Monday, October 21, 2013

End of Vision Therapy and the Beginning of a New Life With New Glasses

HVS
HVS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Got discharged from Vision Therapy.  Unfortunately, I did not get a complete sense of 3D space but I have some idea of the heart of the  problem.  I do really good on the exercises in the office but it is just not translating into the real world.  I can do the quoits, vectograms, etc. both in the world as I am sitting on a chair, or while walking on a balance beam.

 I have advanced fusional ranges  which means I can converge and my eyes with the best of them.  I have 20 degrees of stereopsis which means I have really good binocular vision.  But I just don't appreciate SILO (small in large out) in real life.  I can do SILO in the office but I am not getting a real sense of things popping out at me like the famous Stereo Sue did.

I just got stuck.  I think I know what my problem is with SILO.  I have Vertical Heterophoria (eyes don't line up vertically and some problem with convergence excess).  Folks with Vertical Heterophoria tend to overfocus.  We really stare at things.  So when the doctor tells me to look at his parrot on a stick and look behind, I am really staring at the parrot.  I really want to do well at the exercise so I really focus in at it.  You aren't supposed to do that.  You are supposed to be looking around the parrot stick and it will pop into space.

So relax... Just don't try so hard.

I have been doing neurofeedback and that has been helping with the relax part.  Each day I have been doing different exercises about getting into the right amount of focus.  Not too much and not too little.   Like Goldilocks... just right.

It does help a bit with getting into space.  My vision therapist noticed that when I played the CD during our sessions, even her eyesight got better!  Helped but not enough.

So... last effort.  I had been to a couple of optometrists for a second opinion and they all are saying that I have reached the end of the line.  Can't do anything more for me.  

The good thing about seeing a good practitioner is that you get much further than you would with a bad one or an average one.  The bad thing about seeing a good practitioner is that it gets really hard to find someone who knows something he doesn't know.

So there I am.  Left to the Internet to Google away.  And Google I did.  Googled Vertical Heterophoria and found a doctor who specializes in this condition.  Turns out her brother had it.

Unfortunately, there had been very little written in the textbooks about Vertical Heterophoria since the late 1800's.   So there is not so much research on the condition.

She was out in Michigan.   So I took a flight to Detroit and spent a few days out there.  I was so nervous and keyed up the day before that I went to bed early in the afternoon and just slept.
Went to see her and spent several hours getting examined.  Unlike other exams, she did not want me to try to hard.  So she was always telling me to relax ... just ballpark it.

I had always approached going to an eye doctor like I was taking the SATs and wanted a really great score.  So I really stressed and strained to see the best I could.  Looking back, not the best way to go about it.

West Philadelphia, view down Baltimore Avenue ...
West Philadelphia, view down Baltimore Avenue from 48th towards Center City. Photo taken from atop Calvary United Methodist Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  Her exam was a bit unusual.  She  used a Maddox rod which is a projected red light and had me line up the white dot horizontally and vertically.  She also checked my visual fields.   Did the usual Snellen Chart (Big E) and then we did some trial lenses.  She had me sit for about 20 minutes with each lens.

Well, the lenses were amazing.  I finally knew where my feet where.  I don't know how to describe it anyother way except, maybe, "grounded".  And I mean grounded in all senses of the word.  Like my feet are rooted to the earth.  Grounded as in well balanced both physically and emotionally.   A lot of anxiety just went pouffff!  So grounded in the sense of feeling a lot more secure.

Also, I have a sense of space.  I know where I am in relation to things and I have the beginnings of float and 3D.    When I drive past Philadelphia, I can see the various neighborhoods and warehouses  and Center City as one big panorama.  I really can see the skyline ... more on this later.

Headaches are way down, if not gone.  Eye strain is way down.

I notice I am sensitive to light.  So I went and bought a cheap pair of fitovers at K-mart.  And I got another round of feeling even more grounded and less anxious and more comfortable.  It's amazing.

Unfortunately, I did not get to see too much of Detroit.  The exam was a long day and I got tired and went to bed.  The next day, I did go to the Henry Ford Museum and went and ate Polish food--golablki and kielbasa in Hamatranck.   But other than that I was very tired.    So, I was glad to get on the plane and go back to my snuggy bed in Philadelphia.

So, this is the end of most things.  I have a little more left to do with balance and language and neurofeedback and I am done.  Balance and Language will finish up this month.  Neurofeedback is a weekly appointment close to home so no major journeys all over creation  unless I find I need to change lenses.  The doctor doesn't think so but told me to check in with myself and come back in three months if I feel the need.   I don't have much lens-- only 0.5 diopters vertically.

So, over time the focus of this blog will change and it will be less a slog through therapies and more thoughts of higher order things and some downright fun stuff.  I think I deserve a good dose of fun.  I will start the process of returning to work but I will make time for fun.
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