Vision therapy is sometimes mistakenly seen as being just for children, but 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. 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.
During this week’s session, I became fully aware of the reality and impact of my behavioral vision issues for the first time. Of course, I already knew something was going on that made reading and computer use challenging–that’s why I saw my optometrist in the first place–but this time I got a full idea of what exactly is going on. We were again using the 3D TV to practice seeing depth with both eyes and while we had done convergences the last time (bringing the eyes together), this time we did divergences (moving the eyes apart). Even when they were the smallest distance apart, I couldn’t for the life of me get the two images on the TV to fuse into one 3D picture.
Several frustrated attempts later, my vision therapist kindly asked, “Are you wearing your glasses?” Well, no, was my sheepish answer, since the TV was a middle distance away from me, and I usually only wore them for close-up tasks. But I was definitely willing to give it a try, since I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own. I added my glasses underneath the 3D glasses and voila, I could see a single 3-dimensional crocodile on the screen. It was in that moment that I really got a grasp on what the prism lenses in my glasses are doing for me: I can bring my eyes together with ease, but need a little help moving them apart, which is normally achieved by relaxing the visual system and eye muscles. It’s for this reason that my optometrist revised her diagnosis of my vision problem from convergence insufficiency to convergence excess: my eyes are better at coming together and were doing it so excessively that they wore themselves out and initially appeared to not be converging enough.
Like many challenges in my life, my struggle with divergence is that I just can’t figure out how to relax enough. Each time I try to figure it out, I get a little better at it, and am starting to be able to identify what it’s supposed to feel like. You know how when you don’t get enough sleep, sometimes you just stare off into space? It feels kind of like that. So sometimes I can replicate this feeling on purpose when doing divergence activities, but I have yet to be able to do this and make the resulting 3-dimensional image look like it’s in focus. Like all the other visual skills I’ve been learning in vision therapy, divergence will take practice. I’m hoping that learning to relax my vision might also help me learn to relax the rest of my body and maybe even my mind, too.
To get better at both convergence and divergence, I was given a set of tranaglyphs to take home for practice. They are very similar to vectograms, but instead of using polarized lenses, they use the red/green lenses I’ve become so familiar with. A few days into my practice with these and I still can’t make much sense of them, but I’m keeping at it. We could all use a little more relaxation in our lives and my vision is no exception.
Could you or your child be struggling with an undiagnosed vision problem? Locate a Doctor near you to schedule a comprehensive exam and find out if vision therapy can help!