Saturday, June 20, 2009

Illinois College of Optometry 2009 Faculty and Graduate Choir

The Illinois College of Optometry 2009 Faculty and Graduate Choir (under the Direction of Dr. Dominick M. Maino) sang ICO's alma mater during the recent graduation ceremonies held at the Rockefeller Chapel University of Chicago, Chicago, Il.

August is National Children’s Vision and Learning Month: News Release

Arizona Cardinals’ Wide-Receiver and Pro Bowl MVP, Larry Fitzgerald Encourages Parents to Take Action TODAY

Chicago, Il — The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is launching their annual campaign to educate the public on the steps they can take to ensure their children aren’t struggling with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems.

“The public doesn’t realize that you need over 15 visual skills to succeed in reading, learning, sports and in life. Seeing ‘20/20’ is just one of those visual skills.” says Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals’ wide-receiver.

During the many pre and post Superbowl press interviews, Fitzgerald, explained that one of the keys to his success was having vision therapy as a child. He had a vision problem that was making it difficult to pay attention in school and his grandfather, Dr. Robert Johnson, a developmental optometrist in Chicago, Illinois, diagnosed the vision problem and the appropriate treatment.

Fitzgerald went through optometric vision therapy under his aunt’s guidance, Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown, who is currently the executive director of the Plano Child Development Center, a not-for-profit vision care service corporation which was co-founded by her father, Dr. Robert Johnson in 1959, which specializes in vision education and the identification and remediation of vision development problems in children and adults.

According to a report from the New Jersey Commission on Business Efficiency of the Public School, “Undiagnosed and untreated vision related learning problems are significant contributors to early reading difficulties and ultimately to special education classification.”
Fitzgerald is joining COVD this year to help spread the word that 20/20 is NOT perfect vision and that if your children are struggling with reading you need to take them to see a developmental optometrist. You can visit COVD’s website to find a developmental optometrist near you.

“Vision problems can have a serious impact on a child’s education. Don’t wait to see if this next school year will be better, take action today!” Fitzgerald encourages parents.
One of the most common vision disorders that interferes with reading was recently the focus of a national study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Eye Institute, on convergence insufficiency. This is a vision problem where the two eyes don’t work together in unison the way they are supposed to when one is reading. The result can make reading very difficult.

While at least one out of every 20 school-age children is impacted by convergence insufficiency, there are other visual abnormalities to be considered. It is estimated that over 60% of problem learners have undiagnosed vision problems contributing to their difficulties.

The good news is the majority of these vision problems can be treated with a program of optometric vision therapy. The study by the NEI found that in-office vision therapy was the best treatment for convergence insufficiency.

The five most common signs that a vision problem may be interfering with your child’s ability to read and learn are:

1. Skips lines, rereads lines
2. Poor reading comprehension
3. Takes much longer doing homework than it should take
4. Reverses letters like b's into d's when reading
5. Has a short attention span with reading and schoolwork

Any one of these symptoms is a sign of a possible vision problem. A more in-depth symptom checklist is available on COVD’s website.

Not all eye doctors test for learning-related vision problems, so it is important for parents to ask the right questions. Call your eye doctor’s office and ask the following two questions:

1. Do you test for learning-related vision problems?
2. Do you provide an in-office vision therapy program when indicated, or will you refer me to someone who does?

If the answer is no to either one or both of these questions, visit COVD’s website,, to find a developmental optometrist near you.

According to Dr. Dominick M. Maino, a Harwood Heights, Il optometrist at Northwest Optometric Associates and Professor of Pediatrics/Binocular Vision at the Illinois Eye Institute/Illinois College of Optometry, who has been diagnosing and treating vision problems that interfere with academic success for decades, “when a learning-related vision problem is found and treated it can make a tremendous difference in a child’s school performance.”

In closing, the President of COVD, Dr. Carol Scott, a developmental optometrist from Springfield, Missouri says, “In celebration of August being National Children’s Vision and Learning month, I invite you to visit our website and learn more about the vital role vision plays in our children’s education.”

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.

CONTACT: Pamela R. Happ, CAE COVD Executive Director
888 268 3770 tel [email protected]

About Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A

Dr. Dominick Maino is a Professor in the Pediatrics and Binocular Vision Service of the Illinois Eye Institute and the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) and is in private practice (Northwest Optometric Associates) in Harwood Heights, Illinois, USA. He is also the past Director of the Institute for Advanced Competency Post-Graduate Continuing Education Program at ICO, an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics and Binocular Vision at the Centro Boston de Optometria in Madrid Spain, and the Director of the Developmental Disabilities Service at the Victor C. Neumann Association facility on Chicago's north side. Dr. Maino is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

Dr. Maino is the editor of Optometry & Vision Development and has authored approximately 250 books, book chapters, monographs, websites and articles covering a wide range of topics from computers to Fragile X Syndrome and has given more than 100 national/international presentations to optometrists and other health care professionals (His latest presentations included being the keynote speaker for a conference in Norway and as a lecturer to faculty, students and optometrists at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland). He is a co-author of the ASCOTech column for Optometric Education and is currently the associate, consulting, and/or contributing editor and manuscript reviewer for more than 13 publications and writes frequently for various journals.

