I started this post at Lynda's request ;) A bit from someone who is not a newbie to VT
I've been doing VT for almost a year now so have done a LOT of teaming, anti-suppression, tracking etc exercises. Born with esotropia, I had one surgery at 5 yrs of age and was left with an exotropia and hypertropia. At 50 ish, I read Sue's book and got myself to VT! I, too, have been keeping a journal of just the highlights and vividly remember seeing my therapist finger and the dice on a Squinchel exercise (love the exercise, love the name!) which was my first jump into overcoming my suppression. I also remember the vectogram "jumping out at me" for the first time, too. I am totally grateful for the patience my V therapist has when so many times i either couldn't explain what I saw or didn't see what I "should" or whatever I was seeing kept changing. Saint Jen!
After doing so many exercises, I got into the habit of trying too hard to see what I was supposed to see or analyzing what I was and was not seeing. Jen had to start reminding me to just "look". That was very hard for me (still is).
Eventually, after reading about Dr Press and others saying that depth perception doesn't all happen at once, and after getting some prism on for my hyperphoria (it is now!) I relaxed enough to just go on with ordinary life while wearing my prism. Sure enough, I noticed that if I didn't try to see depth, I would start to be aware of depth. I noticed how far away the other room was, how short my dachshunds were, that the chair isn't in front of the lamp because it occludes the lamp, but because it is closer!
I know this is all rudimentary and still tenuous, but it does happen!
I have a lot to do still with my vergences and tracking, especially in visual fields other than straight ahead, but now I have some small experiences to work from. I can feel much more easily when I have one eye deviated or suppressed so can self monitor better, too.
I am terribly excited about getting my new prescription glasses with prism that I can wear all the time and live life with a potential of fusion and even a bit of depth (with a LOT more work to do I know). Of course I will work to get the prism out, but this is like a quantum step for me.
So, for those of you just starting out, here's a post from a longer timer. There were times (and will be) when it seemed like I was getting nowhere, and questioned whether it was worth it all---IT IS! Please keep plugging away! Work hard but not too hard, have faith and let's keep talking :)
I know what you mean about "just seeing." That's hard for me, too! I over analyze everything that I see and don't "trust my visual system", as my vision therapist puts it. I have trouble abandoning my old monocular depth cues, too. Like when looking at a vectogram, I think - "But it can't be popping out. There's no shadow behind it!"
Anyway, thanks for this post! It's great to hear that you're starting to live in the land of depth.
Your post says it all. When I first began vision therapy, my optometrist said that she wanted me to earn trust in my own vision. At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about, but like you and Josh, I over-analyzed everything because I wasn't confident in what I saw.
It's good too that you can feel your eyes moving. I felt that this feedback was very important for improving my vision.
PS Do you prefer Sue or Susan? I prefer Sue.
Well, I got my prism glasses and what a difference-- I am so excited!
Sue, I remember in your book when you wrote about when you started to fuse, how edges seemed crisper--I get it now. It is really hard to explain what a difference to everything when I can actually look at something and not just kinda know it's there. It's like seeing it instead of guessing at it. Well, you did a better job in your book describing it! I used to think it was my acuity that made it hard to see things, but a big part of it was just not really seeing it. I'll stop going on about this and will probably reread that part in your book (I love rereading about your progress as I go through mine!)
As I'm still going for as much 3D as possible in the lower half of my vision, I'm using my newly half blinded right eye more and am starting to notice some things from time to time when I think I might be fusing with the lower half of my vision.
For one thing, I have the top half of my vision as my new alignment guide. My half blind right eye cannot suppress where it is blind, so I am seeing with the left eye above a blurry horizontal area when I look out of my right eye. Vertical things like posts are aligning above and below the blur, the left eye image directly over the right!
I've had that crisper experience with the brock beads before the BRAO, and have noticed fingers looking crisp since. I see more acuity without my progressive lenses. I have to take them off to see it. 3D does crisp things up!
When doing dishes two evenings ago, the faucet was floating and my hands were waa-y down there in the sink. It looked like they were headed for the floor! Of course, the faucet may have been floating because the blurred area blocked out where it was attached to the sink ;-)
Also, one time a narrow wall looked really narrow and farther away with perpendicular walls widening toward me at a greater angle. I closed one eye, then the other, and each eye registered the wall as wider and the angles more vertical. It felt kinda crazy, like fusion created a tunnel of space.
Sue, thanks for starting this topic. It is so fascinating, and I'm glad I have a place where I can subtotal my possible 3D forays, even if all I will ever be is bottom half 3D. I'll find out more from the retina specialist tomorrow.
Lynda, you are such a trooper! I've been wearing my new prisms as much as possible and getting more used to seeing things in more depth (still sporadic and still alternating eyes a lot, usually when I try to look). Thanks to Sue, I seem to be looking at sink faucets a lot, too!. As I was working in the kitchen, I stood up and there was the cupboard door right at me---how can 3D people miss those and hit their heads?! I know what you mean about how far away your hands were in the sink. I'm only 5'2" but I sometimes feel taller when Iook way down at my feet!!
I still have to call my optometrist to see where to go with my new prisms, when she wants to see me next, etc.
I've been having fun having other people put on my glasses.....my prisms are at 4 diopters, I measure 9 or 10, so when they put these lenses on and marvel at how screwed up things are, I tell them that that's less than half where my eyes are!! They're all understanding better why I can be so clumsy :)
So beautifully written! This is what I needed to read today. I'm a 34 year old strabismic who started VT 15 months ago to develop stereopsis. I'm another "child" of Stereo Sue.
