Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rare waterborne infection noted in three deaths

...State and federal health officials are warning people about common sense ways to avoid recreational water illness, in the wake of three deaths that have been connected to the rare waterborne illness known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis....

Healthy swimming
  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea;
  • Don’t swallow pool, lake, pond or river water;
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before and after swimming;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom or changing diapers;
  • Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often;
  • Change diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside or beachside;
  • Avoid swimming, diving or other activities in obviously stagnant freshwater bodies when temperatures are high and water levels are low; and
  • Hold your nose or wear nose plugs when underwater or when diving or swimming in hot, shallow freshwater bodies.

Autism Risks: Genes May Not Play Biggest Role

....Up to now, genetics were thought to account for 90 percent of a child's risk for autism, but a new Stanford University School of Medicine study suggests environmental factors could play a much larger role than previously thought.....The largest study of its kind, the research focused on autism in 192 pairs of twins — 54 identical, 138 fraternal. The surprise came when Stanford researchers found a greater number of fraternal twins shared autism than identical twins. Fraternal twins share only half their genes with each other, thus, when both fraternal twins are autistic, it suggests factors other than genetics are at work....

Pediatric/Vision Therapy Residency

Friday, August 26, 2011

5,200 Children Fall From Windows And Treated In Hospital Annually In USA

...Window fall-related injuries are responsible for about 14 emergency department visits by children aged 17 or younger each day in the USA, or 5,200 annually, ..... The investigators had gathered data on window fall-related injuries among children aged up to 17 years and were treated in emergency department from 1990 through 2008. Their study is being published in the journal Pediatrics, September 2011 issue....

Hyperbaric Therapy

The Effect of Mild-Pressure Hyperbaric Therapy (Oasis O2) on Fatigue and Oxidative Stress Sungdo Kim, Takehiko Yukishita, Keiko Lee, Shinichi Yokota et al. DOI:  10.4236/health.2011.37071    pp 432-436 

Childhood ADHD Prevalence Rises By 28% In Ten Years In USA

.....Over a ten-year period, the prevalence of children diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) rose from 7% to 9% of all children, an increase of 28%, according to a report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the CDC. The period studied was from 1998-2000 through 2007-2009. The authors are not yet sure whether the statistics represent a real increase, or reflect more aggressive diagnosis and reporting. They believe it is probably mainly due to the latter. They added that this report concentrated on children aged between 5 and 17 years....

Clinical characteristics of optic neuritis in Taiwanese children

.....Visual recovery from optic neuritis was favorable in Taiwanese children. A poor visual outcome was correlated with pale disc at presentation and patients’ age older than 10 years.  Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is the most common associated systemic disease; MS is relatively rare.....

An evaluation of clinical treatment of convergence insufficiency for children with reading difficulties

....Factorial analyses demonstrated statistically significant changes between results obtained for visits 1 and 2 for total reading time, reading error score, amplitude of accommodation and binocular accommodative facility ..... Significant differences were also demonstrated between treatment groups for total reading time, reading error score and binocular accommodative facility...

... Reading difficulties with no apparent intellectual or psychological foundation may be due to a binocular vision anomaly such as convergence insufficiency. Both the HTS and prismatic correction are highly effective treatment options for convergence insufficiency. Prismatic correction can be considered an effective alternative to HTS....

Comments: According to the CITT clinical trials, in office optometric vision therapy is the absolute best treatment for convergence insufficiency...however, I am thrilled that my UK colleagues agree that vision and reading problems are related and that if you fix the vision problems...reading improves! The free PDF available by clicking on the title above. DM

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International, (NORA) is a group of committed individuals from various disciplines focus on advancing the art and science of rehabilitation for the neurologically challenged above title to learn move!

AOA Editorial:Thoughts about referrals

My friend and colleague (and mutual blogger) Dr. Len Press, just published a commentary on his blog concerning an editorial written by another friend and colleague, Dr. Paul Freeman, who is the editor of the American Optometric Association journal, Optometry. This editorial, Thoughts about referrals, discussed the frequent lack of referrals to optometrists who provide diagnostic and therapeutic expertise in the areas of strabismus, amblyopia, learning related vision problems, vision rehabilitation and optometric vision therapy from fellow optometrists.

