Friday, July 23, 2010

A Binocular Approach to Treating Amblyopia: Antisuppression Therapy

....a binocular treatment for amblyopia based on antisuppression therapy. .... we show that prolonged periods of viewing ...during which information from the two eyes is combined leads to a strengthening of binocular vision in such cases and eventual combination of binocular information under natural viewing conditions .... Concomitant improvement in monocular acuity of the amblyopic eye occurs with this reduction in suppression and strengthening of binocular fusion. ... in each of the three cases, stereoscopic function is established. ...This provides the basis for a new treatment of amblyopia, one that is purely binocular and aimed at reducing suppression as a first step.....

Comment: Very interesting. Finally an approach that not only says amblyopia is a binocular vision dysfunction but also treats it as a binocular vision dysfunction. Haven't read the full article yet...but this is definitely on my read list! DM

Ecstasy May Help Alleviate PTSD

....The phase II study, involving just 20 patients, showed that when used during intensive psychotherapy, MDMA resulted in greater reductions in PTSD symptoms over time than placebo...

Ethnic differences in the prevalence of myopia and ocular biometry in 10-11 year old children: the Child Heart And Health Study in England

...Among British children exposed to the same schooling environment South Asians have the highest prevalence of myopia, followed by black African–Caribbeans compared to white Europeans. A quarter of British South Asian children are myopic, which is strongly related to their increased axial length....

Cambridge Cognition Finds Women Have Better Memories Than Men

...preliminary results give a strong indication that women's memories function better than men, with women making an average of 5.9 fewer errors on a specific test of memory than men. This clear difference remains unchanged when allowing for education and age corrections.....Interestingly, education also seems to play a significant role in influencing cognitive function. Participants who had left education after the age of 18 years made an average of 20 fewer total errors than those who left education before the age of 16. ...

Comments: I don't know why this is so surprising, my lovely spouse is always reminding me of things I've forgotten! DM

Evidence Supports Screening For Fragile X Syndrome In Prospective Mothers

...There's adequate research data to support population screening of women of childbearing age for fragile X syndrome-the most common inherited cause of cognitive impairment, according to a report in the July issue of Genetics in Medicine....

New Technology Reveals A Unique Vocal Signature In Autism

...A new automated vocal analysis technology could fundamentally change the study of language development as well as the screening for autism spectrum disorders and language delay...

Drugging Kids a Form of Abuse

...Giving children pharmaceuticals for nontherapeutic reasons may be an under-recognized form of abuse, a retrospective study showed....Data from U.S. poison control centers revealed an average of 160 cases of "malicious" use of pharmaceuticals in children younger than 7 annually over a nine-year period, ....The most commonly used drugs were analgesics, stimulants/street drugs, sedatives/hypnotics/antipsychotics, and cough and cold preparations.
Action Points .... About half of the cases (51.1%) involved a sedating agent....Moderate or major outcomes -- or death -- occurred in 13.8% of cases....

Tart cherry juice, a natural insomnia cure

...A new research has suggested that drinking tart cherry juice daily can help reduce the severity of insomnia and time spent awake after going to sleep. ...There were significant reductions in reported insomnia severity and the adults saved about 17 minutes of wake time after going to sleep, on average, when drinking cherry juice daily, compared to when they were drinking the juice drink. ...

Comments: I can fall asleep at any this may not apply to me...but if you are an insomiac....this might interest you. DM

Testing predictions from personality neuroscience: brain structure and the big five.

...Extraversion covaried with volume of medial orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region involved in processing reward information. Neuroticism covaried with volume of brain regions associated with threat, punishment, and negative affect. Agreeableness covaried with volume in regions that process information about the intentions and mental states of other individuals. Conscientiousness covaried with volume in lateral prefrontal cortex, a region involved in planning and the voluntary control of behavior....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How Memory Is Disrupted in Those With Disease Linked to Learning Disabilities

...Imagine if your brain lost its working memory -- the ability to hold and manipulate information in your mind's eye. That's the plight faced by millions of people with neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1. The genetic condition affects one in 3,500 people and is the most common cause of learning disabilities....

Comments: I'm pretty confident that I can say that NF1 is NOT the #1 cause of learning disabilities. Currently we do not know what causes learning disabilities nor do we know the best way to treat learning disabilities. We do know that language and vision play a role...and it may differ depending upon the type of learning disability present. This is an interesting read however. DM

Brain Training Reverses Age-Related Cognitive Decline

...The study found that intense auditory training greatly improved sound perception and processing among rats that had previously experienced normal, age-related sensory-processing degradation....The results indicate that people who experience age-related cognitive decline, including slower mental processing and decreased response to new stimuli, might also benefit from specially designed mental exercises....