There are many days where NOTHING happens and other days when I walk slowly and marvel at trees, houses and flowers because they look different and I can't explain how. Last week, I went for a super slow walk and laid down on a bench to admire the panoply of leaves on the trees. Incidentally, this bench was in an area near my neighborhood creek where the local teenagers go to smoke marijuana. I was there around 7pm, dinnertime, so they were probably at home eating or hurrying to mask their cannabis aroma before their parents discovered them. Had they been there, they probably would have thought I was one of them, high on life and enjoying the trees.
Other days, like yesterday and today, tears come to my eyes when I think about how much I've given up (not only financially, but in terms of my energy) to do VT for 15 months. My social life has taken a plunge because I am often tired or unable to be in places with lots of noise or people or I see in double. Meanwhile, friends are getting married, having kids and I'm staring at a 3D image of a clown which I have yet to see jump off the vectrogram. I'm married to a plastic clown image that I haven't had the pleasure of truly knowing in all his dimensions:) I am being facetious here, but below lies a lot of pain. It warms my heart and soothes my fears to read your post that although we might be moving at a snail's pace, we're moving and it's worth it.
And I am glad to have this forum to discuss this because I fear I've tired many of my friends and family with my ocular trajectory. Thanks Lynda for setting this up. I've felt quite lonely in my 3D trek.
Hello everyone! I joined this group a day before my 6 month evaluation just a few weeks ago but haven't had the time to chime in. I'm absolutely thrilled to have this forum. Here's what I sent to Sue Barry just prior to the beginning of this group. Please consider this my introduction and I hope to contribute regularly.
I must have started this email a thousand times since I began vision therapy in late Sept. 2010. Dr. Stan Appelbaum encouraged me to write to you. I am one of the many people who heard the broadcast on NPR in Aug. 2010. I became a woman possessed! I bought your book, read it in 2 hours and proceeded to search for a developmental optometrist in my area. I found the practice of Dr. Appelbaum and scheduled my evaluation. I started VT the next day! I have so much to tell and don't want to bog you down with the details; but first and foremost, I want to thank you for all you have done and continue to do for all of us who are on this amazing journey.
I have recently joined some of the blogs- Strabby, Squinty Josh, Psychology Today, Wide-Eyed-Wonder and I'm delighted to have this community.
I'll leave you with a few a little background and a few highlights:
I am 52. Amblyopic esotrope. Surgery at age 3. Eye exercises, patching, UCLA Medical Center. I have never had binocular vision or been an alternator to the best of my knowledge. I have inquired over the years about possibilities for treatment but was always got the cold blank stare!
Vision therapy progress:
6 weeks: exponential expansion of peripheral vision
8 weeks: seeing double
12 weeks: area of convergence had more than doubled.
6 months: progress with the Brock string...will have another exam soon and I cant wait to see the progress confirmed.
While I know I bombed on most things 3D on my 6 month evaluation, there is progress to report. Prior to beginning VT, I had 20/300 eyesight in my left amblyopic eye (legally blind). I now have 20/150 in that eye! This week I have had a huge change. I have been experiencing changes hard to report in this context. I'm experiencing some disorientation and nausea and other strange sensations which I know are meaningful!
I'm delighted to find others over fifty who are taking on VT. I'm also so pleased for those who are younger who will have many years to benefit from it.
Welcome to another disciple of Stereo Sue!
I am glad that you, Kari, have joined in at your age. I am curious how you art work will change as you develop more depth perception.
Thank you, Susanna!
The question as to how my artwork will change is a common one. I have no clue how this will go. I have had to make some changes recently in my studio practice. A few days ago, I was so wiped out and queasy after VT, that I absolutely stayed away from using any power tools or machinery of any kind. As a glass artist, I'm rather fond of my big girl tools! I will try to plan these things for non-therapy days (I go to VT twice weekly for 1 hour sessions).
I have always been a wee bit clumsy but I have good fine motor skills and I have adapted well to most tasks necessary in my career. I did; however, have an unsettling error in visual judgment recently. I was carrying a fairly large piece across the studio and bumped a corner of it into a metal table. Yep, I chipped a significant part of an important piece. I feel that my spatial judgment is out of whack-not that it was ever great to begin with.
I've always loved drawing and doing representational 3-D-like renderings has come naturally. Drawing is all about monocular cues! Lynda may want to chime in here. Even when working in a non-representational or abstract mode, it's still a composition on a 2D plane.
The big challenge these days is managing the fatigue and time investment of VT while being a small business owner/educator/artist. I'm maxing out a credit card to do VT and I'm on my second appeal with my insurance provider. I'm also incredibly inspired and emotional about it all. I certainly can't stop now.
I know well what it's like to be an entrepreneur and see the VT bill each month. To say it's difficult is an understatement! The fatigue made me painfully labor through correcting the Spanish translation of my own book last year. I was in slow motion and could sometimes barely get out of bed. If it weren't for my impending bills, I might have stayed in bed!
Professionally, the fatigue has taken a toll on me because I have written a book on how to learn languages using music and the media and guess who has trouble keeping her 7 tongues straight and not getting tongue tied b/c of VT? Yep. I sometimes mix up my languages and have trouble speaking in English, my second, but strongest language.
I am so thrilled that you're taking this plunge. It's so much easier on my soul knowing there are others as adults who are doing this.
I'm curious about your art work because I know that the famous glass artist whose name I can't remember (it sounds Hungarian and ends in "haly" I think) lost his 3D vision and from what I've been told, it changed his glass work.