It was a humbling experience for Kimberly Dolman, OD, to be listening to a physiotherapist and neuro-chiropractor advising her 14-year-old daughter on vision therapy following her second concussion. “I was thinking, ‘I’m the optometrist; I should know this.’ It was eye-opening,” she says.
Since that time five years ago, Dr. Dolman, who has owned a practice in New Hamburg, Ontario, with her husband Howard Dolman, OD, for 25 years, decided to become more educated about the visual system and rehabilitation. As parents of four children, the doctors had long been proponents of early childhood exams and vision therapy and the link between vision and learning. However, Dr. Kimberly Dolman says that she had not grasped the connection with rehabilitation.
“After our daughter’s second concussion—she had one at school and another at cheer practice—I became hyper focused on post-concussion care, and I began to see that the problems that concussion patients are going through, such as tracking disorders, are relevant to reading and learning, too,” she says. Her husband’s experience with visual perception testing added another piece to the puzzle.
The more she learned, the greater the passion became. “My journey of becoming qualified in this subspecialty of optometry has had me travelling all over the U.S. and Canada for relevant courses over the past four years,” she says. “I have attended 28 courses and workshops accumulating approximately 500 hours of extended education in the area of vision therapy and neurorehabilitation. I wanted to be sure I could provide the most up-to-date and thorough care as possible when embarking on this journey.”
Focus of New Practice
She is doing that now, in a space dedicated to this mission. Recently, the couple has opened a second location of Dolman Eyecare Center, called KW NeuroVision, in Kitchener. It’s focused on neurorehabilitation, which includes vision and learning disorders and post-concussion care.
Taking all that learned and relevant information and presenting it to patients is no simple task. “It’s far too much to put in a brochure,” she says. She mentioned to her team at EyeCarePro, which managed the practice’s primary website, that they were opening this second practice. “The team connected us to designers and content providers who were familiar with vision therapy work. They were well-educated and could present us with information that we could customize quickly,” she says.
If the doctors would have been required to create the content for a specialty practice, they would not have ended up with nearly as robust and attractive a website as they have, she says. “We now had two very busy practices, so it wouldn’t have been possible to do this on our own. EyeCarePro was able to resource the content and run it by us. It was a huge time-saver, and the designers pulled it altogether in beautiful and informative pages.”
The website, which includes information pages as well as Q&As, quizzes, a video about vision and learning and patient reviews, garners attention in the community. People who are searching for vision rehabilitation and post-concussion treatment find it and spend time looking through the wealth of information. “The other nice thing is that the website links to reputable organizations so we know that patients and residents who are looking for information and come to our website will be led to other sites that affirm the validity and reliability of what we offer,” she says. “We can guide their search this way.”
There’s also a benefit in providing this information to current patients to reinforce what the doctors discussed. If one parent wants to explain to another or to grandparents or friends what services the child will be getting and why, the information is there to share.