Thank you to COVD for writing this piece. COVD Link:
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.
My vision therapy session this week was an exciting continuation of my recent successful streak. After a struggling through a few weeks for a bit there, I’m so glad I pushed through; it was easy to want to keep trying when everyone at the office is so kind and motivating. Luckily, getting over those challenges has brought me to new activities that I particularly enjoy and, almost more importantly for my learning style, they’re also activities that I can really feel working and easily understand the reasoning behind their design.
Last week I talked about my breakthrough with single prism lenses, the struggle with which had been that I had no idea how to even start. It took a random bus driving past the window to make my brain take over and figure out what to do on its own. On the other hand, I’ve also been given binocular flippers with a red/green overlay to take home and practice and this activity clicked for me right away.
Each time I sit down to practice this activity, my dominant left eye with the green lens over it has no trouble at all, and when I’m looking at a box under the green stripe I can see it quickly and easily. However, when I’m looking at a box under the red stripe and it’s supposed to be my right eye’s turn, the left eye definitely doesn’t want to give up that dominance. At first, the whole column is totally black because my right eye is off and the left eye is trying to see a red box through a green lens.
Luckily, I quickly figured out some tricks to re-engage my right eye and stop it from suppressing (turning off): bringing the page up to my nose and then pulling it back out, turning my head back and forth, taking the flipper away and putting it back repeatedly. I can feel my eyes doing something that feels kind of tense and fumbling around, then when it all comes together it feels resolved and relieved. I’m curious what’s going on when this happened and I might try to take a video, but I don’t know if I have enough hands to hold up all the different VT tools and my phone at the same time!
Every time I practice, just like with all my other VT activities, binocular flippers and single prisms keep getting easier each time. Sometimes the skills I’m supposed to learn seem unbelievable–I jokingly asked my vision therapist last time if “normal people” can do this or if she was “trying to make me do something super-human”–but then I remember how impossible it seemed at first to do visual tasks that are effortless for me now. The further I get with vision therapy, the further also my therapist understands my learning style, figures out what I need to be successful, and and helps me to get better and better. Things I hoped for at the beginning are really happening–like being able to better pick pests off my plants–and I look forward to continued progress!
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!