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Continuing Education In Chicago

This past weekend, I was able to attend fifteen hours of continuing education in Chicago.  The program as well as the city were really great.  The courses varied from brain injury as it impacts vision to nutrition as it affects both the eye and the body.  There were about 60 attendees that participated in the program.  The lecturers were really top notch. I met with an optometrist who authored a book, “Visionary Kitchen: A Cookbook For Eye Health.”  The book is beautifully illustrated and very detailed about ingredients and their beneficial effects.

My time in Chicago was great.  I took the train into the city and walked a lot.  I went down to Lake Michigan and walked along Lakeshore Drive.  I then took the “El” (elevator train) to Wrigley Field.  What a great experience.I got to take a tour of the ballpark.  What a fantastic experience.  We went into the city the next night and had a great dinner at a really old restaurant.

Overall, this was probably one of the best continuing education seminars I attended.

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Prisms to Correct Vision

A patient of mine came in with her friend. She was 20/20 – no need for Prescription. Did a peripheral vision test and notice she could not see anything to the right of her nose while each eye was covered separately. She was not blind, or blurred, she had no vision.

With her left eye covered she could not see anything to the right of her nose. With her right eye covered, she could see nothing on the right of the nose.

No right field of vision…so that tells you it’s the brain. As it turns out she had brain surgery for another condition, and that surgery resulted this condition.

]Maybe the fibers that that lead from her eye to the back of the brain were severed. They performed a brain scan, they determined that there was an aneurysm. We gave her specialized glasses, known as prisms that shifted her world from left To right. It does not correct the vision, but just shifts them.

Her life was restored. She was able to drive, read, and work. Her quality of life improved dramatically.

Facts

1. Vision Loss may involve certain parts of the visual field

2. Loss of ¼ to ½ of vision field are common head injuries or tumors.

3. Prism lenses re-orientate the eyes into seeing ordinary

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Part Science, Part Art, All Heart

A dentist in the Inland Empire used these words to describe his profession.  I feel they really apply to optometry.  A major part of our profession of course deals with “science.”  Development in lens styles, treating disease and measuring visual findings has improved due to developments in science.  In dealing with the “art” however, we are dealing with the human mind, 2+ 2 doesn’t always equal 4.  If it did, there would be one best contact lens, one best style for frames, and basically we would never have to redo someone’s glasses due to comfort.  We would just put them in front of a computer and it would come out with a prescription and it would be perfect.  This does not exist.  Also, there is not just one great drug or treatment for a disease.  The “art” part comes from experience and listening to the patient.  When you deal with a patient, everyone is an individual and you must as a practitioner, accommodate and interpret the findings around the patient.

The “heart” part of the statement is particularly true in optometry.  Nobody cares what you know until they know that you care (an old proverb).  There is a lot of empathy surrounding my profession, or at least there should be.  You have to listen to the wants and needs of a patient.  This could never be ascertained by just a computer finding or just asking, “which is better, one or two?”  Just the fact that you show care for a patient could make the difference whether your treatment is successful.  Patients want to be listened to and feel their concerns are being addressed and considered and as individuals, they want to be valued.

 

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One of My Most Challenging Patients

When in business, it is said that your friends and family members can be the most challenging.  My mom who is 92 poses one of those challenges.  First of all she’s in remarkably good health.  Her eyes are also reasonably healthy.  Part of her situation is that she has a significant difference in prescription between the two eyes.  The second condition is that they don’t team well together.  After examining her recently, I noted one significant change in her prescription and prescribed for it.  It took her about a day to get use to the change but afterwards, she was extremely happy with the prescription.  This is the best she’s seen for quite a while.  Believe me, this was a good feeling for both her and me.

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Testimonial – 1/13/2014

Dr Rothbard,
I would like to personally thank you for your efforts and for going out of your way for me and a lot of your patients. I am in the healthcare field myself and I do know that it’s very rare to find a healthcare professional who goes out of their way for a patient. I walked into your office last week Friday after reading great reviews about you and your staff on Yelp and I briefly spoke to Katie and a gentleman at the front desk. They were both very helpful and took the time to listen to me and talk to me about my current issue with my PPO insurance. Katie was awesome and very attentive! After talking to them about my condition and insurance problems, they took down my number and told me that I should expect a call back on Monday. Little did I know that YOU will be calling me and leaving me a personal message on my cel phone about where to go to get RGP lenses fitted. Even though you knew that you were not going to be able to provide me with services, you still went out of your way to call me and tell me who to go to. I want to use this opportunity to thank you. As a health care provider in the inland empire, I am constantly encountering patients who are looking for the “best” doctors. Just so you know, you have topped my list of “best” optometrists in the IE due to your human touch and personable approach. I will be referring everyone that’s looking for an optometrist to you. Also, please look out for my review on Yelp.Thank you and I’ll be sure to tell my referrals to let you know that “Joe sent you” when they come your way.

