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About Dr. Bowan


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Merrill D. Bowan, O.D.
841 Tenth Street
Oakmont, PA 15139

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: Dr. Merrill D. Bowan is a neurodevelopmental optometrist who practiced in the Pittsburgh area for 47 years. Dr. Bowan graduated in 1965 from the Illinois College of Optometry with a B.S. in Optometry and Doctor of Optometry degrees. His pre-optometric studies were performed at Geneva College, in Beaver Falls, PA. He served for three years in the U.S. Navy, attached to the Marine Corps at Parris Island, S.C. His areas of professional interest are treatment of post-concussive syndrome, vision and visual processing in learning and language development, and the psychopathophysiology of refractive error.  His later work was in the area of textual visual aliasing caused by sampling errors (binocularly dissonant signals). He also discovered the application of low power prisms (miniprisms, initially called microprisms) in addressing many of the issues of brain hypersensitivities caused by mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI’s). Those discussions can be found other tabs to the left.  He also developed a  theoretical model for Palinopsia involving alteration of the episodic nature of the visual stream by the neuropsychophysiological aftermath of brain trauma. (Papers drafted on these topics are linked below.)

He was co-founder and Director of Perceptual Services at the Effective Learning Institute, a multidisciplinary developmental visual and sensorimotor remedial center from 1992-1994. He has served as the director of perceptual training at Pace School (1970-1972); Chairman of the Visual Development and Training Committee of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association; and consultant to the Title I funded perceptual program at The Bradley Center in Dorseyville, PA, for the program’s five-year span.

Dr. Bowan is a member of The Optometric Extension Program, a post-graduate study program. He has lectured for the Regional Gathering of the Pittsburgh Area Mensa Society in 2010, 2011 and 2013, the Connecticut Optometric Association at the Mohegan Sun Resort, the Hudson Valley Optometric Association at West Point, and the San Diego Optometric Association. He has lectured at Carlow University, Duquesne University – in both the reading department and department of special education, Penn State University, Monroeville campus, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Penn Technical Institute, and at numerous inservices at local rehabilitation centers, autism support groups, and public and private schools throughout Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. He was on the editorial review board of Annals of Ophthalmology and Glaucoma from October 1997 until it ceased publication in 2007.


All Visual Exams are not Created Equal. Feature article/ Opinion. ODWire August 5, 2016. accessed 12/1/2016.

Does teaching the brain to analyze and reproduce diagonal lines change perceptual performance? Conference paper. Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium. 2013.

The Speed of Vision: a hypothesis discussing Libet’s half second and Palinopsia. Conference paper. Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium. 2012

Ocular Manifestations in Children With Cerebral Palsy. Sanjay Marasini, B Optom; Nabin Paudel, B Optom; Pradash Adhikari, B Optom; Jyoti Baba Shrestha, MD; Merrill D. Bowan, OD. Optom Vis Devel Vol 42:3/11.

Microprism Application in Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Series. (In redraft 2012.) Initial draft:

Textual Visual Aliasing: Addressing the problem of mirages of text. (Was conditionally accepted, Optometry. In redraft, 2012) (Initial Draft:

Objective Support for Optometric Intervention in Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Report of Microprism Application. Poster presentation, 6th International Congress of Behavioral Optometry. Ontario, CA. April, 2010. (.pdf)

Optometric Interventions in PCS/PTVS, MD Bowan, Publ. 2009.

Textual Visual Aliasing: the Visual Aliasing Syndrome. MD. Bowan, Publ. 2009.

Treatment of Panic Attack with Vergence Therapy: an unexpected visual-vagus connection. J Behav Optom. 2008:19(6);155-159.

Learning Problems Are Brain Problems: what neurology, optometry, education, psychology, and psychiatry have in common. (Invited article.) The Sight. Nepal Optometry Students’ Society. Annual Journal, 2008. (.pdf)

Clinical Aspects of the Visual Aliasing Syndrome. Presentation at the 53rd Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium. January 19-21, 2008.

NeuroOptics: the radical impact of plus lenses and microprisms upon the brain and the body. MD Bowan, Publ. 2007.

Visual Aliasing Syndrome: Addressing the pattern distress of text. (In redraft, Optometry. 2012.)

The Visual Aliasing Syndrome. Presentation at the 50th Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium. January 15-17, 2005.

When to refer for a developmental optometric evaluation. MD. Bowan, Publ. 2005.

ADD/ADHD: A symptom in search of a diagnosis. MD Bowan, Publ. 2005.

Of Brains and Leaky Learning. MD Bowan, Publ. 2005.

Point-Counterpoint: Only the optometrist should be permitted to perform subjective refraction. Review of Optometry, September 15, 2004.

The Mind and Eye. MD. Bowan, Publ. 2004.

