A good colleague, a Fellow of COVD practicing in North Dakota emailed this morning asking if I had seen a recent article in the American Orthoptic Journal titled: Vision Therapy: Are You Kidding Me? Problems with Current Studies. Since the full PDF of the article is not free in the public domain I can’t post it, but here is the abstract. Given that its author is an orthoptist from Children’s Hospital in Boston, the title isn’t surprising. You can read why in this earlier blog post. You may find a few other articles from the current issue of AOJ (published once yearly) interesting. One that particularly caught my eyes was on fusional vergence amplitude measurement in which the author discovered that encouragement and alertness makes a difference, as does measuring convergence before divergence. News to any of you?
But back to the article in question, of course the title frames the question in a way that that the answer becomes less important than the question itself. The most infamous example of this was Dr. Harold Koller’s “Is Vision Therapy Quackery?” article adorning a cover of Review of Ophthalmology. The basis for this framing bias is evident in the current Kidding Me article when the author writes: “Vision therapy has become somewhat of an ‘umbrella-term’ for many treatment types, and often has a negative connotation to pediatric ophthalmologists and orthoptists.”
Well in my humble opinion, it’s time that biases like this stop being published in professional journals. You can read the article if you’re so inclined, but its conclusion is predictable to those of us who keep calling pediatric ophthalmologists, pediatricians, and orthoptists on the carpet for policy statement hatchet jobs: “Until larger, placebo-controlled, multicenter randomized control studies are obtained for further evaluation of the efficacy of more commonly prescribed treatment for symptomatic CI, this question of effectiveness remains unanswered.” You’re kidding me, right?