Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Sandy Tran. She recently graduated from Western University College of Optometry and is currently doing a residency in Vision Therapy in the private practice of Dr. Leonard Press.  Dr. Tran has been reflecting on her clinical and educational experiences as a resident!

Last year during my fourth year of optometry school, I was fortunate enough to have a 3-month long externship site at Alderwood Vision Therapy Center at Dr. Nancy Torgerson’s office in Lynnwood, Washington. I learned a great deal from this experience. Dr. T and her team’s passion and dedication are inspiring and it’s no wonder that she and her entire office were invited to the COVD meeting in San Diego to present lectures on practice management and their “Team Approach in Office”. One lecture that stood out the most among the entire COVD meeting focused on Dr. Torgerson’s collaboration with a pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Thomas Lenart.

While I was an extern, Dr. Torgerson, had recently opened a satellite VT office that was part of Dr. Lenart’s office. At the time, I didn’t realize what a big deal that was. Now, halfway through my residency and learning the ins and outs of vision therapy and rehabilitation, I can appreciate how rare and surprising that can be. The challenges to obtain collaboration between the two fields of eye care are countless. However, Dr. T and Dr. Lenart explain that with patience, extensive amount of discussion, and an open mind, anything is possible.

The lecture that Dr. Torgerson and Dr. Lenart presented together was genuinely well thought out. From the audience perspective, it’s obvious that there is a mutual understanding between these two doctors. Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. It took years of discussion and debate between them to be able to form a relationship to better manage and treat their patients. In the grand scheme of things, isn’t that what it really all comes down to?

Patients with strabismus are the most likely to benefit from this collaboration. Dr. T and Dr. Lenart presented specific cases in which they coordinated care together. Cases included intermittent exotropia, accommodative and infantile esotropia, strabismus from traumatic brain injury, and an alarming case of a brain tumor diagnosed in a two year old with monocular rotary nystagmus. Among all of these cases, there was a team effort to enhance patient care. The key factor in this relationship is to understand what each other’s specialty encompasses and how to best approach management and care.

“To provide a far superior level of patient care than either could offer without the other”, a quote from the lecture basically sums up the entire presentation into one phrase. This comes to show how much tremendous impact collaboration between a pediatric ophthalmologist and a developmental optometrist can have on patient care. At the end of the lecture, there was a well-deserved standing ovation from the entire audience. A breakthrough in developmental vision care, this can serve as a template for similar collaborations around the country.

Read more about the collaboration between Drs. Torgerson and Lenart here.