Dr. Freeman notes that, "One issue I’ve encountered is a lack of awareness about ... the efficacy of optometric vision therapy." He goes on to suggest that..."An excellent place to start is with a compilation by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) that summarizes research and clinical studies on optometric vision therapy ( the  4 optometric clinical practice guidelines developed by the American Optometric Association on the topics of amblyopia, strabismus, accommodative and vergence dysfunctions, and learning-related vision problems...."

This editorial continues by noting that the best example of how a referring doctor might be positively perceived can be found in the book Fixing My Gaze, by Susan Barry, PhD which I wrote about in an editorial for Optometry & Vision Development titled The Hero. The book tells the story of a woman who was stereoblind since birth, had multiple surgeries for strabismus, and an adult found colleague, Dr. Theresa Ruggerio who conducted optometric vision therapy. This therapy program profoundly changed Dr. Barry's life...I'll let you read the book to get all the details!

It was primary care optometrist, Dr. Steven Markow, however that really made this success story possible by referring Dr. Barry to Dr. Ruggerio. Without Dr. Markow's referral nothing would have happened. Dr. Barry would still be stereobllind. The book Fixing My Gaze would not have been written. Millions of individuals would not know the promise that optometric vision therapy has to improve one's life.

As Dr. Freeman states: "And who knows? Someone reading this editorial might well be the next practitioner to change someone’s life through such a referral."

Read Dr. Freeman's editorial. Read Dr. Press's blog. Are you that practitioner? I hope so. DM

CBS News: Back to School Eye Exams Very Important

 My friend and colleague, Jennifer M. Smith, OD, FCOVD of the Draisin Vision Group in Charleston, SC, was interviewed with one of her patients by CBS News. Dr. Smith points out that the vision screening often done in school or the pediatrician's office is not adequate for many children since it only tests for myopia (nearsightedness) and not for any of the vision problems associated with learning. This interview also shows many of the optometric vision therapy procedures that can be used to improve learning related vision problems. If you haven't had your children's eyes and vision examined, now is the time to call your family optometrist and make that appointment. If learning related vision problems exist, go to to find a doc who can help! DM

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wearable Electronics Demonstrate Promise Of Brain-Machine Interfaces

....research conducted .... has demonstrated that a thin flexible, skin-like device, mounted with tiny electronic components, is capable of acquiring electrical signals from the brain and skeletal muscles and potentially transmitting the information wirelessly to an external computer. The development, ... means that in the future, patients struggling with reduced motor or brain function, or research subjects, could be monitored in their natural environment outside the lab....

Malpractice Risk According to Physician Specialty

....There is substantial variation in the likelihood of malpractice suits and the size of indemnity payments across specialties. The cumulative risk of facing a malpractice claim is high in all specialties, although most claims do not lead to payments to plaintiffs.....

Comments: Over the past 2 years I've been a legal consultant to 4 law firms, 3 in the Chicago-land area and one in Miami. Optometrists are seldom sued for malpractice, but I am curious how our medical colleagues fair. This article (the free pdf is available for download by clicking on the title) answers some of my questions on this topic DM.

COVD Early Registration Ends 8/30 - Register Now & Save

College of Optometrists in Vision Development

41st Annual Meeting   October 25-29, 2011

The deadline for early registration for the COVD 41st Annual Meeting ends August 30. Register now and save.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Reserve Your Room & Save on Meeting Registration
Stay at the Tropicana and receive a $200 meeting registration discount. Contact COVD and provide your hotel confirmation number to get the Annual Meeting registration discount code. Make your hotel reservations today!

COVD 41st Annual Meeting Highlights

General Education Highlights

"Top To Bottom": Applying Neuroscience to Enhance Visual Therapy Procedures for Patients with "Brain Filtering Deficits"

Allen Cohen, OD, FCOVD

Myopia: Current Theories of Treatment and Treatment; and Intermittent Exotropia Based Upon Sensory Motor Findings

Jeffrey Cooper, MS, OD

Optometric Management of Patients who have Autism: How to Meet Their Visual Needs Without Letting Autism Get in the Way

