There has been an interesting discussion of late on a list serve populated by doctors who specialize in optometric vision therapy. One of the doctors in Austin, Texas shared a flyer from a source in her vicinity called the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center, hosting a presentation at the end of this month from a pediatric ophthalmologist titled: “The Eyes Don’t Have It”. Here is the description:
“This session will give you a comprehensive summary of the latest on reading, dyslexia and the role of vision. Controversial topics including Magnocellular Deficit Theory, Scotopic Sensitivity and Behavioral Optometric Theories will be discussed. Commonly promoted therapies including colored lenses and filters, low power lenses and vision therapy will be reviewed and examples shown. The participant will gain a thorough understanding of the issues and how to examine and interpret research regarding vision and dyslexia.”
The flyer reminded me of a program titled “Why Can’t EYE Learn?” Sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Ophthalmology and the Jefferson Medical College Office of Continuing Medical Education on March 21, 2001, in Orlando, Florida. The Chair of that meeting was Dr. Harold Koller, a pediatric ophthalmologist I knew from the Philadelphia area. (I don’t know the pediatric ophthalmologist who is giving the presentation in Texas.) I attended the AAP meeting in Orlando my role as an Associate Professor, not as an Optometrist – but when one of the ophthalmologic speakers was unable to attend, Dr. Koller came over during the break and invited me to give a presentation on optometric vision therapy, and to join the panel discussion which concluded the session. I agreed, and have a lovely plaque on display in my consultation room from the American Academy of Pediatrics thanking me for my participation in the program. Dr. Paul Romano, editor of Binocular Vision & Eye Muscle Surgery Quarterly was in the front row of the audience and invited me to submit an article reviewing my experiences. I did so, he published it in 2002, and it was reprinted in the Journal of Behavioral Optometry.
I was tempted to consider the open invitation of the Austin optometrist to attend “The Eyes Don’t Have It”, but I don’t have time. If I felt that the presenter were interested in an open discussion, I might even delay my vacation to join pitchers and catchers and others who have reported to spring training. But at this stage of the game I don’t have to fly anywhere on a lark. We’re too busy in our practice helping families weary of listening to reassurance that vision has little if anything do with reading or learning. I don’t think the Optometrist in Austin has anything to worry about. The truth about how we help struggling students always prevails.