Roger Wharton
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  • Rockaway, NJ
  • United States
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Valproic acid, perfect pitch, neuroplasticity, and . . . ?

Could the drug Valproic Acid have a role in treating vision problems, such as double vision and amblyopia?===================Some background: Musical perfect pitch is something that generally has to…Continue

Started Oct 21


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Valproic acid, perfect pitch, neuroplasticity, and . . . ?

Could the drug Valproic Acid have a role in treating vision problems, such as double vision and amblyopia?===================Some background: Musical perfect pitch is something that generally has to be developed in childhood if a person is to develop it at all.  (by age 7, I have read.)I came upon an article a few months ago about a 2013 experiment, where a number of adults were given either valproic acid or a placebo.  The valproic acid group were later better able to identify musical pitch…See More
Oct 21

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Parent of son with double vision.

My tale -- why I am here

My son has a history of amblyobia and strabismus, noticed at about age 3.  Strabismus was due to farsightedness, and glasses straightened that out.  We patched and at times used atropine drops to address the amblyopia, and got his visual acuity pretty good, though not quite as good as his "good" eye.


Come to find out a year ago that he has double vision.  And has apparently had it for years.  The eye doc missed it.  His weak eye would point up and out.  A weaker glasses prescription brought the eyes together side-to-side (more or less).  Tried a temporary stick-on prism to address the verticle mis-match.  All that did was drive has weak eye to turn up farther.  A stronger prism drove it up even more.  And putting the prism on upsidedown actually brings the eye down, to a point.  All as if the brain is trying to maintain about the same separation between the two images from the two eyes.  The eyes will not fuse the images together.


To assess whether the eyes were working together or not, the eye doc would rely on covering one eye, then the other, while the boy was told to look at a target across the room, with the doc looking for movement in the eyes as they were uncovered.  Trouble is, with his good eye looking at the target and the weak eye pointed up, when the good eye was covered, my son did not understand that he was supposed to shift his weak eye to look at the target; he just kept it pointed up and above the target.  So the doc never picked up on the problem.


There are random dot stereograms used with polarized glasses to check for stereo vision; why this doc didn't use such a test I do not know.  Maybe there is a valid reason.  But it's a pretty simple and quick test.  Had such a test been used, the double vision likely would have been noticed a whole lot earlier.  Would it have made a difference in the end?  I don't know, but as a parent I would like to have known that my kid lacked stereo vision, so when he did things like make a mess pouring juice into a cup I would know it was maybe due to his vision and not simply being careless.  I might not have groused at him as much over the years.


The doc seemed to run out of ideas to try.  I found and read Sue Barry's book along the way.  I now have my son in vision therapy with another eye doc.  While there is some reason to be hopeful, there is also the recognition that this double vision may very well be permanent.


I have found this site in my various internet searchings.  Good luck to all the others here looking to gain stereo vision.



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At 1:10pm on December 24, 2013, Roger Wharton said…

Update on my son:  A disappointing weekend, though I suppose not unexpected.  In the quest to leave no stone unturned, we went down to the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore to see a doc who has been plying his pediatric strabismus and amblyopia trade for decades, and who applies unconventional approaches to help patients with oddball problems.  They did a bunch of tests, but in the end the answer was what we'd heard elsewhere:  no apparent ability to achieve fusion with both eyes, even momentarily, and that's it.  Without such ability, nothing more can be done.


For my son, he is (and has been) ready to put occluding tape on the glasses over one eye (to block double vision), get on with his life, and be done with all this business of trying to fix his vision.


For me, the whole thing has been frustrating on many levels.  I'm miffed at the bonehead original doc who blew the call.  I feel like I have failed as a parent, to get my kid fixed.  Years of hard work and eye patch battles, only to get to a point of having to cover that eye anyway.  And I was hoping to come away from Baltimore with at least some bit hope for future improvement, something to at least try.  For a time, I was also frustrated that my son didn't pipe up sooner about having double vision; but I guess if you're a kid and double vision is all you know, then you don't know it's not normal and you wouldn't know to pipe up.


Thanks for reading.  Happy Holidays.

At 10:22pm on April 19, 2013, Roger Wharton said…

I haven't tried that stereogram with my son, but I have tried other ones and they do not work for him.

We stopped the vision therapy; after some initial signs of progress, there was no more sign of progress and the therapist/eye doc felt it was not worth continuing.

I'd like to explore some things to try at home, so as not to totally throw in the towel, but have been too busy to make much progress.

At 5:53pm on March 7, 2013, Emanuele Ziglioli said…

Hey Roger,

as a kid I had an operation, then they made me wear a patch, which I hated. Needless to say, it didn't work. I've been in contact and started collaborating with this group that has developed software and games for children with amblyopia:

My interest is using cheap and available consoles and tablets such as the Ouya (, always working with optometrists.

With regards to stereograms, the hidden ones are extremely hard to see, have you tried non-hidden ones?

I stick my nose to the page and after a few seconds, I start see depth although the images remain blurry. Trying to focus seems to trigger strabismus and suppression. But it's a start.

At 11:16pm on March 6, 2013, Roger Wharton said…

Dr. Fortenbacher, thank you for the link.  I have come across that Dr. Robert Hess guy from McGill University before in other readings and searches.  (Can't say I fully understand everything I come across and read, but I'm trying to digest it all.)

As for my son, the vision therapy eye doc felt he was not progressing, and so we have stopped the VT.  Although he was able to see "something" with simple random dot stereograms, he was never able to gain any fusion with both eyes.

Being a stubborn soul, I will try to learn more on all this double vision and stereopsis stuff as time permits, and hold on to a shred of hope.  Maybe some new techniques will come along that offer new hope.


At 12:26am on February 19, 2013, Dr. Dan L. Fortenbacher said…

Hi Roger,

I just read your heartfelt post and thought you might find this blog article I wrote for the VisionHelp Blog to be helpful. Advanced Amblyopia Treatment…for faster and better outcomes

Welcome to Sovoto!

Dr. Fortenbacher



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