Diana Eastburn Ludlam, COVT

I received sad news that Diana Ludlam passed away in her sleep yesterday morning. If we may use the phrase “Grande Dame” as a woman of influential position within a particular sphere, then Diana was clearly a Grand Dame (if not the Grande Dame) of optometric vision therapists.

Diana was among the first individuals to be earn the designation of COVT through COVD. In fact, in the early days she was a COVTT when the certification was as for an optometric vision therapy technician back in the 1970s. Diana was the second individual to be given the COVT of the year award, earning that distinction in 2002.

The bar was set very high any time that Diana became involved in a project. She was integral to Bill Ludlam’s success in practice, and struck me the first time I met her as an incredibly sophisticated and knowledgable individual. She was co-author of the video course “Functional Optometric Approach to Strabismus and Amblyopia” for Clinician’s View. She team taught a course with Bill Padula and Vince Vicci that marked her dedication to and involvement in the nascent field neuro-optometric rehabilitation. Diana was an incredible role model for a significant number of vision therapists, inspiring them in many ways including the VT 101 Course at the annual COVD meeting for which she conducted workshops along with Linda Sanet, Lyna Dyson, and Leeann Batten.

The definition of a star on a team is someone who makes others around them better, and this was certainly a quality that Diana embodied. Her later-in-life collaboration and synergy with Ken Ciuffreda was remarkable on many levels, not the least of which was their collaboration at the SUNY College of Optometry. As accomplished as many COVTs have been through the years, I can’t think of anyone who crossed over into the role of co-author on peer-reviewed papers in the optometric literature as well as Diana Ludlam. In my role as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Vision Development & Rehabilitation, I had the honor of publishing the following papers on which she was a co-author (they are hyper-linked to the original article):

VEP and Human Attention: Translation from Laboratory to Clinic

Concussion in the Twenty-first Century: An Optometric Perspective

Conceptual Model Pyramid of Optometric Care in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI): A Perspective

How to Read a Research Paper: A Perspective

Neuro-Optometry: An Evolving Specialty Clinic … 40 Years Later: A Perspective

Does Vision Therapy Work? The Wrong Question: A Perspective

Objective Visual System Biomarkers for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)/concussion

Nystagmus, Strabismus, and Amblyopia – Clinical Interactions and Implications: A Perspective

Some Thoughts on Oscillopsia: A Perspective

Convergence Peak Velocity: An Objective, Non-Invasive, OculomotorBased Biomarker for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Basic Neuro-Optometric Diagnostic Tests for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion: A Narrative Review, Perspective, Proposed Techniques and Protocols

Vision-Based Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnostic Tests/Biomarkers: An Update and Reappraisal

Perhaps the most concise way to capture the breadth of Diana Ludlam’s professional legacy is to look at her profile on ResearchGate. Doing so reveals a plethora of skills and expertise including the following: teaching and learning; professional development; technology and enhanced learning; collaborative learning; critical thinking; application of work in brain imaging and visual evoked potentials; conducting ultrasound measurements; and many years of work in vision/neuro rehabilitation.

Farewell Grande Dame of Optometric Vision Therapy. You will be missed in so many ways, and by so many people.

7 thoughts on “Diana Eastburn Ludlam, COVT

  1. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. Diana was my friend and my mentor. She embodied so many qualities that I tried to emulate. I had a dream about her Saturday, but didn’t realize why she had come into my thoughts. Maybe she was saying “goodbye.”

  2. Len, than you for letting us know about Diana’s passing. I am so sorry to hear the news. I will always remember how kind Diana was to me when I first started my path with neuro-optometric rehabilitation. I so enjoyed seeing her and talking with her at meetings. She touched so many lives and she will be missed by many.

    • We met the first time in Versailles at the ICBO Congress. She was a charismatic person and had a big heart.

      When she had an appointment in the Czech Republic in Europe, there was a stopover for 2.5 hours in Zurich. I picked her up at the airport and we drove into town and talked about a million things in behavioral optometry. In this brief conversation for me, I learned a lot and gained a greater understanding of behavioral optometry. I will never forget this amazing women! May she rest in peace.

  3. Diana’s professional legacy was vast, influential and helped move our profession forward into the mainstream of healthcare with her work in neuro optometric rehabilitation. What I will remember most however, was her warmth, sincerity, welcoming smile and personality. She made you feel good when you were around her. She was our Princess Di.

  4. Diana was a vibrant and energizing woman who knew how to connect with people in any experience. It was a gift to spend some time with her, and to get to know this special lady.

  5. Stuart, I couldn’t put it better. Diana Ludlam was our Princess Diana. She always made you feel better about yourself. May she fly on the wings of angels.

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