Bravo to Paul B. Freeman, O.D., editor of Optometry, the Journal of the American Optometric Association, for his beautiful editorial on referrals in the September issue. Although I’m going to editorialize on his editorial, please read it in its entirety, and share it with anyone and everyone you know who may be touched by this topic.
1) Referrals to optometrists who provide vision therapy (OVT) are underutilized.
2) There is lack of awareness about resources that support OVT, and an excellent place to start is the COVD website.
3) COVD was established in 1971 for the principal purpose of establishing board certification in vision therapy and vision development.
4) The ultimate intra-optometric referral for OVT occurred in the case of Sue Barry, celebrated in Fixing My Gaze.
Dr. Dominick Maino, editor of the COVD journal, Optometry and Vision Development, wrote eloquently about Sue Barry, and how her primary care optometrist, Dr. Steven Markow, is an unsung hero in her odyssey. Without Dr. Markow’s guidance in referring to COVD Fellow Dr. Theresa Ruggiero, the internationally acclaimed experiences of “Stereo Sue” in improving her quality of life would have never transpired. And the result of that one referral has been exponential. Literally hundreds if not thousands of patients from all over the world have been helped as a direct result of this primary care OD’s actions.
I’m so pleased to see Dr. Freeman’s editor’s perspective in a primary care journal precisely because he underscores this. Dr. Freeman goes on to say: “Certainly, all therapies do not work for all patients all of the time, but no therapy will work for anyone if that person is not given the opportunity to explore the legitimate alternatives to apparently ‘unresolvable’ visual complaints form a patient with a ‘healthy’ pair of eyes …. In the case of vision therapy, there are evidence-based protocols to support such intra-optometric referrals. And who knows? Someone reading this editorial might well be the next practitioner to change someone’s life through such a referral.”
– Leonard J. Press, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO