When you’re reviewing findings with patients, parents or significant others, how do you answer the question as to whether or not vision therapy is new? In fact, why is the question posed in the first place? Steven Poole has some ideas about this. Though Poole doesn’t mention vision therapy specifically, he explores ideas who seem to have come before their time, and are parked in history’s garage before being re-invented or re-introduced. Vision therapy may be in that category because, after all, it has existed in some form for roughly 150 years now if you go back to orthoptics, and nearly 90 years since OEP moved orthoptics into the realm of optometric vision therapy. So perhaps VT is something that time has finally caught up with in a good way.
On the other hand, there are those potential patients or their families who are early adopters. It is important for them to feel that the therapeutic approach they’re trying is new and exciting. This is particularly true when they’ve tried other approaches that have been inadequate. Of course they would like to be reassured that optometric vision therapy is viable and targeted toward their needs or interests. But if they view it as something re-packaged that has been around for 90 years, it is simply not as appealing.
So is vision therapy something new? The most straightforward answer is that elements of the field have been around for quite some time, but the speciality into which it has evolved is new.
Advances in the understanding of neurosensory development, neuroplasticity, and neuro-visual rehabiliative care, combined with the applications of technology, have contributed to new these approaches. Much as pioneers in our field spoke of the judicious application of lenses, it behooves us to speak of the judicious application of communication skills. Choosing the right words can be crucial in enabling the patient to receive the help that they need, and this is covered in detail in the iBook edition of ACiVT.