Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bye Bye to Vision Therapy

Vision Image via Wikipedia
Parting is such sweet sorrow!  Truer words have not been spoken. 


I saw Dr. Herzberg for a checkup today and got my discharge from vision therapy.   My vision has improved tremendously since the beginning of my vision therapy and I am extremely grateful to her and her assistant, Marianne, for all the work that they have done on my behalf.

Dr. Herzberg checked my reading and I have gone up from 205 words/minute to 385 words/minute with 70% comprehension.  Yay!

Binocular vision is getting there.  I can do it selectively when I am paying attention.  The good doctor wants me to continue working at home with the eccentric circles and the looking at you finger in real space exercises.   I can also continue with the reading exercises.  Dr. Herzberg thinks that the binocular vision will be helped with the occupational  therapies that I am doing and with, of all things, my sinus surgery.   I told Dr. Herzberg that the diaphram breathing that I am doing with the neuropsychologist, Dr. Berman, helps with the binocular vision.  When I am breathing properly, I can get 3D vision.  Unfortunately, this is hard to sustain in everyday life.  I have massively blocked sinuses.  Additionally, there is some inter-relationship with sinuses and the eyes.   She gave me a list of the sinuses that impact vision so that I can make sure the surgeon will ensure that they are opened.  Who'd have thought that the journey up the cortex would be going through the eyes and up the nose?




 We agreed that I would see her in March after I have healed from the surgery and after occupational therapy is finished.  I would like to try the eye exercises involving the metronome again after I finish working with the interactive metronome.  I really wasn't doing the eye exercises properly since I couldn't stay on the beat.  Using the metronome for eye exercises is important as a doing exercises to a steady beat helps them become automatic.  So maybe I will do 1-2 sessions of vision therapy later on. 


I can't believe we are finished with vision therapy.  A large part of me would like to keep coming to the office until binocular vision is well established and part of me just doesn't want to leave Marianne and Dr. Herzberg.   We were working together on a task since last November and had built a therapeutic relationship.  As the great psychologist, Carl Rogers said about a therapeutic relationship as “ a relationship in which one of the participants intends that there should come about, in one or both parties, more appreciation of, more expression of, more functional use of the latent inner resources of the individual."   I really feel that this happened through the course of vision therapy and that more has happened than just getting better eyesight.

What has happened is that my perception of myself, people around me, and the world around me has fundamentally shifted in ways that are more profound than what I can articulate at the current moment.  I am going to continue to blog a bit more about vision but it will be in the context of perception and how perception and the resulting increase in consciousness has changed.   Changes in perception affect arousal (how you first become aware), vigilance (the state of alertness) and a number of very basic psychological states. 


Also, what you perceive is a result of past experiences (personal, social, cultural) and the interpretation of the perception. When you can't see properly, the very basis of perception in the encoding of stimulus: modality, intensity, quality, and time duration, is registered in error.  You start asking basic questions of how do I know what I know.   Is the very basis for an argument that I would like to make sound  or one founded in sand?  What comes first:  I think therefore I am; or, I am, therefore I think?  Perception also impacts how I get along with people.  I am able to see the same things as everyone else so the very basics of our relationship start off on the same footing.   The jury is still out on where I focus on a person's face.  I still focus on the mouth and not the eyes.  I am aware of the eyes and check them periodically but I don't think that I focus on the other person's eyes as much as other people do.  Whether or not, this is some weird theory of the mind stuff that autistic people suffer from or whether this is from problems in hearing that are leading me to lip read, I won't know until I tackle my hearing problems (which I will be doing after sinus surgery).


I am finding that I have been feeling a lot calmer and more in control.  I am a lot less jumpy as things don't jump out at me from the periphery like they used to.   I'm a bit like an infant creeping and crawling around a new space. There are a lot of beautiful, interesting and exciting things to look at.


I am really sad to leave Dr Herzberg and Marianne, but a therapeutic relationship, unfortunately, has its limits.  And these limits must be respected for the relationship to stay a healthy one.  I wonder if doctors and therapists in the profession feel the same sense of loss when the therapy is over, too?

Dr. Herzberg has directed me to have my vision followed by an eye doctor.  Right now, I don't have an opthamologist that I particularly care for.   I have tried a couple since moving to Bucks County but the  ones that I have bumped into give very quick appointments.  I get the feeling of being rushed in and rushed out.  Maybe I just haven't run into the right opthamologist, yet.

As far as opticians are concerned, you don't have to be licensed in Pennsylvania to be an optician. The commercial places such as Sears and Pearle Vision are using "optical assistants" and not opticians.  These optical assistants are probably being supervised by an optician but the experience is not the same as having an optician adjust your eyeglasses and help you select the pair that suits your needs.   I do know a good optician who takes the time with you. 


Vision therapy has been quite an experience.  I am sorry it's over but I am really happy about the changes in my vision.




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