It should be very clear, from reading the preceding parts of this series, that there has been a thinly veiled effort on the part of organized ophthalmology to discredit optometric vision therapy. Cloaked in a mantle of scientific concern, proclamations in the form of joint policy statements have been used to reinforce biases against the role of vision in learning that serve no useful purpose.
In that regard we applaud the latest rebuttal to these Joint Policy Statements from medical organizations, authored by our colleague, Dr. Daniel Lack. His masterpiece is slated for publication in the October issue of Optometry, the Journal of the American Optometric Association. Although the print version of the article is not out yet, the online version is available “in press”.
The abstract of Dr. Lack’s rebuttal summarizes the issue well:
“Several medical organizations have published yet another joint statement trivializing vision therapy and vision disorders in the learning-disabled population. A review of the references in the joint statement as well as other references find that the joint statement is misleading because of inappropriate citations and selected references, as was the case with previous joint statements. The most current joint statement ignores the results of evidence-based research and makes recommendations regarding the treatment of convergence insufficiency that have no scientific validity. Ophthalmology should not allow professional rivalry to cloud its judgment regarding optometry’s involvement in the diagnosis and treatment of learning-related vision problems.”
But Dr. Lack has taken his initiative a step further. On the heels of the national celebration of August as Vision and Learning Month, Dan has created a Facebook group entitled Retract the Joint Medical Statement Trivializing Vision Problems in Kids.
Dr. Lack is encouraging parents to tell their child’s pediatrician that vision disorders play an important role in learning disabilities. In this way, Dan is spearheading the effort to spread the word among friends, relatives, and patients that the American Academy of Pediatrics should advocate for children with learning-related vision problems. At this juncture, the best way to do that is to call for a retraction of the joint statement in the August 2009 issue of the journal, Pediatrics.
Get a copy of Dr. Lack’s rebuttal article into the hands of your child’s pediatrician. If you enjoy a relationship built on mutual respect, ask your child’s pediatrician how the American Academy of Pediatrics can support a policy statement that trivializes the role of vision deficits among learning disabled students, and that recommends simplistic treatments for convergence insufficiency that are now woefully outdated.
Kudos to Dr. Lack, and we encourage you to join his Facebook group and follow his lead.