Today over lunch, I was discussing my eyes with my mom and telling her about adults who haven’t had surgeries and are moving faster than I am with therapy. She reminded me that American doctors were in shock that I hadn’t been operated on yet when I came to the US at the age of 3 with my wandering eyes. They laughed at the Soviet system that left me looking so weird. So my parents agreed to my first surgery. They were operating with insufficient information because the option of binocular vision therapy was not even offered.

Now as an adult who has read extensively about vision therapy, I know VT exists. But my parents had no clue about it when I got my surgeries at ages 3 and 17. I was the one who asked for the surgery at 17 to straighten out my wandering eye.

I feel no regret for having been under the knife because having straight-looking eyes for the last 1/2 of my life has been a blessing. No more weird looks from people wondering which eye to look at. Most importantly, I don’t feel like a reject.

But I am very aware that those two operations are making my VT progress difficult and slow.

Parents of young children reading this, consider your children lucky. You are giving your kid(s) the chance to see straight and in 3D and not have to go through the Catch 22 of those of us doing VT as an adult. Those who didn’t have surgery, may have experienced severe humiliation and social isolation because of their wandering eyes. Now, they have an easier time than I do with vision therapy.

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5 responses »

  1. Bob says:

    Hi,
    Enjoying your blog.

    Some questions you might answer.
    I understand it’s almost impossible to answer accurately some of the questions!

    1. How long have you being doing VT and could you describe your progress in percentage terms (100% being perfect binocular vision).

    2. How many VT sessions have you done and how many more approx do you need to do to achieve binocular vision?

    3. If you didn’t have the operation for strabismus, how much faster would you progress have been? 10%? 50%?

    4. Do you believe you will one day achieve permanent binocular vision?

    5. Do you believe the results will remain permanent or will you have to always do VT to maintain your results.

    6. Do you or your Vision Therapist know personally of anyone who has achieved binocular vision through VT?

    thanks

    ps: Reddit have a sub-reddit on amblyopia

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Amblyopia/

    • Hello Bob,

      I sincerely wish I knew the answers to your questions, but I feel like I am looking into an abyss sometimes because no one seems to have the answers. Strabismus and amblyopia are mysteries. Some people do a little vision therapy and they are binocular, others, like me, labor through it for a long time and have limited progress.

      Thanks for the amblyopia link on Reddit. It’s good to have a source for articles on the subject.

      Here are my answers:

      1. How long have you being doing VT and could you describe your progress in percentage terms (100% being perfect binocular vision).

      I have been in vision therapy since January 19, 2010. It’s been more than a year and a half. I do not have binocular vision. I can’t give you a percentage because I don’t even know what full stereopsis is as I’ve been monocular my entire life. I’ve had some progress.

      2. How many VT sessions have you done and how many more approx do you need to do to achieve binocular vision?

      I’ve done 100 sessions and the doctor does not know how many more I need. He originally thought I’d be done by 100.

      3. If you didn’t have the operation for strabismus, how much faster would you progress have been? 10%? 50%?

      I have no way of answering this question because VT was not even offered to me as an alternative to surgery.

      4. Do you believe you will one day achieve permanent binocular vision?

      Tough question. I have my doubts. But I am an optimist.

      5. Do you believe the results will remain permanent or will you have to always do VT to maintain your results.

      People still have to maintain their VT exercises to keep up their binocular vision.

      6. Do you or your Vision Therapist know personally of anyone who has achieved binocular vision through VT?

      Susan Barry, author of Fixing My Gaze (http://www.fixingmygaze.com). You can also find more VT patients on http://www.sovoto.org.

  2. Tina says:

    Very interested to read your blog! I’ve had the strabismus surgery several times, but the one in 08 fixed me cosmetically, 100%. Havent heard about VT though. I see through mainly one eye at a time, no depth perception . Would kill to see a magic eye…

  3. Hi there. I like your post and blog. I had surgery when I was 35 to correct an alternating divergent exotropia. I struggled for years with the decision to have it, but I can tell you five years later, with no “relapse,” it’s been worth it. The emotional wound is still there, and every time I read stories about the social isolation and constant rejection strabismus can cause, my chest constricts and I want to cry. For me, strabismus surgery was an imperfect solution for an imperfect world. Choose your challenge. Choose your struggle: either choice.

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