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Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation awarded the New England College of Optometry a grant to develop the first known program to co-train ophthalmologists and optometrists to work with individuals with neuro-developmental and intellectual disabilities through a didactic and hands-on program

Individuals with neuro-developmental and/or intellectual disabilities have difficulty obtaining comprehensive primary eye care proximal to where they live.  These individuals also have a much higher prevalence of conditions impacting acuity, contrast, tracking and eye alignment. Eye care providers need to have awareness of these issues and possess additional tools to collect information from this population in order to best meet their needs.

Collaborators from the New England College of Optometry, the Boston University School of Medicine, The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities Services, Lurie Center for Autism, Perkins and an individual in private practice, will co-train practicing optometrists and ophthalmologists to work with individuals with neuro-developmental and intellectual disabiliti9es.

The program includes a joint continuing education program of optometrists and ophthalmologists in year one, followed by the production of additional on-line resources in year two.  The half-day face-to-face program, to be held in March of 2015, will include both a didactic and hands-on component.  During the program, the doctors will also practice testing acuity and other basic exam elements with individuals with neuro-developmental or intellectual disabilities.  The eye care providers will be given the equipment used for acuity testing so that they can immediately utilize it for care in their office.

By the end of year two, several additional lectures will be produced and available on-line, initially for the attendees of the inaugural program, and ultimately for the greater eye care community.

For more information, please contact:  Barry S. Kran, OD, FAAO, Kranb@neco.edu Professor, New Eng