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.
After last week’s discovery that I don’t use the centers of my retinas to look at things, I wondered what this would mean about my vision therapy. The best option seems to be to plow ahead in the hopes that either the eccentric fixation would resolve itself or that I’d learn to work around it. My philosophy for life is generally to grab my problems by the horns, and I had to resist the temptation to demand a more specific plan of attack for this quirk about my vision. It’s a good exercise in acceptance, though, and equally good that I at least am now even more aware what my vision is doing.
I’ve been making an effort to try to feel out how to look at things with the center of my vision and I’m not sure I’m doing it yet, but one thing is for sure: I have a great deal more control over the focusing of my eyes than ever before. Trying to clear up text through strong lenses has helped me to understand moving through different “layers” of depth and distance beyond what I realized was possible. And according to what we did this week, I’m only getting better!
Using flippers, my vision therapist asked me to add a new level of challenge to clearing the blurry words: now I had to alternate between plus and minus lenses, clearing the word each time, as many times as I could in one minute. This took exhaustion to a whole new level for my eyes and brain! By the end of progressing through a few sets of lenses and doing the timed flips, my eyes were watering and refusing to do what I wanted. I yawned through the last 15 minutes of my session and we had to switch to some less-intense activities.
One of the milder things we did next was a surprisingly delightful game that I could have kept playing all night. Each of us got 4 transparent cards, each with a purple, red, yellow, and green dot in a different arrangement. We needed to recreate the image on an opaque card by turning, flipping, and layering our transparent ones. I come from a line of engineers and people who are good at efficiently packing the car for vacation, so I am fortunate to have some built-in spatial skills. I loved the guess-and-check feeling of picking a dot to start with on the opaque card and going through my transparent cards in order to steadily work out the solution. I might need this game at home to practice my visual skills without feeling like I’m working too hard!
This patient’s undiagnosed vision problem went unknown for 26 years, but could have been treated much sooner. Learn more about childhood eye exams and early detection and Locate a Doctor in your area and schedule a comprehensive vision exam today!