Integrative Wellness Rules


The picture itself is calming, but the information inside even more so.  It’s the front cover of a book from Dr. Jim Nicolai, one of the first residential fellows at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Weil.  There’s a short but very powerful chapter in the book entitled Follow Your Heart.  After discussing the interactions of the heart and brain, Dr. Nicolai comments:  “What we are learning is the opposite of what I was taught in medical school”.

That thought came to mind yesterday when I was evaluating a child who I had previously met briefly when visiting Celebrate the Children (CTC).  It was not Chris, but one of his schoolmates, Matt.  Matt was accompanied to the evaluation in our office by his mom, his OT, and the CTC Director.  Matt’s left eye began to turn inward when he was about 6 months of age, and his parents took him to a pediatric ophthalmologist (PO) who advised patching the right eye.  When he got a little older, the PO prescribed bifocal glasses, which Matt would refuse to wear.  He politely told Matt’s mother that there was nothing else to be done.  Not to be deterred, Matt’s mother took him to another PO for a second opinion when he was a few years older, and this doctor berated her for not coming to him sooner because it was now too late to help him use both eyes together.


In keeping with my policy I will not mention names, but paradoxically this doctor calls to mind the name of a Disney character.  His manner is anything but compassionate and when Matt’s mom subsequently asked him about the option of pursuing vision therapy he berated her and she left in tears, seriously doubting her parenting skills.  As she related the incident, her eyes welled up again and Matt’s OT and the CTC Director shook their heads in disbelief.  I would like to tell you that POs being PO’d about parents raising the issue of optometric vision therapy is no longer an issue.  It still can be on the East Coast, but each year there are newer antidotes to the poison.


Vision Therapy Parents Unite is a facebook group that was launched in June with this announcement in the Vision Monday newsletter and it has taken off, with nearly a thousand members.  Check out the site and join in on the conversation.  Even lurking can be valuable.  With every click of the mouse, there is credible information shared that neutralizes the Disney character’s poison that great moms like Matt’s will one day no longer have to endure.

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