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 – Week 9

After nine weeks of hard work, it was time for me to once again meet with the optometrists and show them how far I’ve come with my vision therapy! I was excited to see what they had to say, but also very curious about the measurable changes that have taken place. I already knew that I was having an easier time reading and that my right eye doesn’t turn off anymore, and I got to thinking about my other symptoms when they had me re-take the Quality of Life Checklist to start the exam. While I was checking off how often my vision gets blurry, or my eyes water, or I have to re-read sentences, I wondered if there was going to be much change from the first time. To everyone’s amazement, my score nine weeks ago was 37 and this time it was only 10!

It’s definitely true that I’m experiencing a great deal less symptoms since vision therapy started.  During my home practice, I’m able to control the focusing, tracking, and coordinating of my eyes so much better than I ever thought. VT activities that were incredibly challenging and exhausting at first, like Bullseyes and Letter Circling/Tracking, are effortless now. My vision therapist has kept pace right with me though and adds new things every week that leave me needing a long nap!

The optometrists asked me about my symptoms, glasses, and progress, and started to examine my vision with some tests that were a repeat of the first visit and some that were new. I could tell without an explanation that some of the results were hugely different: the test that checked how close I could look at something without it separating into two images had gone from 6 inches away from my nose to about 3! For a test with a green lens over my left eye and a red one over my right, last time the red had disappeared because my right eye turned off. But this time, it was both colors all the way. Victory!!!

Some of my visual skills weren’t quite where they wanted them to be yet, but I could have guessed as much. I still needed to work on focusing and my left eye is still doing most of the work. My home practice is probably 80% right eye at this point to try and correct this imbalance, I’ll just need to keep with it and not lose steam! I’m sure my repertoire of activities will be adjusted, too. There were a few more skills that needed improvement that I didn’t really understand, but my vision therapy team sure does. The know what they’re doing when they plan this stuff and I’m looking forward to where we go next.

There are so many more skills needed for perfect vision… 20/20 is only a small part of the picture and a comprehensive vision exam is  needed to check them all!

I tend to get perfectionistic about the “which is better, 1 or 2?” part of vision exams and today was no exception. They had a suspicion that doing all this work might mean I needed the prisms in my lenses changed, and that meant piling a bunch of lenses on my head to figure out what to change it to. It took a lot to get an answer: a tester pair of glasses on my eyes, my own glasses pushed up onto my head out of the way, one optometrist and myself switching between two flippers and a pair of loose lenses, and the other optometrist holding up a copy of Reader’s Digest for me to read aloud a random article about building the perfect holiday fire. But finally I found a configuration that made the words look the clearest I had ever seen them! So my glasses were whisked away and they kindly loaned me a pair that was the right prescription, but no prisms, for the meantime. I hadn’t noticed how big a difference the prisms have been making–my eyes are very unhappy in these loaners without them! I’m really looking forward to getting my new lenses and to see where my vision therapy goes next to work on the areas where I’m still struggling!

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August is nearly over, but the importance of vision for effective learning in both children and adults is always critical. Make sure all your visual skills make the grade with a comprehensive vision exam!