For those of you who don’t know, the Optometric Extension Program (OEP) is the grandfather to organized optometric programs dedicated to post-graduate education on behavioral optometry and vision therapy. Over the years, it has transformed into an organization that not only conveys a message, but also produces the Journal of Behavioral Optometry, hosts many continuing education programs, maintains a website and is the voice for new research and concepts. According to OEP Associate Executive Director Kelin Kushin, “The goals of the services we offer are to explore the role of the visual process in human behavior, develop skills in optometric testing, advance visual therapy as a viable treatment modality, and provide programs and materials to support the profession.”
Not only is the OEP interested in educating current doctors, it has become an advocate for getting students involved. Many optometry schools do not currently have extensive vision therapy programs for students. In an effort to rectify that situation, the OEP has made an effort to provide additional educational opportunities. Whether it be organizing a tour of a local rehabilitative facility or having an OEP member speak about practice management, the OEP is at students’ disposal. Kushin enjoys working with students, serving as a resource and going out of her way to meet students’ wants and needs as best as she can.
“There is a rich professional network at the students’ fingertips, and we are here to support and encourage you to grow and learn even beyond your time at optometry school,” Kushin said.
Additionally, the OEP has been co-sponsoring a fantastic program with HOYA called “Jillian’s Story.” This is a Skype series in which Jillian Benoit chronicles her struggle of receiving her amblyopia diagnosis and countless hours spent seeing doctors, trying new prescriptions and patching, all with minimal improvement in her condition. Jillian continues her story with the discovery of vision therapy, which she reports as life-changing. She has made it her goal to speak to students, teachers and doctors alike to spread the word on what impact a binocular vision disorder can have on a child and their family and how vision therapy can change someone’s life.
If you are interested in setting up a tour, having an OEP doctor give a presentation or having Jillian’s Story presented at your school, please contact Kelin Kushin at kelin.kushin(at)oep.org.
I can personally attest to the fact that Kelin is efficient and genuine in wanting to spread the message that vision therapy (and all things associated!) can change lives. She is a golden resource to students, so I encourage all of you to utilize her abilities to become part of this growing optometric family!
Here is a link to a short video made by Jillian speaking on how vision therapy helped her: