Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vision Therapy, Posture and Spacy-ness

Catching you guys up on some of the Vision Therapy I had done right before I left on vacation but didn't have the chance to blog.

Journeyed out to Amish country again for another round of Vision Therapy.

We worked on the HTS program with stereo images again.  I am trying to keep an image of some green creature fused together by either drawing my eyes together or relaxing them out.

We played a game where I had a guessing game with cards that had questions.  I was wearing flippers with lenses that I alternated ever 6 seconds.   The flippers are to exercise the accommodative system, i.e. the system in the brain that does the focusing.

I also held a mirror to my nose and projected an image onto another sheet of paper and tried to draw it.  I did OK while drawing with my right hand.  Not so good with drawing on my left hand.

I also looked at some stereo images through a view finder and tried to fuse the images. I can do practically all of them.

Took a break and talked to the doctor about integrating  occupational therapy with yoked lenses to improve posture and he said that this issue was really something taken care of in vision therapy, not occupational therapy.  As we work more with yoked lenses, we would see an improvement in posture.  I think my posture is a bit crappy and my body is working against itself from stem to stern.   My feet don't point out straight, my one hip is higher than the other, my shoulders roll forward, and my head leans forward in a "military neck" from osteoarthritis ( computer use is the culprit.  Ergonomics is really important, people!  Laptops are horrible. )   Also, I think I am tilting my head to compensate for my lousy vision.

Why is posture important for vision?  Well, think about it.  Your head is the platform for the eyes.  If the head isn't stable, the eyes aren't going to be stable either and the whole visual system will have to adjust.

Posture, Posture, Posture.  The old Catholic nuns had it right. Also, I think posture helps present yourself to the world.  Good posture gives an impression of strength.  Poor posture where you are shrinking into yourself gives an impression of weakness.  My husband is a big guy but with poor posture.   I told him if he needs to stand up for himself or to make a point at work to watch his posture.   He is a big guy and once he throws his head and shoulders back, he can look quite authoritative.   It works.  He notices people react to him differently.

You also notice the importance of posture in the old Hollywood movies from the 40's where they had a studio system in place that trained actors in all manner of diction, and body language, including posture.  Of course, it helped that a lot of the garments were build with foundation and were made of stiff material that reinforced good posture.  I have a vintage piece that it is impossible to slouch in.

Back to vision therapy.

I talked to Becky, the head therapist and she told me that they are going to really push me.   They want me to start looking out into space.  Currently, my normal focus has been about a few feet in front of me.  Becky is very aware of how vision problems affect personality and the way others perceive you and she told me nicely that this tendency to focus at a near spot gives other people the impression that you are a bit spacey.  They want me to really work on focusing outwards in the real world.

On a side note, I can see how vision problems get confused with certain forms of ADHD.  There is an inattentive form of ADHD that manifests itself with spacey-ness. I am sure that there is organic spacey behavior that has nothing to do with vision and that there is spacey behavior induced by poor vision.

Then they had me put on prism lenses and play another game.  I am up to 5 diopters of prisms. I am rotating through 4 different types of prisms.   My therapist put a picture of a rows of shapes on the wall and I bounced a ball with my right hand, left hand, both hands, or tossed it in the air according to the pattern of the shapes.

There was an Amish father there with his son.  The therapists had them playing ball together.... kind of a cross between bouncing the ball and hopscotch.   It was really sweet to watch them play together.  The therapists encourage the parents to attend vision therapy when they can and to participate in visually oriented games with their children.  For me, this kind of interaction had stopped somewhere in infancy.  I think my parents had eye problems, too.  So we did not play these games together and I have no real memories of ball games with my parents (except for an abortive attempt at tennis in my tweens).

After I finished this game, I did an eye tracking exercise with flippers again where I read through a paragraph of nonsense and marked off the a's, reread it through the b's, etc.

When I left and went out to my car, I felt a bit discombobulated and almost nauseated.  The world just seemed a bit strange to me.  Now, I have been going out of that same office into the same parking lot several times already as I go to my vision therapy sessions.  But today, it seemed a bit different.  I could take in a lot more of the world at one go.

I figured that I should go and sit down for a while before I begin my trek back home along the Pennsylvania turnpike.  There is a really nice Italian restaurant just down the street from the doctor's office so I went there and sat for a while and ate an early dinner.  It is a nice quiet place with very low lighting which is rather comforting at this point.  I had a pasta salad (which I should have avoided because I didn't have my gluten ease with me) for an appetizer and a shrimp salad over fennel and greens with a limoncello dressing.  The shrimp was grilled to perfection and was quite yummy.

My eyes calmed down and I got in my car and started driving home.  On the way home, I started to notice that I wasn't focusing a couple car lengths ahead like I usually do but was focusing on the whole road.  I was definitely aware of what was happening at a near point but I was also aware of what was happening on the whole road.  I could see the entire turnpike curving towards the horizon as I drove.

 I also was more aware of the scenery around me. Pennsylvania is home to 8500 farms and 555000 dairy cows and I am passing by a good section of these on my weekly trek to vision therapy.  Agriculture is big business out here.  I am passing huge 18 wheeler trucks filled with meat, dairy and truck vegetables headed to Philadelphia.  Lot of hauling of farming heavy equipment.  I was going past farms with these monstrously tall silos.  We have barns with silos in Bucks County but the silos out in Lancaster County are huge.  There are concrete stave silos.  These silos are  buillt with interlocking concrete staves compressed by exterior steel hoops. The staves are similar to a concrete block, while the hoops provide the primary structural integrity of the silo wall.  The stave silos'  smooth plaster finish preserves and protects the ensiled feed.  These silos are very economical and flexible to use.

I also pass by these big cobalt blue glass and steel "Harvestore" silos.  The glass lining of the Harvestore resists silage acids. Silage will not freeze in these structure and it can be filled at the top at the same time it was being unloaded from the bottom.  Harvestore silos are touted as the "heart of dairy nutrition systems" and provide  storage for haylage and high-moisture grains.  Because of their lined construction, there is limited dry matter loss.

These silos provide food for the cows that I am passing. Lot of Black and White Holstein.  People still do some raw (unpasteurized) fresh milk out here.

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