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

Some are color blind. I am stereo blind.

My new brain plasticity

with 8 comments

My eyes are straight … sometimes. And sometimes, when I look at a thing and cover and uncover each eye, I can tell that they are not moving.

I want this to be my new default mode. Two straight eyes looking at the same point in space at the same time.

I have a window of opportunity to create a new default mode because, last Saturday, I lost vision in the upper half of my right eye. My body threw a small clot or plaque into the lower branch of my right central retinal artery.

My husband took me to the emergency room Saturday afternoon because we both wanted an ophthalmologist to look at my retina, as I had experienced strange spots and gradually increasing loss of vision throughout the day. We both thought I was having a possible retinal detachment, but in fact what the ophthalmologist found was a branch retinal artery occlusion.

I underwent a battery of tests to discover the source of the clot or plaque. All tests show nothing abnormal happening anywhere in my body. For those interested, I have given this detailed report to my vision therapy and strabismic friends in a new discussion on BRAO on sovoto.com

As I type this, I am using my left eye only. My brain and eyes are in what Frederick W. Brock calls a monocular posture. This is because the central vision in my right eye is half blurred, so reading and writing with that eye are not possible.

Maintaining monocular posture, means that only one eye fixates the object of special attention. The eye that looks at the object of regard is the eye that is used for the cortical interpretation of that object. The other eye is not used for that purpose. The other eye may,be looking in an entirely different direction. This ‘eye may have, at the moment, a perceptual purpose or it may not. The question now arises, is it used for any other purpose? If it has no other purpose, is kept in “cold storage” so to speak, we have monocular posture, for what the other eye is doing at the moment is of no interest to the organism. [1]

But I am not resigning myself to molecular posture without giving binocular posture a chance. Call it my bargaining phase: I am noticing my eyes are straight at times, with catchlights spot on in identical areas of my pupils. Furthermore, at times when I look at things with both eyes, the area above my blurred central vision is filled in correctly. This first happened when I looked out the sliding glass door. The central post was aligned. This morning I looked at our fireplace, and the fire was visible above the central blurred line. An unlit pillar candle in front of the fireplace was also in alignment.

Binocular posture is the ability to maintain such relative eye positions in anticipation of a certain visual task that both eyes directly fixate a single object of special regard: Binocular posture means, essentially, looking at a single fixation object with both eyes at the same time.[1]

I also am able to still alternate. This is happening mostly when I am trying to verify if I have binocular posture … when I am trying too hard. Or when I consciously switch to my left eye while doing close work, like reading or writing.

Maintaining separate lines of direct gaze for each eye, or strabismic posture. In the sense defined here, it does not include all strabismics but is limited to those who are ambiocular in their visual behavior.. The term “ambiocular” describes a condition where both eyes are used for separate and distinct purposes. That is, they attend to different functions at the sanE time. We find this posture in “anomalous projection” of alterating strabismic.[1]

My goal, for the next six months while I am waiting for ischeal tissue in my retina and vision in my right eye to resolve, is to increase opportunities for binocular posture and decrease activites that require monocular posture. This means limiting reading, writing, drawing and painting, which my right eye cannot do. It means increasing my awareness of what it feels and looks like when I am using both eyes correctly, with the feedback I am getting from my blurred central vision and the areas above it filling in correctly, in alignment. I am making these concessions to train my brain to NOT concede vision with my damaged right eye.

Concessions occur when there is a lack of demand for all existing abilities … Visual training if it is properly applied, makes a demand for all existing abilities. [1]

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8 Responses

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  1. Excellent approach, Lynda. Best wishes for full recovery. Though BRAO has a strong physical component, no one is better postured than you for obtaining functional capacity through “rehab” approaches. BRAO can be considered a form of “mini-stroke” that took its ischemic toll in your retina instead of in a more posterior part of your brain. From a cognitive standpoint, that’s a relatively good thing. Again, best wishes for continued recovery.

