Saturday, June 5, 2010

Caution: You May Be Blind

Dr. Dominick Maino (left) with the blue people of Avatar!

No, really. Millions of people are gallivanting around the U.S. unaware that they suffer from binocular vision conditions, including the inability to see in three dimensions. With the 3-D televisions already hitting shelves, one woman’s trip to the optometrist can illustrate how easy those vision problems are to remedy and begin to enjoy 3-D again.

Shannon Wyatt has no interest in blue people. When her Avatar obsessed coworker hounds her about seeing the movie, she scoffs and tells him it looks stupid. After she’s bombarded with more Avatar feedback and advertisements, she overlooks the stupid blue people and decides it may actually be worth spending her hard earned cash to see.

She and a girlfriend drive to the Classic Cinemas Lake Theatre in Oak Park, Ill. for a three o’clock showing of the 3-D megahit. Shannon has seen animated 3-D films like Walt Disney Picture’s Up and A Christmas Carol in theaters and felt a little sick, but nothing serious. Shannon and her friend settle in to their seats, but not too close to the screen. She puts on her snazzy, Clark Kent spectacles and is ready for her 3-D adventure.

But an hour into the movie, just as she was starting to like those 10-feet-tall blue people, she develops a headache. Shannon explains it away and assumes it must be due to low blood sugar because she’s only had coffee today. She reaches into her purse, finds a cough drop and eats it. It doesn’t help. Then she realizes it’s sugar-free, so that was useless. Still feeling dizzy and nauseous, she looks at her watch—two more hours of this.

As if by some divine omen, the 28-year-old athletic trainer received an e-mail three days later from a former co-worker and acquaintance, Dr. Dominick Maino, asking if anyone felt any nausea, dizziness, blurred vision or eye straining during Avatar. Hmm, check. Check. And check. Shannon went in Feb. 15 to get her eyes tested and a month later she started optometric vision therapy.

“I just thought everybody else was like this and they just handled it better than I did,” Shannon said. “It was literally an eye opening experience. Looking back, I struggled a lot through grade school and high school. My freshman year of college, I found out I had a reading problem and I had to take a reading class and that helped with some stuff.”

Dr. Dominick Maino, a Professor of Pediatrics/Binocular Vision at the Illinois Eye Institute/Illinois College of Optometry and editor of the journal Optometry & Vision Development, diagnosed Shannon with convergence insufficiency, accommodative problems and oculomotor dysfunction. In English? Shannon has little two-eyed, binocular vision. She has problems with visual tracking, focusing, eye coordination and maintaining the clarity of the 3D image. In even clearer English? She can’t see comfortably in 3 dimensions.

Many people have had an experience similar to Shannon’s and probably even explained it away as well. People with binocular vision issues usually don’t even realize they have a problem. About 58 percent of adults 18 to 34 years of age suffer from a binocular vision disorder and about 5 to 7 percent of the population are affected by stereoblindess, or the inability to see in 3-D.

With the popularity of movies like Up, A Christmas Carol and of course Avatar, the film industry has inundated us with 3-D and technology companies have responded by making 3-D televisions that are already on display in stores like Best Buy. But consumers should probably get their eyes checked before more than $3,000 in the technology they may not be able to see.

According to the Nielsen Company, Americans spend close to 35 hours per week in front of the television. Children aged 2 to 11 reportedly watch television 25 hours per week and teens only two hours less than children. While there’s no evidence that the prolonged use of 3-D television may be harmful, eyestrain is a concern of many optometrists because the screens are smaller than theater screens and we will inevitably sit closer to them.

Here’s how polarization 3-D works: A liquid crystal screen over the projector circularly polarizes the light clockwise for the right eye image and counterclockwise for the left eye image. Remember those nifty glasses Shannon was wearing? They are polarized, so when a moviegoer watches a 3-D movie, the glasses team up with the screen and the right eye only sees the right eye image and the left eye only sees the left eye image. Once the brain puts the two images together the viewer should now see one 3-D image.

If you don’t see the image, don’t worry — not all is lost. If after a visit to the optometrist, you discover you have binocular vision problems, you will more than likely have to engage in some optometric vision therapy. Dr. Maino says this consists of procedures that help improve eye movement, eye teaming, focusing and perceiving 3-D. Therapy should typically last between three to six months.
Shannon still has a while before she can comfortably jump back into the 3-D saddle.
“I definitely don’t want the TV. I wouldn’t want that in general,” she said. “I think I would try it as long as Dr. Maino gave me the okay to test it, but I’m a little hesitant.”

