Top 10 vision therapy books

July 20, 2017

As a lecturer and clinical instructor in vision therapy and pediatrics, it is important to have a literature base for what I am teaching. My top 10 favorite vision therapy books provide that evidence base and offer a varied clinical approach for all optometrists who to offer vision therapy in their practices or simply understand the visual process on a higher level.

I am constantly asked by seasoned and novice practitioners, and of course students, what are my favorite books in vision therapy.

As a lecturer and clinical instructor in vision therapy and pediatrics, it is important to have a literature base for what I am teaching. My top 10 favorite vision therapy books provide that evidence base and offer a varied clinical approach for all optometrists who to offer vision therapy in their practices or simply understand the visual process on a higher level.

Related: Vision therapy: 10 more tools for your practice

Several books are written at an introductory level, while others are a step up and aimed at practitioners with more experience. I promise that there will be something for everyone on this list.

Click here for Dr. Taub's top 10 vison therapy books

 

1. Applied Concepts in Vision Therapy

Leonard Press, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

Originally published in 1997; current reprint published by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation

http://www.oepf.org/product/applied-concepts-vision-therapy-accompanying-cd-oep-edition-0

If you are just entering the world of vision therapy, this is a great place to start. This book has everything and is in an easy-to-follow format. Dr. Press, a former president of the College of Optometrists in Visual Development (COVD) and current residency supervisor of one of the first private-practice vision therapy residencies, offers a career-worth of insight in this 25-chapter textbook. What I love about this book is that Dr. Press does not overwhelm the reader but presents a logical approach to vision therapy.

This book covers the theory behind why we perform vision therapy, explains how to diagnose the most common conditions, describes the procedures used during treatment, and includes practice management tips. In looking closely at the therapy plans based on condition, it offers is a broad layout of activities for each phase of treatment. There is also a significant amount of assistance on how to perform a given procedure.

Included in the appendices are sample letters for writing reports to parents and professionals that can be put to use immediately.

An iBook edition has been created that enhances the content and brings it onto a new platform. Dr. Press has updated this version through hyperlinks in the original chapters as well as blogs written specifically to supplement each chapter with added commentary and insights. Find it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1123475850

Overall, this is a great book to start investigating the world of vision therapy.

Up next: Clinical Management of Binocular Vision, 4th edition

 

2. Clinical Management of Binocular Vision, 4th edition

Mitchell M. Scheiman, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

Bruce Wick, OD, PhD

Published in 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

https://www.amazon.com/Clinical-Management-Binocular-Vision-Accommodative/dp/1451175256/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486048677&sr=8-1&keywords=scheiman+wick

Considered by many to be the bible of vision therapy, this book is now in its fourth edition. It is used in many schools colleges of optometry as well as worldwide to teach vision therapy.

Related: Vision rehabilitation community comes together

Like Dr. Press in his book, Drs. Scheiman and Wick do an amazing job of making vision therapy sequential and logical. The strengths of this book are the sequencing of the vision therapy by week and the depth to which the activities are presented.

Each activity write-up includes how to set up the procedure, ways to change the level of difficulty, and endpoints.

Also included are instructions on how to perform most of the tests needed to diagnose conditions that can benefit from vision therapy.

This book is a must-read for practitioners of all levels.

Up next: Optometric Management of Learning-Related Vision Disorders

 

3. Optometric Management of Learning-Related Vision Disorders

Mitchell M. Schieman, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

Michael W. Rouse, OD, MS, FAAO

Originally published in 1993; current reprint published by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation

http://www.oepf.org/product/OEPMSMR

Visual perception can be a challenging topic on many levels.  Knowing what tests to perform, how they are interpreted, what therapy to offer, and how to explain the results to patients and parents are multifaceted challenges to tackle.

This book breaks down each of the topics in an easy-to-follow manner. The authors offer advice garnered over their many years of teaching and practice experience. While it would be impossible to discuss every test in every area of visual perception or visual information processing, they hit the most common ones comprehensively.

The therapy section is a useful complement to the diagnostic section. Understanding visual perception allows you to communicate with professionals working with patients such as occupational therapy and educational specialists, so this book is a must-have.

Up next: Fixing My Gaze

 

4. Fixing My Gaze

Susan R. Barry, PhD

Published in 2009 by Hachette Book Group

http://www.oepf.org/product/fixing-my-gaze-scientists-journey-seeing-three-dimensions

Dr. Barry, a professor of neurobiology in the department of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College, is considered to be an angel to optometrists who perform vision therapy. A lifelong constant esotrope, she details her journey to obtain stereovision as an adult.

