This blog post earned its author a $500 Travel Grant for the COVD 2018 Annual Meeting! Students and residents–the application period for 2019 is open thru November 30th, 2018! Apply now and see your COVD Family in Kansas City next April 9-13!

by Brittany Glatting (SCO ’19)

The A.M. Skeffington Award is presented annually by COVD a COVD Fellow who has made great contributions to vision therapy and development literature. Both Drs. Barry Tannen and Kenneth J. Ciuffreda have received this prestigious award for their dedication to advancing research in vision therapy to the benefit of our patients.

Dr. Tannen graduated from Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University in 1982 and, in addition to his position on faculty at SUNY, is the founder of EyeCare Professionals in Hamilton Square, NJ. He does not limit himself, however, and also sees patients at St. Lawerence Rehabilitation Center and University Eye Associates, and is the program coordinator for the residency in Private Practice Vision Therapy and Visual Rehabilitation at EyeCare Professionals. Dr. Tannen has published a multitude of scientific papers and, along with his colleague Dr. Ciuffreda, published the textbook Eye Movement Basics for the Clinician.

Dr. Ciuffreda graduated from the Massachusetts College of Optometry in 1973 and earned his Ph.D. in Physiological Optics in 1977. Currently, he is on faculty at SUNY teaching courses including Strabismus and Amblyopia and Normal Binocular Vision. Dr. Ciuffreda has published an immense number of research papers, books, and has given hundreds of lectures and presentations on optometric vision therapy. His current research focuses on the normal and abnormal oculomotor systems.

In their article entitled “Concussion in the Twenty-first Century: An Optometric Perspective”, Drs. Tannen and Ciuffreda present the importance of optometrists in the management of concussions. They discuss the history of concussions over the past century and the significant impact they have on the health of the sufferer. Recently, concussions caused by sports have caught the attention of the medical, including optometric, community. This has increased awareness and research into the visual implications of concussions.

The authors discuss these implications, noting that oculomotor and non-oculomotor issues can occur as a result of head injury. As optometrists, we must be aware that our patients who have suffered concussions may present with vergence, accommodative and visual perceptual problems, in addition to non-vision problems which will need to be addressed through referral to another medical professional.

Drs. Tannen and Ciuffreda, point out the significant steps optometrists have taken in the past few years to fill the needs of the population with respect to concussions. OD’s have published research on the topic, educated other professionals and military associations, provided education for our own profession through COVD and NORA conferences as well as residency programs, and have better treated concussions by providing in-hospital care.

Concussion diagnosis, treatment and research is an area of medical care in which optometrists can and do play an important role. It is beneficial to both our profession and our patients to understand the visual repercussions of concussion and to work to better our patients’ treatment and recovery from their injury. As Drs. Tannen and Ciuffreda expressed, optometrists are stepping up to the plate to fill this need. As we continue this work, educating parents, legislators and others, we can improve the lives of many who are suffering.

Earn a $500 Travel Grant by writing a post like this one!