Board of Directors
As Canadian Optometrists, we are dedicated to enhancing optometric education and public awareness of Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation to improve the lives of our patients.
Meet Our Board of Directors
- France Corriveau, OD, FCOVD – President
- Tedra Kindopp OD, FCOVD – Vice President
- Dr. Alice Yuan, OD, FAAO – Secretary
- Sarah Hutchens – Treasurer
- Kristel Jefferies, OD – Director of Internal and External Affairs
- Amrit Bilkhu, OD, FAAO – Director of Marketing
- Tanya Polonenko, OD, FAAO, FCOVD – Director of Membership
- Marianne Hopkins – Continuing Education Director
- Maxine Jelilyan – Director of Therapist Relations
France Corriveau, OD, FCOVD – President
Dr. Corriveau received her Doctorate of Optometry from the Université de Montréal in 2008. She has always had a strong passion for binocular vision and developmental optometry and started providing vision therapy very early on in her career. Since graduation, Dr. Corriveau has been pursuing specialized training with a number of organizations, including: the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEP), Canadian Optometrists in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation (COVT&R) now knows as Vision Therapy Canada (VTC) and Padula Institute of Vision. She is a Fellow at the College of Optometrist in Vision Development (COVD).
Dr. Corriveau knew from a very young age that she wanted to be an optometrist and that she wanted to help people. Her kind, attentive and patient nature, along with her fluent bilingual skills, has allowed her to serve a wide range of patients; from serving as an in-house optometrist for old age homes across Ottawa to volunteering in Ecuador to fit glasses to children in need.
For leisure, Dr. Corriveau enjoys reading, playing the piano, cycling and is currently training for her first half marathon. She lives in Ottawa and travels to Montreal often to visit with her nieces and nephew.
Tedra Kindopp OD, FCOVD – Vice President
Dr. Tedra Kindopp attended Andrews University in Michigan where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry in 1993. She then attended the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Sciences where she received her Doctor of Optometry in 1997. Dr. Kindopp has pursued her passion for neuro-optometric rehabilitation with continual learning. She has completed the Sanet Vision Seminars, the Core Curriculum with the Optometric Extension Program Foundation, and advanced training in Syntonic Phototherapy. Dr. Kindopp has taken many Post-Concussion Rehabilitation courses and loves the changes it makes in her patient’s lives. She received her Fellowship from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development in 2019.
Dr. Kindopp wants to support the amazing vision therapy community that she is proud to be a part of and has a desire to help others learn more about all the vision therapy offers. She is a Clinical Associate Instructor for the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. She is a core committee member for Alberta’s Neurosciences Rehabilitation and Vision Strategic Clinical Network. She locally lectures to fellow optometrists, physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists and teachers.
Dr. Alice Yuan, OD, FAAO – SecretaryDr. Alice Yuan grew up in Vancouver, BC. She completed her Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Waterloo and has completed a residency in Pediatrics and Vision Therapy through the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Yuan now lives and practices in the Halifax area. She is passionate about helping children with binocular vision difficulties achieve their full potential. Dr. Yuan practices with a focus on strabismus, amblyopia, binocular vision dysfunction, learning-related vision problems, developmental vision, and acquired brain injuries. She is committed to bringing greater awareness of vision therapy to central Nova Scotia through lectures to fellow optometrists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and teachers.
Dr. Sarah Hutchens – Treasurer
Dr. Hutchens holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (Biology) from Memorial University, a Doctor of Optometry Degree from the University of Waterloo, has completed the Optometric Extension Program Core Clinical Curriculum, and has completed her Fellowship from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development to become board certified in vision development, vision therapy and vision rehabilitation.
Her focus in Developmental Optometry has driven her to open The Vision Development Centre – the first dedicated, in-office vision therapy practice in Newfoundland and Labrador; successfully improving visual skills of patients through rehabilitation of learning-related vision problems, binocular vision problems, and visual issues secondary to concussion.
Dr. Hutchens is heavily involved in both the Optometry and Vision Therapy communities, currently serving on the Board of Directors of Vision Therapy Canada. She is also a Past President of the NLAO (Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Optometrists) and the Past Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador CNIB Foundation Divisional Board.
Outside of work, she enjoys working out, baking (the two balance each other out nicely), a great latte, and spending time with her husband, two daughters and their husky, Indy.
Kristel Jefferies, OD – Director of Internal and External Affairs
Visual rehabilitation and vision therapy have been Dr. Jefferies’ passion since her second year of schooling when she became fascinated by the neurology behind the visual process. She has focussed her practice on behavioural optometry and the treatment of binocular vision disorders since began her career in 2013. Having suffered a concussion herself, Dr. Jefferies understands first-hand the important role that visual neuro-rehabilitative therapy can play in achieving a full recovery from a traumatic brain injury. She also offers vision therapy to individuals with eye turns and amblyopia, sports vision treatments to athletes, and developmental optometry services to children with autism, dyslexia, non-specific reading disabilities and other academic difficulties. Dr. Jefferies is privileged to have assisted hundreds of patients to improve the quality of their vision. She is thrilled to provide care to the community of Pembroke and surrounding areas.
Dr. Jefferies obtained a baccalaureate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Guelph in 2008. In 2013, she graduated with her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Jefferies started a binocular vision and vision therapy practice in Ottawa, Ontario. During her training, Dr. Jefferies was the recipient of several awards including the W. Ross Andrews Prize for Clinical Optometry, the Essilor Low Vision Award, and the Reginald Williams Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence. She was also the Vice President of her graduating class and remains a strong advocate for volunteer work and community involvement. Dr. Jefferies has been an integral part of many optometric mission trips to under-developed countries including Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and Ghana, where she provided free eye-care to citizens in need. In April 2020, Dr. Jefferies obtained her Fellowship with the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD), a US organization that certifies Optometrists who have additional training and expertise in the field of Behavioural, Developmental and Rehabilitative Optometry.
