Saturday, January 17, 2009


Dr. Michael Cohen has his newsletter up and running on the Web! Click above to read everything from the the comments on music and more..

Some folks want you to be continually competent, and that’s not a bad idea. It’s certainly in keeping with the overall direction of where optometry is heading. But, isn’t there questionable value in adding another layer of optometric regulation to an already overly-regulated profession?

Some may ask why there is a need for ongoing examination of continuing competence. Is it because some believe that we become less competent as the years of practice pass by? If so, then is it not the duty of our state optometry boards to determine that? Do we really need another entity to relicense practitioners, as if years of education and practice experience lose significance? And, does that negate any past or future CE? With Board certification, does all of those hours spent mean nothing - and will your future ability to practice be approved solely as being board certified? Rubbish! .........

Red Reflex Examination in Neonates, Infants, and Children

...Red reflex testing is an essential component of the neonatal, infant, and child physical examination. This statement, which is a revision of the previous policy statement published in 2002, describes the rationale for testing, the technique used to perform this examination, and the indications for referral to an ophthalmologist experienced in the examination of children....

Comments: This is OK as a screening....but completely inadequate overall. Every child should have a comprehensive eye and vision examination....not necessarily but a surgeon....(OMD) unless the child needs surgery but by a pediatric optometrist. It is sad that Pediatricians and medicine in general, do not recognize the skills and capabilities of the optometrists and other non-MD providers. Go to for a listing of capable doctors that know how to examine young children. DM

PodCast from PNR on Stereopsis and Adults

NPR talks to U of C, Berkley's Dean, Dr. Levi about binocularity. DM

Size matters: A study of binocular rivalry dynamics

W.J.M. Levelt systematized the influence of stimulus strength on binocular rivalry dynamics in several formal propositions. His counterintuitive 2nd proposition states that mean dominance duration of one eye’s stimulus depends not on the strength of that stimulus but, instead, on the strength of the stimulus viewed by the other eye. Some studies have reported results
consistent with this proposition but others have found violations of the proposition. This paper examines the dynamics of binocular rivalry by changing the size of rival stimuli and the tracking instructions during rivalry tracking periods in which the contrasts of the two rival stimuli are varied independently. Levelt’s 2nd proposition was validated when those stimuli were
large, but it was violated when the rival stimuli were small, suggesting that the dynamics of binocular rivalry are spatiotemporal in nature. A simple energy model with coupling among neighboring areas of rivalry can account for these findings. Other dynamics depending on the size of rival stimuli are discussed.

Kang, M.-S. (2009). Size matters: A study of binocular rivalry dynamics. Journal of Vision, 9(1):17, 1–11,, doi:10.1167/9.1.17.

Friday, January 16, 2009

VT Pioneer, Dr. Robert Johnson featured in the WSJ

...Mr. Fitzgerald may have a clear advantage in this area. When he was young, his grandfather, Robert Johnson, the founder of a optometry clinic in Chicago, set out to make sure his grandson had "visual dominance" -- at first because he was having trouble in school. From the time Mr. Fitzgerald was in first grade, during summer visits, Mr. Johnson would take him to the clinic and have him stand on balance beams and wobbly boards while doing complicated hand-eye drills. By the time his grandson was 12 and emerging as an athlete, Dr. Johnson tailored many of these exercises to athletics. To improve the boy's precision, control, spatial judgment and rhythm, for instance, Dr. Johnson would hang a painted ball from the ceiling and have him try to hit the colored dots on the ball with the matching colored stripes on a rolling pin....

Comments: This story is really about Dr. Johnson's NFL quarterback. Dr. Robert Johnson was one of the first African-American optometrist to bring vision therapy into the AA community. I've had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Johnson for many years. His daughter, Dr. Stephanie Johnson is a classmate of mine from the Illinois College of Optometry. Both are two of the best ODs I've ever known. Good people. Good docs. DM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fish Oil for Preemies May Boost Cognition

...Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Maria Makrides and her colleagues at the Women's and Childrens' Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, found that supplementing premature baby girls' diets with omega-3 fatty acids in the first few days after birth improved their performance on cognitive tests 18 months later. The same benefit was not seen in baby boys, however, possibly because premature girls and boys simply develop at different rates, the researchers speculate...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Continuing Education Courses at the Illinois College of Optometry

Continuing Education Courses at the Illinois College of Optometry

February 8, 2009 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. 3 Hours of Certified (TQ) Credit
Featured Speakers:
Leonard Messner, OD
Stuart Richer, OD, PhD
Elizabeth Wyles, OD
Kara Hagerman, OD

Featured Topics:
Current Concepts in the Management of Age Related Macular Degeneration

March 1, 2009 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. 6 Hours of Certified (TQ) Credit

Featured Speakers:

Kenneth Ciuffreda, OD, PhD
ICO's Dr. & Mrs. Dominick M. Maino Visiting Professor
Professor at SUNY College of Optometry

Christine Allison, OD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Illinois College of Optometry

Featured Topics:
Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury
Refractive Error Development
The Kindergarten Exam

All courses include parking, continental breakfast, course materials, and certificate of attendance. Tests will be in multiple-choice format and are optional. The tests will be given on-site. One re-take will be permitted. All courses are COPE pending.

