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January 8, 2009

Hugoton Foundation Awards Grant for Vision Therapy Equipment

The Hugoton Foundation has awarded the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) a $10,000 grant to provide a Bernell Vision Trainer and B&H Photo Video Binocular Projector for each of 10 exam rooms in the University Optometric Center's (UOC) Vision Therapy Service, which supports an average of 13,000 patient visits annually.  This is a first-time grant from the Foundation.

Vision therapy is a type of customized physical therapy for the eyes and brain, addressing how well a person's two eyes work together as a team.  Vision therapy is supervised by an optometric vision care professional, and is a highly effective treatment for many common visual problems:

- Vision Therapy, in conjunction with surgery or as an alternative can help patients with strabismus (deviated eyes) and amblyopia (functional "lazy eye").

- Severe visual stress with binocular (eye-teaming) focusing, or eye movement control can affect concentration and performance at near distances.  Many school-age children avoid reading because of these types of physical problems - which can be cured.

- As part of a diagnosis of learning disabilities, children may have severe visual perceptual processing lags, which can be alleviated with a program of vision therapy, which is coordinated with other services (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy etc.).

- Adults with acquired head trauma as a result of head injury or stroke can have visual symptoms of double vision and visual motor stress, which affect their total rehabilitation efforts.  A coordinated vision therapy plan can help speed the progress of these patients.

Following a comprehensive assessment, the optometrist prepares a customized course of eye exercises to correct the problems discovered.  Vision therapy helps patients to live independent and productive lives, by enabling them to thrive in school and in the community.

"We are delighted to partner with the Hugoton Foundation to provide new equipment for vision rehabilitation therapy patients at the UOC," said Dr. Harold Friedman, Chief, Vision Therapy and Rehabilitative Service.

The Optometric Center of New York is the allied and endowing foundation of the State University of New York, State College of Optometry, and is the primary source of private support for its patient care facility, the University Optometric Center, providing grants for projects such as a Homebound Initiative, Indigent Care Project and Scholarship Fund, among others.