Page 14 - envision11-2021
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Cover Story

                      V ISION T HER APY

                                           /   Brin is using the Space Fixator to integrate her eye movements with accurate spatial judgment using her peripheral vision to direct her body to move in a coordinated,
                                                                     relaxed and rhythmic manner.  /
                                       “Vision therapy and functional optometry   “As a clinician, it’s my responsibility to
                                       take a much deeper dive into the   follow the research closely and ensure
                                       operation of the entire visual process.  that the conditions I’m treating with
              “    As a clinician,       We schedule much longer examinations  vision therapy are supported by scientific
                                       so we have time to assess, understand  evidence. There is an excellent study
                                       and make recommendations to treat the   called the “CITT” or “Convergence
                           it’s my
                    responsibility     visual needs of our patients. This gives us  Insufficiency Treatment Trial”, which
                                       the opportunity to affect a patient’s life on  provided high-level scientific evidence
                    to follow the      a deeper and more meaningful level.”  which  clearly showed that office-based

                research closely       Dr. Jefferies says one element of vision   optometric vision therapy is the best
                                                                            treatment for patients with convergence
                 and ensure that       therapy that motivates her is its ability to   insufficiency. As a result, this is a
                                       changes people’s lives. “As an optometrist
                                                                            condition I treat regularly in my office
               the conditions I’m      providing these services, I help individuals    with vision therapy and with great
                         treating      with a brain injury recover lost visual   outcomes.”
                                       skills to help them enjoy life again or
                      with  vision     return to work. I’m also privileged to   Dr. Ha acknowledges the importance
                                       help children who were struggling
                     therapy are       academically learn to read or write or to   of questioning scientific claims. At the
                                                                            same  time,  she says, “With respect  to
                   supported by        catch a ball and ride a bike.”       behavioural/functional optometry, clinical

                                     “  its critics. Some claim there is a lack of    say it is now okay (to use) this treatment
                        scientific      While vision therapy is more widely    experiences and successful patient
                                                                            outcomes speak volumes to me. To wait
                       evidence.       accepted than it was in the past, it has   for ‘evidence-based research’ in order to
                                       scientific evidence to support behavioural
                                       management approaches, and a paucity
                                                                            would have benefitted from it before it
                                       of controlled clinical trials in particular.  modality (would) deprive patients who
                                                                            became officially mainstream.”
                                       Dr. Jefferies acknowledges the lack of
                                       randomized, double-blind controlled     As well as improving the lives of patients,
                                       clinical trials on vision therapy.     vision training represents an attractive
                                       “However, there are many wonderful   business opportunity for optometrists
                                       studies and good-quality scientific papers    interested in growing their practices and
                                       in the form of retrospective studies,  creating multiple revenue streams.
                                       large-scale prospective cohort studies,
                                       interventional studies and case reports   Optometrists are looking for ways to
                                       on the impact of vision therapy on visual   differentiate their practices, especially
                                       performance.”                        in Ontario, where the provincial
                                                                            government has been uncooperative
                                       She routinely offers these studies to  with the profession and there has been a

                                       patients who have questions about the  withdrawal of service, says Dr. Michelle
                                       success rates and outcomes of vision  McKenzie, a Bolton, ON optometrist and
                                       therapy.                             president of VTC. “Many optometrists

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