In a recent column, I mentioned a presentation concerning Vision Therapy which was conducted at a meeting of my local Special Education Parent Teacher Student Association (SEPTSA) group. I thought the procedures and techniques that were outlined were quite remarkable and could be of assistance in correcting my own visual processing problems. Since the presentation, I have been assessed for and have started Vision Therapy, and I believe it could lead to some very promising results for me.
As I stated in my previous column, I was already aware of some of my visual processing issues. I have tracking and depth perception problems, but there is a detail that came to light during my assessment that was, quite frankly, surprising. It was found through the testing that my brain has been suppressing my right eye when it becomes overwhelmed with too much visual information and is unable to process it.
I did not actually perceive this shutdown until I began doing some of the exercises and activities my optometrist implemented as part of my therapy. During one exercise using a string with beads attached, I can actually detect when my right eye is fading in and out. When I look at the bead, I should see two lines emanating from the bead. When I only see one line, I know that my right eye is being suppressed. If I see two lines, then I know my brain is properly processing all of the visual information my eye is sending it. By focusing on the beads and moving them up and down the string, my brain is forced to keep both eyes working together. At this time, this exercise places considerable strain on my eyes, and I can only maintain my concentration for a few minutes at a time. I hope this will improve as my therapy continues.
Another exercise that focuses on the suppression of my right eye involves using a unique pair of glasses with red and green colored lenses along with corresponding worksheets. The worksheets have exercises printed in red and green. If my brain is not cooperating with my right eye, I will not be able to see the red print and complete the worksheet. At this time, I have been highly successful with this exercise. I hope my success continues as the worksheets become more complicated.
To further challenge my brain’s ability to make sense of incoming visual data using the colored lenses, my therapist recently introduced a new drill that employs a revolving peg board with red and green shapes on it. I am tasked with placing pegs onto certain red shapes on the board as it rotates. Again, if my brain does not accept my right eye’s signals, then I will not be able to see the red shapes. I have been very successful with this drill as well. The fact that these activities have resulted in consistent success is a sure sign to me that the therapy is working as intended. Other exercises in my therapy plan consist of gross motor, tracking, depth perception, and chalkboard work.
I am now in the midst of my weekly therapy sessions, with more to complete, and have follow-up exercises that I practice at home. The exercises are constantly changing and becoming progressively more challenging. I am, however, very excited to report that I have already begun to notice subtle improvements in my field of vision. As I continue working toward living more independently, I need to be able to clearly understand all that I see, and making sure my visual processing is able to provide me with the proper clarity will be an essential step toward this ultimate goal.