Saturday, October 5, 2013

Autism Research Needs to be Allowed to Move Past Vaccines

Autism Research Needs to be Allowed to Move Past Vaccines

.....In recent decades there has been much trepidation and heated debate regarding the safety of vaccines and the possible link between vaccines and the development of autism in young children.  It is a public health issue that has been taken very seriously amongst both the parenting and medical communities and the resulting research has shown, definitively, that there is no causal link between vaccines and consequential autism development.......

Friday, October 4, 2013

Discovery of Daughter’s Lazy Eye a Surprise for Family

Discovery of Daughter’s Lazy Eye a Surprise for Family

....Why is it that so many kids with vision problems don’t get treatment? In cases of amblyopia, it’s often because the kids don’t even realize they have a vision problem.  For Maya’s family, the discovery that their daughter had ‘lazy eye’ was a huge surprise.

As Maya’s mom Molly recalls, she and her husband didn’t really even notice that Maya had a problem.  Even though she had amblyopia and her brain was using her left eye very differently from the right eye, Maya was reading and had good grades.  Her teacher never mentioned any problems either......

Comment: This is from a friend's above to read more!

Reading, Dyslexia and Learning Problems

...According to pediatrician and parent advocate for the National Center for Learning DisabilitiesDr. Debra Walhof:
"It is important to remember that normal sight may not necessarily be synonymous with normal vision...That being said, if there is a vision problem, it could be preventing the best tutoring and learning methods from working. Now that certainly doesn't mean every dyslexic child needs vision therapy, however in my opinion, skills such as focusing, tracking and others are essential foundational tools for reading. In general, if your child has trouble with reading or learning to read, getting a vision evaluation to assess these skills from a qualified Developmental Optometrist would be a smart move.”...
Comments: As a developmental optometrist I could not agree more with Debra Walhof MD. Vision dysfunction can be at the core of why "Johnny can't read!" DM 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

“It’s Time to Stop Arguing and Help Our Children!!”

COVD Joins with Author, Educator, & Expert in Early Learning Success, Dr. Bob Sornson in Saying “It’s Time to Stop Arguing and Help Our Children!!”

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development is pleased to welcome Dr. Bob Sornson in helping us celebrate August as International Children’s Vision & Learning Month.
Aurora, OH – Most parents find out their children have vision problems after trying a variety of interventions and searching for help for years.  In many cases parents have already spent thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars trying to help their children with learning by the time they find out that a vision problem is contributing to their difficulties
“It is our goal to help parents understand that vision problems can interfere with academic success, and they are typically very treatable,” shares Dr. David Damari, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, “The most important step is identification.” 
“Vision problems are noticeable in the early years of school.  It's much better to be able to notice and treat them in first and second grade. The longer you wait, the more difficult it's going to be to deal with the other factors that have developed,” shares Bob Sornson, PhD and author of Fanatically Formative (Corwin Press), Creating Classrooms Where Teachers Love to Teach and Students Love to Learn (Love and Logic Press), and the Essential Skill Inventories, K–3 (Early Learning Foundation).
“When you take a child who has really struggled to read because of visual issues, the longer that goes on you're no longer dealing with just a vision issue; now you have an attitude problem, a behavior problem, and avoidance issues,” states Sornson.
Sornson’s implementation of programs and strategies for early learning success, the Early Learning Success Initiative, serves as a model for school districts around the country. The Early Learning Success model emphasizes formative and systematic assessment of all essential aspects of early learning development, support for students and teachers, and the importance of building positive classroom culture.
More than 20 years ago Sornson looked very carefully into the research on optometric vision therapy, “to understand what that process was and what was possible. The evidence was just too powerful and overwhelming.  The importance of sensory motor development is not new.  It’s been recognized for thousands of years as an important part of learning and development, and it's supported by everything we know about brain science in the last few decades.  Vision is one important piece of this whole sensory motor, sensory neural sequence that we need to pay attention to.”
While nay-sayers keep demanding more research, Sornson responds, “We're long past arguing about this. It's the responsibility of every educator to understand that sensory motor and vision development impact young learners.”

The results of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Reading Test show that by 4th grade, 67% of school-age children in the U.S. are not reading at proficient levels.   Sornson explains, “Vision is one of the crucial early learning issues. It's not the only issue but it's one of the issues.  Just the cost savings which come from dealing with vision issues as a part of the early learning process should be enough reason for schools to learn more about this.  By the beginning of fourth grade in the U.S., two-thirds of our students are non-proficient readers and are predictably unlikely to become successful lifelong learners.  This is an unnecessary tragedy for our nation and for most of these children.”
“There is a long standing body of evidence that shows certain sensory and visual systems have to be well developed before children are going to be truly effective learners,” continues Sornson, “There's a strong body of evidence that shows that vision therapy is successful at treating vision problems that interfere with reading and academic success, and it’s time to quit arguing about what is now scientifically obvious and help these children.”
Why do vision problems typically go undetected for so long?  “Most eye care practitioners, school nurses and pediatricians use visual acuity (how clearly one can see letters on the eye chart from a distance of 20 feet) as the benchmark for good vision.” Damari explains, “When in fact seeing clearly is just one of more than 17 visual skills required for academic success.” 
If your child struggles with reading, has attention problems, takes longer than it should to get homework done or has difficulty comprehending what was read, a vision problem may be contributing to his or her difficulties.   For an in-depth checklist visit our Parent Resource Center
Optometrists who offer in-office programs of optometric vision therapy can provide the diagnostic testing necessary to determine if a child has a vision problem contributing to their difficulties with reading and learning. To find a doctor who provides this service, visit