Dr. Maino has received recognition/honors for his work from the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, College of Optometrists in Vision Development, Optometric Editors Association, and the Easter Seal Society of Metropolitan Chicago. He is an internationally recognized expert on oculo-visual problems of children and adults with disabilities. His research and clinical interests include special populations (mental, physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities), traumatic brain injury, pediatrics, computer applications in optometry and individuals with binocular vision dysfunction. Dr. Maino's avocations include website design, music, blogging, and photography.

For more information, please contact:

Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A
Professor, Illinois Eye Institute/Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, Il. 60616 312-949-7280 [email protected]

Northwest Optometric Associates
4970 N. Harlem Ave. Harwood Heights, Il 60070 708-867-7838

Evil Giraffes on Mars

If you like progressive jazz, you should check out the Evil Giraffes on Mars and their new CD
Cydonia. A colleague of mines brother plays keyboards for this group. DM

This Brooklyn based powerhouse quintet has put forth one of the most eclectic and promising debuts of 2009. An edgy, aggressive, aural space invasion. This is the instrumental soundtrack to War of the Worlds, but with giraffes.

Simply put, Evil Giraffes on Mars are the best (or worst) band that you (or someone else) have ever heard (or not heard). But we are a band nonetheless, and one guy did say we were "awesome" once. Let it be known, now and forever, that his comment was completely unprovoked! We can't even imagine what he would have said had we been fishing for compliments... Regardless, we are known in small circles for our genre bending sensibilities, fueled by a deep respect for all things musical. Combining elements of jazz, rock, funk, punk, hip hop, classical, world beat, and a love of tasty sandwiches, we have created a new beast! An Evil Giraffe!! Lock your doors, hide your daughters and finish your cold cuts!

Evil Giraffes on Mars are: John Cave - Guitar, Doron Lev - Drums, Ryan Slotnick - Keyboards, Jamaal Sawyer - Tenor Saxophone, Matt La Von - Alto & Soprano Saxophone

Check out these samples

Click on title for more.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Something different" happening with new flu: CDC

...The new strain of H1N1 flu is causing "something different" to happen in the United States this year -- perhaps an extended year-round flu season that disproportionately hits young people, health officials said on Thursday....An unusually cool late spring may be helping keep the infection going in the U.S. Northeast, especially densely populated areas in New York and Massachusetts, the officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said....

Comments: Wash your hands often. Stay home if you are sick with the ful (of course check in with you doctor as well). Keep you children home if they are sick. DM

Vaccinate kids to control H1N1 flu

Targeting children for vaccination may be the best way of using limited supplies of vaccine to control the current H1N1 flu pandemic....

Phakic anterior chamber intraocular lens (Verisyse™) implantation in children for treatment of severe ansiometropia myopia and amblyopia

... Irreversible or intractable amblyopia secondary to severe anisometropic myopia is a serious medical concern in the pediatric population. Failure of compliance with contact lens therapy consistently leads to visual loss. Anterior chamber phakic IOLs may provide a safe alternative in treatment of noncompliant anisometropic myopic patients who do not accept spectacle wear or contact lens therapy..... To reduce or eliminate highly significant anisometropic myopia in children who are noncompliant with traditional medical treatment, phakic anterior chamber IOL implantation may be considered as an alternative modality of treatment.

Comments:It appears that these six children were subjected to a surgical intervention before all other options were attempted. Even though this type of surgery has minimal unwanted side effects....the potential for all sorts of problems still exists.

I would have attempted daily optometric vision therapy, full time glasses wear with behavioral modification, patching, atropine...and any thing else I have as a therapeutic tool before considering surgery (computerized vision therapy....there is at least one such program dedicated to amblyopia).

The other problem is that these children were 5-11 years of age....they may have 70-80 years or more for the many potential problems of IOLs to occur. Remember the article I commented on where they sutured a patch to a child's eye so they would be compliant with patching....this just about equals that in the potential for child abuse.

Complications of prosthetic intraocular lens implantation: a histopathological study.

Corneal decompensation, bullous keratopathy, glaucoma, intraocular inflammation, infectious endophthalmitis, Retinal detachment. The interval between IOL implantation and the onset of serious complications varied from one month to 29 years, indicating that the presence of prosthesis will always entail a latent risk of an adverse tissue response, ...


