Dr. Leonard Press – The Sanet Vision Seminar Series Premium Education Module for Binovi Academy
The year was 2011, and I was finally getting around to an item on my “bucket list” at the time, which was to sign up for the Sanet Vision Seminar Series. Could it possibly be as good as what I had heard? As it turned out, the first weekend of the Series exceeded my expectations, prompting me to add another item to my bucket list: At some point I would get together with Dr. Sanet to collaborate on bringing the Series to a wider audience.
Through a chain of events, Survivor Producer Joe Lia underwent optometric vision therapy with Dr. Selwyn Super to address his strabismus. The success he enjoyed sparked his interest in capturing the essence of therapy on film. Dr. Super pointed him toward the Sanet Series and, with Dr. Sanet’s permission he professionally videotaped each of the five weekend seminars. From my perspective, the timing of these videos becoming available could not have been better! Another creative process began during which Dr. Sanet sent me his slides and I merged my commentary with Joe Lia’s marvelous video.
What I’ll attempt to do here is give you a flavor of the five weekend set that comprises this unique series, through a bite-size sample of each one.
Dr. Sanet introduces some of the historical giants in our field, on whose shoulders we stand, and how his personal odyssey led to his mode of practice. He differentiates between different models of vision, liberally sharing practice management strategies and clinical procedures illustrative of successful approaches to care in optometric vision therapy. He explains how one’s model should be growing, evolving, and dynamic rather than something static. One of the more powerful concepts that permeates the seminars is “Einstellung”, loosely translated as “attitude”. Irrespective of whether you’re a student, therapist, or doctor, you will find yourself challenged by what you see and hear. Some of it will fortify what you understand or believe, and some of it will be transformative as you develop new Optometric paradigms . Through a variety of links to references and resources, I put myself in your position as a seminar attendee, serving as a seasoned tour guide to the requisite “attitude adjustment” that will make you a better therapist/practitioner, and provide your patients with optimal outcomes.
I’m tempted to speculate that you’ll find this weekend to be your favorite, because it presents so much of the “meat and potatoes” of therapy procedures and approaches that you’ll do most of the time with most of your patients. The material is ideal not only for training new therapists, but will elevate your understanding and appreciation of activities and procedures even if you are a well-established vision therapist. It brings to life the principles of an extensive chapter that Bob and I co-authored on Spatial Vision in a book on Vision Rehabilitation edited by Drs. Suter and Harvey, interspersed with material from the iBook version of Applied Concepts in Vision Therapy. You’ll become conversant with the top-down cognitive approaches from masters such as Dr. Harry Wachs who helped both Bob and Linda Sanet formulate their thinking, and you’ll be so charged up I have no doubt that you’ll be putting most of what you learn this weekend into your practice tomorrow! You’ll never approach optometric vision therapy the same way, as you watch attendees make changes in visual thinking through the ocular motor system, accommodative system, and binocular system. A total of twenty-eight procedures are demonstrated in detail, and by the end of this weekend you’ll appreciate commonalities such as when, how, and why to “open the periphery”, as an example. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll gain a deep appreciation of why the procedure itself isn’t nearly as crucial as the changes that it enables the patient to internalize and transfer.
This segment is devoted to Visual Information Processing. It begins with quantitative and qualitative insights obtained through standardized as well as clinical observations. You’ll become comfortable with obtaining baseline data that will guide and inform therapy, as well as writing comprehensive reports to aid effective communication with parents, teachers, and other professionals. Therapy procedures are presented in a way that increases patient motivation and makes progress evident. As we put together the slide content, video, and commentary for this weekend, I was reminded again how valuable the information is for training new and established therapists on the levels within each procedure and how to communicate effectively with patients before, during, and after the activities. The give and take between therapist and patient is beautifully illustrated by the incomparable Linda Sanet and she navigates with attendees through parquetry blocks, attribute blocks, and supportive materials. And as a bonus, you’ll take a trip through the intricacies of Multi-Matrix Brain Development with its inventor, our good friend and colleague Dr. Carl Hillier. You’ll become conversant with how all this relates to a wide range of visual readiness skills for development ranging from balance to movement to posture, and academic performance in areas including orientation of letters and words, reading, and mathematics.
