Many medically related fads and fancies never die. They live on, resurfacing cyclically like phases of the moon. The article by David Johnston regarding vision therapy was just about on schedule. (See also View, Sept. 5, 1979.)
More than a century ago, a Dr. Von Peczely suggested that by studying the dots and craters on the iris surface, one could diagnose virtually all ills of man. As recently as a decade ago, iridology was able to enjoy a briefly renewed resurgence.
More than 70 years ago, a Dr. Bates suggested that nearsightedness could be cured with eye exercises and that cataract and glaucoma could be treated with palming (covering the closed eyes with the palms of the hands in a precisely defined manner). There are still Bates practitioners among us waiting hopefully for their next day in the sun.
More than 30 years ago, aspects of vision therapy emerged as a suggested treatment for developmental retardation and learning disability. The amelioration of juvenile delinquency is now on the proposed list of its indications. Like iridology and the Bates treatment, vision therapy is still awaiting validation. I am anticipating an article in 1994 in the View section of The Times describing vision therapy as an adjunctive measure for the treatment and prevention of drug abuse.
JERRY F. DONIN MD
Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology
USC School of Medicine