downtown Austin

Dr. Erica O’Brien—The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy

Posted by on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 in Blog

Reported by Jacqueline Sinex

President Sara Pantin called the meeting to order. Nadir Abdeladim led pledges, Rich Fikani gave the
invocation, and Manny Cavazos led the Four-Way-Test. Josue Limon and Ann Marie Ellis greeted
and introduced our visitors and guests.

Announcements included a Thirsty Thursday Happy Hour in North Austin on March 8th, Texas Independence Day celebrations on March 2nd and an upcoming committee meeting for the 2018-2019 Programs Committee on March 6th.

Past District Governor Bruce Golden called for a vote to change a district resolution related to annual
reimbursements to acting and incoming District Governors that will be presented at the annual District
Conference in May. We, as a Club, passed the motion unanimously.

President Sara highlighted the recent success of the Rise Against Hunger event where club members packed over 22,000 meals, exceeding our record from the previous year. Special thanks were given to Liz and Harold Ingersoll for their efforts to organize this event and to all the volunteers who participated.

President Sara then presented the 2016-2017 RCA Annual Report (ed. note: Thank you, Jacqueline Sinex for designing it for us!), and Austin Rotary Club Foundation (ARCF) Chair Richard Payton announced a new ARCF Bequest Society Program.

Dr. John Fox introduced guest speaker Dr. Erica O’Brien from the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy.
Dr. O’Brien is a University of Texas graduate and new mother. She has excelled in her studies and received a clinical letter of excellence.

Dr. Erica shared that her uncle was her inspiration to get involved in eye medicine. He has a degenerative nerve condition that impaired his vision, yet through retraining is able to enjoy activities with family. At the center, they focus on finding solutions for the visually impaired. Patients vary from those with trauma injuries to those with other special conditions. They work with adults and children, usually 1 on 1. Some patients have impaired vision because of a concussion or other head trauma.

Many statistics were shared, such as: 25% of kids have undetected vision issues; 75% of those diagnosed with learning disabilities also have visual disabilities; 60% of “problem learners” have undetected visual problems; and 80% of individuals with reading issues have difficulty with one or more visual issues.

She pointed out that vision is an important aspect of the brain’s information processing. 80% of learning is through vision and 70% of sensory input to the brain is visual.

There are some misconceptions about what 20/20 vision means, and people who may be tagged as having 20/20 vision are not necessarily free of vision problems. Sometimes they may have another condition that makes it very difficult to read or prevents both of their eyes from working together for proper focus and movement.

Concussions and head injuries are a popular topic, and there are many reasons including sports and accidents that a person may experience a concussion. Girl’s soccer, for example, is actually one of the leading sports where these types of injuries occur. In other cases, vision impairment may be caused by a stroke.

She shared that it is possible to retrain the eyes and brain to restore visual function. There are many tools and approaches that are involved in visual training

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