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

Some are color blind. I am stereo blind.

Fun with Orthoptics

with 2 comments

I started orthoptics or vision therapy exercises just after posting about the matrix in my head about a month ago, when I felt my brain was over-riding the new, wider way of seeing I had been experiencing from the bi-nasal occluded glasses.

I am happy to report the eye exercises are contributing to a wider peripheral field again. I am definitely not bumping into doorways, furniture and counter-tops on a daily basis, as I was before wearing the glasses. So the glasses and the exercises are re-programming my peripheral vision to a wider field that seems to stay with me throughout the day.

In fact, when I drew what I saw through my glasses back in November for my post on “The Frame Game”, I was straining to see beyond the lens area to sketch what was in the edges of the frame while looking straight ahead. No more. I am easily seeing my glasses frame and stem pieces as I type!

vision therapy orthoptics: fusion

After touching the bridge of my nose during the "eye control" circuit, I pull Mr. Bird out to my fusional area

I credit this to daily eye control, smooth pursuit and peripheral vision building:

Eye control is simply following a finger or my feathered friend Mr. Bird around the bony perimeter of my eye sockets: brow, outside edge, center cheekbone and bridge of nose. I look pretty funny doing it, but this is the yoga stretch of eye exercises. My left eye now tracks as fluidly and smoothly as my right. Well worth 3-5 minutes a day!

Thumb Pursuits are an extension of the same. This time my unpatched eye tracks either my thumb or Mr. Bird with my arm fully extended. Mr. Rimke checks that my head is centered on my body and remains stationary. Then he asks me random questions while I maintain focus on Mr. Bird and keep the things in the room behind flowing in motion parallax. I should work each eye for 3-5 minutes.

The Nielson Chart is a new favorite. When I first started this exercise, I couldn’t see any of the circle to keep inside. Now I am seeing more and more of the circle from almost all of the plus sign fixation points. I also noticed my circles are near perfect in dim light. This is because peripheral vision increases when the eyes are more dilated. I use both right and left hands 2-3 times for 10-15 minutes.

Vision Therapy Orthoptics Nielson Chart

The Nielson Chart

More smooth pursuits are needed to perform Straw in the Target. I patch an eye and hold a tube out in front of me at various heights and depths with my patched side hand, and use my other hand to smoothly direct a straw towards the tube from the far edge of my peripheral vision to a smooth insertion into the tube. 5 minutes with each eye and different diameter tubes constitutes total workout.

I have also been given two motor control exercises which I am going to pursue more aggressively after another week or two of trigger point shoulder therapy to unlock and heal the muscles surrounding my rotator cuff. (Note: this is my idea, not my vision therapist’s.) Right now the Randolph Shuffle and Angels in the Snow are a bit too painful. Last week, I did master the shuffle sequence and can change it on demand.

I will have one more week of additional in office tests and orthoptic exercises, and then we will evaluate at my first 8-week mark. I have less to show for my first 8 weeks because it took us four weeks to find any semblance of a fusional area. I have not begun any fusion exercises, and may not for a few more weeks. I do try and check that hard-won fusional area every now and then, and seem to see lo-ong, “E.T.” fingers in 3D, but little else at this point: not even Mr. Bird!

I must be patient! But, oh— to be a 4 month old learning fusion and convergence naturally, during feeding time!

“The illuminated jet bib feeding system” can be found at http://www.thinkgeek.com/geek-kids/1-3-years/c682/ Check out those flashing lights! Maybe I could keep my nose centered if I wore one of these!

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2 Responses

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  1. Great to see an update! The pursuit/eye control exercise can be pretty boring, but I was just reading today about how important they are. I think I’m actually going to start doing more myself. My left eye is still quite jerky! If you’ve managed to achieve smooth pursuits in 8 weeks, that’s pretty great.

    Josh

    February 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    • Glad you are inspired to make that weak eye stronger! And now I’m inspired to post even the most trivial-sounding exercises … because you have reminded me that they really aren’t trivial or unimportant at all. It’s all significant.

      Lynda Rimke

      February 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm


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