An article from students participating in the University of Waterloo Mentorship Program.
Authors: Brooke Bonner, Joanne Deveau, Lindsay Gallowitz & Sana Owais
We were very fortunate to visit Dr. Letheren and Associates in London, Ontario. The mentorship visit was a fantastic experience where we engaged with vision therapy techniques, and learned about optometry resources and strategies for referral building.
Applications of vision therapy include binocular vision disorders, traumatic brain injuries, stroke and sports vision (1). In the office, the vision therapist demonstrated vision therapy techniques featuring the Marsden ball, Padula Transformation Cube and visual-auditory integration.The Marsden ball can be used to train fixation, saccades, pursuits, depth assessment and monitoring peripheral vision (2) (Figure 1.0). We also tried the Padula Transformation Cube, a tool to help train visual spatial processing (Figure 2.0). Furthermore, we saw how vision therapy exercises could be combined with auditory stimuli in order to aid audio-visual integration. For example, throwing and catching a beanbag to the the beat of a metronome while walking.
Dr. Letheren mentioned several useful resources for optometry students (Table 1.0):Figure 1.0: A Marsden ball aids with visuomotor integration and consists of a ball inscribed with letters and numbers, where the ball is suspended from the ceiling. Image from Bernell, 2017 (3). Figure 2.0: Padula Transformation Cube. Which square is closer towards you? Red or green? If the answer is the red square, keep focusing on the letter E, until the green square is closer towards you. You will notice the cube will ‘flip’ in orientation. Image from Bernell, 2017 (4).
Table 1.0: A sample of online optometry resources
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|NewGradOptometry||Founded by Dr. Matt Geller, founder of OptometryStudents.com. NewGradOptometry provides a plethora of articles and videos featuring practice management tips and clinical pearls targeted to new graduates.|
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|Review of Optometry||Perhaps one of the most oldest publications in the optometric arena. Since 1891, Review of Optometry has been publishing articles on ocular disease, therapeutics, low vision, vision therapy and other eyecare topics.|
3. Building Referrals
Dr. Letheren advised that a valuable way to build referrals was to connect with allied healthcare
Professionals in one’s community, for example, family physicians and pharmacists. Furthermore,
reaching out to national health associations (e.g. Canadian Diabetes Association) can be helpful in
expanding one’s public health advocacy role and potentially co-managing the care of special
populations. Additionally, performing eye exams in the community, for example, in nursing homes, can
draw additional referrals.
Additionally, many eye public health awareness initiatives fall during the year. Below is a small
sample of some eye health observances (5):
- January – Glaucoma Awareness Month
- February – Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month
- March – Workplace Eye Wellness Month
- April – Sports Eye Safety Month
- May – Healthy Vision Month
- June – Fireworks Eye Safety and Cataracts Awareness Month
Hopefully, optometrists can use these awareness months as a segue to discuss eye health topics with patients.
It was a phenomenal and informative afternoon at Dr. Letheren and Associates, learning about vision therapy, optometry resources and referral building. Thank you so much Dr. Letheren for hosting CAOS Mentorship! It was an incredible and enlightening experience!