It all began innocently enough when I posted a quasi rhetorical comment on the Facebook page, PCO Class of 1977: What does it mean when you’re on mini-sabbatical in Scottsdale, and mountain ridges conjure OCT images?
… to which classmate Allan Kravitz replied, It means you need a real vacation.
He may be right. I mentioned that we were taking a side trip from our month-long stay in Scottsdale to visit Sedona, where I would try to resist the temptation to think about accommodation. I recall a dear colleague and avid hiker, Dr. John Griffin, who was fond of putting up a slide during lectures that depicted his favorite “accommodative rock”. Of course in Sedona one is always surrounded by red, red rock, not to be confused with the optometric accommodative procedure commercialized by Dr. Steve Franzblau through Keystone and more recently resurrected by Dr. Marc Taub via GoodLite.
Allan, a transplant from New York to Arizona, advised checking out one of the vortex sites while in Sedona and I’ll freely admit my ignorance about it. The only vortex sites I had ever learned about were the locations where veins exited the sclera.
Vortex sites in the eye represent the confluence of blood flow most evident as a peripheral landmark seen ophthalmoscopically, and is intimately related to the blood flow supply of the extraocular muscles aiding binocular vision. But what was the significance of Allan suggesting that I check out the vortex sites in Sedona?
I came across this helpful guide authored by Dennis Andres. Although the word vortex is conventionally used in connection with a high concentration or funneling of fluid or air, in this instance it is more akin to an energy field. It is believed that the high concentration of land, light, air and water creates these pockets of high energy. Andres notes that the energy of a vortex acts as an amplifier: it magnifies what we bring to it on a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level. There are more scientific explanations of what a spiritual vortex is, and in this era of mind/body medicine it is receiving more serious attention.
The exact number of vortexes (the locals are indignant that the plural isn’t vortices) isn’t known, but they are believed to be between four and eight. The four major vortices can be divided into quadrants, and interestingly this parallels the four major vortices of the eye’s quadrants – not entirely surprising when you think of both in terms of a bowl topographically (the blue region labeled “J”). There are indications that within individual eyes, the exact number and location of the vortex veins can vary.
So Miriam and I made our way to the most accessible of Sedona’s Vortex Sites, the winding Airport Road location which was a rock’s throw from our resort.
I can’t say that we experienced any specific feeling of vibrational energy, or that we had a “new age” awakening of sorts through meditation or visualization. But our exploration of the vortex concept kept my mind open to the continuum of healing that exists in health care. For example, I have had my eye more closely of late on the concepts espoused by Doctors Pashya R. Kaplan, Jacob Liberman, Sam Berne, and Lynn Hellerstein. Each of these four colleagues has evolved a paradigm that is consistent with the principles of respect for self and respect for the elements that is often lacking in “Western Medicine”. Think about how much is changing in our field beyond lenses and prisms, and how colleagues are looking more seriously at a range of factors, from the influence of nutrition on bio-mechanical properties of the eye to the altering of light energy through optometric phototherapy.