On Monday, as soon as I walked into my optometrist’s office, Dr. K. said “I saw Susan Barry this weekend”. He had attended the conference in Los Angeles for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD).

Susan Barry, author of Fixing My Gaze, was a speaker and moderator at the conference and Dr. K had time to chat with her over a meal. He knows that Barry’s story in The New Yorker changed my life and opened up my eyes to vision therapy.

“Her husband spoke at the conference as well and he told us about how he applied for 18 years in a row to be on a NASA Space Mission. After 18 years, he was accepted,” Dr. K said with a smile.

“He never got his tenure at the university where he was teaching because he left to be an astronaut.”

“But he realized his dream of being in space,” I said.

The beauty of this story is that when Barry’s husband told her about his space mission, she was fascinated by the visual aspect of it. When Barry attended a reception at NASA that she met Dr. Oliver Sacks whom she told about her inability to see in depth. Her husband encouraged her to write to Sacks when she began vision therapy to improve her depth perception. Like me, Barry was born cross-eyed and had various surgeries to straighten her eyes that did not give her depth perception. Dr. Sacks wrote the article, Stereo Sue, that changed my life. He also recommend that she find other people who had gone through a similar experience to her own and write about it.

The moral of the story is to have resilience and to be persistent. If her husband hadn’t pursued his dream and continued to apply for the space missions despite his many rejections, Barry might have never done vision therapy. If she hadn’t developed depth perception and wanted to share his discovery with the world, I’d still be in the dark about my vision.

Thank you to the Barrys for sticking to their dreams!

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