Mitchell Scheiman, OD, PhD, FAAO: An Accomplished Individual

Mitchell-Scheiman-(2).jpgFor nearly 40 years, Mitchell Scheiman, OD, PhD, FAAO, dean of Research and director of Graduate Programs in Biomedicine, has played a major role in the areas of binocular vision, vision therapy, and pediatric optometry. Whether as a faculty member at the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO); the head of his own vision therapy practice; or as the leader of various ground-breaking clinical trials; Dr. Scheiman has always showed a clear dedication and love for the profession of optometry.

Graduating from the New England College of Optometry in 1975, Dr. Scheiman found an interest in the profession of developmental optometry and vision therapy early on. According to Dr. Scheiman, he knew he wanted to specialize in vision therapy after being introduced to the topic in his third year of optometry school. “I find this area of optometric practice to be so much more challenging and exciting than any other topical area,” he said. “The ability to make significant changes in an individual’s visual functioning leading to life-long improvements in the ability to function in school, work, and sports is extremely rewarding.”

He later completed a residency in vision therapy at the State University of New York College of Optometry and then was a clinical instructor at the New England College of Optometry from 1976 to 1982.

It was 1982 when Dr. Scheiman joined the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). Initially hired as the chief of the Pediatric/Vision Therapy Department, a position he maintained for nearly 30 years, making him not only a fixture at The Eye Institute , but within the College and then University community, as well.

Throughout his years at PCO and Salus, Dr. Scheiman has only continued to succeed. He became the first Salus faculty member to earn the University’s PhD in Biomedicine in 2016. He also achieved his current positions as professor, the University’s dean of Research, and director of Graduate Programs in Biomedicine.

PhD-Program-White-Coat-Ceremony-Dr-Scheiman-with-Dr-Di-Stefano-012213-007.jpgWhile Dr. Scheiman has achieved much within the Salus community, he has also accomplished a great deal for the profession of optometry as a whole. He opened his private practice, Scheiman Vision Therapy, in 1987, specializing in vision therapy and children’s vision disorders. The practice grew to three locations over the years: Warminster, West Chester, and Wyomissing, Pa. He recently retired from the practice.

Dr. Scheiman is also a celebrated author, having published over 200 journals and four textbooks - two for optometrists, and two for occupational therapists. Adding to his accomplishments, Dr. Scheiman received a number of awards for his writing such as the 1993 Garland Clay Award for Excellence in Writing from the American Academy of Optometry (AAO); the 2002 Skeffington Award for Excellence in Writing; and the 2012 Vision Service Award from the Heart of America Contact Lens Society.

In 2017, he was honored at the AAO conference as the recipient of the Glenn A. Fry Award - given annually to a distinguished scientist or clinician in recognition of the quality, significance, impact, and relevance to optometry of his or her current research contributions. He also recently became one of only 40 optometrists in the U.S. to earn Diplomate status of the AAO.

In the past 25 years, his focus has been on clinical trial research and he has been the national study  chair on multiple National Eye Institute-funded randomized clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of vision therapy for convergence insufficiency – a common near vision problem.

Dr. Scheiman has led the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT) Investigator group – with the mission to address the lack of literature regarding vision therapy - since 1995. The CITT investigation group has been funded for almost 15 years from the National Institutes for Health, National Eye Institute (NEI). It gained funding in 2002, and in 2004, Dr. Scheiman was appointed the study chair of the seminal NEI funded CITT project investigating the effectiveness of treatment for convergence insufficiency. The clinical trial, which was published in 2008, was a great success and remains one of the largest and most comprehensive studies completed to date on vision therapy.

Since 2014, Dr. Scheiman has been the study chair of another project by the CITT Investigator Group; CITT: Attention and Reading Trial (CITT:ART), which will be published later this year.

Heis also well known for his role as principal investigator in both the Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET) in 1997 and Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMETII) in 2003.

With all his accomplishments, Dr. Scheiman still takes it all in stride.

"I never imagined that when I arrived at PCO in 1982, that I would still be working here in 2019, but here I am,” he said.  “I have always been grateful to PCO for taking a chance on a relatively unknown individual and giving me the opportunity to serve PCO as chief of the Pediatric/Binocular Vision Service. PCO and Salus both have been instrumental in my growth as an academic and professional by providing me with numerous opportunities. Salus has been a fabulous place to work with outstanding mentors and colleagues and I hope to work here for many more years."