Wednesday, November 26, 2014

White matter in the older brain is more plastic than in the younger brain

White matter in the older brain is more plastic than in the younger brain

Those brains that are chronologically enhanced can learn new things too!

".............Visual perceptual learning (VPL) with younger subjects is associated with changes in functional activation of the early visual cortex. Although overall brain properties decline with age, it is unclear whether these declines are associated with visual perceptual learning. Here we use diffusion tensor imaging to test whether changes in white matter are involved in VPL for older adults. After training on a texture discrimination task for three daily sessions, both older and younger subjects show performance improvements. While the older subjects show significant changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) in the white matter beneath the early visual cortex after training, no significant change in FA is observed for younger subjects. These results suggest that the mechanism for VPL in older individuals is considerably different from that in younger individuals and that VPL of older individuals involves reorganization of white matter............"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Visual and Vestibular Connections

Visual and Vestibular Connections

At the COVD Annual Meeting in San Diego, Dr. Baxtrom presented a lecture entitled “How to Vestibularly Make Optometric Vision Therapy More Effective.” In therapy, many of us incorporate the vestibular system without even thinking about it. Dr. Baxtrom shared the science behind the visual and vestibular systems and how to enhance the connection to improve therapy.

Read more about this on the COVD blog by clicking here:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Office-based Vision Therapy for Improving Reading and Attention in Children With Convergence Insufficiency (CITT-ART)

Office-based Vision Therapy for Improving Reading and Attention
 in Children With Convergence Insufficiency (CITT-ART)

The CITT-ART study is the first of its kind clinical trial to take a look at vision therapy and academic performance. For decades optometrists who provide vision therapy have reported that parents frequently said academic performance improved after a successful vision therapy program was completed. This study will help us take a closer look at this and we need YOUR help!

The CITT-ART study needs subjects who want to participate and perhaps, make history in the process. For more information go to

Clinical Trials Gov

To sign up for to see if you contact

Contact: Mitchell Scheiman, OD   215-780-1427
Contact: Karen Pollack                  215-276-6053

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT02207517

Additional  links for information about this study:

Video on Convergence Insufficiency

PowerPoint Presentation about Convergence Insufficiency:

If you are going to re-post this to Social Media, please use


Thursday, November 13, 2014

AOA Call for Posters for Optometry's Meeting 2015

Deadline: February 6, 2015

The American Optometric Association is pleased to invite your participation in the Clinical and Scientific Poster Session at the 2015 Optometry’s Meeting®

The poster session will have a preview session on Friday, June 26, 2015 (10:00am-6:00pm) and an interactive session on Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 11:00am-2:00pm, where presenters must be present.

The AOA Poster Session will offer CE credit on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Attendees wishing to spend an uninterrupted one- or two-hours viewing the interactive poster session (11:00am-2:00pm) will be able to receive the appropriate one or two hour CE credit. Please note that CE credit will be offered only during the Saturday interactive session (11:00am-2:00pm) and authors must be present.
Abstracts based on unique clinical cases and all aspects of optometric research are currently being accepted. All case reports and research must be complete and unpublished at the time of submission. All abstracts must be submitted electronically via online submission by February 6, 2015.

New this year! The top 5 posters will be selected to participate in an interactive education session at Optometry's Meeting on Saturday, June 27 from 8am - 10am. Each presenter will be paid an additional honorarium to participate in this rapid-fire session featuring 15-20 minutes of presentation per author. The top 5 posters will also be featured in AOA Focus.

Authors will be notified by e-mail of the acceptance of their poster by mid-March. Acceptance will be based on the following criteria:
  1. All abstracts must meet the following requirements:
    1. Primary authors must be a member of the AOA in order to be an Optometry’s Meeting® Poster Presenter.
    2. The complete abstract must be submitted online by February 7, 2014.
    3. A primary author may only submit 3 posters total, any posters exceeding this amount will not be considered.
    4. The abstract must follow the format example explicitly, (see links below) or disqualification will occur.
    5. The abstract submission form must be filled out completely; otherwise the entry will be disqualified.
    6. The abstract must be no more than 350 words (not including title and authors), all abstracts over this word count will be disqualified.
    7. The information conveyed must be of sufficient general interest to the optometric community.
    8. The abstract must be clear, concise, and well-written in anticipation of publication.
    9. The abstract must contain sufficient detail for evaluation.
  2. Scientific abstracts must meet the following additional requirements:
    1. The abstract must be based on original and previously unpublished research.
    2. The abstract must describe a scientific investigation of the idea or product being studied.
    3. The abstract must demonstrate a clear and soundly tested hypothesis.
    4. The conclusions in the abstract must appear to be justified by the results presented.
    5. The abstract must contain evidence of a significant, new result and the significance must be clear from the abstract.
    6. The abstract must contain more than just preliminary results.
  3. Case report abstracts must meet the following additional requirements:
    1. The case report must highlight timely or essential information, not just a review of information already in the literature.
    2. The case report must be unique-if two similar case reports are submitted, a choice may be made between the two to maximize diversity in the poster program.
    3. The case report must demonstrate complete follow-through of patient care.
    4. The clinical significance of the case report must be clear from the abstract.
  4. Informational abstracts must meet the following additional requirements:
    1. The topic must be deemed appropriate for presentation at Optometry’s Meeting®. Topics appropriate for informational posters include, but are not limited to, information about AOA programs or sections.
    2. Informational posters may not contain product or service advertisements.


