My name is Anna Altheide, I'm 25 years old, I'm from La Quinta, CA, and I've had Strabismus for as long as I can remember. As far as I can tell, I was born with it, or it developed from a very early age due to genetics, as my father had it (as well as his father). As a child, my parents were hesitant to subject me to surgical treatment, so for some time, I tried patching, which was a long road to no where. According to Dr. Carl Hillier of Lemon Grove, CA - who, along with Linda Solway, recommended I join Sovoto - I am Exotropian in my left eye, with a very slight Amblyopia.
I have been seeing Dr. Hillier and co. for about the last twelve weeks for adult vision therapy. From early on, we set out three main goals: 1) To know when my eyes are out of alignment (the feeling), 2) to align my eyes, and 3) to obtain full stereopsis.
In the run-up to my 10 week analysis (which will actually take place on my twelfth week... who knew), I am proud to say that, with lots of practice, home therapy, and in-office work, I have been able to hold full stereopsis for up to 15 minutes. Although I have not reached the point of full control, I have developed the ability to "prompt" myself and hold eye alignment with supervision for brief periods at a time. This gives me tremendous hope that I may soon develop full eye alignment and stereopsis, much like Dr. Hillier's other adult patients.
Vision therapy has exceeded my expectations and has been a very emotional experience across the board. I have already experienced the highs and lows, and having gotten so used to "the way things are," I find myself taken aback by new discoveries and still a bit overwhelmed. I now recognize the feeling of when my eyes are both out of alignment and in alignment. I'm happy to say that I am on the road to "recovery," or "normalcy" at the least.
I can't wait to go to my first 3D movie, wear the 3D glasses, and have the images pop out at me like they're coming alive. I feel as though I've already reached that step, and though I'm sure my eyes would fatigue quickly, I think I could take on the challenge. I am sure a lot more developed than I was three months ago!
Anyway, beyond my life with Strabismus, I have many hobbies, including writing (I run my own blog with a friend at www.deadawesome.net - we talk about movies, television, entertainment, the whole enchilada), reading, singing, and traveling. Strabismus doesn't OWN ME, but it effects my confidence when I speak to other people and go through life on a day-by-day basis. Having worked in retail for several years, I often feel very fatigued, and in those moments, I know my eyes are all over the place. But the body is smarter than we are often led to believe, and I am of great hope that one day, I'll have full eye alignment and a hell of a lot more confidence.
Thank you to Dr. Hillier and the team at San Diego Center for Vision Care. Keep up the good work. I look forward to coming week-after-week to continue on this journey. I also look forward to meeting even more Adult Strabismus patients who are taking the chance to fix something "past our prime." What a bunch of you-know-what.
Here is a photo of me last year in Paris, before I began vision therapy:
Since beginning vision therapy (and awkwardly practicing with my webcam):