Comments: You always want to be careful about taking "rat" studies and applying them to people....but we do know our brains can learn at any age. DM

Refractive surgery in patients with accommodative and non-accommodative strabismus: 1-year prospective follow-up

...Refractive surgery may be performed successfully in patients with accommodative and nonaccommodative strabismus. However, great care must be taken when determining patient suitability. This is of particular importance in young hyperopic patients to prevent decompensation of ocular alignment over time....

Comments: When you read the paper you will also note that:

For the Esodeviations:Fully accommodative esotropia: four had a microtropia and one needed to wear glasses to achieve preoperative level of stereopsis due to the presence of residual refractive error post-LASIK. 7/9 of these patients still showed a strab.

For those with Partially accommodative esotropia: had ... no discernible binocular function due to the presence of suppression scotomas. 3/3 of these patienst still showed a strab.

For those with Non-accommodative esotropia:One patient had no motor fusion due to the presence of a suppression scotoma in one eye. ... Patient 13 was esophoric for near but became manifest with diplopia on distance viewing. ...Patient 14 had manifest esodeviation for near and distance. The angle of deviation increased for near on wearing myopic correction. Bilateral LASIK was performed, resulting in
an increase in esodeviation for near....
3/3 still showed a strab.

For Exodeviations: The postoperative reduction reached statistical significance for near [doesn't say if it was clinically significant) but not for distance. Patient 22 had a high myopic anisometropia and exotropia worse for distance than for near....The angle of deviation remained unchanged in four ... patients....

They also tell you they assessed stereopsis....but did not tell you how they did it. The bottom line on this paper is that it appears as if refractive surgery is probably not a good "fix" for least not at this time. Patients still needed to use glasses, showed little improvement in fusion/stereopsis, or actually developed problems they did not have previously (diplopia).

There were other problems with this study including the multiple surgical techniques used, small sample size, information not provided (what did they use to assess stereo?)and if the patients and/or their family's quality of life improved.

In my opinion refractive surgery is probably not ready to be used on a wide variety of patients to "fix" strabismus at this time. Let's see what the future research shows. The full pdf of this paper is available by clicking on the title above. DM

OD's of the Year

There has been a great deal of good news posted on this website about the accomplishments of the faculty and graduates of the Illinois College of Optometry....and there's more! The individual states have named there Optometrists of the Year/Young ODs of the Year and many ICO graduates are among those named.

Congratulations to:

Drs. Roger Trudell (Colorado), Gregg Eubanks (Illinois), Jerry Vaughn (Nebraska), Eric Paulsen (Wisconsin), Mami Chan (New Mexico). DM

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Illinois College of Optometry 2010 Alumni Association Award Recipients

2010 Alumni Association Award Recipients

Susan Cotter, OD '83, MS, FAAO
Alumna of the Year Award

Robert L. Grazian, OD '82
Alumnus of the Year Award

Dwight H. Akerman, OD '80, FAAO (Dipl), FIACLE, FBCLA
Distinguished Alumnus Award

Michael V. Favia, JD
Distinguished Friend Award

Barry J. Jose, OD '77
Professional Achievement Award

Kelly A. Frantz, OD, FAAO, FCOVD
Excellence in Education Award - Faculty

John F. Amos, OD '65, MS
Excellence in Education Award - Non-Faculty

Congressman John Boozman
Humanitarian Award

David Lee, OD, PhD, FAAO
Lifetime Service Award

Donovan L. Crouch, OD '63, FAAO
Lifetime Service Award

As Vice President of the ICO Alumni Council, I am thrilled to be able to tell you that the Alumni Council has definitely chosen wisely. All of this year's 2010 Alumni Association Award Recipients are incredible. You will recognize most of the names listed here because they have distinguished themselves within their chosen profession, conducted landmark research, are active in representing optometry on the national political/optometric professional scene, are penultimate teachers of the highest quality and/or have serve the Illinois College of Optometry for many years on the ICO Board of Trustees/Alumni Council/Illinois Eye Institute Foundation or in other similar capacities. What a truly amazing group of individuals!

I am proud to know them all.... DM

Illinois College of Optometry Faculty, Students and BOT Members Shine!