Diane D. Gillette

Continuing Education Coordinator
Illinois College of Optometry
Phone: 312-949-7081
Fax: 312-949-7383

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Initial Findings Could Lead To A New Approach For Treating Fragile X Syndrome

..."This is the first study assessing the safety and pharmokinetic metabolism of an mGluR5 antagonist in humans with Fragile X syndrome," said Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, pediatric neurologist at Rush and principal investigator of the study. "Also, some patients showed calmed behavior and rapid reduction in hyperactivity and anxiety, similar to effects of the drug in mouse models." ...

Comments: I've worked with Dr. Kravis on several projects. She is a leader in the research on Fragile X Syndrome and an awesome individual.

Effect of CX516, an AMPA-modulating compound, on cognition and behavior in fragile X syndrome: a controlled trial.
Berry-Kravis E, Krause SE, Block SS, Guter S, Wuu J, Leurgans S, Decle P, Potanos K, Cook E, Salt J, Maino D, Weinberg D, Lara R, Jardini T, Cogswell J, Johnson SA, Hagerman R.
J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2006 Oct;16(5):525-40.

Cognitive and visual processing skills and their relationship to mutation size in full and premutation female fragile X carriers.
Block SS, Brusca-Vega R, Pizzi WJ, Berry-Kravis E, Maino DM, Treitman TM.
Optom Vis Sci. 2000 Nov;77(11):592-9.


California's Autism Increase Not Due To Better Counting, Diagnosis

A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted - and the trend shows no sign of abating. ...

Comments: I remain skeptical. I am going to have to read the complete article. DM

Studies Examine Genetic Determinants Of ADHD

...ADHD is a complex condition with environmental and genetic causes. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that has an onset in childhood. It is one of the most common psychiatric diseases, affecting between 8-12 percent of children worldwide. The drugs used to treat ADHD are highly effective, making ADHD one of the most treatable psychiatric disorders. However, despite the high efficacy of ADHD medications, these treatments are not curative and leave patients with residual disability. Because ADHD is also one of the most heritable of psychiatric disorders, researchers have been searching for genes that underlie the disorder in the hopes that gene discovery will lead to better treatments for the disorder....

Comments: Remember that a fair percentage of children with ADHD have vision problems!!

The relationship between convergence insufficiency and ADHD.
Granet DB, Gomi CF, Ventura R, Miller-Scholte A.
Strabismus. 2005 Dec;13(4):163-8.

Measuring ADHD behaviors in children with symptomatic accommodative dysfunction or convergence insufficiency: a preliminary study.
Borsting E, Rouse M, Chu R.
Optometry. 2005 Oct;76(10):588-92.

Pediatric Annals Online

This whole issue is dedicated to Autism...I'm in the process of getting the articles now. Optometry & Vision Development will have a theme issue on Autism coming up this year edited by Dr. Stacy for it!


Who Reads This Blog?

You will see on the left hand side just under my biography, something new that says, "Who Reads This Blog"....well, if you read it....if you subscribe to should sign up today!



NSU School of Optometry Gets Interim Dean

Dr. Dalton Bigbee, NSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, has officially announced that Dr. Lynn Cyert has been named Interim Dean of the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry.

Dr. Cyert assumes the position with 28 years experience at NSUOCO. She has been a Professor of Optometry at NSU since 1981 and Pediatric Clinic Chief since 1986.

During her tenure, she has served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs twice and also as Interim Dean of NSUOCO during a previous transition.

In making the announcement, Dr. Bigbee indicated that the search for a permanent full-time dean continues and praised Dr. Cyert's proven leadership in the College of Optometry, as well as her extensive experience as an administrator.

"Dr. Lynn Cyert has previously served successfully as Interim Dean, and I look forward to her service in this capacity as she leads the College of Optometry until a new dean is named," he said. "I anticipate the search process will result in naming a new dean in the near future."

The position of dean of NSUOCO opened upon the retirement of Dr. George Foster in December, following 11 years of service by Dr. Foster to NSU.

Prior to teaching at NSU, Dr. Cyert was Assistant Professor in Physiological Optics at the New England College of Optomery in Boston, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ithaca College in New York.

Dr. Cyert has worked actively with Head Start in northeastern Oklahoma for many years and is currently Chair of the Health Services Advisory Council for Cookson Hills CAF, Inc. Head Start and also for the Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Unit. Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Unit recently named her Child Advocate of the Year.

She was a member of the Executive Committee and a Clinical Center Director for the Vision In Preschoolers (VIP) Study, a clinical study sponsored by a $1.8 million grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The Vision In Preschoolers Study was a nation-wide study that investigated how best to conduct vision screening of three- and four-year-old Head Start children.

She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a member of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians. In addition, Dr. Cyert co-authored a paper that received the 2005 Garland W. Clay Award for a significant paper in clinical optometry, "A randomized trial of the effect of single-vision vs. bifocal lenses on myopia progression in children with esophoria".

She earned a Doctorate of Optometry from New England College of Optometry in 1980. Dr. Cyert also holds a Ph.D. and the Master of Science in Experimental Psychology from Brown University, and the Bachelor of Arts from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

-- Nancy Garber

Director of Communications & Marketing
Northeastern State University
Tahlequah, Oklahoma