Individuals with 3D Vision Syndrome will experience numerous technology induced symptoms. These symptoms can unmask vision problems that your Doctor of Optometry can diagnose and treat. To find an optometrist certified in optometric vision therapy, go to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development’s website at and search on their Doctor Locator tab for help or if you are a Chicagoan contact the Illinois Eye Institute Binocular Vision Service at There is no reason why your quality of life and your enjoyment of this new technology should be anything less than astounding!

For additional information Dr. Dominick Maino may be reached at [email protected].He is also in private practice in Harwood Heights, Il. at Northwest Optometric Associates.

This article was written by Alexa Harrison, a student in the Journalism Program at Northwestern University. She can be reached at alexaharrison2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

COVD 40th Annual Meeting

Plan now to join us!

COVD 40th Annual Meeting
October 12-16, 2010
Rio Mar Beach Resort
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Register Now!

Click on the title above for the Preliminary Program, Hotel Reservations, Airport Transportation, Area Attractions, COVD 40th Annual Meeting Preliminary Schedule

Applied Concepts Courses
October 12-13, 2010

Dr. Carl Hillier - Visual Information Processing
Dr. Robert Sanet - Visual Information Acquisition
Dr. W. C. Maples - COVD Fellowship/COVT Process
Dr. Nancy Torgerson - Learning Related Vision Problems
Dr. Jesus Espinosa-Galaviz - Conceptos Aplicados en Terapia de Visión (Spanish Language Course)

October 12-13, 2010
Linda Sanet, COVT

COVD General Education Speakers
October 13-16, 2010

Susan R. Barry, PhD - Neuroplasticity and Vision Therapy
Eric Borsting, OD, FCOVD - Correlation between Accommodation and Symptoms when Accommodation is Measured Objectively
Michael Earley, OD, PhD - Brain Mechanisms in Vision Attention
Graham Erickson, OD, FCOVD - Sports Vision
Paul Lederer, OD, FCOVD - Confusion Inside Panum's Area - Binocular Dysfunction, Assessment, Intervention
Panel Discussion
Clinical Pearls in Correlating Ocular Motor Test Results, Signs, and Symptoms
Panelists: Kara Heying, OD, FCOVD; Sue Lowe, OD, FCOVD; Eric Borsing, OD, FCOVD; Paul Lederer, OD, FCOVD;
Moderator: Leonard Press, OD, FCOVD

More Meeting Highlights

COVD/OEP Joint Practice Management Session
Vision Therapist Education Session
Clinical Discussion Forum

Call for Papers
COVD is soliciting abstracts for papers and posters to be presented at the COVD 40th Annual Meeting. Any person wishing to make a presentation is invited to submit a proposal.

All abstracts will be reviewed by the Research Committee and will be judged on the basis of overall quality, completion of required information, relevance to behavioral and functional vision, subject matter, innovation, and attention to key questions in the field. Proposals may include research results, case studies, or new and innovative diagnostic procedures or treatment techniques.

Deadline for abstract submission is June 11, 2010.

Annual Meeting Travel Grant: The Annual Meeting Travel Grant is offered to encourage and support optometry student participation at the meeting. This year up to thirty-five $200 grants are available for students and residents.

To be eligible to receive a grant, an optometry student must:

Be a COVD member
Submit an application and current copy of your CV. Be sure to include any posters or papers you are presenting at the Annual Meeting.
After your application is received, you will be given the title of an article to summarize.
Grant recipients will be selected based on a review of their CV and article summary.

Deadline for application submission is July 15, 2010.

Prevalence of strabismus in patients with pathologic myopia.

...This study confirmed the relatively high prevalence of horizontal and vertical strabismus in patients with pathologic myopia....

Comments: This means that if you have high should see a doctor who specilizes in binocular vision dysfunction. Check out to find such a doc. DM

Crossover trial of gabapentin and memantine as treatment for acquired nystagmus.

...Each patient improved with 1 or both drugs. Side effects included unsteadiness with gabapentin and lethargy with memantine. Both drugs should be considered as treatment for acquired forms of nystagmus.....

Reading and spelling strategies for dyslexic pupils

Did You Miss the 6th Annual International Congress of Behavioral Optometry ?

If you missed the 6th International Congress of Behavioral Optometry (ICBO) many of the lecturers presentations/handouts are now now on line for the benefit of all. This includes PDF's of all the presentations including those of Drs. VS Ramachandran, Sue Barry, Don Getz, and Samantha Slotnicks' notes from the critically acclaimed presentation by Betsy Quinlan, PhD.

Here is the link to the master conference page: From here you can access all 50+ speaker presentations in alphabetic order at or you can search by the day.