CONTACT: Pamela R. Happ, CAE
COVD Executive Director
888.268.3770 tel
About COVD
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation, and board certification programs in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy, and visual rehabilitation. The organization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and other vision specialists. For more information on learning-related vision problems, vision therapy and COVD, please visit or call 888.268.3770.
A series of public service announcements (PSAs) are available at to help raise awareness that vision problems can not only interfere with learning, but sports performance, and other activities of daily living. These PSAs also address vision problems that impact individuals who have autism spectrum disorders or those who have suffered a head injury.
About Bob Sornson, Ph.D.
Bob Sornson, Ph.D., was a classroom teacher and school administrator for over 30 years and is the founder of the Early Learning Foundation. Sornson is the author of numerous articles and books, including  Fanatically Formative: Successful Learning during the Crucial K-3 Years, Stand in My Shoes: Teaching Kids about EmpathyThe Juice Box Bully, and Creating Classrooms Where Teachers Love to Teach and Students Love to Learn
Dr. Sornson is available for interviews regarding the role vision plays in early learning; please contact

Eye Care Seeking Behavior

From the COVD Blog: A recent article published in Optometry and Vision Science evaluated the factors affecting whether or not parents seek eyecare for their children.  The researchers interviewed 35 parents and 16 optometrists.  Parents from all socioeconomic levels were included.  Even though the study was performed in India, the results will ring true in almost any country in any part of the world.
Parents seek eyecare for their children when:.....

Comments: To find out more click here. DM

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A prospective study of fusional convergence parameters in Chinese patients with intermittent exotropia.

A prospective study of fusional convergence parameters in Chinese patients with intermittent exotropia.

.....In children with intermittent exotropia, the total convergence amplitude was similar among different levels of control. The convergence reserve was lower in the poor control group. Fusional reserve ratio ≥2 was an indicator of good control in patients......

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Musical hallucinations, memory and forgetting

Musical hallucinations, memory and forgetting

.....Musical hallucinations are a form of auditory hallucinations, in which patients hear songs, instrumental music or tunes, even though no such music is actually playing. Most patients realize they are hallucinating, and find the music intrusive and occasionally unpleasant. There is no cure.....Musical hallucinations usually occur in older people. Several conditions are possible causes or predisposing factors, including hearing impairment, brain damage, epilepsy, intoxications and psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hearing impairment is the most common predisposing condition, but is not by itself sufficient to cause hallucinations......

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mom & Daughter offer Advice to Parents for Back-to-School

Mom & Daughter offer Advice to Parents for Back-to-School

.....When parents have to search for answers to their children's struggles, they want to shout from the rooftops when they find a real solution. They want to help other parents and families so those families don't have to struggle. Mrs. Robin Benoit and her daughter, Jillian, are two such people.
According to Jillian's fourth grade teacher, even though Jillian was very bright, her academic performance was lagging behind. She had poor handwriting, left many of her class assignments unfinished, skipped words when she read out loud, would daydream during silent reading, and was consistently going to the restroom during math.  
Jillian had been diagnosed with amblyopia (also known as lazy eye) but despite following the treatment prescribed by the ophthalmologist she continued to struggle with reading, spelling, and math. Her mom started searching the internet for information regarding vision and learning. Her pediatrician and ophthalmologist were not supportive when Mrs. Benoit thought she found the answer to her daughter's problem. But she followed her heart and continued pushing forward to help Jillian. This push led Mrs. Benoit to optometric vision therapy and a developmental optometrist who was able to help Jillian.
The results from optometric vision therapy changed Jillian's life, making it possible for her to learn and do many things she'd never done before. When they learned how widespread these types of vision problems are, Jillian and her mother decided to share their story by writing a book to help other parents who are struggling with reading and learning issues, Jillian's Story:  How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter's Life.  
Robin and Jillian Benoit have joined with the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) in promoting its 16th Annual August is National Children's Vision & Learning Month Campaign to help bring awareness to this vital issue. In addition, the Benoits are helping COVD gather inspirational stories from parents and children across the globe that were helped by optometric vision therapy as part of the "Visions of Hope" video contest.
Optometric Vision Therapy changes thousands of lives every year. It has helped students read and write better, athletes win more games, and people of all ages do much more throughout the day. Many people who experience the life-changing power of vision therapy share their story with friends and relatives. Like the Benoits, they feel so strongly about the benefits of vision therapy that they write emails, letters, and even books about their success. This is how significant improvements in vision can be.....

