Jessica Bonner, OD, of Portland, Oregon, had a unique situation upon her return to the office after training at the NeuroVisual Medicine Institute with Debby Feinberg, OD. While she will never forget watching Dr. Feinberg’s patient on her first day of observation, that wasn’t her first experience with binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).
Dr. Bonner, who graduated from Pacific University College of Optometry in May 2020, landed a job right out of school with Ezra Atikune, OD, who had trained with Dr. Feinberg five years ago and now specializes in BVD. “On the first day he met me, he said that I had BVD,” Dr. Bonner recalls. She had always had difficulty focusing and experienced many headaches—all symptoms of BVD—and had even completed vision therapy during optometry school. “I got my first pair of prism glasses, and it changed my life,” Dr. Bonner says.
Dr. Atikune and Dr. Bonner agreed it would make sense for her to pursue this training, as well. The in-person experience is truly vital to the program, Dr. Bonner says. “Once I got there, it was very apparent as I saw Dr. Feinberg in action, her energy and how she changes people’s lives.”
A structure for this type of care was already in place back at Optik PDX where she practices with Dr. Atikune, so she had an advantage as the staff was familiar with booking BVD exams that take up to 90 minutes, and the opticians were already working with prisms. She uses a trial frame during the exam and adjusts the amount of prism in 0.25 diopter increments, watching the patient’s posture to grade their balance. After the exam, patients fill the prescription and return four to six weeks later for a Progress Assessment exam.
She enjoys building relationships with her BVD patients during those follow-up visits, as well. “As a younger OD, I’m amazed to be starting out my career with providing this care. I have more years to establish myself as a specialist and do something I really enjoy doing.” She’s grateful to Dr. Feinberg for sharing the knowledge. “She’s the most loyal, warm person and someone who I can truly trust. I look up to her as a role model.”
Dr. Bonner splits her schedule with a combination of routine and BVD days, which she finds very rewarding. “I think it’s really something that we can change people’s lives.” Many patients tell her that they feel instant relief once their anxiety, dizziness, neckaches and headaches are identified as caused by their vision. “They had no idea how it could be linked to vision and how eyes work together.”
Read more from WO about Dr. Feinberg’s work.
Learn more about training with Dr. Feinberg and her team.