Scholarly activity:

Sanghera NK, Newman TL. Cytomegaloviral retinitis from chronic immunosuppression following solid organ transplant surgery. Clin Exp Optom 2010;93(4):261-263.

Maino DM, Goodfellow GW. ASCOTech: Yoda and Mr. Clean on TV and in a Digital Universe. J Optom Ed 2010 Summer;35(3):92-95.

Gengelbach L. Clinical Ethics: Patient Care: Management beyond the textbooks, ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics. J Optom Ed 2010 Summer;35(3):96-97.

Kammer RL, Jamara RJ, Kollbaum E, Matchinski T, Flom R. The development of entry level low vision rehabilitation competencies in optometric education. J Optom Ed 2010 Summer;35(3):98-107.

Barclay Bakkum, D.C., Ph.D. has had an abstract accepted for Neuroscience 2010: History, Teaching, Public Awareness, and Societal Impacts. The abstract, "A historical lesson from the two Drs. Sylvius"

College and Public Service

Dr. Sandy Block is a member of the NATIONAL CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S VISION AND EYE which recently met at ICO. Dr. Block notes that: “This was an exciting opportunity to bring experts from many fields including optometry, ophthalmology, pediatrics, public health, HRSA leadership, and school health nursing from all over the country to the campus."

Five pediatric ICO faculty members participated in the semiannual Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator (PEDIG) meeting at a conference center near OHare airport in Chicago. The participants were Drs. Pang (PI), Allen (new investigator), Allison, Block and Goodfellow.


Dr. Jan Jurkus was nominated for the prestigious Harris Family Award of the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Dan Roberts was nominated for the prestigious Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award of the American Academy of Optometry.

Other activities:

Dr. Darrell Schlange was recently in Germany consulting with Dr. Burkart Fischer at the Optomotor Lab, University of Freiburg. Dr. Fischer was the developer of the FixTest. Dr. Schlange is collaborating with Dr. Fischer on a research project to evaluate fixations, saccades and anti-saccades. (Articles by Dr. Fischer have been published in many journals including Scientifc American Mind and Optometry & Vision Development.

Read: Effects of Daily Practice on Subitizing, Visual Counting, and Basic Arithmetic Skills by Burkhart Fischer, Dipl. Phys., Christine Gebhardt, Dipl. Phys., and Klaus Hartnegg, Dipl. Phys.

Instability of Fixation in Dyslexia: Development – Deficits – Training

Saccade Control in Dyslexia: Development, Deficits, Training and Transfer to Reading by Burkhart Fischer, Dipl Phys; Klaus Hartnegg, Dipl Phys

Kara Hagerman-Crumbliss, OD, Director of Clinical Services, The Chicago LightHouse has published an update in the Enlighten Chicago Lighthouse Low Vision Quarterly Summer 2010.

Dr. Richard Kattouf, Chair, ICO BOT has an article in the June 2010 issue of Optometric Management, How to Hire an Office Manager

Dr. Dominick Maino was extensively quoted in Optometric Managements "Practice Pulse TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE" column noting that 3D Media Can Usher in New Patients and 3D MOVIES, TVS, TV SHOWS AND VIDEO GAMES CAN GROW YOUR PRACTICE. He stated that: ""If you ask the right questions, you'll discover several patients who have undiagnosed binocular vision disorders," says optometrist Dominick Maino, a professor of Pediatrics/BV at the Illinois College of Optometry's Illinois Eye Institute. (See "Identify Binocular Vision Disorders," OM December 2009 at"Dr. Maino advises your practice website include a 3D vision complication section that contains links to all the AOA materials on this topic. Further, he suggests you check out his blog (www.mainosmemos.blogspot), and type "3D" in the search box. This will reveal a slew of 3D vision complication links you can provide for your patients on your own website.

"Also, place a poster of one of the recent 3D movies in your reception room with a sign next to it that says something like: ‘The 3Ds of the 3D viewing experience: If you experience Discomfort, Dizziness or lack of Depth while viewing this or other 3D movies, you may have a binocular vision disorder.’" This will prompt patients who experience these symptoms to seek your help, he says..... Include a 3D test in the exam "A 27-year-old female patient recently presented to me with complaints of headaches, double vision, eye strain and dizziness while viewing Avatar in 3D. She said she suspected her symptoms were due to her vision because she'd been having "reading problems" since the 5th grade, explains Dr. Maino. "When I asked her to have her doctor send me any information that related to binocular vision problems from her last exam, the doctor told her he hadn't conducted any binocular vision testing."

