Accelerating Amblyopia Treatment – Faster and Better Than Ever Before is the title of the lecture presented by the Wow Team of Doctors and Vision Therapists at the Annual Michigan Vision Therapy Study Group Educational Conference held on January 26-27, 2024, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
How can one obtain the best results in the shortest time for a patient with Amblyopia? To begin, it is essential that the Doctor provides a thorough, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation because, as the research shows, Amblyopia/Lazy Eye impacts much more than best-corrected reduced eyesight alone. It affects depth perception, eye-hand coordination, eye movement control (tracking), and visual processing abilities. Therefore, the testing must be more than measuring visual acuity, prescribing glasses, and sending the patient home with an eyepatch.
Once diagnosed, Amblyopia treatment should begin with targeting the cause of the Amblyopia, which is the binocular vision dysfunction known as suppression. Based on the most current research, this would involve advanced technology, including virtual reality in vision therapy. But, treatment should also target the other delays in visual development associated with Amblyopia, including depth perception, eye movement tracking skills, eye focusing, eye hand coordination and visual processing and the most obvious, normalizing the visual acuity/eyesight in the affected eye.
However, while doctors and therapists should have an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis and utilize treatment from the latest research, there is another piece to the patient management puzzle that needs to be addressed to get the best results, but is rarely, if ever, mentioned in the research, text books or general lectures on the topic.
That is, the key to helping your patients have better and faster results is not just the diagnosis or the application of a vision therapy activity but also managing the behavioral style that occurs with each patient. This gets into understanding your patient, and their family dynamic, so that optimal patient-focused coaching strategies can be added to maximize compliance and engagement in the vision therapy treatment plan. Our Wow Team addressed these core coaching strategies as the primary emphasis of our lecture to the audience of nearly 100 attendees at MVTSG 2024.
Therefore, when Doctors and Vision Therapists have a detailed diagnostic evaluation followed by a research-based modern treatment protocol PLUS incorporating a patient-focused style of engagement, the patient with Amblyopia will have better and faster results. This can shave off weeks and months in treatment with better achievement of eyesight, depth perception, eye-hand coordination, reading speed and fluency, and overall coordination in daily activities and sports.
Dan L Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD
Founder, Wow Vision Therapy