Related: Vision therapy: A top 10 must-have list

While those in the field knew without hesitation that this was not a new concept, Dr. Barry, speaking as a scientist and a patient, brought the topic to the masses-and she made everyone sit up and listen. It is incredible to read in such vivid detail the work she did in vision therapy, including the first moments she saw in 3D. She offers an understanding of vision therapy from a scientific viewpoint and highlights her references in a notes section.

This is not only a book to be read by doctors and therapists but also by patients going through vision therapy and their parents.

Up next: Crossed & Lazy Eyes

 

5. Crossed & Lazy Eyes

Pilar Vergara Gimenez, OD

Published in 2016 by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation

http://www.oepf.org/XPV300

Published first in Spanish and then in English, this colorful book serves many purposes. It is chock full of information for parents and patients of all ages. It explains the visual system and defines many terms used in optometry. The language is easy to follow, and the pictures are outstanding.

For clinicians, there are sections on amblyopia and strabismus which discuss old and new approaches and theories for treatment. Cases  abound in this book. A case I wrote for the book details therapy provided for a young girl with strabismus, while others highlight patients of all ages with various conditions.

The “Frequently Asked Questions” section is an added bonus as it gives you answers that I promise you will need for patient care.

Up next: Clinical Management of Strabismus

 

6. Clinical Management of Strabismus

Elizabeth E. Caloroso, OD, MOpt, FAAO

Michael W. Rouse, OD, MS, FAAO

Published in 1993 by Butterworth-Heinemann

https://www.amazon.com/Clinical-Management-Strabismus-Elizabeth-Caloroso/dp/075069047X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486048935&sr=8-1&keywords=Clinical+Management+of+Strabismus

Strabismus is not an easy topic for practitioners of any level. Sure, it is easy to diagnose a constant large angle tropia with a cover test, but there is so much more to it.

Determining the presence of anomalous correspondence and/or eccentric fixation takes a high level of skill and understanding. If you don’t regularly perform the tests, they can easily be forgotten.

This textbook does a great job of breaking down strabismus and the testing that is needed for a complete diagnosis. A comprehensive treatment approach-including lenses, vision therapy, and surgery as well as detailed plans for therapy based on condition-is presented. There is a heavy emphasis on surgical correction, in my opinion, where a greater emphasis needs to be placed on therapy and lens treatments.

If you are looking for a great textbook to help manage your difficult strabismus, this is definitely a must-have.

Up next: Vision Rehabilitation: Multidisciplinary Care of the Patient Following Brain Injury

 

7. Vision Rehabilitation: Multidisciplinary Care of the Patient Following Brain Injury

Penelope S. Suter, OD, FCOVD

Lisa H. Harvey, OD, FCOVD

Published in 2011 by CRC Press

https://www.crcpress.com/Vision-Rehabilitation-Multidisciplinary-Care-of-the-Patient-Following-Brain/Suter-Harvey/p/book/9781439836552

When I moved to Memphis, I began to see a number of patients referred from local rehabilitation facilities. I attended a state brain injury conference and happened to sit next to a local occupational therapist. Little did I know that her facility wanted to increase referrals to our department.

Since that time, rehabilitation for patients with brain injury has been our largest area of growth. Bringing together a group of authors who are the tops in their fields, this book includes topics such as interdisciplinary management, visual field loss, visual-spatial neglect, the use of lenses and vision therapy, and much more.

The information provided is evidence-based and will stand the test of time. It is also of great use in presenting to rehabilitation professionals other than optometry.

Simply put, if you are interested in working in the brain injury arena, you must read this book.   

Up next: Optometric Management of Nearpoint Disorders

 

8. Optometric Management of Nearpoint Disorders

Martin H. Birnbaum, OD

Originally published in 1993; current reprint published by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation

http://www.oepf.org/product/optometric-management-nearpoint-vision-disorders

I first read this book a year or so after I graduated from optometry school. I hated it. I must have read the first few pages at least a dozen times and got so frustrated that I put it back on the shelf for three to four years.

When I was starting my journey to become a Fellow of COVD, it was suggested by my mentor that I read this book. I hesitantly took it back off the shelf and consequently devoured it; I consider it my bible in the power of lenses and prescribing. I have highlights and underlines throughout my copy. As I now realize, each sentence is crucial and says more than most entire articles.

Topics covered include models of nearpoint stress, a behavioral approach to case analysis and prescribing, testing for visual skills and abilities, and vision therapy.

Looking back, I realize that I was not ready for this material just out of optometry school. I am happy to now say that it is a must-read for students, faculty of optometry schools, and all practicing optometrists because it gives a different approach than currently taught and might make you stop and think before prescribing your next pair of glasses. 

