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.
A Friday night trip to the movies (a rare occurrence for me) left me with a headache (not rare at all) and I couldn’t help but wonder, is this as miserable for everyone else as it is for me? I usually blame the air conditioning for the discomfort, but it was more than welcome that evening in the 90-degree weather. I also had been thinking how my nightly commute on chaotic highways always seems to drain my batteries to zero, leaving me a zombie-like mess that can barely drag himself through the front door and collapse onto the couch to stare into space for the next hour. Before I even start that drive home, I’m usually already half way to bed, but it doesn’t make sense. I eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep–but by 4 in the afternoon, before I’m anywhere close to the drive home, I’m using all my strength to keep my brain on.Should my day in an office job leave me that drained? Just as I had been starting to suspect, my vision therapist confirmed it at my session this week: all this discomfort and exhaustion was due to how much effort it takes me just to see.
Apparently, a little bit of a vision problem goes a long way toward making life more challenging than it needs to be.
But thankfully, a little bit of vision therapy goes a long way, too, because the progress I’m making continues to be noticeable, measurable, and consistent.
As of this session, I had been able to decrease the text size twice when circling letters with red-green glasses on, was able to track the Marsden ball without moving my head, and could finally read the entire Hart chart while using the Bullseyes card. My vision therapist also pointed out a big improvement I hadn’t noticed as clearly when we did a quick repeat of the Push-Up Paddle activity: I was able to make the letters look clear while holding it nearly an inch closer to my face than I had three weeks ago. I can’t believe how fast my brain and eyes are picking up these visual skills!
Week 4’s most challenging new activity was similar to Bullseyes. Instead of switching between close-up letters and far-away ones, though, I was asked to hold up a large, strongly-curved lens between my eyes and the Hart chart and to try and make the blurry letters appear clear. Once I did this, I had to switch to a lens that was curved the opposite way and to try and make the letter appear clear through that. It took several tries and switching between several lenses to find the strength that was enough for me to tell what I was doing, but weak enough to be a challenge. The lens that requires me to relax my vision to see the text is much harder for me to see through clearly than the one that requires intense focus. I’m sure I’ll get there with practice, I’ve already done so many activities that seemed impossible at first!