We love going to work every day to hear our patients’ stories of the new things that they are able to do that they thought were impossible before. We continually hear success stories from our patients’ families about how much more peace there is at home and school – even after they have graduated!
Amy Thomas, OD, FCOVD is a Board Certified Optometrist Experienced in Vision Development and Rehabilitation.
She was born in North Dakota and joined the Army when she was 17 because she wanted to figure out “what she was missing”.
Vision Problems of Her Own
She suffered from vision problems herself but was not aware of how those problems were affecting her until she learned about them in optometry school. It was during her studies at Pacific University College of Optometry that Dr. Thomas discovered Vision Therapy. She noticed that a lot of the patients that went through Vision Therapy read, studied, and interacted with the world just like her. This discovery prompted her to use Vision Therapy on herself to improve her skills.
Working with Soldiers with Brain Injuries
After optometry school, the first location that she worked was in Heidelberg, Germany for the US Army. From there, she was introduced to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. This is where a lot of the soldiers and airmen with brain injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan were first sent before they could go home. At Landstuhl, she was able to participate in diagnosing and working with vision problems caused by brain injuries.
Over 600 Hours of Post-Doctorate Education
After the rotation at Landstuhl, she left the Army and moved to Tucson, AZ where she set up a Vision Therapy practice of her own. To prepare to be the best Vision Therapy doctor that she could be, she took every course that she could find that dealt with vision development and rehabilitation. She has taken over 600 hours of post-doctorate education. The courses that she took included:
Optometric Extension Program (Full Curriculum)
PAVE-Sanet Seminars (Powerful Vision Therapy)
Neuro-optometric Rehabilitation Association Seminars (Annual Seminars)
Mind-Eye Connection Certification
Dynamic Neuro-Muscular Stabilization
Clinical Applications of Eye Movements through the Carrick Institute
Developmental Reflex Integration Training
Syntonic Phototherapy Courses
Certification in the Sensory Learning Program
To push herself to read and learn even more about vision development, she underwent Board Certification through College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) and became a Fellow in 2014.
Fellow for the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association
To help herself become more comfortable with the rehabilitation side of vision therapy, she is now working on the Fellow for the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA).
She has been actively practicing Vision Therapy at Arizona Vision Therapy Center (formerly Cimarron Family Vision Center) since 2009. She has found some of the most personable, clever, adaptable, and fun vision therapists in Tucson to help her with the patients.
Rick Vela is a Vision Therapist and Optician. Rick received his training through the Optometric Extension Program Foundation specializing in Strabismus and Amblyopia. He joined our team in 2009 and has many active years of experience as a vision therapist. Prior to being a therapist, he spent nineteen years as an Arizona state licensed dispensing Optician. He is certified by the American Board of Opticians and has a degree in liberal arts in Psychology, which assists him in identifying the best approach for each patient.
Shannon Kent is a Vision Therapist. She was trained through the Optometric Extension Program specializing in Strabismus and Amblyopia. She has a passion for helping others and loves working with children. Because she had always wanted to help those children who had problems learning through conventional education programs, she fit perfectly with Arizona Vision Therapy Center’s mission to help children. Shannon joined the team in 2014 and has consistently taken continuing education to enhance her therapy skills. She strives to provide each patient with a fun and individualized therapy program to accommodate their specific visual needs.
Maria Gamboa is a Patient Care Coordinator. She has a strong background in the Medical Field and Medical Billing. Her priority as Patient Care Coordinator is to deliver high-quality care with optimum results to our patients and to ensure an exceptional experience. Her responsibilities as a Patient Care Coordinator are to conduct the triage with all prospective patients that call in and prepare them for the initial evaluation and the step by step process they will be going through. She is also responsible for all aspects of the vision care provided at our office from exams to glasses/contacts to therapy.