SamandFrodo2Well, I certainly must say that I’ve missed the blogosphere.  My absence from this blog has not been without reason though.  If you look really close, you’ll see I now have the letters FCOVD after my name.  It stands for Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.  You may have seen these letters after the names of the other doctors that are authors of this blog.  So, it’s gratifying to be able to join their ranks.

I must say though that many of the congratulations on my accomplishment have been accompanied by some blank stares.  Most notably was that of my sister who posted her congratulations as “Very cool. Not sure what it means, but I’m proud of ya.”

Most of us are pretty familiar with the Fellowship of the Ring, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings which involves a harrowing, death-defying tale of two small Hobbits.  While some may think my size resembles that of a Hobbit (I’m 5’6” on a good day), that’s about where the similarities end between my quest for fellowship over the last year and that of Frodo and Sam.

While my fellowship did not involve any encounters with any large orcs, talking trees, or dark lords, I did have to write 9 papers, take a grueling 3-hour test, and withstand being grilled by some of the best doctors in our field in an oral exam. Wikipedia defines a fellowship as a period of medical training in the United States and Canada that a physician may undertake after completing a specialty training program.  You may have heard of fellowships in fields like cardiology and oncology.  

Fellows of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development are specialists in vision development and in the practice of vision therapy.  They have not only completed a doctorate process that qualifies them as doctors of optometry, but also have received at least 100 additional hours of training and at least 3 years of clinical practice specifically dedicated to the field of vision therapy.  The designation FCOVD means that the doctor has met the rigors of competency set by others in their field of expertise and has their peer’s full endorsement to treat patients with vision problems impacting school, work, and life.

It was a tough but gratifying process that has made me a better clinician.  I do kind of wish that my fellowship experience could have ended by having a large eagle carry me home, but I am happy nonetheless the process is over and to be back to blogging about vision.

Dr. Winters practices in Yakima, Washington and is the clinical director of Washington Vision Therapy Center.  To find a doctor who specializes in vision therapy near you please go to covd.org.

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