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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11365
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Just saw the eye doc today.... she says my daughter needs

Customer Question

Just saw the eye doc today.... she says my daughter needs something called "vision therapy." I've never heard of that before. The internet is conflicted -- is it quackery or science? She's having trouble in school, especially with reading. What do I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

was your daughter examined by an optometrist or an opthalmologist?

Dr. Rick :

I tend to believe that "eye therapy" is pretty much quackery but, in some cases, in some children, some forms of eye therapy might be useful......

Dr. Rick :

Can you tell me more about your daughters particular situation, her age, ocular and medical therapy? If so, I would be happy to address her specific issues in detail.

Dr. Rick :

I see that you are offline. I'll switch over to the Q&A system. This system works a lot like 'text messaging' but an email is sent to each of us anytime something is posted to this thread. We can continue to work on your question there..... :)


Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
I look forward to your response so that we can figure out what would be the best treatment to help your daughter.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Rick,

Here's more info: my daughter is a healthy 8 year old who does well in school. But she's been complaining of headaches while reading for the past 2 months. She was examined by an optometrist who works in an office with an ophthalmologist. The dr told us Aubrey's eyes are healthy, but that glasses wouldn't help with her reading issues. She recommended the eye therapy instead. Your site came up while I was searching the internet for more info, so I thought I'd seek out an effortless 2nd opinion.

Jackie

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
I'm glad that using JustAnswer is effortless....we strive to make it so, and accurate too :-)
I am very leery of this recommendation given what you have told me. There are many practices that push this "eye therapy" and keep it up as long as you are willing to keep on paying.
There are as you know many, many causes of headaches. I've found after two decades of practice that eye strain is not a common one found in 8 year old kids.
If you want to let no stone go unturned I would, first of all, get a second opinion from a pediatric ophthalmologist. You might even want to bring copies of her clinical notes from this most recent eye exam and recommendation to review with the peds specialist. If everything turns out OK there, then my next step would be with her regular pediatrician. If you want to go farther after that then consult a pediatric neurologist.
However, in my opinion, do not buy into this eye therapy thing at this point....something smells a bit fishy to me.....
Does this make sense to you?
It was a pleasure to assist you with your question. Please let me know if I can do anything else to help you in the future. Positive Feedback and/or Bonus is welcomed and appreciated.
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Dr. Rick -- Responding to your follow-up email I received today:
I appreciate your answer and did make a contribution, however small, to the cause. I have asked more questions of other professionals, and I do appreciate your input. Based on my now more-educated information, I am proceeding with the vision therapy with the optometrist. Your perspective is understandable based on what you know and your own experience, but I'm sure you would admit that you certainly don't and can't possibly know everything.
It does seem, however, that you are strongly biased to the knowledge base of a physician-only approach to my daughter's issue. Contrary to your advice, I do believe that my optometrist seeks the best interest of my daughter and is not "pushing eye therapy." I don't believe that she will continue to "bill me for therapy as long as I am willing to keep paying."
I do not have unlimited financial resources to seek and pay for the additional consultations with the specialists you recommend. Nor do I have the time to wait the months it takes to get an appointment with said specialists. It seems you have little or no faith in the advice of the optometrist, who from what I can determine is the real expert in this matter.
Just as I would favor your opinion in regard to a matter or eye surgery, I am going to favor the opinion of this optometrist in regard to my daughter's visual function or lack thereof. If the therapy is not producing the results we seek, I'll exercise my parental judgement to terminate such treatment accordingly.
But I cannot state strongly enough, in my diplomatic way, my disappointment in the narrow-mindedness of your opinion as well as my offense at your lack of faith in my parental ability to make health choices for my daughter. To me, something "smells fishy" about you.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your very well stated feedback :)
You are absolutely correct in my bias and, while I don't yet know everything (just ask my wife :), I'm working on it.... lol!
I agree with your decision and fully trust that your parental judgment will serve your daughter well. I did not mean any offense nor did I mean to suggest that your ability to know what is best for your child was somehow lacking. My statements were based on my 15 years of formal education, years of serving on the Faculty in a medical school teaching young ophthalmologists in training as well two decades of clinical practice.
During the last 20 years I, unfortunately, have seen parents who were desperate to help their child and, as such were vulnerable, being taken advantage of by optometrists who, it seems, are less ethical then the one you have been lucky to come across.
I still believe that the use of eye exercises to treat asthenopia -- discomfort/headaches when reading -- is quackery at best and criminal at worst.
That being said you are absolutely correct....my narrow-minded view is due to my life experiences and training and it may be wrong.
The good news? These eye exercises, if they don't work, will cause no harm what so ever to your daughter.
I, truly, wish your daughter the very best and -- really -- thank you for your excellent, diplomatic follow up. America would be a much better place if more people could express themselves as eloquently as you have just done.
Take care, have a wonderful day and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you or your daughter.