Save the date for the next ICBO in September 2014 in Oxford England:

There's no place like home for babies to pick up toxins

Experts Say Infants More Exposed To Dust, Carcinogens In The Home Than Adults.
USA Today (6/3, Szabo) reports, "Infants may take in two to five times as much household dust as adults, even though they weigh only one-eighth as much, says Alan Greene, a pediatrician at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Because of that dust, babies are more likely to be exposed to pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals inside the home than outside, he says." In addition, "children younger than 2 are...more vulnerable to toxins than adults because they're still developing, Greene says. On average, children that age who are exposed to a carcinogen are 10 times more likely than an adult to develop cancer, according to" the EPA. One pediatrician "suggests parents open their windows to ventilate the air once a day, if weather permits."

Substandard manufacturing prompts FDA recall of PediaCare products

...Products included in the recall are:

* PediaCare Multi-Symptom Cold 4 oz; UPC# 3 0045-0556-05 9;
* PediaCare Long Acting Cough 4 oz; UPC# 3 0045-0465-04 7;
* PediaCare Decongestant 4 oz; UPC# 3 0045-0554-04 8; and
* PediaCare Allergy and Cold 4 oz; UPC# 3 0045-0552-04 4....

WHO panel declares H1N1 vaccine safe, upholds vaccination recommendations

Population groups that should receive priority vaccinations include: care workers, followed by a step-wise approach for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months with certain medical conditions, and healthy young adults, children, adults and seniors. SAGE also upheld its recommended number of doses: one dose for children and adults older than 10 years, and two doses for children between 6 months and 10 years....SAGE also reviewed safety and efficacy data of the pandemic 2009 virus vaccines; to date, more than 350 million doses have been administered. ... The safety data indicated a similar safety profile to that of season vaccines...

Misuse of Rx Drugs Prevalent in U.S. High Schools

...One high school student in five has taken a prescription drug without a doctor's order, according to a nationwide survey....Abuse of a prescription drug was most common among white students (23%), followed by Hispanics (17.2%) and blacks (11.8%), ...Improper use increased steadily from ninth grade (15.1%) to 12th grade (25.8%). Girls and boys were equally likely to abuse a prescription medication....

Comments: Attention all parents. This is important. Keep tabs on your meds. Watch you their friends. Warn your children about taking someone elses medicines. DM

Having a degree 'helps protect against dementia'

...A university degree has always been good for your bank balance, but now researchers have found higher education can fight against dementia too. ... A study has found that people who have completed a degree had a higher tolerance to the chemicals that cause dementia. ... They say that armed with this knowledge, doctors may speed up the diagnosis of dementia in "smart people" who were often mistreated because they did not show as many classical symptoms as less intelligent people. ...

Comments: Let's people are smart enough to compensate for the early signs and symptoms of dementia. Interesting. DM

International Sibling Conference:Exploring the Rewards and Challenges of Having Family Members with Disabilities

ARI, The Sibling Leadership Network, and the Kennedy Center proudly present the

International Sibling Conference: Exploring the Rewards and Challenges of Having Family Members with Disabilities

Saturday, Aug. 7 & Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010

The Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1800 East Putnam Ave. Old Greenwich, Connecticut

Featuring keynote speakers:

Don Meyer
Director of the Sibling Support Project

Chris Burke
best known for his role as Charles "Corky" Thatcher
on the hit ABC-TV show ",Life Goes On ”

Dr. Tamar Heller
Professor and Director, Institute on Disability and Human Development, and of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC); and

Tia Nelis
Vice President of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered
and Self-Advocacy Specialist, UIC.

The International Sibling Conference will provide the siblings of people with disabilities, individuals with disabilities, parents, spouses/partners and professionals in the disability field opportunities to share stories and information, gain insight on sibling experiences, and to learn more about current research and best practices in the disability field.

To register for the International Sibling Conference or for more information, please visit or contact Dr. Robert J. DiDomenico, Conference Coordinator, at 203-324-9258 ext. 3014, or [email protected]

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Come to ICO for Outstanding Continuing Education

Come to this continuing education program at the Illinois College of Optometry. You will not be disappointed! DM

