By Miki Lyn Zilnicki, OD, FCOVD,
and Jessica Licausi, OD, FAAO, FCOVD
Oct. 28, 2020
Technology can be a practice-differentiator when it serves a useful purpose in enhancing patient care, and when many of your competitors have not yet added it to their practices. Here are a few forward-looking technologies we are excited about, and plan to make a part of our vision therapy-focused practice in the next five years.
This technology is based on neuroscience research and is used for perceptual-cognitive therapy in patients. The user views multiple 3D moving targets in increasing levels of difficulty. This engages visual processing, which activates higher-order brain functions and leads to cognitive gains. NeuroTracker technology would be a huge asset to use with our vision therapy patient population, as it can help improve peripheral vision awareness and visual processing skills.
Click HERE to listen to a podcast in which we speak with a veteran NeuroTracker coach on how he utilizes this technology.
Benefit to Patients: NeuroTracker can be beneficial for anyone who wants to improve their mental performance. The goal is to enhance attention, memory, response times and improve awareness. The technology is largely targeted toward athletes who want to improve their performance, the post-concussion population, the elderly and students with learning difficulties and those simply with the desire to improve their academic performance.
Benefit to Practice: This would be an asset to our vision therapy services and improve the quality of our programs. While we both love traditional vision therapy, and see the value in the most basic activities, patients get excited to see and use new technology in the office. A large percentage of our vision therapy patients have experienced concussions/brain injuries and exhibit symptoms of decreased attention, mental fog, memory difficulties and trouble filtering information. These patients could greatly benefit from this type of cognitive training, and we believe this, combined with our traditional vision therapy, could help facilitate their recovery. If we can get our patients feeling better quicker, this enables us to get more vision therapy patients in for sessions.
Cost: Set-up cost ranges from $1,999 to $2,999 based on the system you select. Monthly usage cost varies based on how many will be using the account in a given month.
It’s difficult to project the ROI at this point, as we cannot bill for specific usage of this technology during a vision therapy session like you would for adding an OCT or a visual field to your examination. There is potential for patients to seek us out due to the technology, but is hard to accurately project how many.
Editors’ Note: One way to project ROI when making projections is to ask the next 20 patients who come through the door, whom you would consider a candidate for this service, if you offered it to them at $X fee, would they do it. Then, it’s simply a math equation to determine if the ROI is worth it.
How It Would Be Acquired: Purchased outright (no lease or loan used) directly from the company through a rep
Timeline to Add to Practice: 1-2 years
NeuroTracker 1-2 years
Vivid Vision 3-5 years
Senaptec 5 years
This virtual reality system would be incorporated into vision therapy sessions for patients who have amblyopia, strabismus and binocular vision dysfunction. We feel like this is a big “cool technology” piece for patients and a big draw for our younger population.
Benefit to Patients: Vivid Vision brings the technology of virtual reality to the realm of vision therapy. It can make the vision therapy experience more fun, especially for younger patients who view virtual reality as a source of entertainment. This can allow for better engagement of the pediatric population where traditional therapy may have decreased compliance. Apart from being more “exciting,” this technology is also effective in managing visual dysfunctions and working on anti-suppression techniques.
As we now know, amblyopia is a binocular condition and needs to be treated as such. Using Vivid Vision allows the provider to start managing amblyopia binocularly from the get-go. It also has the great option of being part of home vision therapy under the direction of the provider. In the midst of the pandemic, ways to effectively manage our patients remotely are more important than ever.
Benefit to the Practice: Improved compliance will create success stories that will then lead to word-of-mouth referrals. When kids have a fun experience in a therapy program and improve their visual skills, parents will spread the word. The ability to supplement in-office sessions with use of the technology at home can lead to faster progress, enabling the practice to increase the volume of vision therapy patients.
Cost: Pricing varies in different markets based on the options you select. Vivid Vision offers a wide range of software-only options and subscription options. The company is also now offering a new monthly subscription service as an option for offices to more feasibly add this technology. The company also offers a 30-day free trial to allow you to try the program and ensure it is a good fit for you. To get a price quote, we recommend contacting Vivid Vision directly.
How It Would Be Acquired: We would likely incorporate use of the new monthly subscription model.
Timeline to Add Practice: 3-5 years
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There are two options in how Senaptec can be used and in what it can do for patients:
1) Liquid crystal strobe glasses that utilize flickering technology to improve visual processing.
2) Sensory Station used for assessment and then therapy. This sensory station assesses 10 visual and sensorimotor skills to understand your patient’s strengths and weaknesses.
We feel that this technology will become the mainstay for sports vision training.
Benefit to Patients: The sensory station gives the patient direct feedback of where they are performing and can objectively track improvements in skills. Both the Sensory Station and the strobe glasses can be used to improve visual attention and response time to give athletes a competitive edge.
Benefit to Practice: Although this device would benefit all of our therapy patients, this would be a huge opportunity to add sports vision therapy into the practice. Eighteen Major League Baseball teams utilize the technology, as well as the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer and National Hockey League.
Cost: Sensory Station – Varies based on application. You can request a quote directly from the company to find a plan that best fits your needs.
Two glasses models: Senaptec Strobe $299, Quad Strobe $799
Quad version allows for the lenses to be activated in isolated quadrants.
The Sensory Station could bring in a whole new branch of vision therapy patients. On average we have 50 active therapy patients at a time. We project that if we incorporate this piece of equipment, we could bring in, conservatively, five new patients per month for 24 sessions of vision therapy.
Cost of VT Program: $3,610/ patient x 60 new patients/year = $216,000 gross
Average Cost of Senaptec Sensory Station: ~$25,000
ROI: $216,000-$25,000/$25,000 = ROI: 7.64
How It Would Be Acquired: Buy outright
Timeline for Adding to Practice: 5 years
Miki Lyn Zilnicki, OD, FCOVD, and Jessica
Licausi, OD, FAAO, FCOVD, are co-owners of Twin Forks Optometry and Vision Therapy in Riverhead, NY.
To contact Dr. Zilnicki: DrZilnicki@twinforksoptometry.com.
To contact Dr. Licausi: DrLicausi@twinforksoptometry.com