Vision Therapy: The Philippines and Beyond!
by Tom Headline, COVT
Vision therapy and Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation are really securing a strong foothold in the Philippines and throughout Asia. Drs. Charlie Ho and Mai Uy and their team from the Vision Science Institute (VSI) invited me to perform a series of three vision therapy-related courses (VT101, VT102 and VT103) early this past June. VT103 was a very well-received new addition this year and focused primarily on visual information processing evaluation and therapy techniques. Each of the courses attracted almost 40 optometrists from places all over the world, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Kuwait. It was truly a privilege to work with these dedicated and enthusiastic professionals. Each attendee displayed a high level of motivation in learning new vision therapy techniques and strategies, working to ultimately improve the lives of the patients in their home countries. Who knew that when I became a vision therapist over 30 years ago, my life would take this direction? It is amazing to play a role in helping vision therapy to spread throughout the world.
In addition to the vision therapy courses, the Integrated Philippine Association of Optometrists (IPAO) invited me to present during their 42nd National Convention. The convention had record attendance–550 optometrists traveled from all over the Philippines to the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. My topic for this event was Visual Information Processing: What the Primary Care Optometrist Can Discover. I introduced visual information processing abilities during this presentation through a discussion of visual perception, visual-motor integration, and visual-auditory integration skills. In addition, I presented signs and symptoms of visual information processing challenges, along with appropriate case history questions to ask patients. While the convention’s attendance wasn’t limited to developmental optometrists, and we know that not all optometrists will practice vision therapy, it is important to reach out to our colleagues who specialize in primary care. They often encounter patients who could benefit from vision therapy or a developmental approach, and co-management is important for these patients.
Other topics from this meeting included various aspects of developmental optometry and neuro-optometric rehabilitation, along with topics relevant to primary optometry care. Throughout the National Convention, there were also many vision therapy case presentations by local Filipino optometrists who provided video patient/parent testimonials about the difference vision therapy created in their lives. It was truly inspiring!
I am so grateful to Drs. Ho and Uy for all their warmth, generosity and dedication to increasing the presence of vision therapy throughout Asia. Onward we go!