Wide-eyed Wonder: an artist's musings on three-dimensional vision

Some are color blind. I am stereo blind.

A break through the impasse means recommitment

with 11 comments

My developmental optometrist talked with Sue Barry’s developmental optometrist last week, and wanted to try “one last test” yesterday morning to see if she could nail down a fusional area … any starting point … beyond a shadow of a doubt. I am happy to report that the “one last test” worked!

We worked in a darkened room with the penlight again, with only a red filter over the right eye. With some effort (to “get out of my head”) I was able to see the light as a rosy red about four inches from my nose. She then tried the Worth 4 Dot Test, and I was able to see all four dots, two red and two green with red green glasses at about the same 4″ distance, and track them up and down and back and forth … my binocular vision starting point found at last!

We had a “high five” moment in celebration after this fourth hour-long session. I certainly appreciate her perseverance! It’s been like panning through a huge stream filled with sand and stones to find this one gold nugget: a starting point!

Now I will need that same perseverance and more. I know in my head that vision therapy is only going to succeed if I work in tiny increments. And it will take many sessions to gain small pieces of ground. Before I can do orthoptics like the Brock string exercises, I will need to work on stabilizing my eyes without suppressing. I also will be working on increasing my peripheral awareness and gaining visual cortex and gross motor coordination, starting next week.

I am still wearing the binasal occluded glasses as much as I can around the house. I did stop wearing them over the holidays, and noticed a lapse in coordination: more ankle rolling, wall touching or hugging going down the stairs, and jerky course adjustments when going through the kitchen doorway in order to avoid colliding with either the buffet sticking out on the dining room side, or the countertop on the kitchen side. All this clumsiness vaporizes when I wear the glasses!

When I put the glasses on, it also feels as if I am giving my eyes a bit of a rest. They don’t have to work as hard to suppress, because there is a convenient foggy area for each eye that is doing the suppressing. Instead, I automatically see everything around the edges of my glasses without having to work at it. If I wear the glasses long enough, and switch to my other pair without the occlusion, my field of vision remains wider for a minute or two.

Reading, writing and close work inhibit peripheral awareness. I am going to start taking eye and stretch breaks more frequently. I am going to have to hunt down some freebie break reminder software for my iMac and macbook.

I am also re-committing to aerobic hooping, a relaxing “out of my head” activity. Hoop Girl has been my inspiration. I’m going to add relaxation and stretching exercises to my routine. I’ve only managed to hoop one or 2x a week so far since the holidays. My goal is at least 3 half hour sessions a week!

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Written by Lynda Rimke

January 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

11 Responses

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  1. wow! what exciting news about your “impasse”! I am happy for you and delighted helpful Sue Barry’s dedication to your cause.

    Your description of ankle rolling and wall-hugging on the stairs is interesting. There are so many, many little details that strabismic people think are parts of their personality, movement style, or clumsy ways, when in reality, they are the physical manifestation of not being able to “see”.

    Sally

    January 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    • Sally, I am relieved the impasse is over, but now I’ve got my work cut out, for sure. This may be a long and winding path. I’ll be sure to check out your blog strabby.wordpress.com and see how you are doing.

      The ankle bit is because I was also duck-footed. In kindergarten and first grade, I wore corrective shoes. But my bones grew crooked, even through my turn out was corrected. So my knees turn in when my feet are straight. I am suspecting there may be a connection with my duck footedness as a way for my body to compensate for strabismus … just maybe!

      Lynda Rimke

      January 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm

  2. What a joy to find your blog, Lynda. Amazing to discover you and Sally simultaneously. As much as I’ve credited Sue Barry for single-handedly revolutionizing public awareness about strabismus and vision therapy, seeing efforts like yours, seeing the skill you bring to your blog pieces and perspectives from an artistic point of view lends such beauty to the issues at hand. I’ll be awaiting new piece of news from you with much anticipation. Best wishes – Dr. Leonard Press

    L. Press, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

    January 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm

  3. I am at a bit of an impasse with 3D vision as well. We have been flogging away at it for some time and I feel like I am almost at the cusp of a breakthrough. My optometrist says all the cortical pieces are there: I am Brock Stringing and Eccentric Circling just fine. I can sometimes see two of things when I put my finger up and focus on my finger. It’s just not there yet.

    I also need to work on peripheral vision as well.

    I have read somewhere that bad posture is all part of vision problems as well as vice verse. You can get bad posture from bad vision. I am getting orthotics soon which should help. Also I am doing a series of exercises that will help strength and realign my hips.

    Traveller

    January 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    • Traveller, keep it up! (I’m your newest cheerleader.) Even if the breakthrough is down the road, the exercises are improving our vision beyond our wildest dreams.

      I love my binasal occluded glasses, and wear them every chance I get because it is soo-o cool to walk through doorways and not make those clutzy adjustments as if I’m sleep-deprived (like I’m going to be tomorrow because I’m posting at 4am ;-)

      Lynda Rimke

      January 7, 2011 at 3:41 am

  4. Congratulations! I had a feeling that you would find a way. Now that you have that fusional area, you just have to work on expanding it. Steal that Worth circle test and take it home with you! See if you can get it to five inches! :)

    About the link between being duck footed and strabismic, I just had that same thought today. My feet have always turned out, and today I noticed how extreme it was when looking at my footprints in the snow. I thought, “It seems that my feet have followed my eyes… They don’t point straight ahead, the same way that my face doesn’t point straight ahead when I am talking to someone. Everything is pointing to the side…”

    Josh

    January 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    • Josh, thanks so much for commenting. I’ve been to your blog http://squintyjosh.blogspot.com/ and am so impressed by your concise and informative posts, with illustrations to boot! That takes some extra dedication.

      I’ve subscribed, but blogger won’t let me comment. I tried 5-6x (Go figure. I’m still working at the issue as it is ALL blogger blogs.) Thanks for reaching out! Another impasse gone!

      My husband had congenital cataracts (from birth) and is also duck footed. I’m seeing a bit of a pattern here: vision issues do impact how we learn to walk.

      Your illustration about one-eyed seeing causing a slight head turn is something I am just now realizing is a huge part of my life. I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be meeting Mr. Balance Board next week!

      I’m looking forward to lots of wonderful synergy as we share our insights and experiences. I’ll be adding a link to your blog and Sally’s shortly to spread the fun!

      Lynda Rimke

      January 7, 2011 at 3:36 am

  5. Hi fellow strabbies…just the other day at my first vision therapy appt, my therapist was pointing out that before I do an eye exercise, Step 1 for me is: feet under shoulders, aiming forward. Yet another example of exactly what you guys are saying!

    It is a whole-body situation–I had no idea.

    (& Lynda, I’m having “tech diffs” at Josh’s blogger, too…I can post, but it is not e-z.)

    Sally

    January 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

  6. Hi Sally,

    I love it that we can share experiences via comments. It’s such a boost! Check your browser preferences privacy settings to “accept third party cookies.” That enabled me to comment on blogger again.

    My “Eye Control” exercise step 1. is also whole body orientation “…standing. Weight should be evenly distributed with the feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent. Arms should hang loosely at sides and the body is relaxed.”

    Do these instructions remind you of ballet and yoga-pilates? I’ve been doing these for my posture and clutz issues my entire adult life. I think the slight knee bend also aligns the shoulders over feet.

    The missing link has been HOW TO SEE when doing body alignment. Since yesterday’s body-slam, I’ve been consciously widening my gaze (peripheral awareness habit building) while walking around, and, almost automatically my core abs engage and my shoulders drop into proper alignment from their default slouch position! Nice ;-)

    Lynda Rimke

    January 14, 2011 at 10:24 am


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