Rebuttal Article - Vision, Learning Problems and Dyslexia: Part 1 & 2

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Melançon, Carole, OD
Bastien, Yves, OD
Carmel Christiane, OD
Claudine Greendale, OD
Jean-Pierre Lagacé, OD, M.Sc.
Nathalie Mazur, OD
Frédéric Morin, OD
Geneviève Provost, OD
Marie-Claude Provost, OD
Margaret Ronis, OD
The article we wish to refute comes to a somewhat distorted conclusion since it relies on a partial and an incomplete review of the scientific literature. Unfortunately, a number of recent publications concluding to the efficacy of vision therapy were omitted; furthermore some of the articles in reference were quoted with a conclusion other than that of the authors of the said articles. The authors also drew extensively from the writing of several American medical organizations, ignoring those of their optometric counterparts. From the conclusions of this article, one could infer wrongly that optometrists who diagnose and treat vision problems linked to academic difficulties are offering their patients a therapy that is scientifically unsound, yielding little more results than a placebo effect. This raises serious questions that have far reaching consequences. Yet, even an incomplete review could have tried to balance the scales; we feel that this was not attempted, since the article has not mentioned any references to the contrary of their belief, although a number of recent articles to that effect are readily available. Also the article seems to imply that optometrists who provide visual training claim they can cure dyslexia. They also wrongfully affirm that the dyslexic population does not have any more vision problems than the general pediatric population and that the overall optometric practice regarding kids with learning problems has no scientific basis. We claim the opposite and we argue that ethics and the precautionary principle should entail any optometrist who is not comfortable with the assessment or treatment of visual problems related to learning disabilities to refer his patient to an optometrist more specialized in this area. We also assert that these principles imply that health or education professionals should not deprive a child from therapy that may be beneficial on the grounds that the scientific validation is incomplete. Again, the precautionary principle in the Socratic oath speaks loud and clear. Given the magnitude of scientific literature, we argue that it would be in the interest of all that the school of optometry of the University de Montréal opens up to the study, research and teaching of this optometric speciality in Québec.