Combining Ocular Rehabilitation With Strength Training

“Now you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.”

Thanks to colleague Dr. Pauline Buck for sharing the inspiring story of olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler.

“Now I’m not here to tell you that if you go after your dreams with unabashed commitment that you are going to get what you want, because that’s just not the way this life works. But I am here to tell you that you will — in the process — always get what you need and the unfolding of that, from my experience, is far greater then any plan you could have orchestrated for yourself.”

A year before Gretchen suffered a blow-out fracture of her orbit while training, I wrote a  blog about physical therapy for the eyes.  Not surprisingly, even after orbital reconstructive surgery, Gretchen had variable double vision and couldn’t get back on course.  When she inquired about any eye exercises she could do to help her regain her visual abilities, what do you think doctors told her?

“Doctors told her that eye exercises wouldn’t help, said Robin Gorog, Bleiler’s mother. But being an athlete used to doing things to recover from injuries, Bleiler felt strongly that there had to be a way to get better.”

What Grethchen Bleiler and her physical therapist devised for her vision rehabilitation was clever and courageous.  But in this day and age, an olympic athlete shouldn’t search and come up empty for resources such as the AOA Sports Vision Section to guide her.  Elite athletes and their physical therapy/strength coaches shouldn’t have to figure out what to do on their own when there are COVD and OEP docs able to help in their back yards.  Let’s redouble our collective efforts to create synergy between and energy between what should be like-minded professionals, ourselves, and the public.  After all, you can’t always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes, you just might find that you get what you and your prospective patients need …

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