Wow Vision Therapy Blog

New England Journal of Medicine ringing endorsement of Sue Barry’s book and vision therapy

Fixing my gaze FromåÊthe latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (7-2-09) – Book Review- provides an unqualified and ringing endorsement of Dr. Sue Barry’s book (Fixing My Gaze), and of the specially trained and imaginative optometrists who provide vision therapy, in part:

“Capitalizing probably more on latent neuronal connections than on the creation of new ones, Barry benefited from orthoptics ‰ÛÓ a hidden corner of restorative medicine. With contrived ocular exercises, specially trained and imaginative optometrists treat patients whose eyes are cosmetically aligned but imperfectly foveated.åÊ The simplicity of the exercises and of the apparatus (such as beads on a string, papers taped to walls, and strips of film) is bracing for a profession enamored with technology.

The book‰Ûªs main contribution, however, is exposing the wrong-headed dogma that acuity and binocular vision can be restored only during a critical developmental period. Surgical correction of strabismus is dominated by this notion, first posited by Claud Worth in his landmark 1903 book, Squint: Its Causes, Pathology, and Treatment, and set at a hard stop at 2 years of age by his student Francis Chavasse. The experiments of Hubel and Wiesel are often cited as confirming the lost malleability of the adult brain, but Barry points out that they did no such thing because there was no attempt at restoration of fusion. Her experiences and those she recounts from others belie the ‰ÛÏnothing else can be done‰Û message that ophthalmologists gave to her and to her mother throughout her childhood.

Several visual scientists have now demonstrated the reversibility of infantile loss of vision and stereopsis, but blindness to these findings and under appreciation of the solutions offered by orthoptics still persist.”

This is one more example of the growing scientific and medicalåÊsupport for office-based vision therapy in the treatment of binocular vision problems like strabismus.

Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD