Further Adventures With Binasal Occlusion
(This article is pending publication.)
I have written previously about the use of binasal occlusion in an article that described an interaction early in my career. 1 I had no idea what to expect when I decided to try my binasal occlusion approach on an unsuspecting subject during an in-service presentation for occupational, physical and speech therapists at a local hospital. Since that time I have used binasal occlusion in a wide variety of situations, and yet, I probably don’t explore their potential benefit with as many people as I should.
The subject of my previous article was Gina, a bright and delightful woman in her mid-thirties confined to a wheelchair by cerebral palsy. She was unable to sustain an upright head posture for any significant length of time and during the demonstration at the in-service. I had to ask her if she could straighten her head (which she was able to do fairly accurately) at least once per minute. Gina said that this was a constant issue for her and that people were always asking her to straighten her head. She never realized that her head was practically resting on her left shoulder unless someone brought it to her attention. This had been going on for most of her life. After placing her glasses back on her face, now with binasal occlusion, Gina’s head instantly straightened and remained that way for the rest of the presentation and for another half hour or so while we had lunch. She immediately liked the binasal occlusion and when I asked her why, she said, “I can tell where things are now.” This certainly got my attention and I have been a proponent of this technique ever since. (more…)
Some terms appear in these pages that may not be familiar to most people. I have tried to list most of those here. (more…)
(This article is pending publication.)
Most people have some amount of astigmatism. Many have lenses that are specially designed to compensate for astigmatism and don’t even know it. Most eye doctors prescribe even the smallest (and often completely inconsequential) amount of cylinder (the type of lens used to compensate for astigmatism) often without mentioning anything about it. One reason for this secrecy is astigmatism is not so easy to explain so I think most doctors would rather just not talk about it. I have helped countless people eliminate the need for astigmatism-compensating lenses. This is particularly helpful for those wearing contact lenses as these toric lenses are much more expensive than regular lenses. The most important reason to treat astigmatism differently is the increased flexibility and efficiency available by improving the visual system using vision therapy to retrain the brain not only to see more clearly but to operate at a higher level in all activities. (more…)
(Published 2011; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 22, #6)
Assumptions are concepts, notions and ideas that we easily and often forget are there; underlying the things we do all day, every day. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an assumption is a fact or statement (as a proposition, axiom, postulate, or notion) taken for granted. I was somewhat surprised to see the word ‘“fact” included because many of the things we treat as fact are not as objectively etched in stone as we might believe. Too often today’s fact is tomorrow’s punch line. As Dr. Robert Kraskin was fond of saying, “There are damn few facts in this world; there are many concepts, notions and ideas, but damn few facts.” I have always assumed he was correct. (more…)
(Published 2011; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 22, #4)
Bates and Beyond
One of the reasons I got into optometry was the work of W.H. Bates. I was intrigued by the different ideas he brought to the table, which seemed quite at odds with practically everyone around him in the early 1900s and with the “eye care” I had experienced between the ages of eight and twenty-eight. I wanted to rid myself of my ever-thickening glasses and help others do the same. I was looking for a way to knowledgeably compare and contrast Bates’ ideas with those I had encountered and been subjected to for so many years. One day I just decided the easiest way to do that was to become an optometrist.
After becoming an optometrist and gaining that new perspective a few things soon became apparent: 1) getting rid of one’s glasses is not nearly as easy as it sounds; 2) many people can significantly reduce the strength of their lenses with no significant loss of acuity while simultaneously improving their overall visual abilities; 3) most people wearing lenses need vision therapy (VT) to deal with the issues that preceded, if not in fact precipitated, the nearsightedness; 4) lenses can be used to prevent and reverse the loss of distance visual acuity: appropriate near lenses are probably the most powerful means of preventing and reducing visual stresses that often lead to or accompany nearsightedness. I know the research is not conclusive on this point, but being a clinician, I have to put my money on overwhelmingly consistent clinical results for over 20 years.
(Published 2002; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 13, #1)
I have often helped people understand aspects of having the two eyes work together in a coordinated way by comparing the eyes to two people in a committed relationship. Better understanding of self and of one’s partner make for better communication and more integrated interaction. This somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the visual process and human relationships contains some interesting connections and truths. An abridged version was published; the original version appears here.
(Published 2001; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 12, #2)
This paper began as a presentation at the Third International Congress on Behavioral Optometry held in Washington, D.C. in 1998. It was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the whole issue of nearsightedness in a very different light. There are many ways to see things and perhaps seeing clearly is not always the best way.
(Published 1999; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 10, #4)
Lenses change the directions to the brain. It is possible to provoke changes in behavior and performance with the judicious and dynamic use of lenses. Low power concave lenses provide another tool for helping children with learning differences. They can provide the substrate for learning to make better use of various aspects of the visual process. These lenses can be instrumental in stimulating more effective interaction between central and peripheral processing. They can also stimulate the ability to sustain attention. (more…)
(Published 1998; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 9, #5)
There are many ways to use lenses dynamically. Standard eye care uses lenses as passive devices to compensate for some obvious symptom, which is only the end result of the real problem. This doesn’t really solve the problem; it only masks it. Dynamic lens use can help deal with the root of the problem and alleviate symptoms by addressing the causes instead of masking the end result.
(Published 1998; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 9, #2)
This technique has helped many people with various visual disturbances. It is a simple, yet very effective way of stabilizing the visual system. The case at hand involves an adult woman with significant visual disturbances secondary to cerebral palsy. Binasal occlusion seems to have a greater effect on more complicated conditions, but is often useful in simpler cases as well.
(Published 1996; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 7, #6)
Peripheral visual awareness is a greatly overlooked resource in the overall scheme of visual performance. Although there seems to be little or no education, research nor concern for this aspect of visual function, peripheral vision is much more important than many involved in vision care are acknowledging. With the absence of attention to the importance of peripheral visual function, undesirable, unnecessary limitations are created by the care provided. This is not limited to those in need of visual training but is an important factor for anyone seeking vision care.
(Published 1994; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 5, #5)
Myopia and nearsightedness mean many things to many people. The diagnosis and treatment of these entities are even more varied. This paper attempts to share the personal experiences of a nearsighted, myopic optometrist with considerable non-myopic tendencies. There are many ways to feel about myopia; this is one of them. (more…)
(Published 1993; Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 4, #6)
This paper tries to shed light on the importance of multiple viewpoints. There is rarely one single answer or approach to any problem. More options reveal themselves by utilizing multiple ways of looking at issues, . The paper also tries to show that what seem to be mutually exclusive opposing forces are usually just two sides of a single coin, and are therefore inseparable.
(Published December 1990; Journal of Optometric Vision Development, Vol. 21, #4)
This paper was written while I was an optometry student and published the year after I graduated. It attempts to explain to optometrists some ideas that occurred to me based on my earlier studies in philosophy and the connections I experienced during my time as a vision therapy patient. I found useful connections between ancient philosophy and the way doctors and patients could interact.