Sunday, September 29, 2013

VISION THERAPY: Information for Health Care and Other Allied Professionals

A Joint Organizational Policy Statement of the American Academy of Optometry and the American Optometric Association


Society places a premium on efficient vision. Schools and most occupations require increasing 
amounts of printed and computer information to be handled accurately and in shorter periods of 
time. Vision is also a major factor in sports, crafts, and other pastimes. The efficiency of our 
visual system influences how we collect and process information. Repetitive demands on the 
visual system tend to create problems in susceptible individuals. Inefficient vision may cause 
an individual to slow down, be less accurate, experience excessive fatigue, or make errors. 
When these types of signs and symptoms appear, the individual’s conscious attention to the 
visual process is required. This, in turn, may interfere with speed, accuracy, and 
comprehension of visual tasks. Many of these visual dysfunctions are effectively treated with 
vision therapy. 


Vision is a product of our inherited potentials, our past experiences, and current information. 
Efficient visual functioning enables us to understand the world around us better and to guide our 
actions accurately and quickly. Age is not a deterrent to the achievement of successful vision 
therapy outcomes. 

Vision is the dominant sense and is composed of three areas of function: 
• Visual pathway integrity including eye health, visual acuity, and refractive status. 
• Visual skills including accommodation (eye focusing), binocular vision (eye teaming), and 
eye movements (eye tracking). 
• Visual information processing including identification, discrimination, spatial awareness, and 
integration with other senses. 

Learning to read and reading for information require efficient visual abilities. The eyes must 
team precisely, focus clearly, and track quickly and accurately across the page. These 
processes must be coordinated with the perceptual and memory aspects of vision, which in turn 
must combine with linguistic processing for comprehension. To provide reliable information, this 
must occur with precise timing. Inefficient or poorly developed vision requires individuals to 
divide their attention between the task and the involved visual abilities. Some individuals have 
symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, eyestrain, errors, loss of place, and difficulty sustaining 
attention. Others may have an absence of symptoms due to the avoidance of visually 
demanding tasks.


The human visual system is complex. The problems that can develop in our visual system 
require a variety of treatment options. Many visual conditions can be treated effectively with 
spectacles or contact lenses alone; however, some are most effectively treated with vision 

Vision therapy is a sequence of activities individually prescribed and monitored by the doctor to 
develop efficient visual skills and processing. It is prescribed after a comprehensive eye 
examination has been performed and has indicated that vision therapy is an appropriate 
treatment option. The vision therapy program is based on the results of standardized tests, the 
needs of the patient, and the patient’s signs and symptoms. The use of lenses, prisms, filters, 
occluders, specialized instruments, and computer programs is an integral part of vision therapy. 
Vision therapy is administered in the office under the guidance of the doctor. It requires a 
number of office visits and depending on the severity of the diagnosed conditions, the length of 
the program typically ranges from several weeks to several months. Activities paralleling inoffice techniques are typically taught to the patient to be practiced at home to reinforce the 
developing visual skills. 

Research has demonstrated vision therapy can be an effective treatment option for: 
• Ocular motility dysfunctions (eye movement disorders) 
• Non-strabismic binocular disorders (inefficient eye teaming) 
• Strabismus (misalignment of the eyes) 
• Amblyopia (poorly developed vision) 
• Accommodative disorders (focusing problems) 
• Visual information processing disorders, including visual-motor integration and integration 
with other sensory modalities 


Vision therapy is prescribed to treat diagnosed conditions of the visual system. Effective 
therapy requires visual skills to be developed until they are integrated with other systems and 
become automatic, enabling individuals to achieve their full potential. The goals of a prescribed 
vision therapy treatment regimen are to achieve desired visual outcomes, alleviate the signs 
and symptoms, meet the patient’s needs, and improve the patient’s quality of life. 

This Policy Statement was formulated by a working group representing the American 
Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association, the College of Optometrists in Vision 
Development, and the Optometric Extension Program Foundation. The following individuals are 
acknowledged for their contributions: 
Gary J. Williams, OD; Chair 
Susan A. Cotter, OD Louis G. Hoffman, OD, MS Glen T. Steele, OD 
Kelly A. Frantz, OD Stephen C. Miller, OD Jeffrey L. Weaver, OD, MS 
 Approved by: American Academy of Optometry, May 14, 1999 
 American Optometric Association, June 22, 1999 
 College of Optometrists in Vision Development, June 25, 1999 
 Optometric Extension Program Foundation, June 25, 1999 

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