In 2015, Dr. Jefferies moved to Pembroke, Ontario with her family. She is a proud mother to 2 children and provides a home to two beautiful cats, which she adopted from an animal shelter. She enjoys spending her leisure time outdoors through activities such as camping, hiking, running and biking. As a young adult, she was a competitive soccer player and horseback rider. Dr. Jefferies remains a horse enthusiast but now enjoys these sports as hobbies.
Amrit Bilkhu, OD, FAAO – Director of Marketing
Dr. Bilkhu is a Brampton native and takes pride in serving her community within the Greater Toronto Area. She graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry in 2019, and then completed a Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation residency at the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry. Throughout her education, Dr. Bilkhu became skilled in helping patients with amblyopia, strabismus, binocular vision dysfunction, and visual perceptual challenges.
She has a passion for identifying and managing vision-related learning disorders in school-aged children. She is an advocate for these patients, and works hard to provide specialized glasses prescriptions, school letters for accommodations, and vision therapy programs to help children achieve their best academic performance.
Dr. Bilkhu is excited to be the marketing director on the Vision Therapy Canada board, and is a proud member of the Ontario Association of Optometrists. After clinical hours, Dr. Bilkhu writes articles for optometry blogs and shares her knowledge on her professional Instagram page @dr.amritbilkhu. She was also the creator and co-host of the popular optometry podcast Four Eyes, where she interviewed influential optometrists and healthcare professionals, and shared her optometric clinical knowledge along with her co-hosts.
Tanya Polonenko, OD, FAAO, FCOVD – Director of Membership
Dr. Tanya Polonenko is a residency trained Optometrist and a board-certified Fellow in vision development, vision therapy and rehabilitation. After obtaining her Optometry Degree at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry, she completed her Binocular Vision and Vision Therapy Residency at UC Berkeley School of Optometry where she continued serving as clinical faculty in the Binocular Vision Clinic. She returned to Canada in 2013 where she practiced in Toronto in a vision therapy focused full scope practice and a concussion centre. She loves to teach, and is an adjunct assistant clinical professor at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry. There, she has had an integral role in establishing the concussion and vision therapy clinics. In December 2019, Dr. Polonenko opened her own full scope Optometry clinic in Kitchener, Visual Sense Eye Care, which has an emphasis on vision therapy, amblyopia, strabismus, learning related vision problems, concussion, and pediatrics. She has become an instructor for the PVTAP curriculum through VTC and is excited to join the Board of Directos.
Dr. Marianne Hopkins PhD OD – Director of Continuing Education
Dr. Hopkins entered optometry as a second career, her first was a research professor in the area of genetics and molecular biology. She received her Doctorate of Optometry from the University of Waterloo in 2016. Her journey into the area of Vision Therapy started in her first year of optometry when she suffered a concussion. After experiencing first hand the benefit of vision therapy she was hooked! To learn more about vision therapy she has done hundreds of hours of continuing education and has developed the Niagara Vision Therapy Centre at her practice in St. Catharines. While Dr. Hopkins has a thriving VT practice, the pursuit of knowledge is constant. This thirst for learning will suit Dr. Hopkins as the new Director of Continuing Education with Vision Therapy Canada.
Maxine Jelilyan – Director of Therapist Relations
Health, Happiness and Gratitude are words that best describe Maxine and her outlook on life. She is grateful for every experience life has given her, and for all the lessons learned that formed who she is today. Helping others is second nature and has been practiced over many volunteer positions, fundraising projects and through her work life – most recently in her career as Vision Therapist at A-Ha Vision in Oakville.
Maxine attended Vision Therapy Canada’s Practical Vision Therapy Accreditation Program (PVTAP) and was in the first graduating class where she obtained her PVT certification in 2017.
She has completed courses in Neuro-Motor Maturity: Optimizing Vision Therapy through Testing and Integration of Primitive Reflexes; Neurorehabilitation through the Ontario Brain Injury Association and Brock University; Concussion Management Workshops through Concussion Rehab Works and the University of Toronto; The Exotropia Seminar through the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF); Concussion Prevention, Detection and Management as a MOOC through the University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology; and continues to expand her knowledge by attending continuing education courses and conferences at every opportunity!
Outside of the field of Behavioural Optometry, Maxine received her Degree in Business as well as a concurrent Certificate in Psychology at Ryerson University, and is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner through the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
Currently, Maxine dedicates her professional time to Vision Therapy and Vision Rehabilitation for patients with learning-related vision problems, visual dysfunctions, Strabismus, Amblyopia, Acquired/traumatic brain injuries, Autism and children and adults with retained primitive reflexes.
“After many years in the corporate world, making money for big business, I realized that what was missing from my life was the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. I started in optometry years ago, working in the dispensary, and enjoyed it because it was fun to help people look good, and see well. As a Vision Therapist, I have uncovered my true calling. Helping people learn to hone their visual skills directly impacts the quality of their lives. The happiness and gratitude I get back from the breakthroughs and “A-Ha” moments in the clinic are so rewarding that I can’t imagine being in a more meaningful career.”
With an eye toward all things health related, and a particular interest in helping patients better their lives through Vision Therapy, Maxine is thrilled to be part of the team at A-Ha Vision and part of this great community of Vision Therapists and Behavioural Optometrists