More than 40 optometrists from around Australia have registered to complete the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists’ Practical Vision Therapy program which commences this month (March). The program, which was launched early in 2013, is delivered through three weekend lectures/workshops and supplemented with online learning modules.
Vision Therapist and creative artist Katie Noller, from Somerville Merrin Neilson Optometrists at Toowoomba, is currently enrolled in the ACBO Practical Vision Therapy program. Prior to her work as a vision therapist, Ms. Noller completed an Honours degree in Visual Arts at the University of Southern Queensland. Her studies were focused on painting and the spatial relationship of installation based works.
“Through exhibitions and study, I pursued how painting became less about what was within its frame and more about how it could make an audience view the immediate space around them differently. As my work became more about changing people’s perspective of the space around them and less about selling marketable artworks I realised I might be on the wrong career path,” said Ms. Noller.
She said the more she learnt about vision therapy, the more she wanted to be involved.
Behavioural optometry and vision therapy is a means to develop how efficiently a patient extracts information and meaning from what they see
“I have always been interested in how we perceive the space around us and how this stems from our own point of view. I like that through vision therapy someone becomes more aware of where they are
in the world, they can take more meaning from what is around them, and experience more in their lives.
“I love being a vision therapist because it is a role that allows me to help someone make changes in their life that is going to broaden their perspective on how they see the world.”
ACBO Executive Officer, Veronica Kypros said “For Katie, as with many other behavioural optometrists and vision therapists, the value in their interaction with patients lies in how important vision is to how we learn. Behavioural optometry and vision therapy is a means to develop how efficiently a patient extracts information
and meaning from what they see to become more efficient in learning, or to sharpen their abilities to fulfil new challenges in their daily life.
“Although it’s not immediately obvious, there are plenty of cross-over skills, knowledge and perhaps some different perspectives that someone with Katie’s background can bring to behavioural optometry and vision therapy.”
Ms. Noller said vision therapy has “literally” opened her eyes up to the idea that “vision is not something that we are dealt, but something that we participate in”. “If we are involved then it is something that we can change and improve throughout our lives.”
Additionally she said, the course has been a valuable professional networking opportunity. “The ACBO Practical Vision Therapy program introduced me to a great community of therapists, optometrists, mentors and peers. It has helped shape my understanding of the theory and practice of vision therapy and has given me support, confidence and an array of tools to propel my career as a vision therapist,” said Ms. Noller.
Ms. Kypros said ACBO designed the Practical Vision Therapy program for optometrists to take their first step into the world of behavioural optometry and more specifically, vision therapy. “It is also a vector for optometrists who have experience in vision therapy to train a vision therapist and make delivery of this service more cost effective in their practice,” she added.
Vision therapists who complete assignments and exams are eligible for accreditation by ACBO.