Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vision therapy - week 1

I started vision therapy on November 19, 2010. It's now December 18th, so it's a little hazy, but I will try to remember what I can. Before that appointment, though, I needed to have a separate appointment with the optometrist so that he could check me out. I had to fill out all of this paperwork asking questions about my "child" and their vision problems. I asked the receptionist, "Am I my own child?" and she said yes. Apparently so few adults come in asking for vision therapy that they haven't bothered to make a separate form for them.

Anyway, back to the vision therapy appointment. The vision therapist does all of the vision therapy, not the optometrist, so that's who I work with. She's a nice lady named Denise.

One of the first things she did was test my eye tracking. She was looking for what they call "smooth pursuits." When your eyes follow an object, it should follow it in a smooth motion. She patched my left eye, and asked me to follow a pencil with the my right eye. Everything looked good; my allow followed it smoothly in all directions.

She then patched by right eye and tested my left. My left eye is the weaker eye and the eye that is often turned out. Usually my right eye fixates and tracks and my left eye hangs out and takes it easy. Anyway, so she patches my right eye (the good eye) and asks me to follow a pencil with my left. And when my left eye tries to follow the pencil, it does a bad job! It follows the pencil in a jumpy, choppy motion. If I paid attention, I could see this effect for myself too. The pencil looked like it was under a strobe light. How strange! How have I gone my whole life without noticing this?

Another thing that came up was the fact that I position my body strangely because of my eyes. This was something that I had noticed myself before, and something that I read about in Stereo Sue's book. Because I use mostly my right eye, I'm always positioning myself off center of what I am looking at. That way, I can get things directly in front of my right eye. I have a hard time seeing things that are centered in front of me; I don't know which eye to use. I prefer things slightly to the side. Take a look at the following illustration:

Here I am, looking at a "thing." My left eye is being suppressed, and my body has turned so that my right eye easily faces the object that I am looking at.

This works okay, but it can lead to some confusing situations. If I'm talking to two people standing next to each other, they have hard time telling who I am looking at.

To address this issue, my vision therapist suggested that I use a balance board when I'm doing my vision therapy exercises. If I position my body weirdly, I'll become aware of it because I'll tip over.

Anyway, back to the exercises. The first one was called a Hart chart. It was a chart of letters on the wall. I held a miniature version of it a few inches away from my face. I had to read a line of the tiny chart in my hand, then, keeping my place, read the next line on the big chart on the wall. Then back to the tiny chart, then back to the big chart. Focus near, focus far. On a balance board. With one eye patched.

Then I did a similar thing with some beads on a string (a Brock string). I held it up to my nose and looked at the near bead. Then looked at the far bead. Then the near bead. Then the middle bead. And on and on. Also patched and on the balance board.

Then another bead exercise. Slowly slide the bead up and down the string while watching it.

And that was it. My homework was to do those same exercises at home: eye tracking, Hart chart, bead jump, and bead slide. Most of them patched and on a balance board. So that's what I did and that's the end of the story!


  1. Your "thing" illustration is me ... I've noticed over the last 3 days I do this ALL the time. Right now, shoulders are not parallel with the laptop, the left is forward and my nose is off to the left at about 11:00. The binasal occluded glasses do not fix this either. I'm going to be spending a lot of time on that balance board!

  2. Josh, I just posted about our cock-eyed way of seeing and quoted your observations and borrowed your wonderful illustrations with links back here.

    I also found and posted a video you have to see. Is this how we really drive down the highway? lol

  3. Lynda, that is how I am always looking at my laptop too! My nose is 11 o'clock and my legs are hanging off the side of my chair.

  4. I am my own child as well. Whenever I check out materials from the optometrist's office, I have to sign as my own parent. It's odd being the only patient above 3 feet tall.

  5. Those kids have it so good. At my last appointment, a little girl walked over to where I was desperately trying to see depth in a stereogram projected on the overhead projector. She put on the glasses and instantly was like, WOW it's popping out!! I was so jealous.

  6. "Is he talking to you or me?" Boy, does that ever bring back memories.