Amblyopia and strabismus, the focus of this weekend, may be the most eye opening for you. You’ll find out why good visual acuity (such as 20/20) and normal binocular vision already exists within the patient’s visual system, and how your job is to arrange conditions so that normal acuity and binocular function can emerge. Through an introspective series of True/False questions and answers, Dr. Sanet will shift your paradigm if you consider amblyopia to be a problem in monocular acuity, or if you consider strabismus to be a fundamental problem in binocular alignment. I’ll guide your thinking further by linking to references from ophthalmology and neuroscience literature showing how cutting edge research informs clinical practice, ranging from visual crowding to binocular integration. We elaborate the model that Bob is evolving for treatment of amblyopia and strabismus without patching or the need for surgery, stemming from the early work of Dr. Arnold Sherman and Donald Getz and finishing with a contemporary flourish from Bob’s “optometric daughter in Spain”, Pilar Vergara. We’ll explore complex topics such as eccentric fixation, anomalous correspondence, and comitancy in a way that will breathe new life into how you conduct testing and arrange therapeutic conditions for your patients, from binasal occlusion to peripheral stereopsis. You’ll learn the various roads to improving strabismus and amblyopia, and how keeping the patient on the appropriate road maximizes outcomes.
Optometric Management of Patients with Acquired Brain Injury is the final module of our five weekends, and it is last for a good reason. Patients with ABI will bring out the best of your understanding in neurology and its application to testing and vision rehabilitation. Everything you learned previously, from inhibiting primitive reflexes, to integrating information processing, and visual thinking through the ocular motor, accommodative, and binocular systems will be called upon to care for this population. We reach back to the first weekend, tapping into the introduction to the neurology of the visual system, but delving into visual and associated pathways and streams in much more detail. We’ll navigate through cranial nerves, take inventory through checklists, deal with syndromes including post-trauma and visual midline shift, and build bridges to neuro-optometric rehabilitation through metacognition. This is frequently a fragile population, for whom language in the therapy room is important in creating an effective learning environment. We apply Carol Dweck’s mindset approach and with Piaget’s cognitive insights in helping patients to feel empowered and positive about their own rehabilitation. Neurogenesis and neuroplasticity set the stage for procedures that ask the patient to go about their visual activities in a different way. You will learn the nuances of prescribing yoked prism, sector occlusion, and field expansion, and you’ll come to appreciate why doing specific therapy procedures in a novel way is crucial to the patient experiencing positive benefits.
Hopefully this synopsis helps you appreciate the depth, breadth and utility of obtaining the Sanet Vision Seminar Series Premium Education Module within Binovi Academy. Some people have asked me: “Will using this module take the place of going to Dr. Sanet’s seminars?”
The answer to that is a qualified “no”. There is nothing that substitutes for the hands-on learning that occurs during the live seminars, and the bonding that occurs among attendees during the five weekends. Much valuable information is exchanged during breaks and at dinners. On the other hand, it is impossible for live course attendees to be engaged the entire time, or to put Bob on “pause” to review material before moving on to what comes the next hour, or the next day, or the next weekend. Course attendees will find that this premium education module enhances their understanding and application of the live seminars. And while some of you may find this module “the next best thing to being there”, it will more than likely prompt you to move the five weekend live seminar to the top of your bucket list.
About Dr. Leonard Press, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO
Dr. Leonard Press is the Eyecarrot Director of Global Education and one of the foremost leaders in behavioural optometry worldwide, having written three major textbooks and currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Vision Development & Rehabilitation, the journal of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, writing, and clinical work, having received the Skeffington Award for Excellent in Optometric Writing from COVD in 1992, among others. Dr. Press is currently President of Press Consulting, P.C., in Lakewood New Jersey. Read more here.