Up next: Lens Power in Action

 

9. Lens Power in Action

Robert Kraskin, OD

Published in 1998 by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation

http://www.oepf.org/OEPRK100

This is a great compendium to the previous book, Lens Power in Action, published by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF) because it takes prescribing to another level. It was originally published in the 1980s as monthly papers and edited into the current form by Drs. Paul Harris and Greg Kitchener.

The strength of the book lies in the amount of theory that is supported with case examples. When discussing a topic such as stress point retinoscopy or yoked prism, the reader gets the why and what accompanied with several cases showing the how.

Preceding the specific topics, Dr. Kraskin spends several chapters breaking down the analytical examination-yes, the 21-point examination you might have heard so much about. He does a thorough job at connecting exam components to visual and behavioral symptoms.

If you ever wanted to fully comprehend the power you have in prescribing, this is the book for you.

Up next: Vision: Its Development in Infant and Child

 

10. Vision: Its Development in Infant and Child

Arnold Gesell, MD

Frances L. Ilg, MD

Glenna E. Bullis

Originally published in 1949, but currently out of print.

When I moved to Southern College of Optometry, one of the bonuses was getting to work with past COVD President Glen Steele, FCOVD, FAAO. He was and remains the chairman of the American Optometric Association’s InfantSEE program. He has examined more babies throughout his career than most of the readers of this article combined. When I approached Bubba, as he prefers to be called, about learning more about examining babies, he suggested this book.

American psychologist, pediatrician, and professor at Yale University many years ago, Dr. Gessell does an amazing job at breaking down the visual needs and expectations based on the child’s age. He does a spectacular job at demonstrating the interconnection between child development and visual development. Gessell shows testing and results for both normal and abnormal child development at many ages.

For those who shy away from examining children or think that they are just little adults, it is time for you to buy or find a copy of this book.

Up next: Bonus: Visual Diagnosis and Care of the Patient with Special Needs

 

Bonus: Visual Diagnosis and Care of the Patient with Special Needs

Marc B. Taub, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD, FNAP

Mary Bartuccio, OD, FAAO, FCOVD

Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A

Published in 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

https://www.amazon.com/Visual-Diagnosis-Patient-Special-Needs-ebook/dp/B00819JVWK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486047117&sr=8-1&keywords=taub+special

While not specifically about vision therapy, allow me a moment to digress and present the only comprehensive book on special needs and vision. Yes, I am biased because I am an editor and author, but it is a great book.

Drs. Bartuccio, Maino, and I worked tirelessly over three years with over 40 authors to put together this book to show the power optometry has for these patient populations.

The first part of the book focuses on various conditions, including cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, and autism. We then delve into the visual examination and visual findings commonly associated with each condition. We present treatment options with a heavy focus on vision therapy. Chapters also focus on working with other professionals, how to interact with the educational system, vision development, and genetics.

I am so proud of this book and recommend it for all clinicians.

Up next: Another bonus: Vision Therapy: Success Stories from Around the World Volumes 1 & 2

 

Another bonus: Vision Therapy: Success Stories from Around the World Volumes 1 & 2

Marc B. Taub, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD, FNAP

Pamela H. Schnell, OD

Published in 2015 and 2017 by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation

http://www.oepf.org/OEPMTPS1

http://www.oepf.org/OEPMTPS2

About two years ago, I got tired of hearing that vision therapy does not work or that there is not enough of an evidence base for treating anything other than convergence insufficiency with vision therapy. Even though cases are not double blind, placebo-controlled studies, they are a crucial component of the evidence base.

In discussing the topic with Dr. Schnell, with whom I work in editing Optometry & Visual Performance, we realized the need to have a greater number of practitioners publish their case work. Once the requests for cases went out, we saw a groundswell of participation from authors all over the world. 

A two-volume publication, Vision Therapy: Success Stories from Around the World presents 40 cases in which vision therapy was the treatment of choice. Case types include strabismus, amblyopia, learning-related vision problems, traumatic brain injury, and much more. The cases represent a variety of approaches and philosophies.

Each case includes a description of the case, data collected, and treatment provided. Each author details treatment approach to therapy and offers a comprehensive explanation of the program for that patient. As a bonus, each case contains two vision therapy activities written up in a step-by-step manner with figures to support the tests.

Whether you are a seasoned clinician or are new to vision therapy, there is something for everyone to learn in these two volumes.

Tip of the iceberg

A huge number of resources, some of which may be unfamiliar, are available for those optometrists who wish to learn more about and offer vision therapy as a practice modality. This list is by no means exhaustive; it is just the tip of the iceberg.

The books listed should considered as a starting point and supplemented with in-person education at meetings hosted by OEPF, COVD and the global behavioral vision community. Practicing full-scope optometry requires lifelong learning, which I hope will include the books on this list.

Read more from Dr. Taub here