VISUAL THERAPY STARTED 21 YEARS AGO AT THE “UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF OPTICA” IN TERRASSA (BARCELONA), AS A COURSE IN THE CURRRICULUM OF OPTOMETRY
After retiring in 2010 as a Professor of Optometry and Contact Lenses, I continue to research optometric literature and current contributions by various optometric authors as well as dedicating many hours to reading up on new technologies applied to visual sciences. I am now dedicated to writing my experiences as a eye care professional, Professor in Catalonia.
To my surprise I read on the blog from IMO (Ocular Microsurgery Institute of Barcelona) published an interview with Dr. Robert Sanet, an American optometrist who I met years ago, stating “Visual Therapy began five years ago in Spain.”
I do not agree with Dr. Sanet’s statement because since 1978 I have been providing Vision Therapy to my patients in Barcelona. Since 1983 as Professor of optometry at the former College of Optics Clinic, I offered Vision Therapy to the children of professors and staff of the various disciplines of the University Campus. I also taught Clinical Procedures of Behavioral Optometry.
Over the years, hundreds of students were taught, at the College of Optics of Terrassa, Barcelona, the scientific foundation and philosophy of the pioneer in Behavioral Optometry in USA, Dr. Arthur Marten Skeffington. Parallel to the ongoing teaching of Vision Therapy and Behavioral Optometry in Terrassa, other professional optometric organizations nationwide were following a totally different philosophy from Canada and France known as VISIOLOGY. My counterpart, Professor of Optometry Vicky Sarfati, Optometry at the Complutense University of Madrid, was more in line with the Canadian and French school of thought in Vision Therapy
OFFICIALLY, vision training exercises began their teaching in our University of Catalonia in 1993 with the name of VISUAL THERAPY (Code 14113 of the subject, with 3 credits or 30 hours of theoretical and practical) and then with the name of OPTOMETRIC VISUAL THERAPY (course code 14064, with 6 credits or 60 hours of theoretical and practical), under Resolution 130 of SPANISH OFFICIAL STATE BULLETIN (BOE) 19/01/1994 16.
The students of the College of Optics and Optometry of Terrassa, in addition to receiving clinical practice at the school of optometry, they also attended clinic at the Boston Institute of Ophthalmology of Barcelona to learn how to treat real patients with vision problems supervised by their optometric clinical instructors. Optometry students from Portugal, Universidade do Minho, also attended the Boston Institute of Ophthalmology of Barcelona under the supervision of professors from the College of Optics and Optometry of Terrassa Even in that ophthalmology clinic Optometric Portuguese students attending the Universidade do Minho had several professors of Optometry and Contact lenses visiting from Terrassa to teach optometry and contact lens courses, initiating the discipline of optometry in Portugal. This took place in the early nineties of the last century.
In 2000 I was invited by the medical director of Integral Eye Institute, IEI, (Clínica Corachán), Prof. Dr. Jesús Costa Vila, MD.,PhD, to provide professional services in the area of behavioral eye exams, vision therapy, visual rehabilitation, orthoptics and pleoptics. Let it be known, that that year the IEI was the second eye clinic providing vision therapy in Barcelona to pediatric and geriatric patients presenting with visual disorders, perceptual disorders, strabismus and amblyopia. The continuation of these services are provided at the Clínica Corachan and a chain of vision centers known as ADMIRAVISIÓN.
In 2006 I was invited by the IMO, through Professor Francisco Simó Sospedra, to lecture 2 hours on VISUAL THERAPY. Apparently, Drs. Corcostegui and Gil Gibernau were very interested in the program content of the subject Optometric Visual Therapy that I taught in our educational center.
I finally retired from the eye clinic of Prof. Dr. Jesús Costa Vila, Clínica Corachan. Optometric services in vision therapy are currently provided pediatric and Geriatric patients suffering from symptoms of visual and perceptual dysfunctions.
History is a science that serves to objectively narrate events or facts as they happened in our past, nothing less.
Carlos S. Saona
Ex Profesor of Optometry
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Barcelona, October 23, 2014
Note: Click each image to see a higher magnification and clarity