Difficulties while reading, working, and learning to play the cello caused this adult patient to seek a comprehensive vision exam with a developmental optometrist found with COVD’s Locate a Doctor tool. After a diagnosis of convergence insufficiency, he was prescribed glasses with prisms and a course of vision therapy. Follow his journey below as he retrains his brain and eyes to work together.
Read the Week 1 post here.
Today was my second vision therapy session and I’m just as exhausted as the first time, even though I spent most of it sitting down. Instead of jumping right into the techniques, we first did some activities to measure where I’m starting from.
My first set of tasks involved this interesting device that kind of reminds me of Wall-E. I was asked to look through the eyepiece and trace a series of simple pictures (easier said than done), using alternately my right and left hands. I thought I’d done pretty well until I heard what the results meant…
See how I drew the shape on the left using my left hand (red) ? Apparently there is supposed to be a matching one on the right of the original (black) but instead I traced right over it. This means that, when it was my right eye’s turn to shine, my brain just shut it off and used what my left eye was telling it. I knew my right eye was weaker but I had no idea it was going unused some of the time!
My next task was to wear glasses with one red lens and one green while looking at a page of gibberish on a paper under a red filter. This meant I could only see the jumbled words out of my right, weaker eye. My brain tried to keep up its old habit of turning that eye off, and it was my job to figure out how to override it. By following each line and hunting for certain letters in the nonsense words, I was essentially building up the same skills that kids have to master when learning to read. The words weren’t recognizable so I couldn’t rush, and my weaker eye was all alone so it couldn’t be forced ahead by the stronger one. I had to be so slow and careful to keep my place that I felt like I was back in kindergarten!
By training my right eye to pull its weight when I read, hopefully I will improve my comprehension and won’t spend so much time re-reading things or forgetting what’s happening in a book. The more I think about it, I definitely finish a lot of pages and realize I didn’t absorb a word of it. I can’t wait to see what it feels like to use the red/green glasses when I’m playing cello and how much it might help me with that, too!