The primary author of posters that are selected for the 2015 Optometry’s Meeting® is entitled to the following benefits:
  1. $100 total travel grant (this excludes informational posters)
  2. Abstract will be included in an AOA digital supplement to be promoted on and in AOA Focus.
  3. New this year! The top 5 posters will be selected to participate in an interactive education session at Optometry's Meeting on Saturday, June 27 from 8am - 10am.  The poster author must be willing to give an oral presentation with powerpoint regarding their poster. Each presenter will be paid an additional $150 honorarium to participate in this rapid-fire session featuring 15-20 minutes of presentation per author. The top 5 posters will also be featured in AOA Focus.

Please note that authors of selected posters will be responsible for hotel & transportation costs, fees for participation in Continuing Education courses, and all other fees associated with attendance at Optometry’s Meeting®. Posters are peer-reviewed and only those that meet the acceptance criteria will be selected for presentation.

Accepted posters will be published in an AOA digital supplement that will be promoted to AOA members and the profession. The supplement will be featured on and also be included in an article in AOA Focus magazine following Optometry's Meeting.

Authors must arrive at Optometry’s Meeting® in time to set up their posters on Friday, June 26, 2015 between 7:00am and 10:00am, and must present their poster at the interactive session on Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 11:00am until 2:00pm.

The AOA will be using a 48” high X 96” wide Velcro pushpin-receptive display. All text on the poster should be in type no smaller than 18 pt. and must be legible from a distance of about 4-5 feet. Each illustration should contain a caption.

Submission deadline
February 6, 2015
Notification of acceptance
Mid March 2015
2015 Optometry’s Meeting®
June 24- June 28, 2015
Poster Set-up
June 26, 2015 7:00am-10:00am
Poster Session Preview
June 26, 2015 10:00am-6:00pm
Rapid-Fire CE Course Featuring Top 5 Poster Presenters
June 28, 2014 8:00am-10:00am
Interactive Poster Session offering CE Credit
June 28, 2014 11:00am-2:00pm


American Optometric Association
Attn: Stacy Harris
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141
(800) 365-2219 ext. 4254
(314) 991-4101

Dominick M. Maino OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A; Poster Abstract Committee, Chair

How do things look to people with colorblindness or cataracts?

How do things look to people with colorblindness or cataracts?

Ever wonder what folks with color deficiency see? Check out this simulator by clicking the title above. DM

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Headaches may be associated with binocular visual, accommodative insufficiency in children

Headaches may be associated with binocular visual, accommodative insufficiency in children

".......Only 7.5% of children with normal visual function reported headaches at least “fairly often” as compared to 21.4% of children with a binocular vision disorder or an accommodative insufficiency, the poster said. Another 25.5% of children with disorder reported “sometimes” experiencing headaches with near work vs. only 15% of children with normal vision function......"

Comments: Headaches ARE associated with BV least as a clinician, this is what we often encounter in practice! DM

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Autism research study finds treatment in infants removes symptoms

Autism research study finds treatment in infants removes symptoms

".....Autism treatment in the first year of life removes the disabling delay before most children are diagnosed, according to a pilot research study conducted at the UC Davis MIND Institute.
“Infant Start” in infants as young as 6 months old – significantly reduces symptoms so that by age 3 most who received the therapy had neither autism nor delay.
The treatment was administered over a six-month period to 6- to 15-month-old infants who exhibited marked autism symptoms, such as decreased eye contact, social interest or engagement, and a lack of intentional communication.
The treatment was delivered the baby’s parents.
The study was authored by Sally J. Rogers and Sally Ozonoff , UC Davis professors of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. It is published online today in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders....."
Comments: Click on title above to see video. DM

100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan

100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan

The National Veterans Art Museum is located just a few blocks from my home in Chicago in the Six Corners area of Portage Park. 

Here's why you should come and visit the  NVAM on Veterans Day. 