Best regards,

Joe

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A Human Factor

I so enjoy optometry.  For me, it’s great being in my own practice.  One of the most enjoyable parts is that I could get to know many of my patients.  They’re not just another set of eyeballs.  I have seen many of the patients who started as primary school age individuals reach college and adulthood.  I have also seen patients who have retired and they relate to what they’re doing.  Many times these patients will tell me what’s going on with their family or friends.  I really feel good that they’ve entrusted me with such a vital part of their life, their vision.

We, as optometrists, play a very important part in our patients’ lives.  In certain cases, the care we render could be life saving.  Also, more common, is that we can improve their quality of life through our care.  When a number of my patients state that they love coming into the office, I really feel great.  It so makes me feel that I’ve chosen a great profession.  This is even more to the point as I knew I wanted to be an optometrist as early as my junior year in high school.

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There’s More To Vision Than Just 20/20

When examining patients for glasses and contact lenses, being able to have those patients see clearly with the prescription is of course very important.  I recently prescribed a pair of glasses for a patient whose comment was, “I feel like my jaw is unclenching when I put these on.”  This is because the eyes did not work well together and when I prescribed a lens called “prism,” it helped the eyes to work better with each other.  In another case, I was doing vision training with a college football player.  His comment was “that everything looked as it was unfolding a lot more slowly implying that he was able to react to a situation on the field more quickly.

 

Making sure the patient receives a pair of glasses that takes care of the task is important.  So many patients older than 45 need bifocal lenses so they can see distance and near.  If they’re working a desktop computer with the screen at eye level as well at a different distance than their normal reading, could lead to a lot of neck, shoulder or eyestrain.  Usually a separate pair of glasses needs to prescribed for this situation. The same thing goes for an electrician who often times has to look at close up detail above his head.  In this case, we have to put a bifocal lens both below the center and above the center of straight away vision.  Even though these glasses don’t look pretty, for some patients who have this demand, they’re very functional.

Also, many times a child will have 20/20 vision at distance and near but still have a learning problem that’s visually related.  Sometimes glasses alone will help remedy the problem and sometimes you also need vision training.  This is sometimes overlooked by the practitioner.

 

These are just a few examples of  patients who may have 20/20 either with glasses or without who still may have vision problems.

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“It’s A Wonderful Life”

I believe most people have seen the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  It’s about a story about how each of us impacts the lives of many individuals even if we don’t realize it at the time.  I am thankful that I’m in a profession which gives me an opportunity to do that in an extremely positive way..

 

I look at the testimonial letters I’ve gotten from patients and feel so proud of being given the chance to help.  I also look at the contacts I’ve made through my patients and I, myself, have benefitted greatly from them.

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Vision Training Case

I started working with a young individual in his freshman year in college.  His main complaint was that he was having trouble taking in the whole playing field when he was looking at one particular player.  Even though the patient suffered from an eye injury two years ago, there was no organic problem with the eye.

 

I started doing vision training on him.  Yesterday, he related that all the action on the football field looked as if it were slower.  In other words, his reaction time was a look quicker.  Also, he said his receptions (ability to catch the ball) from the quarterback improved markedly.  Needless to say, he was very happy.

 

Vision training has so many applications.  These include individuals who have problems keeping their place reading or get headaches while doing near tasks including reading from text, desktops, laptops, or mobile devices.  It also includes people who have poor depth perception or poor hand-eye coordination.

For more information you can view our video on YouTube under our YouTube channel, robertrothbardod.

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Passion For The Profession

A business associate of mine said “nothing happens until someone gets excited.”  That’s so true.  I was at an optometric society meeting yesterday.  There were optometrists as well as optometric students there.  I was talking with the first year students how important it is to be passionate about what you’re doing.  I am fortunate that I’m in a profession that I feel that way about.  I work with very interesting cases where we have had a positive, profound effect on patients’ lives by our diagnoses and treatment.  These includes relieving headaches, making individuals (especially students)  more efficient readers and patients seeing depth perception for the first time and actually referring a 41-year-old patient to the appropriate doctor (after our examination) which ultimately saved her life.  She was diagnosed with an aneurysm which the doctor said could have killed the patient in the “not too distant future.”  They operated on her immediately and the aneurysm broke on the operating table where the patient lost that eye but her life was saved.  It was really rewarding when she came back to the office with a letter thanking me for saving her life.  You can see this letter in earlier blogs that appear on the website.

 

This is why I feel so excited about practicing, even after 32 years.

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