    Len Press

    April 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

    • Thanks Dr. Press. I imagine we’ll be starting rehab with another Worth four dot test. I’m not sure I am teaming or just looking with the right and not suppressing all of the left. When I saw my eyes straight, I had to be using the left eye only. Let’s just say I’m pretty mixed up right now :-)

      Lynda Rimke

      April 2, 2011 at 11:22 am

      • The Worth 4 Dot is very useful, Lynda, though keep in mind that it measures suppression over a specific area of your visual field. Depending on the distance at which the test is used, near vs. far (or at different viewing angles in some cases)the results can change. With a BRAO you can check with your doctor about using “luster” as a guide, which is simply wearing R/G glasses, looking at a blank white field of light (such as an area of fluorescent light) and seeing where the two colors swirl together and where they’re independent or suppressed.

        Len Press

        April 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      • Dr. Press, I tried the “luster” at home today with my red-green glasses. Very interesting! Green all across the top of my vision field, confirming my left eye is “on” and covering my right blindess; and yellow orange all the way across the bottom, for the most part. The quality of “luster” was hard to discern from simple red seen with left eye closed. It was a really dark day. I’ll try again tomorrow. I want “luster” all across the bottom, I do!

        Lynda Rimke

        April 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm

  2. Hey, Strabby Sis!
    Once again, another fascinating blog post! Although I’m devastated that you’ve been given yet another challenge with your eyes, your experience with BRAO offers yet another insight and perspective to your (well, OUR!) vision struggles!
    OK, so I have questions … 1) When both of your eyes are straight (with catchlight spots being identical on both pupils) and when you’re eyes are looking at the same point in space, do you have depth perception?! Have you ever seen depth?! I dream of the day when I can answer “YES!” to that question! 2) When you alternate your eyes, do you experience double vision? Or, are you fully suppressing the eye that you aren’t using? Based on your description of “ambiocular,” I think that’s how I’d characterize my eyes. I use both, obviously, because I always see double. And, after 3 weeks of vision therapy, I’m starting to use the eyes more equally, instead of one being more dominant. I still have a hard time understanding why other “strabbies” don’t have the constant double vision that I do. ??
    Dr. Press … do you have any insights?!
    Lynda, keep your spirits up … if anyone can perservere, it’s YOU! And, remember … OF COURSE YOU’RE WORTH IT!

    Traci

    April 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    • Hey Traci, in answer to ! & 2, I’m not sure. I spent yesterday looking out of what I thought was both eyes in alignment, but this morning Patrick told me my left eye was turning in. Then he told me they looked straight when I looked at him with the left eye.

      So this means the fill-in I am seeing above the blind area in my right eye may not be teaming. It could be right-eyed viewing with only partial suppression of the left eye, my brain permitting my left eye to fill in where I am completely blind.

      I can see double and relax enough to make the double “melt” into one, which means I am either softly switching from right to left or teaming. Not sure.

      Worth four dot test should give my therapist and I more feedback, if I can stay stable enough!

      Lynda Rimke

      April 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

    • Traci,

      The term “ambiocular” has a specific connotation to eye docs, which not the same as alternating, but more cycloplean-like,somewhere midway. Best example would be a Brock String. Let’s say you have the “V” of two strings going into the first bead, but only one string emerging on the opposite side. With suppression in that region you would expect the string merely to continue angling either from R to L or R to L. But the ambiocular perception is of one string emerging from the center of the bead outward, thought to be part of what we can “anomalous correspondence”. It’s a way of achieving simultaneous input from both eyes that is summed, though not in a “normal” or more typical binocular way of the strings criss-crossing.

      You asked about other strabbies not having be constant double vision that you do, and this is a direct function of where they are on the suppression/fusion continuum at any point in time, or in space. Hope that makes sense, and let me know if you’d like something clarified further.

      Len Press

      April 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  3. Hi Lynda,
    Isn’t it fun to have straight eyes at will? I believe that’s called “motor fusion”, and I’ve been doing it a lot, too. Growing up, my biggest problem with my strabisums was that I always felt like I had some sort of facial deformity. Now I can “fake it” and straighten my eyes, like… at a job interview, or on a first date. Even if I never figure out how to see in 3D, I’ll still be grateful that I can straighten my eyes when I want to. Before I read Stereo Sue’s book, that’s really all I ever wanted!

    And about your new challenge with BRAO… I couldn’t believe it when I read about it. I even told my vision therapist about it at my last appointment. That’s shocking. I’m glad that you’re okay, and I’m relieved that the clot was not anywhere more dangerous. I really hope that you heal up well and that the yellow storm cloud leaves your retina. Take care and good luck,

    Josh

    Josh

    April 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm


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