This patient experience reveals the importance of including 3D testing as part of the comprehensive exam, says Dr. Maino. Doing so not only educates patients about 3D vision complications, but also about the fact that we have the skills to diagnose and treat these problems...."

Monday, July 19, 2010

ICO Students Do Very Well on National Boards: Again!!

ICO students had a 100% pass rate on NBEO Part III Clinical Skills, Congratulations!

Socioeconomic Inequality in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from a U.S. Cross-Sectional Study

...Prevalence increased with increasing socioeconomic status (SES) in a dose-response manner, with prevalence ratios relative to medium SES of 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.64, 0.76) for low SES, and of 1.25 (95% CI 1.16, 1.35) for high SES. Significant SES gradients were observed for children with and without a pre-existing ASD diagnosis, and in analyses stratified by gender, race/ethnicity, and surveillance data source. The SES gradient was significantly stronger in children with a pre-existing diagnosis than in those meeting criteria for ASD but with no previous record of an ASD diagnosis, and was not present in children with co-occurring ASD and intellectual disability....

Comments: PDF available by clicking on title. DM

Interesting Eye Movements

This girl has some interesting voluntary eye movements! DM

Early Feeding Problems Hint at Autism

...Feeding problems are evident among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) from infancy....Compared with children without ASDs, those ultimately diagnosed with an ASD were more likely to be slow eaters by 6 months, and also accepted solid foods later in the first year ....From 15 months on, children with ASDs were also more likely to be called very difficult to feed and very choosy and had less varied diets....

College of Syntonic Optometry Announces Course

The College of Syntonic Optometry invites you to attend the New CSO Curriculum I course that will fast track the optometrist's ability to incorporate Syntonic Phototherapy into your practice.

The Course will be held Saturday-Sunday, August 21-22, 2010 at Western University, 309 E. Second St, Pomona, CA. Information about registering is below.

It is being taught by Stefan Collier, F.O, FCSO who has championed Syntonic Phototherapy throughout Europe and was presented with the Skeffington -Alexander International Award at ICBO 2010.

If you have further questions, please contact Ron Wahlmeier at:

Phone: 719-547-8177 Fax: 719-547-3750 email:

College of Syntonic Optometry
2052 W. Morales Drive Pueblo West, CO 91007
EMAIL: Phone: 877-559-0541 or 719-547-8177
Fax: 719-547-3750

Comments: I am the first to admit that I really do not know much about syntonics. If you want to learn more however read:

Wallace LB. The theory and practice of syntonic phototherapy: a review. Optom Vis Dev 2009;40(2):73-81.

Dr. Hellerstein in the News Again!

My friend and colleague, Dr. Lynn Hellerstein is often sought out by the media because of her expertise on children's vision, vision and learning and more. Here's some of the latest "media" developments. Take a look by clicking on the links. DM

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dr. Lynn Hellerstein on A Sessiion W/JJ Poscast

“A Session With JJ” – Episode 65 – 07/14/10

Guest- Dr. Lynn Hellerstein
Website- Lynn Hellerstein, Author of See It, Say It, Do It

Do you have perfect 20/20 vision? Do you see things very clearly? Let me re-state that.. Do you “see” things very clearly? In other words, do you have trouble keeping your attention set on any specific target? Whether it’s a specific sentence in a novel, an article on the computer, somebody speaking to you, etc.. If this were to be trivialized, this would be considered ADD/ADHD, right? The featured guest on episode #65 of “A Session With JJ” is an optometrist who specializes in vision therapy, has been a pioneer in vision therapy for over 30 years, and is the author of the award winning book See It, Say It, Do It: The Parent’s & Teacher’s Action Guide to Creating Successful Students & Confident Kids. Her name is Dr. Lynn Hellerstein and she is also the founder of a private optometry practice in the Denver Metro area, and she joins JJ to discuss vision problems in children.. But this doesn’t only pertain to children as anyone can have visualization problems, but the discussion focuses on this age-group. Regardless of whether someone has perfect (20/20) eye-sight, they can still have trouble understanding and retaining whatever it is they are trying to learn.. Dr. Hellerstein has made improving visualization skills very simple in her book and this is also discussed immensely. You do not want to miss this remarkable interview with an individual interested in bettering those that struggle with their visualization complexities.. It’s Dr. Lynn Hellerstein featured on episode #65 of “A Session With JJ!”

Comments: Click on the title above to hear the podcast. Nicely done Dr. Hellerstein!! DM