Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who can be interested on my blog?.

Enlace a entrada en español

As I said in the previous post, this blog is not for other optometrist colleagues who are specialized in the same area as me. It is for the rest of the people, a broad group of people worried about their own eyes or about other people’s eyes, and how the vision works.

Specifically, this blog can be interesting for:

- As I said, any person that, suffering visual upsets, has visited an optician’s or an ophthalmologist office and they have said she sees 100 percent and she does not have any visual problem; or in another case, they offered some glasses and following the “professional advice”, she thinks that it is the only solution. But she keeps on noticing she does not perform well in her job or in her studies; she can not concentrate many hours; it is difficult for her to change the focusing on different papers-computer over the table, or to do near-to-far and/or far-to-near fixation changes; the letters “dance” when she reads, her eyes get tired when she does it; she can not take many hours reading, sewing or doing handicrafts; she has headaches or eye stinging; she is not able to enjoy reading a book, in fact, she has never liked to do it, … a vast number of symptoms that some simple glasses or contact lenses, used to only improve the “quantity” of vision, are not enough to improve the “quality” of vision.

As we will see later, sometimes glasses can relieve that symptomatology, but it is not always enough. A specialized optometrist could offer more variety of options to relieve her upsets.

- Any father, mother, grandmother, uncle, friend, neighbour, nanny,… being in contact with a child and they want to make sure that the child has an efficient visual system that allows him to develop a good learning at school and to avoid any problems at sports, social contact with other children or adults, and so on.

In everyday life, parents, better than anybody, can observe whether their children are using some compensatory method of any visual problem that their parents do not know that their children have. For example: getting too closer to the TV; getting to closer the paper when they are drawing, writing or reading; rubbing their eyes a lot; tilting their head very much or even resting it in their arm when they do any homework at near, in order to use only one eye; avoiding any of that homework at near; missing the line when they read; needing the help of their finger to do it; reversing letters or numbers; changing the position of some letters within a word; being very sensitive to the light; etc. Everything indicates the existence of a visual problem, that discovered on time, it would not affect their learning or their general life.

- Any education professional, from nursery schools, all the way up to the elementary school and finishing in high school (teachers, assistant, nurse, psychologist, …)
Just as their parents, these professionals spend much time of the day in contact with children/teenagers. It is not the same case, because for each father his child is “his child” and teachers have many “children” to worry about. Many times the signs are too obvious; other times, not so much.
Fortunately, the concept “learning of disabilities” is better known and recognized each time. There is more and more information about this subject in many professions, not only in education.

Do not go so far, in my generation, if a child got bad grades at school, he was simply a bad student and he “did not want to” study or he “was not good” to study. Nowadays any professional looks at this subject in depth and looks for the cause why the child suffers from school failure. But fortunately you, education professionals, already know it. But, what I want to remind you is that most information that a child receives is visual, and almost all information that is not directly visual, is related to it. That’s why, it is very important that you always make sure that if a child “fails” at school, the cause is not related to any visual reason. Your observation along with those of their parents is crucial to detect these visual problems.
I do not believe in the concept that a child is “lazy” or that he is more “stupid” than the rest. Everybody had potential when we were born, and we “learn to see” with our experiences. The problem is that while some people have known or have had the opportunity to develop this ability, others have not.

Signs like these: not obtaining the main idea of a text or not knowing how to summarize; moving his head when the child is reading or doing it in a monotonous way; not remembering or understanding what he has read; being a restless child on the chair; winking his eyes, covering one of them; copying from his classmate’s notebook; being bad at sports; having bad handwriting… these and more are indications of masked visual and perceptive problems, which people do not think enough about. Providing a correct treatment, the child improves his school performance, improving his visual performance.

- Any another professional specializing in children: pediatricians, psychologists, pedagogues, speech therapists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, otorhinolaryngologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapist, osteopaths... Well, I am sure I forget someone, I am sorry. We, optometrists and visual therapists, belong to all that huge group of professionals that take care of the health of the child, each one from our own speciality.

The next fragment expresses what I think VERY WELL. This belongs to a post of Rosina Uriarte’s blog (in Spanish language) (specialist in Early Stimulation). She expresses the ten things she more “detests”. I just want to show the seventh one because it talks about what I am writing:

(Excuses, I have tried to translate it the best way I could :-))

“…I detest the war of rivalry among the professionals: "Don’t go to the optometrist office, they aren’t medical doctors”; “The psychologist doesn’t know anything about this…”; the neurologist, the psychologist, the speech therapist, the physiotherapist… Each one of them just looks at their own subject, they do not look beyond that, and parents have to put up the puzzle by joining all pieces… But the child is a whole, is not a pile of single pieces… THE MULTIDISCIPLINARITY IS VITAL TO TREAT ALL MANIFESTATIONS OF THE PROBLEM IN THE CHILD AND TO ATTAIN A SOLUTION. The child is a unit; it is not enough putting a patch here and other there…”

I think I would not have expressed it better. The child would be better treated if ALL OF US WOULD WORK TOGETHER, if all of us would know about other professionals’ existence too and if each one would work within our own specialty, without trampling on the work of other professionals.

