health & wellness
Prism Power from page 51
it works and doesn't overwhelm the
eyes, and then we add more or take
it away as they need." Some patients
need to come in for additional visits
as their eyes adjust further.
Link To Brain injury
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Through their work with VH, the
doctors discovered a link between
traumatic brain injury (TBI)
and vertical heterophoria. Mark
explained, "TBI creates a bad
or false signal between different
nerves:' which can cause the eyes to
misalign. Of the practice's 7,000 VH
patients, Debby says around 2,000
of them have been TBI patients.
They first started working with
TBI patients when they treated
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
(PM&R) Dr. Jennifer Doble for VII.
Doble was initially referred to the
practice through a patient of hers,
and through conversations with the
Feinbergs and Dubin," she realized that
some of her TBI patients had symp-
toms of VH.
"The TBI patients we see, they've
gone through physical and occupa-
tional therapies," Paul said, "but they
still aren't fully recovered despite their
Doble runs a concussion clinic at St.
Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital and
encourages her patients to be evaluated
for VH if they still experience post-
concussive symptoms three months
after their injury.
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August 30 ' 2012
Aside from Roy and another doctor
from the 1800s, there is no scien-
tific research on VH, but Debby, Paul,
Dubin, Doble and Mark Rosner are
working to change that. "This is just
a private practice," said Mark, who is
not part of the practice, but of the VH
research team. "It's not the University
of Michigan, but we're doing research
and writing articles just as they are."
Two statisticians have validated
Debby's questionnaire, which has
evolved over the past 17 years — one
from U-M and one from St. Joseph
Mercy Hospital of Ann Arbor. The
team plans for it to be published in
conjunction with an article in the near
Recently, they presented posters with
broad summaries of their research
findings, "snapshots" as Debby called
them, at the International Brain Injury
Conference in Scotland in March,
the Anxiety Disorder Association
Conference in Virginia in April, and
the American Headache Society
Conference in Los Angeles in June.
"Before people can write papers,
they do posters," explained Debby.
Doble, Debby, Mark and Arthur did
A prism with a range of strengths
demonstrates the effectiveness of
write a paper on VH and TBI that was
published in the peer-reviewed PM&R
Journal in April 2010.
Members of the team also have
spoken at conferences around the
country and world. Arthur Rosner
recently spoke at a conference on diz-
ziness in Stockholm and lectured at the
University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
In May, Debby was invited to speak
to doctors at Johns Hopkins University
by Dr. John Carey, who she refers
patients to if they have an ear-related
dizziness. She spoke to 17 doctors —
ENTs, neurologists, ophthalmologists
— none of whom had heard of vertical
"The most important event is when
Dr. Doble and I present 17 years of
research to colleagues at the EastWest
Eye Conference in October," Debby
said. "They'll think it's a little unusual.
I'm anticipating they'll say, 'Really?
Prisms like that?"'
The ultimate goal for the team
is to receive a National Institute of
Health grant so they are able to fund
a research project with a true double-
blind study with hundreds of patients.
"We're doing an in-office double-blind
study currently, but it's not to the scale
that we really need," Debby explained.
"If we can get a grant for that study,
it will further legitimize our work in
the science arena, which will allow
us to help more people," she said.
"Anything we can do to let people
know there is hope and help for them,
that they can actually be helped, that's
so amazing for them. I love being able
to offer that, and I want to be able to
help more people," she said. LI
Go to www.vsofm.com to take the VH
questionnaire and learn more.