A Great Kickoff!!
When names like Dr. Len Press, Dr. Byne, and Dr. Noah Tannen begin talking about Developmental Optometry, it’s a good idea to sit up and pay attention. That’s what I do. But when they sit in the same room, and on the same stage no less, one should consider themselves privileged to be in the audience. That was my feeling tonight as the VDR Symposium began.
Tim Osborne, who works in scouting for Major League Baseball, hit leadoff tonight as the topic of conversation. As the primary topic of the book “Big Data Baseball”, Tim has the been the chief scout of the MLB for the last few years. Needing an enhanced screening technique, Tim contacted Dr. Arnie Sherman in New York to help him conduct the screening. Dr. Sherman who is a power hitter in his own right, is a clinical professor at SUNY College of Optometry and an internationally known lecturer. In coordination with several others, including Dr. Noah Tannen, a screening was constructed and tailored to serve the needs of Tim Osborne, and by extension, Major League Baseball. Metrics were taken in a myriad of visual skills from 2012-2014 to assist Major League Baseball to further evaluate the up and coming players of the MLB. Ostensibly, Major League Baseball found the information useful, although their use of the data was kept fairly secret. For the future, a significant difference was noted between the athletes with high visual skills and those who were less visually skilled. With any luck, there’s more to come!
As phase two of the evening began with Dr. Press as the moderator, the audience was treated to the wisdom of Dr. David Cook and Dr. Samantha Slotnick as they took the stage to discuss expanding one’s sphere of awareness. Dr. Cook, who is equal parts intelligence, humor, and moxie, completely delivered in his presentation of Relative Versus Peripheral/Egocentric Depth Perception. After discussing the importance of Gestalt Awareness, one particularly interesting point Dr. Cook made (he had so many!) is in the language of folks with strabismus, or perhaps their lack of language, in describing visual float. Because they have never seen visual float, they simply do not possess the language needed for the description, anymore than someone without strabismus has the language to describe seeing all the stars in the universe. Both are impossible because they’ve never been seen. As Dr. Slotnick took center stage, she wowed the audience with the importance of maintaining a global framework as a grounding for localization. She discussed the importance of clear and concise language in communicating with all patients, in particular, patients with strabismus. Dr. Slotnick notes it is helpful to understand a patient’s truth, as patients with strabismus distrust either their vision or their stereoscopic vision, and require a tactile component to help them understand. As the roundtable was open to both doctors, they further discussed the topics and findings of Dr. David Cook’s recently published paper. In anticipation of this evening, Dr. Shelly Mozlin also wrote a great blog post explaining tonight’s topics in greater detail.
All in all, this was a terrific event to kickoff this year’s version of COVD’s Annual Meeting. Not to be lost in all the excitement, we ALL wish Dr. Barry Tannen a very Happy Birthday on this landmark occasion!