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Calling all ICO Groupies! AOA reception info

Contact Connie (info listed at the end of this note) for more info. DM

This is a reminder that ICO will be having an Alumni Reception at the AOA on Friday, June 26th, from 6:00 - 7:30 pm, in the Annapolis 1 Room of the Gaylord Convention Center. We hope you can join us.
At this reception, we will be recognizing several members of our ICO family. If you have the opportunity, please extend your congratulations to:
Charles Mullen, OD (former ICO president) - National Optometry Hall of Fame Inductee
Pete Kehoe, OD '84 (AOA president) - Honorary DOS Degree Recipient, 166th Commencement Speaker
Vince Brandys, OD '90 (Senior Director for Government Relations) - AOA National/Federal Keyperson of the Year
Stephen Beckerman, OD and Janice McMahon, OD (faculty) - Inaugural Editor's Commendation for most downloaded article in Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association in 2008
Additionally, just before the ICO reception begins, Dr. Mullen will be recognized at a Hall of Fame reception on Friday, June 26th, from 5:30 - 6:30 pm, in the Chesapeake 10-12 Rooms of the Gaylord. He mentioned that he would be honored to see some of his ICO colleagues at this event. If you are interested in attending, you must be sure to register on-site for Function #0250.
And lastly, I'd like to encourage you to stop by the Exhibit Hall and visit us at the ICO Booth #729, Thursday - Saturday.
Thanks and hope to see you there!
Connie M. Scavuzzo, M.A.
Director of Alumni Development
Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
ph 312-949-7080
fx 312-949-7683
e [email protected]

Brock String Video

The Brock String is a simple but powerful tool to treat binocular vision problems. These disorders might include problems with convergence/divergence, suppression, accommodation (focusing) and more. This procedure should be done after an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan by an optometrist who specializes in binocular vision problems. For more information go to or DM

Monday, June 15, 2009

Italian? Live in Chicago-land? Check this out.

Pasta & Neck Bone Dinner
casa logo
Hosted by
Mary Scalera & Patty Turano

Reservations Required - call 708-345-5933
5:30pm to 10:00pm
Festival Center

37th and Soffel, Stone Park

Dinner Includes:
Pasta Neck Bones, Meatball, Sausage, Salad, Focaccia Bread, Fried Dough, and Coffee

Adults $10 in Advance,
$12 at the Door
Children 3 to 12 years old $7
Children under 3 FREE

Entertainment provided by Ronald Onesti

Casa Italia
3800 Division Street - Stone Park, Illinois 60523

Families turn to China for Cerebral Palsy Treatment

...On their road to China both families have encountered doubters and out and out cynics but the hope of a brighter future for their children pushes them on.

"It's a chance I am willing to take," Schmidt said....

Comments: Going to China for a miracle cure may reflect a parent's wish for their child to "get better". I am one of those who are critical of others who prey on families hopes and dreams. I hope this is more than scam. DM

All About Vision says....

...Problems Vision Therapy Can Correct

Vision problems being treated with vision therapy include:

  • Amblyopia. Also called "lazy eye," amblyopia is a vision development problem where an eye fails to attain normal visual acuity, usually due to strabismus or other problems of eye teaming.
  • Strabismus. Vision therapy is an effective non-surgical treatment for many types of eye misalignments, such as crossed eyes. The success of VT for strabismus depends on the direction, magnitude and frequency of the eye turn.
  • Other binocular vision problems. Other eye teaming problems that don't produce a visible eye turn can also be minimized or corrected with vision therapy. For example, recent research has confirmed that in-office optometric vision therapy is the most successful treatment for an eye teaming problem called convergence insufficiency, a binocular disorder that can cause eye strain and problems with near vision and reading.
  • Eye movement disorders. Studies have shown vision therapy can improve the accuracy of eye movements used during reading and other close-up work.
  • Accommodative (focusing) disorders. Other research shows near-far focusing skills can be improved with vision training.
  • Other problems. Other vision problems for which vision therapy may be effective include visual-perceptual disorders, vision problems associated with developmental disabilities and vision problems associated with acquired brain injury (such as from a stroke)....
Comments: Click on the title above to learn more about optometric vision therapy. DM

Drug Improves Symptoms in Two Dementias

....Memantine (Namenda) improves symptoms in Parkinson's disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies....

Opposing Influences of Affective State Valence on Visual Cortical Encoding

Positive and negative emotional states are thought to have originated from fundamentally opposing approach and avoidance behaviors. ... Based on prior behavioral research, we hypothesized that positive states would broaden and negative states would narrow visual field of view (FOV). ...Consistent with our hypotheses, positive affective states increased and negative states decreased PPA response to novel places as well as adaptation to repeated places. ... These findings collectively suggest that affective valence differentially biases gating of early visual inputs, fundamentally altering the scope of perceptual encoding.

Comment: How you feel affects how you see/perceive the world around you. Now does your visual perception affect how you feel? DM

What should be included in a consultant's report? Click here.

