Dr. Robert Sanet: “It is important for Optometrists to understand the scientific research so that they can be more comfortable that the work that they do has scientific validity”

Dr. Robert Sanet: “It is important for Optometrists to understand the scientific research so that they can be more comfortable that the work that they do has scientific validity”
After a severe car accident which left him near death and with all the bones in his face and head broken, Behavioral Optometry and Visual Therapy changed the life of Dr. Robert Sanet. As he reports “Behavioral Optometry and Visual Therapy allowed him to eliminate a strabismus,  improve his  attention, reading speed and comprehension, organize his  thoughts and reach his maximum potential in life. This experience, in turn, also enabled me to change the lives of other people”, which is why, when he talks about Optometry his eyes light up, and he convincingly transmits his knowledge with passion and security.
In this interview he talks mainly about Research, the main topic for his presentation at the VI Congress of SIODEC, which takes place in Granada from March 27 to 30, 2019. His presentation will take place on Friday, March 29 at 9:00 am.
1.● At the 6th International SIODEC Congress you will make a presentation about Scientific Research Supporting the Behavioral Vision Model. Could you summarize it?

There are a significant amount of new scientific studies, most done by researchers outside of Optometry, being published confirming the benefits of practicing with a behavioral/neurofunctional approach to patient care. I will be discussing scientific studies which relate to the following topics: prescribing of lenses for hyperopia and amblyopia, patching for amblyopia, strabismus surgery, binocularity, contrast sensitivity, and neurology and the neurological effects of vision training.

2.● Why have you decided ‘research’ as central topic of your presentation?

Very few optometrists read the scientific literature. So, I feel that it is important to scientifically confirm and validate what Optometrists who practice with the Behavioral/Neurofunctional model have known for over 70 years: that practicing with this model is the most effective way to help patients change their lives in a profound and long-lasting way.

3.● Could you tell us the most relevant scientific study (or studies) that support the behavioral model in vision care? Are any of them in Spanish?

It is impossible to adequately discuss the studies and their important implications for clinical care in a short and easy way. You will need to attend my presentation to find out the answer to this question.

To my knowledge all of the studies were published in English. But, it is possible that some have been reprinted in Spanish.

4.● In your opinion, is there a lack of research in Optometry in Spain? Do you see any signs of improvement?

There is a lack of a sufficient amount of Optometric research in Spain. But, this is also true throughout the world. Most of the research that I will be discussing will be from researchers in Ophthalmology and neuroscience and published in well-known and respected Ophthalmological, Optometric, and neuroscience journals.

5.● Based on your experience in publications or collaborations of some books or studies, what does an optometrist need to have access to research?

It is important for Optometrists to know and understand the scientific research so that they can be more comfortable and confident that the work that they do has scientific validity.

6.● What do you expect to find in the 6th International SIODEC Congress? What do you think about the program and speakers?

I have attended all of the 5 previous SIODEC Congresses. The presentations are almost always excellent and at each Congress I learn new and important things that help me to be a better Optometrist and teacher. And, the chance to have good connections with Optometrists from all of Spain and many other countries around the world is amazing. And, as you would expect from a Congress in Spain, there is a lot time for fun… the costume party and banquet, plus drinking, eating wonderful food, and dancing until late in the night. The SIODEC Congress is a wonderful congress that I would never miss attending!

7.● Do you think that people knows the clinical work carried out by optometrists in the Optometry centers? How would it be possible to improve this situation?

Many people in Spain, and in all other countries around the world, have visual problems which cannot be helped using a classical Optometric philosophy.  So, these people seek out the services of Optometrists who practice in the behavioral philosophy. However, it is still not known well enough, so sadly, people who can be helped continue to suffer. 

8.● Will new technologies have a prominent role in Behavioral Optometry?

There are many new computerized vision therapy programs that have an important place in both diagnosis and treatment of visual problems. However, nothing is more important and more powerful than an Optometrist neuro-functionally prescribing lenses, prisms, and filters and providing vision therapy using the Behavioral philosophy

9.● How do you imagine the Behavioral Optometry in 10 years?

As more and more scientific research supports the Behavioral Philosophy then more and more Optometrists will understand and apply the behavioral philosophy as being the best and most efficient way to improve overall visual performance and change the lives of their patients.

10.● Your favorite quote is “Vision is the brain’s way of touching the world”. How does a visual impairment impact on the way someone interacts with the world?

Impaired vision abilities can affect all areas of performance and the person’s life… academic, sports, and social. To quote Dr. John Streff, a famous American Optometrist, “When vision work well it supports performance, when it does not it interferes”.

11.● You have been part of the SIODEC for many years. Where do you think SIODEC is going to? What future do you deduced?

SIODEC is a vibrant Optometric Organization with a President and Board of Directors that works very hard to improve the level and visibility of Optometrists who provide vision development and vision therapy services to their patients.


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