I know that some parents think: “Well, so I have to visit many offices for my child to be fine and I do not have any time to do it. I have a job…” This is a thorny issue that only depends on the parents and what they want for their child. The perfect thing would be for parents that all these professionals were working in just one center, so the families would only visit one place; but unfortunately that does not exist. A good job is achieved, if each professional helps within his area the best way he knows, but is able to send him to another professional, thus helping the child as a whole. His problem would be solved sooner.

- Neurologists specializing in illness or traumatism which symptomatology or drugs necessary for the treatment, disturb the visual function (like Multiple Sclerosis or some brain injury, etc). In many of these cases, that visual function can be improved, and thus, at least we improve their quality of life a little bit.

- And not less important, any optician not specializing in this area who wants to know what the visual therapy is; how a neurological problem, development problem or learning disability affect the vision; knowing that there are more options besides conventional glasses or contact lenses; and sometimes, that those same options can be used to achieve another goal. And of course, the same as other professionals, they can send their patients to specialized colleagues, when the patient’s visual problems do not fall within their area.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Who am I?

Enlace a entrada en español

I am a Spanish Optometrist since 1995. I specialized in Vision Therapy 2 years later. I attended other courses specializing more in Primitive Reflexes and visual neurology. I was working as Vision Therapist in Madrid until I went to California in 2007.
There I received more education in USA during 2007, with experts like Dr. Robert Sanet, trying to learn how optometrists work there.

(March 8th 2008: I received more continuing education about Vision Therapy and Neurology in USA, in different American Universities until 2008. In 2009 I stared a Behavioral Optometry and Vision Development Therapy office in Madrid, Spain).

I love what I do. I know we, the optometrists and vision therapists, have a hard struggle that people understand what we do and that Vision Therapy works. Many times I have been surprised by great improvements obtained in a patient. I understand why these improvements occur, but I am always surprised by everything related with the brain and its huge potential. So, I will explain the connection between the Brain and Nervous System with the Vision and Vision Therapy.

This blog is meant for people (patients, parents,...) to better understand how Optometry works and free it from the “Glasses or Sunglasses store” idea. Because Optometry is much more than that...

The reason why I write in Spanish and English language is only to reach more people.

Welcome to my blog!!

Enlace a entrada en español

As the blog name indicates, the main subject is the Vision and everything related with it.
In this blog I am going to try to explain some concepts about vision, optometry, vision therapy and neurology related to all of this.

But this blog is not for experts on these subjects. It is for you… or for you… or for you too. It is for those people that have always wanted to know a little bit about their own eyes and how they work. Or simply those people have had a visual problem, have gone to visit a “professional of the eyes”, he has offered them as an only solution glasses or contact lenses, but really he has not solved their problem. Their inconvenience or difficulty to work, to study or basically to perform well, keep on existing.

I am going to explain how vision is not just a couple of eyes and how an efficient visual system does not depend neither on just having healthy eyes nor seeing 50 or 70 or 100 percent of vision. How a child who does not achieve good grades in the school, is not simply a lazy child who does not like reading or studying, nor he is a troubled child who does not like paying attention and also he disturbs the rest of children in his classroom. Behind all that, there can be a visual reason that upsets his perception and simply that child does not receive, process and answer the visual information from the environment the same way another child who apparently does not have any problem. I will explain that these cases can be treated and they can make the child perform much better in the school and even, enjoy reading and take a book because he wants to and not because it is mandatory.

I will start laying the bases: What is the Vision? Who tests it? Difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists. The Eye. The Visual Process. The Visual Therapy… As an entry door to other different visual problems, treatments and even some of my patients’ authorized personal opinions. I think this way everything will be much easier to understand.

I am going to explain everything in whatever easiest way possible. Therefore, do not wait for a “master class” or for a “very professional lecture” because that is not my intention, my real intention is to get your participation. If some of my entries leave you questioning, I will try to explain it again with simpler words, but I need your collaboration for this blog have the usefulness that I wish: to solve many “questions about the visual world”.

This blog will not come in useful for solving personal cases. At most, I will just give you an orientation in your questions. In order to find a better solution and a treatment of a visual problem, it must ALWAYS be examined from different points of view and, absolutely, the patient’s vision must be tested. Thereby, if in some moment, you recognize some symptoms in yourself or in your children, etc., my recommendation is that you should go visit an optometric and vision therapy office for it to give you the services in need.

I am also not going to write about ocular diseases or medicines, since I am not a medical doctor nor a physician, thus it is not my area.