August is Children’s Vision & Learning Month, and did you know that adults with undiagnosed vision problems who struggle with learning can benefit from vision therapy  as well?

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.

Week 1 – Week 2 – Week 3 – Week 4 – Week 5 – Week 6 – Week 7 – Week 8

First, a correction: last week I said I would be getting an evaluation with the optometrist instead of this week’s session. Nope, I was off by one! So look forward to that in my next post!

It was fine with me that we had a normal session after all, not only because it’s always such a fun and laughter-filled hour, but also because we did some really cool activities. I had been reading up on eccentric fixation (looking at things with an off-center part of the eye) since learning my left eye does it a few weeks ago, and had hoped we would do things using after-images. This session, we started doing just that and it was even further reassurance that I’m definitely not making these things up!

My vision therapist held up an object that looked like a small black box with a red dot on the front and asked me to look at the dot while she pressed a button to make a flash of light appear. Just like when you take a picture, this flash of light left behind an after-image in my field of vision that looked like a line with a space in the middle. The space shows where the center of my vision is and what I’m trying to look at is supposed to be inside the space. But when we made the after-image for my left eye, it was to the left of where I was trying to look, just like we expected, knowing that my eccentric fixation for that eye is to the left.

left eye
The white after-image appears a little to the left of whatever I’m looking at out of my left eye. 

Next, we created an after-image for my right eye, which doesn’t do eccentric fixation, and my vision therapist held the box perpendicular to the way it was for my left eye. This meant that looking at something with both eyes should create a “+” over the target, with the space for each line being over the target. But my left eye is still off-center, so it looked like this:

both eyes
More evidence that there’s a reason everything looks weird!

My job now is to spend more time with these after-images in my vision and to try to figure out how to move that left one over until they’re lined up properly. I haven’t a clue how this is going to work–it seems a lot less in my control than focusing on things through lenses!–but I’m sure going to try!

In this session, we also did something called a Split Pupil Rock which sounds intense but is really just looking at the hanging Marsden Ball while also looking at it through a lens that makes it look smaller. I learned that this is meant to help me understand and practice looking at different depths using how my vision feels, instead of how I logically think it should work.

split pupil

My vision therapist explained that, when our eyes aren’t working as a team, we can’t see depth as well as we should, or not at all. To compensate, we use logic to work out which things are at which depths: bigger things are logically closer, etc. The minus lens creates a smaller image that “feels” like it’s closer up, against this logic, forcing me to understand depth based on what my vision tells me. Apparently, some people take a lot of time to be able to disconnect the logic from the vision, so I was an easy case to handle!

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Children with undiagnosed vision problems become adults with undiagnosed vision problems. Schedule a comprehensive vision exam with a developmental optometrist to ensure your child is ready to head back to school this Vision & Learning Month!

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