COVD Visions of Hope Winner Announced

Twins go from Struggling to Loving Reading – thanks to Optometric Vision Therapy!

Aurora, OH – Parents and their children from all over the globe entered the Visions of Hope Contest sponsored by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD).  According to COVD President, Dr. Brad Habermehl, “There was no incentive offered to contestants, other than the reward of helping others. So we are especially proud to announce our winner. And, wish to thank all of those who took the time to submit videos.”

The winner was announced during a special web interview which was held with Robin Benoit and her daughter, Jillian, authors of Jillian's Story:  How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter's Life.  During the interview titled, “Does Back to School Mean Back to Homework Battles and Struggles with Reading?” Robin and Jillian shared their story and provided help to families worldwide. 

Jillian, who is now in 7thgrade and no longer struggles with reading and learning, was delighted to announce the winner, Mrs. Julie Kerr. Mrs. Kerr made a great video of her 7-year-old twin daughters, Alex and Sophia. The girls explain very clearly what their lives were like before finding out they had vision problems and they also share how things have improved. 

To quote Sophia, “Before vision therapy I didn’t like to read, I had headaches and in books, words were moving around. After vision therapy, no more headaches and I love to read; and in books, no more words moving around.”  Her sister Alex also shares similar problems, and adds, “Now I LOVE to read!”

Mrs. Kerr said that, “After 8 weeks in vision therapy, the girls have shown remarkable improvement and a thirst for reading. Reading is a joy now instead of a chore. The repercussions of having this detected and corrected early on are life-changing. The girls have told both my husband and me that they feel their vision has improved. It makes me so happy to hear Sophia and Alex say, ‘I can see all the letters and words now and they are clear.’ I now see the sparkle in their eyes when it comes to reading a book and wanting to read a book.”

“Nothing changed in their lives except vision therapy, so it is easy to see that the vision problem was at the root of the girl’s struggles,” Kerr continues.  Vision problems can also interfere with a child’s overall development.  Simple activities such as riding a bike were impossible for Alex and Sophia.  Kerr shares, “After vision therapy, they went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and rode their bikes for the first time; boy, were they excited!”

Even though they could see the letters on the eye chart just fine (“20/20”), they had convergence insufficiency, a problem with how the two eyes work together. It was making reading nearly impossible for them.  

Among the videos submitted were children and adults who have been helped with optometric vision therapy. While all of the videos share some pretty amazing stories, aside from our winner, one story in particular stands out. Ann Phillips struggled with an undetected vision problem until she was 45 years old. She shares that school was very difficult for her as a child and she was in remedial reading. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she finally found out she had a vision problem. She was thrilled to find out that she wasn’t dumb. She was 45 years old and her reading comprehension was at third grade level. After vision therapy her comprehension is now at eleventh grade level and her life is turning around. 

The videos and the webinar are available on COVD’s website,  When you visit the website, click on the menu on the left, Children’s Vision & Learning Month, and then Visions of Hope Video Contest, or 2011 August Webinar.

“Please join us in congratulating all of our contestants, and especially our winner, Mrs. Kerr!”says Habermehl, “and be sure to visit our website.”


Julie Kerr and her family are located in the Seattle, Washington area and are available for interviews.  For more information please contact COVD.

About COVD

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation and board certification programs in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy and visual rehabilitation. The organization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and other vision specialists. For more information on learning-related vision problems, vision therapy and COVD, please visit or call 888.268.3770.


Pamela R. Happ, CAE
COVD Executive Director
888.268.3770 tel