Rachel (Stacey) Coulter, OD, FCOVD

Saccade Vergence Eye Movements: Development, Aging, and Dysfunction

Zoi Kapoula, PhD

Infantile Esotropia: Its Origin, Diagnosis, and Potential Therapies

W.C. Maples, OD, FCOVD

Rethinking Learning Disabilities: A Developmental Perspective

Deborah Waber, PhD

Clinical Discussion Forum - Visual Secrets for Improving Math Skills

Kellye Knueppel, OD, FCOVD

Brenda Montecalvo, OD, FCOVD

Applied Concepts - October 25 & 26, 2011

Acquired Brain Injury

Drs. Allen Cohen, Ken Ciuffreda, & Neera Kapoor

Visual Information Acquisition

Dr. Carl Hillier

Therapy Techniques

Drs. W.C. Maples & Wanda Vaughn

Strabismus & Amblyopia

Dr. Robert Sanet

Learning Related Vision Problems

Dr. Nancy Torgerson

Annual Meeting Highlights

NEW - Social Media Workshop - October 26, 2011

Drs. Nate Bonilla Warford & Ruth Villeneuve

Joint COVD/OEP Symposium

Panel: "To Accept Insurance or be a Non-Participating Provider? That is the question!"

19 Hours of Clinical Education Available

Vision Therapist Education Session: Womb to Tomb

Dr. Sue Lowe & Lauri Atencio

Special Speaker - Friday, October 28, 2011

Jillian's Story: How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter's Life with Mrs. Robin Benoit, Author

Register Now

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A multicentre, double-masked, randomized, controlled trial assessing the effect of oral supplementation of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids on a conjunctival inflammatory marker in dry eye patients

....this study demonstrates that supplementation with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reduce expression of HLA-DR conjunctival inflammatory marker and may help improve Dry Eye Syndrome symptoms....

Comments: Omega-3s...the next miracle drug!! DM

Computers and three-dimensional (3D) imaging may be a big help to students academically, but almost one-third of parents are concerned that such devices are damaging their child’s eyesight. The 2011 American Eye-Q survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA) indicates that 53 percent of respondents having children 18 or younger believe that 3D viewing can cause harm to a child’s vision or eyes, while 29 percent are highly concerned that their child may suffer damage to their eyes from prolonged use of computers or hand-held electronic devices.

....Arab News spoke with Los Angeles-based optometrist Dr. Fouad Melamed, who has a doctorate in both vision disorders and eye health disorders. In particular, he has experience in the area of vision therapy, which helps children overcome such disorders as Strabismus, commonly called crossed or wandering eyes, and Amblyopia, known as lazy eye. Dr. Melamed is a member of the California Optometric Association, which is reaching out, encouraging parents everywhere to get their children’s vision checked. According to the California Optometric Association, up to 25 percent of school children have undetected vision problems. Having low-tech vision in a 3D world could hamper learning and even lead to physical discomfort.....

AOA 2010 Census of Optometric Practice Income

Net Income from the Primary Practice of Optometry
 The average net income from the primary practice of optometry was $130, 856 in 2009, according to a recent AOA census of member optometrists. Optometrists who own all or a portion of their practice reported an average net income of $142,414 while optometrists employed by others reported average earnings of $98,393. (See Figure 1)

Optometrists who own or share ownership in their practice earned $35,000 more in private practice than in corporate practice while employee optometrists earned $30,000 more in corporate practice than in private practice.

Comments: It is good to see that AOA member optometrists are doing fairly well fiscally. Optometry is an attractive profession for many different reasons (financial, lifestyle advantages, the ability to help people, expanded scope of practice, etc.). As an optometric educator.... well let's just say the financial aspect is not why most of us become optometric teachers, researchers, or clinical preceptors. There are manexcellent  reasons to be an optometric educator....and for any interested in this form of optometric practice, please contact me. DM

I KEEP six honest serving-men:Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling: An incredible observer of human nature and teller of great stories.
(image below)

I KEEP six honest serving-men

Rudyard Kipling's stories, poems and other works have been a part of my life over the years. I've read Gunga Din, The Man Who Would Be King, The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous, Kim and many other works by this incredible gentleman. Growing up I also watched the numerous movies made from his stories.

Recently a friend of mine gave me a book about teaching and learning medicine (The Bench and Me: Teaching and Learning Medicine by J. Willis Hurst). A quote from Kipling was mentioned using the "six honest serving-men" as an example on how you should go about teaching, lecturing and writing.....I try to use these six honest serving-men often.

