Errol Rummel, O.D., Director of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation and Visual Perception Clinic at Bacharach for 20 years, specializes in the care of care of adults and children with challenging or uncommon vision problems.
Dr. Rummel first became interested in eye care when he was young. His grandfather was an optician in Queens, New York, and Dr. Rummel spent many hours in his office as a child. He said, “I grew up playing with lenses instead of blocks.”
Today, Dr. Rummel is Board Certified in Vision Therapy/Vision Development Vision and one of the few optometric physicians to have achieved Clinical Skills Certification Level 3 in Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation.
Dr. Rummel has spent many years developing and creating successful visual treatments. He sees patients with eye muscle problems, amblyopia (lazy eye), low vision due to macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa. He also has an expertise in treating neurologically-related vision problems due to stroke, head injury, multiple sclerosis, or brain tumor.
“After a traumatic injury it is critical to create a treatment program to address all of the issues they will be facing, using an interdisciplinary approach,” says Rummel. The Bacharach occupational therapy department has Dr. Rummel’s protocols on how to treat a patient with side vision loss or how to conduct eyelid massage for a droopy lid. “Bacharach is unique in that they offer individualized care with a human quality. Here, it is people that need help – not patients that need help.”
A person that experiences a stroke or traumatic brain injury may lose one half of their side vision, either on the right of the left side. This can frequently cause disorientation and difficulties with common day-to-day activities. Many people afflicted by this condition, called hemianopsia, find it hard to go about their daily routine. They may become afraid to leave the house for fear of bumping into objects or other people, causing injury or embarrassment.
To address this issue, Dr. Rummel invented Side Vision Awareness Glasses, advanced optical technology glasses that allow people to see at least 20˚ more than they normally would. The glasses do not restore lost vision, but instead allow people to more easily see in the direction of the vision loss. A prism technology built into the custom-made eyeglass lens refracts objects normally outside the patient’s field of vision, allowing the person to become more visually aware and enhancing their sightline. Some patients do so well that they can learn to drive safely.
Other methods that Dr. Rummel has developed to treat hemianopsia include the Rummel Hemianopsia Reading Guide and the Rummel Hemianopsia Button. The Reading Guide gives the therapist a more definitive and professional way to teach a patient to scan from one side of the page to the other. The Hemianopsia Button is an obvious visual marker that helps others recognize the side (laterally or vertically) of the patient’s vision loss, reminding staff, friends and family to approach the patient from the seeing side.