The W.C. Maples, OD., MS, FAAO, FCOVD-A Award Established at SCO

Dr. W.C. Maples Award Established at SCO

Dr. W.C. Maples, Southern College of Optometry (SCO) Professor, has been honored with the establishment of a student scholarship award in his honor.
The Dr. W.C. Maples Award for Clinical Excellence in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation was announced by Dr. Marc Taub, Chief of Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation Services and Dr. Glen Steele, Chief of Pediatrics at The Eye Center at SCO.
“What he has given to optometry, specifically behavioral optometry, cannot be quantified,” said Dr. Taub. “He has personally participated in the optometric education of several thousand doctors of optometry, putting all of his effort into reaching each and every one.”
He noted that Dr. Maples is a former president of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) and that he was recognized earlier this year with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Congress of Behavioral Optometry (ICBO).
“This award is great news,” said SCO President Dr. Richard W. Phillips. “He is a very worthy individual to be honored.
Also joining Drs. Taub and Phillips for the announcement were two long-time colleagues and former classmates of Dr. Maples - Dr. Glen Steele and Dr. Al Fors - both of whom were similarly honored two years ago with the establishment of a student scholarship award in their honor.
Dr. Maples is a 1968 SCO graduate who joined the SCO faculty five years ago after three decades of service on the faculty at the Northeastern State University College of Optometry in Oklahoma.
Recipients of the Dr. W.C. Maples Award will be students with a grade of honors in the Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation clinical course, an active member of COVD, and who write an essay on how clinical experience influences the way they will treat and include vision therapy in their future optometry practice.

Colleagues or former students of Dr. Maples may contribute to this new award by contacting Brenda Pearson, SCO’s Director of Development, at (901) 722-3285 or by email at [email protected]
Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tennessee in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education.

Comments: I have known this fine Mississippian Optometrist for decades. He is one of few that I try to emulate because of his wisdom, learned ways and...because he likes good Scotch. WC is not only an outstanding clinician....but an incredible academic and researcher. He has brought functional and behavioral optometry to generations of students...and to the optometric profession. When I grow up....I want to be "not like Mike"....but just like WC!! DM

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A prospective study of different test targets for the near point of convergence.

...Near point of convergence testing with a red lens is a more sensitive method to identify abnormal findings and assist in diagnosing Convergence Insufficiency compared to using an accommodative targer or transilluminator. We recommend that NPC with a Red Light be routinely used to evaluate patients suspected of having CI....

Comments: My ICO colleagues, Drs. Pang, Gabriel, Frantz, and Saeed wrote this excellent article in the May issue of Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. Check out the abstract and then get the full article (PDF) by clicking the title above. It's a good read! DM

Understanding refraction disorders and oculomotor problems during pregnancy

During pregnancy... refraction disorders are marked by myopization, ... thickening of the cornea ... , contact lens intolerance is common, ...Convergence insufficiency or accommodation disorders are the most common anomalies described. ...Oculomotor palsies could be the first symptoms of pre-eclampsia or an associated intracranial pathology. ...

Comments: If you are pregnant you may want to have a comprehensive vision examination. DM

Another dimension to 3-D TVs: The potential health risks

In this USA Today article various ophthalmologists say that 20% of the population may experience problems when watcing 3D movies, TV, and video games....and yet they say they do not "expect most people to have any problems"...nor do they recommend getting a comprehensive eye and vision exam...or if needed participating in a program of optometric vision therapy to solve the problems encountered. So why was this article written? DM

Gaining Perspective on How We See in 3-D

This video demonstrates how moving dots can give a sensation of a three-dimensional rotating cylinder....It is pretty cool....from the NEI. DM

Why does my eye care professional ask me to read the letters on an eye chart?

This is an EYE on NEI feature. DM

Objective Measurement of Hyperactivity and Attentional Problems in ADHD

....The relative inability of boys with ADHD to sit still can be objectively verified, and “fidgeting” appears to consist of more frequent, larger amplitude, whole body movements....

Read story in New York Times by clicking here. Article abstract is available by clicking on the titel above. DM

Puberty and observed energy intake: boy, can they eat!

...Consistent with their higher energy requirements, males can consume significantly larger amounts of food than females, especially during later puberty. ....

Comments: If you are a parent of teenage know this all too your grocery bill climbs and your refrigerator empties! DM

Illinios College of Optometry 2010 Faculty and Resident Recognition Brunch

Just prior to graduation, the Illinois College of Optometry recognizes its faculty and residents at a special brunch help at Noyes Hall at the Univeristy of Chicago (Photography by Dominick Maino). DM

Illinois College of Optometry 2010 Graduation Photographs

The Illinois College of Optometry recently held it's 2010 graduation ceremonies at Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus. Click the title above to see the pictures of this wonderful event. DM

Monday, May 31, 2010

Visual Fatigue

Visual fatigue can be treated with optometric vision therapy. DM

Kids and Visual Fatigue

Good video about kids and visual fatigue....they forgot to mention optometric vision therapy as a way to ensure single, clear, comfortable... two-eyed vision that is free from fatique. DM