.....Improving the coordination of patient care and dealing with the effects of increasing medical specialization on continuity of care are 2 important challenges for family physicians.
  • Coordination of care between providers for complex, chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart failure can be improved by ensuring good continuity of information between family physicians and other specialists.
  • Using an expert panel, which included family physicians, and a consensus process, the authors identified the minimum essential elements for consultation reports generated by specialists in response to referrals from family physicians for patients with asthma.
  • A sample consultation report, which can be modified and used for other chronic conditions, was generated.....
For full text click here

Multi-focals for Children with Down Syndrome

... Accommodation is reduced in approximately 75% of children with Down's syndrome (DS). Bifocals have been shown to be beneficial and they are currently prescribed regularly. Clinical observations suggest the likelihood of improving accommodative ability after bifocal wear. The aim of the study is to evaluate the potential use of bifocals as a treatment for the reduced accommodation. ... Bifocals are an effective correction for the reduced accommodation in children with DS and also act to improve accommodation with a success rate of 65%. Bifocal wear can therefore be temporary, i.e. a `treatment' for the deficit, in at least one third of children....

Comments: I have been prescribing multi-focal lenses for children and adults with Down Syndrome for decades. The vast majority of these patients have adapted well and benefited greatly. It has been known for some time now that the focusing system of those with Down Syndrome does not function well. I will give 99.99% of my DS patients an add.....all docs should consider this as well. DM

Boys With Intermittent Eye Deviation Appear More Likely To Develop Mental Illness

Children and especially boys diagnosed with intermittent exotropia, a condition in which the eye turns outward (away from the nose) only some of the time, appear more likely to develop mental illness by young adulthood than children without strabismus (when the eyes deviate or are misaligned when looking at an object................

Comments: Intermittent exotropia can be corrected without surgery using optometric vision therapy. Go to to learn more. DM

Prenatal Multivitamins Reduce Birth Risks

...Currently, the World Health Organization recommends iron-folic acid supplements to pregnant women. New research recommends that a prenatal multimicronutrient may also offer increased benefits to a baby, lowering the risk of low birth weight....

Rear-facing car seats protect older children

..Children under 4 years of age fare better in motor vehicle accidents when they are riding in rear-facing rather than forward-facing car seats,...

Sunday, June 14, 2009


If you are a peds/bv doc or teacher, parent, therapist....sign in and sign up today.

Swine Flu Pandemic FAQ

What the swine flu pandemic means to you.

A pandemic sounds scary. But what does it really mean? Here are WebMD's answers to your questions.

  • What is a pandemic?
  • What does the WHO pandemic alert mean?
  • Why has WHO declared a pandemic now?
  • Has H1N1 swine flu become more dangerous?
  • Am I less safe now that swine flu is pandemic?
  • What should I do now that a pandemic has been declared?
  • When will the pandemic end?
  • What is the government doing about the pandemic?
Comments: Click on the title above to get the answers. DM

Websites offer helpful information concerning consultation with headache specialists

Patients with severe primary headache may benefit from consultation with headache specialists, but doctor attendance rates in Japan are very low. More headache patients might consult headache specialists if these specialists were more widely recognized by the public. To determine what information prompted patients to seek consultation with a headache specialist, we questioned 256 primary headache patients about the source of the helpful information concerning consultation with headache specialists. From 191 patients, a total of 235 responses to the questionnaire were obtained. The most common response was 'websites' (33.2%), followed by 'professionals' (23.8%), 'acquaintances' (20.9%), 'print media' (6.8%) and 'TV/radio' (3.4%). Patients who indicated websites showed the most severe pain and highest impact of headache, and accounted for 52.4% of those with cluster headaches. Development of websites concerning headache specialists would seem likely to increase doctor attendance rates for patients with primary headache.

Red Wine Compound Resveratrol Demonstrates Significant Health Benefits

...The benefits of alcohol are all about moderation. Low to moderate drinking - especially of red wine - appears to reduce all causes of mortality, while too much drinking causes multiple organ damage....

Comments: I like to have a glass or two of wine with my meals (I am Italian you know!) and lately one of the very best (yet inexpensive is out of Mendoza, Argentina. It's called Trapiche and is made from the Malbec grape. It's a red with a minimal after taste....but very nice flavor. On a recent trip to Door County, Wisconsin I stopped at von Stiehl Winery and picked up a red called Naughty Girl. It's a blend of red grape wine, raspberry wine, and grape brandy. It is semi-sweet and should be cool when you sip it...not room temperature. The other wine I bought from this winery was "Niagara" made from the Niagara grape. It's a desert white wine ... but not like any you've tasted before. It should be served quite chilled. When you take a is very white grape sweet....but then POW! it turns white grape lips puckerin' s sour. DM