary object.


Why don’t schools or other optometrists perform a Functional Vision Exam?

A large percentage of students don’t have vision problems, and conducting these tests on every child would be costly. Vision screenings are less costly, but limited in scope. Many of these screenings involve little more than reading letters on a distance eye chart, a test that cannot determine if a child has the visual skills necessary for effective reading and learning.

Doesn’t my regular optometrist test for Functional Vision problems?

Not all optometrists have the advanced training or equipment required to perform a Functional Vision Exam, which is why many refer their patients to The Vision Therapy Center.

What is included in a Functional Vision Exam?

A Functional Vision Exam generally takes 60 – 90 minutes and includes a series of tests based on the patient’s individual needs. The doctor will first review the patient’s health and eye history, with emphasis on any visual problems and symptoms. This information is used to tailor the Functional Vision Exam, which includes tests on a wide range of visual skills.

These tests are for the typical learning-related vision problems. Different tests may be required for other types of patients (developmental delay, brain injury, sports vision).

The Functional Vision Exam includes:

  • The Pre-Test Assessment
  • The Examination Assessment
  • The End Visit

In some cases, an additional Perceptual Test may be required. Prices and descriptions of vision tests are included below.


Pre-Test Assessment and Examination Assessment 

This test takes 60-90 minutes. Our standard functional vision testing begins at $250. If there are complicating factors, such as the patient has strabismus, amblyopia or a head trauma, the test can range from $417 to $600. For brain injuries, two exams are often needed, and costs range from $300 to $800.


Pre-Test Assessment:

  • Binocular space perception.
  • Color Perception
  • Stereopsis
  • Visual motor integration
  • Developmental eye movement (“tracking”)
  • Eye movements while reading


Examination Assessment:

  • Visual Acuity
  • Pursuits (ability to track a moving target) and Saccades (ability to switch fixation between two targets)
  • Ability to converge the eyes
  • Alignment of the eyes at distance and near
  • Visual Field
  • Refractive Condition
  • Ability to converge and diverge the eyes when looking at a distance target
  • Ability to converge and diverge the eyes when looking at a near target
  • Magnitude of focusing ability
  • Flexibility of focusing ability
  • Function in near tasks with various performance lenses
  • Pupillary reflexes
  • Internal and external ocular health


Perceptual Testing Assessment, if required 

The Perceptual Testing Assessment is not always required, but the developmental optometrist may recommend it. It includes testing the following skills:

  • Presence or absence of primitive reflexes
  • Bilateral integration
  • Laterality
  • Directionality
  • Visual perceptual attention
  • Perceptual speed
  • Visual Memory
  • Visual Motor Integration and Organization
  • Auditory attention
  • Auditory visual integration
  • Auditory Discrimination


Patient Education Visit (No Charge)

After completing the Functional Vision Exam and/or the Perceptual Testing Assessment, the doctor will review the results of the testing and create an individualized treatment plan. Both the results of the testing and the doctor’s recommended treatment plan will be presented to the patient and/or the patient’s legal guardian(s) at this 90-minute visit. The purpose of the Patient Education Visit is to provide ample time to discuss the testing results and treatment plan as well as answer any questions that you may have.


Will my child need vision therapy if he or she gets a Functional Vision Exam?

No. The Functional Vision Exam is conducted to determine if you or your child even has a vision problem. It’s not uncommon for us to find that only a change in a glasses prescription is needed. But the testing is critical to get to the root cause of a child’s learning issues.

If you child needs vision therapy treatment, please visit our Costs page to learn more. 

Is the Functional Vision Exam and any resultant vision therapy covered by insurance?

This depends on the level of coverage provided in your health insurance policy. We are happy to provide you with a preauthorization letter that you can give to your insurance company to determine your level of coverage. In the event you don’t have coverage, we have a variety of payment plans that can fit any budget.


Fill out the form below to schedule a Functional Vision Exam.


About the content on this website

The content on this website has been created by The Vision Therapy Center. It was written by professional writers and then reviewed and edited for medical accuracy by the Developmental Optometrists at The Vision Therapy Center.