Putting the Neuro in Developmental Optometry. Presentation at the 49th Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium. January 17-20, 2004.

Introducing the binocular Dissonance Test. Presentation at the 65th Middle Atlantic Optometric Congress, Sept 20-21, 2003. Monroeville, PA.

The Puzzling Power of Plus and Prism. Transcript of the 48th Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium. January 16-19, 2003.

Some answers for Learning Disabilities: despite the clinical/science problem. MD Bowan, Publ. 2002

“Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision: A Subject Review”: a rebuttal,
literature review and commentary.
(Optometry 2002;73:553-75). (.pdf)

Learning Problems are BRAIN Problems: What Neurology, Optometry,
Psychology, Education and Psychiatry Have in Common
; MD Bowan, Publ.,
Oakmont, PA, 1999.

Integrating Vision With the Other Senses; Monograph chapter in OEP
Foundation post-graduate curriculum, Vol. 40(2):1-10, Dec. 1999. (.pdf)

A Perceptual-Motor Model of Language; submitted for publication, J.
Behavioral Optom
., 1999.

The Cure for Nearsightedness (The myopia about Nearsightedness); MD Bowan, Publ., Oakmont, PA, 1999.

Differential Diagnostic Questions to be Answered to Determine the Roles of
Vision and Perception in the Efficacy of Learning
; MD Bowan, Publ.,
Oakmont, PA, 1999.

Neurodevelopmental Optometry: the difference between sight and vision; MD
Bowan, Publ., Oakmont, PA, 1999.

Preventing Refractive Error: What’s a Doctor to Do?; Workshop presentation,
3rd International Congress of Behavioral Optometry, Washington, DC, May
1-4, 1998. (Available as tape WS-4, OEP Foundation, Santa Ana, CA.)

What’s in a Name?; Guest Editorial, J. of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 9(1):19, 25,1998. (.pdf)

Learning Success and the Role of Neurodevelopmental Optometry; MD Bowan,
Publ., Oakmont, PA, 1998.

Accommovergence: A New (?) Unifying Theory of Accommodation and
Convergence; Transcript of the 42nd Kraskin-Skeffington Symposium on
Vision, OEP Foundation, Santa Ana, CA, 1998.

Perceptual Problem Checklist: Categorized by Related Perceptual and Visual
Skill Areas
; MD Bowan, Publ., Oakmont, PA, 1996. [.pdf]

Stress and Eye: New Speculations on Refractive Error; J. Behavioral Optom.
7(5)115-22, 1996. (.pdf)

Learning and the Visual Process: the role of applied visual behavior in cognition and attention. Transcript of the 40th Skeffington Invitational Symposium, OEP Foundation, Santa Ana, CA, 1995.

The Missing Link in the Four Circles of Vision, or, It’s Time, for a Change; Transcript of the 37th Skeffington Invitational Symposium, Caryl Croisant Transcripts, OEP Foundation, Santa Ana, CA, 1992.

ADD/ADHD: symptoms in search of a diagnosis; MD Bowan, Publ., Oakmont, PA. 1992.

Nutritional Considerations in Learning Problems; MD Bowan, Publ., Oakmont, PA. 1992.

Motivation in Learning, What’s a Teacher to DO?; MD Bowan, Publ., Oakmont,
PA, 1992.

Learning Problems and Behavioral Changes; MD Bowan, Publ., Oakmont, PA,

Refractive Error and Personality Style; Transcript of the 36th Skeffington
Invitational Symposium, Optometric Extension Program, Santa Ana, CA, 1991.

Neurodevelopmental Treatment Plan. MD Bowan, Publ. 1985.

Myopia, Astigmia and Hyperopia: Stress Diseases. An Initial Report on a
Unifying Hypothesis; Transcript of The 23rd Skeffington Invitational
Symposium, Caryl Croisant Transcripts, OEP Foundation, Santa Ana CA, 1984.

The Control of Myopia; J. of Optom. Vis. Dev. 12(2)17-24, 1981. (The Control of Myopia.pdf)


Cited in:

Schmid, Klaus. The Myopia Manual – 2016 Edition. Online edition: (Last accessed 12/1/2016)

Lemer, Patricia S. Outsmarting Autism: The Ultimate Guide to Management, Healing, and Prevention. Optometric Extension Program Foundation. 2015.

Grand, David. Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change. Sounds True, Inc. 2013.

Lemer, Patricia S. ENVISIONING a bright future.  Optometric Extension Program Foundation, 2012.

Stone, Rhonda. The Light Barrier: a Color Solution to Your Child’s Light-based Reading Difficulties. 2002. St. Martin’s Press. 2002.

Forrest, Elliott. Stress and Vision. Optometric Extension Program Foundation. 1988.

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