For those that follow vision therapy, you likely have read about this Joint Policy Statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Ophthalmology; American Academy of Ophthalmology; American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus; and American Association of Certified Orthoptists.
Well, this has created a stir, not so much for the policy that essentially has not changed in decades, but rather the tactics that were used to arrive that the policy statement. This is from the American Optometric Associatio Newsblog:
The policy statement … sheds doubt on the claim that vision therapy treats dyslexia – a claim that vision researchers and clinicians have not made for decades.
It also ignores the evidence of the proven benefits of vision therapy, such as in well-designed studies, most notably the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT), which was funded by the National Eye Institute. This study showed that vision therapy administered in an eye care provider’s office is the best course of treatment for that condition.
Unfortunately, this is not new. As Leonard Press, O.D., writes in A flawed statement on vision therapy, learning and dyslexia is reissued:
The American Optometric Association in a joint policy statement with the American Academy of Optometry has previously pointed out the flaws with the joint policy statement of the organizations above (1997, at www.aoa.org/x5420.xml ). A point-by-point rebuttal of the misleading information intended to discredit optometric vision therapy was published by the American Optometric Association in its journal, Optometry. (Bowan MD, 2002). This latest iteration in the form of the Pediatrics article unfortunately recycles the same straw man arguments as the prior joint statements.
The issues of reading and learning are highly complex and multifactorial. I do honestly believe that all professionals involved feel they are acting in the best interest of children. Unfortunately, some organizations are slow to change, even in the face of highly credible evidence.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.