Amblyopia’s New Kids On The Block

ReismanOur story begins in 2011 with Anna Reisman, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Yale.  Writing a review of a book for Slate Magazine, Dr. Reisman opened her commentary with a very personal anecdote about her son.  “When my son was a toddler, an ophthalmologist diagnosed him with a form of amblyopia (lazy eye) and recommended an eye patch to improve his overall vision. But, he added, he couldn’t promise that my son would ever have normal depth perception. I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. I threw a few search terms into Google, came upon an offbeat treatment for eye disorders called vision therapy, and soon found a local practitioner, a middle-aged Chinese-American woman with short hair and half-moon glasses whose messy office was filled with eye charts and board games and had tennis balls hanging from the ceiling and who promptly engaged my son in games and eye exercises. Immediately, I knew we were doing the right thing. But when I told the ophthalmologist about the vision therapy, he told me flatly that, at least in my son’s case, it was mumbo-jumbo and not to waste my money. Although I’m a physician, the concept of vision therapy made intuitive sense. It was low-risk: Even if it didn’t work, we had nothing to lose, other than co-pays and time. If you’re the parent of a child with a problem and you have the means to look for answers outside of the box, this is what you do.”

Dr. Reisman’s piece imports Jenny McCarthy’s stance on autism and vaccines and contrasts Jenny’s crusade for her son Evan, with her personal crusade to find help for her son’s amblyopia.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but in a twist of fate, Jenny’s son Evan is now back on the public eye in relation to amblyopia.  I don’t watch much TV, but among the few shows I’ll watch along with Miriam my favorite is Blue Bloods.

Blue BloodsDonnie Wahlberg headlines with Tom Selleck, and the plot lines are compelling.  On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of reality TV shows.  I’ll make an exception to plug one that Donnie does with his wife, who happens to be none other than Jenny McCarthy.  My interest was piqued by Episode 3 in the second season, featuring Jenny’s visit with her son Evan to the optometrist who treated his amblyopia, Dr. Ingryd Lorenzana.

Evan was diagnosed with amblyopia at age 9, and for the past year he has participated in vision therapy sessions twice weekly in Dr. Lorenzana’s office.  You can see from the video by looking at Evan’s glasses that he has significantly more hyperopia or farsightedness of the left eye.  You’ll also note that Dr. Lorenzana tells Jenny the good news is that he isn’t legally blind in the left eye any more – which implies that his visual acuity in that eye must have been reduced to 20/200 before treatment, but was now something considerably better.

I suspect that when Dr. Reisman wrote the story involving Jenny McCarthy’s son, she never anticipated that their paths would intersect with vision therapy for amblyopia as the common denominator.  It’s a script better than anything Hollywood could write.

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