Patients Teach Students about Optometric Vision Therapy over Skype!

I use Skype to chat with my friends from Los Angeles to Anchorage!

I’d tell them all about San Antonio and of course my exciting adventures at RSO! It wasn’t until I became the RSO student chapter President that I conducted a professional Skype Presentation/meeting.  To my surprise, I didn’t feel a barrier between the speaker and me.  The audience listened and were captivated by the speaker on the large projector and laughed at all their jokes. I’ve only heard about Skype interviews and webinars being quick and  fun, but now I also see how cost effective and interactive they can be!

Here are some tips for your next Skype Event!

Steps to take before any Skype Meeting:

  1. Have an alternative contact with the speaker, cellphone is best.
  2. Get a webcam! make sure the microphone, and camera is working. I try calling my friends on Skype to test out the webcam. Make sure the webcam can face the audience and still pick up your voice.
  3. Have a portable microphone, so the audience can ask questions and the speaker can hear them.
  4. Maintain a steady internet connection. I would use a LAN line rather than WIFI, but this depends on your network.
  5. Run a test prior to meeting. I find myself usually doing 2 test runs. Something can go wrong with the first test run, for example, my speaker was not installed properly or the other party can’t hear me. At the second test run we usually have a successful connection, I write down the camera, audio, speaker, and microphone settings.

The COVD student chapter had 2 Skype speakers this year.

On October 10, 2013, Dr. Sue Barry gave an interactive presentation in the evening. We had nearly the entire school come and hear this amazing speaker talk about her journey of regaining stereopsis via optometric vision therapy. “Dubbed ‘Stereo Sue’ by neurologist Oliver Sacks in a New Yorker article by that name, Sue Barry has gone on to write her own book Fixing My Gaze which describes the astonishing experience of gaining 3D stereovision after a lifetime of seeing in only two dimensions. Intensive vision therapy created new neural connections, and with them, a new view of the world. Challenging conventional wisdom that the brain is programmed for life during a critical period in childhood, Barry offers a poignant and revelatory account of our capacity for change.” (Source,

On November 15, 2013, Mrs. Robin Benoit, author of “Jillian’s Story: How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter’s Life” and “Dear Jillian: Vision Therapy Changed My Life Too,”  visited UIWRSO for a second time.  Last year, she and her daughter, Jillian, were here in person.

In her books, she details the life-changing journeys of her daughter, Jillian, and 22 other vision therapy patients.  Although vision therapy helped Jillian overcome struggles with amblyopia, which is described in “Jillian’s Story,” she is proud to share, in her new book, the stories of those with autism, traumatic brain injury, stroke, anxiety, polyneuritis and vision problems such as strabismus and convergence insufficiency.

Robin and Jillian have made presentations to 17 optometry colleges in the United States.  UIWRSO is the only one to be visited twice!

Jillian couldn’t join us on this occasion because of school, but wanted to remind us of this:

—  “You may not offer vision therapy in your practice when you graduate, but please know what it is and what it can do.  You hold the key to changing someone’s life in your hand.”

I did not undergo vision therapy, but the meetings have helped me understand what a VT patient feels. I learned something that clinic cannot teach me! I hope after viewing the clips you find something positive to take away from these phenomenal speakers! Stereo Sue and Jillian’s Story are part of the Optometrists Change Lives™ program from OEP Foundation and HOYA Vision Care. OEP also offers other programs such as King-Devick (which is in person) and Going Blind (which is a film screening) as well as speakers on special topics.

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RSO COVD First Officer Meeting

Bombay HallWe decided to meet at Bombay Hall for their AYCE Lunch buffet because it’s right next to our campus! I, myself, LOVE Indian food, because the flavors are just so rich! I also don’t eat a lot of meat, so I like how they separate the meats from the veggies section. Some of the officers have never tried Indian food, so they were in for a treat!

I was the president-elect my first year at RSO and now that summer has rolled in; I’m the new president of COVD at RSO. So what is COVD? The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is a non-profit, international membership association of eye care professionals including optometrists, optometry students, and vision therapists. Established in 1971, COVD provides board certification for eye doctors and vision therapists who are prepared to offer state-of-the-art services in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy, and visual rehabilitation.

covdlogoThe national chapter also provides our club with amazing guest speakers and information! I have many hopes and goals to spread the mission of COVD in conjunction with our school’s mission: “Improving lives by advancing excellence in optometric vision therapy through education and board certification!”

It’s been a while since I last saw my fellow officers from COVD RSO.  After spring finals were over the new second years get to go home for break, while the new third years prepare to go on to clinic. Our officers consist of second and third year interns and it was so exciting to hear about everyone’s experiences.

Every RSO member of COVD joined the club for their own reasons. When I was an undergrad I interned at a vision therapy (VT) practice, however, I spent more time shadowing the doctor when she was not doing VT. I have never gone through vision therapy myself, so I saw VT as something for kids or just something an optometrist can “specialize” in – I couldn’t have been more wrong!

This looks so good!!! :p
This looks so good!!! :p

The meeting with the COVD officers had shattered all previous notions I had of VT and COVD. Desirae Brinkley, the president elect, shared amazing stories of life changing experiences with her patients and how her optometrist flew with her to the COVD Annual Meetings where she got to network with some COVD celebs! Sam Bohl, our Secretary/Treasurer did not know she had ZERO 3D vision until she saw an optometrist.

Joseph Allen, our VP, brought in a research article about traumatic brain injury and wanted to share it with all our members–because COVD isn’t just about the clinical practice but needs active research to support it.

It was like a bubbling pot of ideas from such bright minds! We are looking forward to our future plans which include hosting a golf tournament, inviting optometrists to talk about VT in their practice, and having a Skype meeting with  Susan R. Barry, the author of Fixing my Gaze.

We ended our meeting by setting deadlines and dates for our events. It’s going to be an amazing year! We are just one club on campus, but I plan to make the best of our local chapter. Our officers are motivated and dedicated! I can’t wait to show San Antonio what we have in store! XD


-Susan Ly
UIWRSO Class of 2016