Pediatrics/binocular vision/vision therapy course offers practical approach to children’s care

April 19, 2012

In many respects, children’s vision care can be considered one of the fastest-growing and most promising segments of optometry, according to Mitchell Scheiman, O.D., the lecturer for AOA EyeLearn™’s new pediatrics/ binocular vision/vision therapy online continuing education course. 

Educators and parents alike appear to increasingly recognize the importance of addressing eye and vision conditions that can lead to academic underachievement or other problems in life, Dr. Scheiman said. 

Last year alone, some 12,874 parents brought their children to optometric practices for InfantSEE® examinations.

However, Dr. Scheiman, a professor of optometry and director of the pediatric and binocular vision program at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, acknowledged many practicing optometrists may still be daunted by the unique challenges encountered in providing care for children.

The EyeLearn™ pediatrics/ binocular vision/ vision therapy course breaks down the basics of children’s vision practice in a series of eight concise learning modules, covering the key concepts and components of care – and a number of helpful hints, Dr. Scheiman said.

Like other EyeLearn™ online offerings, the pediatrics/ binocular vision/ vision therapy course was developed, in part, to provide a helpful refresher for optometrists who are preparing to take American Board of Optometry board certification examinations.

However, the course is also intended to provide busy, practicing optometrists a simple, step-by-step approach that can be used to make the diagnosis and care of pediatric eye problems practical in almost any optometric office, Dr. Scheiman said.

The course has so far drawn a four-star rating from online students, largely because “the emphasis is on practical skills and knowledge,” Dr. Scheiman believes.

“For example, practitioners should first understand the importance of the case history in pediatric care,” Dr. Scheiman said.

For that reason, the course opens with a review of the differences between an adult and a pediatric case history, the interview techniques involved in compiling a pediatric history, and the use of surveys and questionnaires to facilitate the process. Guidance on patient – and parent – education is offered.  

The course then provides a brief overview of anisometropia in pediatric patients with a detailed look at amblyopia.

Dr. Scheiman then reviews the assessment and differential diagnosis of non-strabismic binocular vision and accommodative disorders, and the treatment and management of those conditions.

Students then move on to consider the assessment and treatment of visual processing disorders.

In a final segment, Dr. Scheiman reviews the assessments and treatment of vision problems resulting from acquired brain injury.

Like all EyeLearn™ courses, the pediatrics/ binocular vision/ vision therapy course is presented in a series of interactive learning modules that allow practitioners to log on and access the learning materials whenever they are ready.

Modules range in length from a mere five minutes to just under a half hour. The entire course can be completed in just under two and a half hours.

The electronic format allows those taking the course to pause at any point and return to the course later. They can immediately repeat a unit if they do not adequately understand the material covered.

Each unit comes with one or more self-assessment quizzes that appear periodically. Course handouts are provided on the EyeLearn™ website. Course takers can even follow the speaker word for word using course transcripts that are also provided on the site. 

In addition to interactive learning modules, practitioners can easily access supplemental resources such as AOA Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines and articles from Optometry: Journal of the AOA as well as a range of pre-recorded audio or video lectures.

A Continuing Education (CE) Finder feature allows optometrists to find appropriate classroom continuing education programs on the posterior segment and related subjects, offered by state optometric associations, regional optometric organizations, and the AOA.

The EyeLearn™ online education portal is an exclusive AOA member benefit. AOA members can take courses and access materials free of charge. The optometric education portal can be accessed at www.aoa.org/eyelearn.

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