The 2017 Annual Meeting may be over, but there’s still so much to talk about! For the newest Fellows and COVTs who earned their certifications this year, this past Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, is sure to be one that they never forget. 

In order to continue to honor their outstanding effort and commitment, we reached out to each of these newly-certified optometrists and vision therapists to bring you the “WHY” (and how and where!) of their certification process. This week is none other than prolific blog contributor Dr. Marsha Sorenson, FCOVD!

Where are you now?

  • Where do you practice/work?
    I’m currently a staff optometrist at the Illinois Eye Institute at Princeton-Chicago Public Schools Vision Clinic.  I supervise 3rd and 4th year Illinois College of Optometry students doing exams on CPS children who fail vision screenings.  I also do vision processing evaluations and vision therapy at the clinic.

    I also work at Chicago Dizziness and Hearing Clinic, where I provide vision therapy services for patients with visually-induced vertigo and brain injury.  This is an interdisciplinary clinic where I collaborate with 2 neurologists, a vestibular physical therapist, and an audiologist to optimize patient outcomes.

How did you get involved with VT?

I have esotropia and amblyopia myself and did patching therapy as a kid.   I entered optometry school wanting to specialize in pediatrics, but I didn’t actually know much about VT aside from patching.   I became fascinated with everything I learned about VT at ICO, and I knew I wanted to make it a big part of my future practice.   I was also involved with ICO’s COVD club during optometry school.

  • How did you grow that interest?
    I completed a residency in vision therapy and rehabilitation at SUNY College of Optometry after graduation from ICO.  This experience really helped me grow as a clinician, and expanded my knowledge on diagnosis and treatment of binocular vision and visual processing disorders.

The Certification

  • What made you decide to pursue certification through COVD? 
    I eventually want to open my own VT practice or go into academia full time, and I knew pursuing the fellowship was an important step in achieving either of those goals.   I also think it’s important to be able to demonstrate to other professionals that I have additional knowledge in this area.
  • What was your biggest hurdle in the certification process?
    The open book questions were very challenging for me because I had a difficult time fitting everything I thought was important into the 5 page limit.  I also broke my ankle after I’d started the fellowship process, and adhering to the timeline became very challenging.

    • How did you overcome that hurdle?
      My mentor, Sandy Block, helped me a lot with editing and shortening my responses to fit the page limit.

What have you learned?

  • How have you grown?
    I think the going through the fellowship process helped me develop better explanations for conditions and better rationales for my treatment protocols.  This helps me better explain my treatment protocol to patients, parents, and students.

It’s not just about patient care, what else matters most to you in your practice/career?

I think increasing awareness about vision therapy is important. Many patients, teachers, and healthcare professionals don’t know much about VT. Vision therapy can help so many people, so I think it’s important to help spread the word.

What’s next for you?

Just continuing to be the best doctor and teacher that I can.

There’s more to life than vision care…

  • What other things are important to you?
    I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, traveling, biking, and yoga.  I just got back from a trip to Norway, which was filled with beautiful scenery!

Thank you to Dr. Sorenson for sharing her certification story with us and for her continued dedication to contributing to this blog!

Our certification programs are always accepting new applicants and you could be next!