National Veterans Art Museum to Honor Veterans Day with New Exhibit

Chicago, Ill. (September 2013) – On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, 2013, the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) will honor Veterans Day with the opening reception of Esprit de Corps, an exhibition highlighting the spirit of creative resilience. Admission to the NVAM will be free from 12 p.m. through 9 p.m. with light refreshments offered from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. A keynote address will commence at 6 p.m. by Dr. Jack M. Bulmash, Hospital Chief of Staff of the Hines VA Hospital. At 7:30 p.m., patrons are invited downstairs to the Filament Theatre Company for the premiere of Veterans’ Voices, a documentary performance by Erasing the Distance.
Esprit de Corps is taken from the French and means “spirit of the body”—in military contexts, it refers to group morale, “the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.” Featuring art by veterans of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Esprit de Corps traces the process and roles of therapeutic art from the act of initial perception through expression of experience to an ultimate communal sharing and understanding of the real impact of war.
 Featured artists in Esprit de Corps include Vietnam veterans Joe Fornelli and Ted Gostas and post-9/11 veterans Jerry Frech, Jon Hancock, Peter Sullivan, and Erica Slone. Iraq War veteran Jerry Frech has loaned a series of journals that he kept during his service in the U.S. Air Force in Security Forces in 2006. These journals record his thoughts and observations in writing and in sketches. Of his journals, Frech notes, “I found myself surrounded by negativity, sorrow and, yes, drama. Without a lot of options to get away from all of the negativity, I escaped the only way I knew how: art.”
Erica Slone, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force for six years who served multiple deployments in the Global War on Terror, will serve as an artist in residence with an open studio. Of her interactive and on-site work, Slone comments, “I have spent the past five years researching military veterans’ experiences and making art around bridging the disconnection between veterans and contemporary civilian society. Through giving physical form to my own experiences of war, and through social engagement art projects, my work aims to create space for and facilitate intergroup dialogue around current, divisive, socio-political issues.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Jack M. Bulmash is the Hospital Chief of Staff of the Hines VA hospital. He joined the VHA and Hines VA Hospital on July 7, 2007 as Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatrics and Extended Care after a thirty-year practice in Geriatrics within the private sector. Dr. Bulmash graduated from the University of Illinois with an MD degree and after his internship joined the United States Army serving in Vietnam as a Battalion Surgeon.
NVAM Executive Director Levi Moore celebrated Dr. Bulmash’s keynote address, noting, “We welcome Dr. Bulmash to speak directly to issues of art therapy and therapeutic art and their potential for helping servicemen and women grow and develop following their military experiences.”
Veterans Voices’ was created with students from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and focuses on the mental health issues facing servicemen and women, veterans, and their families. Of the Veterans Day collaboration, Susan Zielinski, Therapeutic Art Coordinator for the NVAM says, “We are so pleased to have an opportunity to work with Erasing the Distance to expand the ways in which people look at and think about veteran experiences, especially the creative resilience behind many of the visual and performing arts.”
Veterans’ Voices will be performed on November 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 & 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. The NVAM will be free and open to the public from 10 a.m. through 7:30 p.m. on November 12, 13, 19 and 20.
Esprit de Corps will be on display from November 11, 2013 to August 1, 2014.
About the National Veterans Art Museum
The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other gallery in the world focuses on the subject of war from an artistic perspective, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.
The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The National Veterans Art Museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. For group admission reservations, call the Museum at 312/326-0270 or visit
Patrons of the museum can access art from the permanent collection and biographical information on the artists through the NVAM Collection Online, a recently launched online and high-resolution archive of every piece of art in the museum’s permanent collection. The NVAM Collection Online can be found at

Monday, November 10, 2014

A brain wave test could diagnose autistic kids more accurately — and earlier

A brain wave test could diagnose autistic kids more accurately — and earlier

"..........The brains of children and adolescents with severe autism react differently to certain audio-visual stimuli than children and adolescents without autism, according to a new study. The findings have the potential to lead to a more objective and accurate diagnostic tools for the disorder.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, found that a brain wave test shows promising signs of being an accurate biomarker for autism. The results were published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities on Monday......"

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Convergence insufficiency a common eye disorder in children

Convergence insufficiency a common eye disorder in children

"....Younger children who have convergence insufficiency frequently go undiagnosed. This can happen for several reasons. First, the condition typically cannot be found with a standard vision screening or eye exam. Second, young children may not realize that the blurry or double vision they see is not normal, so they don't mention it......eye pain, blurry vision or double vision. When they read, people with convergence insufficiency also may find that the words blur or appear to move on the page. Other symptoms include headaches and eyestrain.....Fortunately, there is effective treatment for convergence insufficiency. Vision therapy that includes exercises to help the eyes focus often can improve the condition. Your son may be able to do some of the exercises at home, while he may need to do others with the help of an eye care professional in an office setting. ...."

Comments: This article almost gets it all right. The treatment of Convergence Insufficiency (CI) typically takes longer than 4 weeks as this article states. The CITT clinical trial showed that at 12 weeks major improves can often be seen. I usually tell my patients with uncomplicated CI that in-office treatment supported by an out of office therapy program usually takes 12-24 weeks (1 therapy visit per week). The clinic trials show that the most efficacious (best) treatment is in office combined with out of office vision therapy (these are NOT exercises, but a doctor determined therapy program). Vision screenings are not adequate to determine if CI is present. Frequently annual eye examinations by most eye doctors are not adequate to determine if CI is present. If you suspect a binocular vision problem is present, I suggest you locate an optometrists who is Board Certified in this area. These docs can be found here.  

Watch for more information about CI, vision therapy and academic performance as the new CITT-ART study starts to produce results. DM