Saturday, September 11, 2010

Evaluation de Pacientes con Necesidades Especiales (and) Sindrome de 3-D

I had an opportunity to lecture in Mexico this week on the Diagnosis and Management of Special Needs Patients and the 3D Vision Syndrome. My audience was most gracious and as hosts incredibly kind (they even laughed at my jokes!!). I want to thank all at the Consejo Mexicano de Optometria Functional for allowing me to participate. Muchas Gracias!

If you speak Spanish you will be able to read my course outlines below. (BTW I do not speak wife has been trying to teach me for years!) DM

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another joint statement regarding learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision—A rebuttal

Another joint statement regarding learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision—A rebuttal

Abstract: Several medical organizations have published yet another joint statement trivializing vision therapy and vision disorders in the learning-disabled population. A review of the references in the joint statement ... find that the joint statement is misleading because of inappropriate citations and selected references,..... The most current joint statement ignores the results of evidence-based research and makes recommendations regarding the treatment of convergence insufficiency that have no scientific validity. .....

Author's Press Release:

Medical Joint Statement, trivializing vision deficits in learning disabilities is discredited.

Ophthalmologists perform eye muscle surgery on children despite safer alternative. Call for retraction of article.

Lake Katrine, NY, September 7, 2010 >> Learning disabilities are significantly affected by difficulty in absorbing and processing visual information. This obvious concept, appearing in the October 2010 issue of OPTOMETRY, The Journal of the American Optometric Association, (article in press at was necessary due to a Joint Statement issued by pediatricians and ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) in the August 2009 issue of PEDIATRICS that reached the opposite conclusion (

Dr. Daniel Lack, a developmental optometrist from Lake Katrine, NY, authored the rebuttal that pointed out the falsehoods, contradictions and implications of the medical Joint Statement such as:

● All reading disabled children have dyslexia

● Learning disabled children have the same visual function as good readers

● Vision problems, that affect learning, are rare in children

● Dyslexics have insignificant vision problems but they have poor sight word recognition

● Eye surgeons should prescribe glasses, that compensate for nearsightedness, to children who are not nearsighted

● Optometry, a profession that has been diagnosing and treating learning-related vision problems for over half a century, should not be involved in the team of professionals who diagnose and treat learning disabled children

The rebuttal cited seventeen references proving that learning disabled children are significantly more likely than normal readers to have deficits in focusing, eye coordination, tracking, visual memory and eye hand coordination. These references, some of which appeared in medical journals, were selectively omitted by the medical Joint Statement.

Eye surgeons have admitted their lack of knowledge regarding vision and learning and their concern of losing patients to optometrists. Citing the ophthalmologists’ own words, Dr. Lack demonstrated their bias against optometric vision therapy, the proven treatment for these vision deficits, comparing groups that received the therapy to control groups that did not. This bias is a factor in unnecessary eye muscle surgery, exposing children to needless discomfort and a slight risk of blindness or death, rather than referring these children to optometrists for vision therapy.

The medical Joint Statement cautioned against using procedures that lack scientific evidence and then it recommended an unproven treatment for an eye teaming disorder (convergence insufficiency) that could worsen the condition according to its own footnoted reference. Eye surgeons also use an unproven therapy to try to improve focusing skills in their patients who have undergone a certain type of cataract surgery. Optometric vision therapy is the proven treatment for convergence insufficiency according to the National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (;=10&RESULTFORMAT;=&fulltext;=convergence+insufficiency&searchid;=1&FIRSTINDEX;=0&resourcetype;=HWCIT).

The medical Joint Statement may be cited by parents, educators, school administrators and insurance companies to not recommend or to deny care to children with learning-related vision problems. The misinformation of the medical Joint Statement may cause parents to question the judgment of their children’s pediatricians regarding other vital health issues. Therefore a Facebook group has been established (Retract the joint medical statement trivializing vision problems in kids) at!/group.php?gid=142521199116251.

Comments: It is very unfortunate when similar professions cannot find common ground so that all of our patients "win". Medicine and those in education, psychology, and others who work with children with leanring issues need to re-think what they thought they knew about optometric vision therapy and to alter appropriately what they tell families who are working with children with learning problems. Does optometric vision therapy treat leaning problems ... no .... does it successfully treat vision problems that can interfer with learning...YES. Click above for PDF of article. DM

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why are parents so lax about their children's eyes?

...children accept poor vision as normal because they don’t know any better. And while vision screenings provided in school may detect some eye problems, serious vision and eye health conditions don’t always surface in such examinations. So a thorough eye exam by an optometrist is recommended. BC optometrists have just launched a Facebook page to help communicate with patents and children....

Infant’s Infrequent Gaze Possible Cue for Autism

.....Scientists discovered that ... the high-risk infants spent less time looking to caregivers and more time concentrating on the nonsocial stimuli (joystick or toy) when the caregiver was not actively engaging them. These results could indicate a disturbance in development related to ‘joint attention,’ which is often a core deficiency in children with autism.....

The promise of genetics and autism

...The genes implicated in autism affect us in very different ways. Some genes change the balance of gray and white matter in our brains. Others affect the way our brain cells signal each other. Others affect the rate at which our brains grow and develop. Even if the observed result - an autistic person - looks similar, the biological causes of disability are not the same at all. We're beginning to realize that autism is really a catchall phrase for a number of brain differences that happen to look similar when seen from the outside....

Child Autism Epidemic Firmly Linked to Environment

...Autism among U.S. children has reached epidemic proportion. And it's getting worse by the year....Since the '70's, there has been a 60-fold increase in American children with autism. The latest CDC data shows that currently 1 in every 100 U.S. children, and 1 in every 58 boys, are being diagnosed with autism. According to statistics from the most recent (2007) National Survey of Children (from HRSA of HHS), the the odds of a child in the U.S. receiving an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis are 1 in 63, and go up to 1 in 38 for boys. That's over 2.6 percent of all male children in America. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes Autism (classic), Asperger syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorder....

Federal court of appeals rejects link between vaccines, autism

... A federal appeals court has ruled for the second time that there is no link between vaccines and autism....The Aug. 27 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit came in the case of a child who began to show symptoms of autism and mental retardation after receiving a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in 1995....

Infants May Display Subtle Autism Signs at 6 Months

...The investigators allowed the babies to figure out how to play with a toy while their caregivers sat nearby. The babies at higher risk of autism spent more time fixated on the toy than the other babies and less time looking at their caregivers when the caregivers weren't engaging them....

Economy affects kids' eye health

...Thanks to a sour economy and fewer jobs with health insurance that includes eye care, some parents balk at the cost of an annual exam, which can detect vision problems and other eye issues. But as the school year gets under way, it’s one investment that can have a dramatic effect on your child’s future.

“I know that it can be difficult in these times for parents to spring for things like vision and dental exams, where there isn’t a problem that they know about,” said Phyllis Klein, public relations agent for the California Optometric Association. “But they have to know that 60 percent of children who are considered problem learners in school, or those with bad behavior in school, really have an undetected vision problem.” ....

15th Congresso Academico Internacional de Optometria Functional

This Thursday thru Saturday I will be lecturing at the 15th Annual Congresso Academico Internacional de Optometria Functional. My lectures are on the 3D Vision Syndrome and Special Needs Patient.

Click here

for more information.