Kipling wrote this poem for his daughter who was curious about Doctors of Optometry...we should be curious about everything all the time....and encourage all to be so as well. Here's the poem.....

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.

I send them over land and sea,

I send them east and west;

But after they have worked for me,

I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five,

For I am busy then,

As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,

For they are hungry men.

But different folk have different views;

I know a person small-

She keeps ten million serving-men,

Who get no rest at all!

She sends'em abroad on her own affairs,

From the second she opens her eyes-

One million Hows, two million Wheres,

And seven million Whys!
The Elephant's Child

See also Gunga Din, Kipling's famous poem. (Gunga Din, the movie trailer)
The New Readers' Guide to the works of Rudyard Kipling
The Man Who Would Be King (the movie) (the E-book)

Autism Risk for Siblings Higher Than Expected

....The sibling recurrence rate of ASD is higher than suggested by previous estimates. The size of the current sample and prospective nature of data collection minimized many limitations of previous studies of sibling recurrence. Clinical implications, including genetic counseling, are discussed.....

Comments: Free PDF on title.DM

Monday, August 22, 2011

Children Need High-Tech Vision to Thrive in Today's Classrooms Read more:

...Classrooms around the country are becoming increasingly high-tech, and teachers are incorporating 3D educational tools such as digital devices and advanced computer applications into their daily curriculum. While these instruments can greatly enhance learning, they can be problematic for a whopping 25% of children who head back to school this year due to undetected vision problems. Having low-tech vision in a 3D world could hamper learning and even lead to physical discomfort.....“Children who have even a small vision misalignment or those who lack equal vision in both eyes may not be able to perceive 3D images properly,” explains Dr. Carl Hillier of the California Optometric Association. “Watching 3D imagery, which creates the illusion of depth by presenting each eye with a slightly different image, can unmask ulterior issues such as lazy eye, convergence insufficiency, poor focusing skills and other visual problems students might not have previously known existed.”...

Comments: Dr. Carl Hillier is a friend and colleague...and we share a common interest in high tech in the classroom. Congratulations to Dr. Hillier and the California Optometric Association on this fine article. DM

Are Educational Tools of Technology Damaging Your Child’s Eyesight?

.....Computers and three-dimensional (3D) imaging may be a big help to students academically, but almost one-third of parents are concerned that such devices are damaging their child’s eyesight. The 2011 American Eye-Q survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA) indicates that 53 percent of respondents having children 18 or younger believe that 3D viewing can cause harm to a child’s vision or eyes, while 29 percent are highly concerned that their child may suffer damage to their eyes from prolonged use of computers or hand-held electronic devices.....

Journal of Behavioral Optometry: Open Access, Online, Right Now!!

[email protected] Announces 3D User Experience Technical Summit and 2011 International 3D Fair in Conjunction with 3D Entertainment Summit

Hollywood is the Backdrop for this International Conference Highlighting 3D User Experience Research and Its Application to Content Creation

...The [email protected] Consortium's 3D User Experience Technical Summit (3D-UETS) and International 3D Fair is scheduled for September 22-23, 2011 at the Hollywood & Highland Center, Hollywood, CA. The event is tailored to 3D professionals who seek to understand the physiological impact of 3D and how to take that into account when creating 3D for!the large or small screen. The conference is rich with networking opportunities including an industry awards luncheon, and a tour, dinner and networking event at the Sony 3D Technology Center & Sony Pictures Lot.  ....

Comments: Hey! Guess who is talking at this meeting? Yep, me!! I'm discussing how to improve the 3D viewing audience (Improving Binocular Vision-Creating a Better Audience) so they can appreciate all the great 3D technology now available in the movie theater, home, workplace, school, and gaming parlor. DM

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The same technology used to make smartphones and tablets interactive doubles as therapy for people with cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, and other developmental disabilities, turning mobile devices into valuable components of the rehabilitative process.

...A University of Utah program is using Google SketchUp to help boys with autism spectrum disorder.
The iSTAR program, organized by the university's Department of Family and Consumer Studies, is hosting the pilot program as a workshop this week to train boys ages 10-13 years to build designs using SketchUp.....