The Shape of the Sky…Repairing Strabismus and emotional healing a focus of MVTSG 2020

Strabismus, as outlined by the American Optometric Association Clinical Practice Guideline, CPG-12, is a failure of binocular vision (eye teaming) that is typically recognized as one or both eyes that turn inward (esotropia) or outward (exotropia) and/or up or down (hyper/hypotropia) that occurs in about 3% or 1 in 30 individuals worldwide. But, the impact goes much deeper into the life of the person with Strabismus than just an obvious cosmetic appearance, which has its own serious impact on the emotional wellness of the strabismic individual.  

Research published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, entitled: The effects of strabismus on quality of life in adults shows, that individuals with Strabismus (either with and without double vision) have many quality of life and emotional side effects that begin in childhood and continue throughout adulthood including but not limited to:

  • Poor depth perception
  • Reduced self confidence
  • Difficulty interpersonal relationships
  • Poor driving skills
  • Negative feelings
  • Poor reading ability
  • Difficulty with eye contact 
  • Anxiety

To bring this important information  to an audience of doctors and vision therapists, the Annual Michigan Vision Therapy Study Group Meeting (MVTSG-2020) took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan on January 24-25, 2020 focused on the theme of Strabismus and Amblyopia. Presenters came to speak on these topics from around the US, Internationally and throughout Michigan and was the largest attended MVTSG meeting in it’s long history.

Kicking off the meeting was one of the world’s leading experts on the vision therapy management of  Strabismus and author of the new book, The Shape of the Sky, Dr. David Cook. He outlined new techniques and methods for helping patients (adults and children) with strabismus to gain the ability to rapidly gain the ability to point the two eyes together, eliminate double vision and gain depth perception.

Our Wow Vision Therapy Grand Rapids Team, Dr. Alyssa Bartolini, Dr. Peter Silman and Collin Welsh, COVT,  presented on the performance and emotional factors that affect the lives of those with Strabismus  and outlined a comprehensive model of treatment using a top down (executive function) along with advanced office-based vision therapy including virtual reality in vision therapy at home. The results of this model of treatment has not only resulted in significant outcomes, for adults as well as children, in their binocular vision and development of depth perception for better coordination daily activities and driving, but has also had a dramatic effect on their confidence and emotional quality of life.

The Michigan Vision Therapy Study Group is recognized as a legendary 1.5 day vision therapy educational meeting  that has taken place every year in the month of January in Michigan for the last 4 decades. It is a volunteer project with the intent of bringing together doctors and vision therapists with a passion for collaboration, teaching and expanding understanding of methods for helping patients to acquire better vision development through vision rehabilitation and vision therapy.

This year’s team of presenters were: Dr. David Cook, Dr. Bradley Habermehl, Dr. Dan Fortenbacher, Dr. Alyssa Bartolini, Dr. Johann Schlager, resident, Dr. Peter Silman, resident, Cheryl Dortch, COVT, Collin Welsch,COVT, Dr. Mohamed Moussa, Abeer Ahmed, MBChB and vision therapists, Amina Weed and Monica Fehrs,  Dr. Stephanie Enriquez and vision therapists, Dr. Steven Ingersoll, Dr. Luke Lirones, resident and  Dr. Paula McDowell.

Michigan Vision Therapy Study Group – 2020


Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD


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