Just when I thought I was moving on with my life (with or without 3D vision), I realized yesterday how sensitive I am, and how deeply wounded I still am from almost 3.5 years in this therapy which hasn’t born the fruit of stereoscopic vision.

Two days ago, a Spanish friend back home sent an email to our group of friends about going to watch a 3D movie about Mars made by NASA at a theater in our area. I was boiling with anger. This friend knows full well that I can’t see in 3D. He’s heard my descriptions of the therapy, double vision, confusion, everything and then getting his email was a huge slap in the face. Don’t invite a friend who can’t see in 3D and who has been suffering because of their VT and inability to fuse to a 3D movie! How hard can that be to understand? How many @(@))@*^%@(_@&%!@!!&) times do I have to tell people that I can’t see in 3D and that this is a sour point with me? I know he didn’t do it deliberately to hurt me but it showed a major lack of respect and appreciation for what I have been going through for almost 3.5 years. When I first got the email, I just reacted by sending an email to all saying that I can’t see in 3D (although they all know that already) and that they should take me off of the email thread. It took me maybe an hour until I really felt how much his email had pained me.

It had been a long time since I had cried about my vision. Finally, my side effects are manageable and I am traveling and I feel great. And then boom, someone delivers a reminder of something that I can’t do and it stings like rock salt on a deep wound. It still stings, two days later. And the tears don’t stop coming out of my already tired eyes. I wrote to this Spanish friend once I realized how sad his email made me feel and I asked him not to understand me but to respect me. About a month ago, we were in the car and I told him (again) about how hard it is for me to drive at night because I see the left lane doubling and I see lights with rays going in various directions, thanks to the prisms in my glasses. He asked me how my disability effected my life before VT. I had already told him this many times about parking, merging traffic, sports, being clumsy, dancing, etc. And I was annoyed that he didn’t remember. He told me to talk to his neighbor who is an amblyope to compare our experiences. He had already told me to talk to her before and I had already told him that she doesn’t mind only seeing in 2D and that for us, not seeing in stereo doesn’t mean the same thing. She is at peace with it. I am not. I didn’t need to be reminded of this. For her, seeing in 3D is not a big deal. For me it is. For some people driving an expensive car is important. For me, it isn’t. The issue here is not trying to reason with me or with anyone else who is working hard to overcome a disability, it’s about respecting where they are and not trying to change them to be like someone else.

I also told this Spaniard that I’ve stopped discussing my eyes because it’s pointless. Few people understand me and I tire myself in explaining. Our conversation in the car was a perfect example of people not understanding or remembering what I’ve said. Getting his email about the 3D movie made it all much worse.

To someone who hasn’t been fighting to see in 3D with all of the financial and lifestyle sacrifices that come along this road, it may seem like I am overreacting or much melodramatic. But the tears coming down my face are real. If I had a mirror right now, I’d see my eyes bright green with red in the white part of the eye. The salt from the tears that has dripped into my mouth is real. The pain isn’t melodrama. It’s profound sorrow that no matter what I tell people, no matter how much they care, they will forget about my eyes and hurt me by accident. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

8 responses »

  1. Lynn Gehl says:

    thank you

  2. Intars says:

    Have you tried another vision therapists? Have your therapist cured any adults?
    I don’t know much about you, I have read all your blog and all Sovoto discussions, but I would really recommend you to try out some other vision therapists. Some, who have cured many adults and have a good reputation.
    This is a problem for me, I live in Latvia, where there is NO vision therapists at all, and the closest ones are in Germany and they are definitely not the best. My dream would be to meet the Dr. Leonard J. Press, but for now it seems a bit unrealistic, as I am 23 years old student with no job. But if I would be you, I would definitely search the best vision therapist I can get, because this is not like fixing a broken hand, this involves neuroscience.
    Although my biggest pain for now is because of my looks (I have never had a surgery to straighten my eyes), but I understand the feeling of not being understood and feeling lonely. It’s sad, but you’re not alone out there.
    Wish you all the best!
    Btw, sorry for my English.

    • In Latvia, did you do patching? One of my two strabismic aunts did patching and lots of exercises in the former USSR. Were you ever put in a preschool for retarded kids in Latvia? I was in one in Leningrad because of my crossed eyes.

      My doctor has treated adults successfully. I’ve gone for second opinions from other developmental optometrists and they all confer that I am a very difficult case and they can’t be sure of my results.

      • Intars says:

        I did some patching, and there were some progress, but than accidentally I got to another doctor, who said that there is nothing to be done.

        Luckily we didn’t have preschool for retarded kids, but I guess they wouldn’t put me there anyways, because I remember being the smartest kid in preschool – they even wanted to put me in first grade faster. Anyways, I am thinking to start my own blog, so I could tell my full story there.

        “Very difficult case” wouldn’t be the answer that satisfies me. What is the reasons of you being a very difficult case? What makes you different from others, who are not so very difficult? If they don’t have the answers, you should find someone, who ‘digs deeper’!

    • The reasons I am a difficult case is because I’ve had two eye surgeries which have left scar tissue. With the muscles being shorter than normal because they were cut in surgery, it’s harder for the eyes to adjust to a new position in therapy. Also, I have a strong astigmatism and I am far sighted. I have consulted elsewhere, but no one, so far, is sure that they can help me.

    • William M. says:

      I was seeing a vision therapist, but it did not help. The problem is that most vision therpaists have no (or little) hands on experience on actually working with (and curing) persons with this problem–particularly adults. For the most part they make their living helping kids with reading. Problem is that very few adults have this problem in the first place and even fewer have heard of vision therapy, which of course they are unlikely to hear about from their opthamologist (MD).

      I don’t see how a vt can successfully treat this problem without a good track record as this is as much an art as it is a science. I do beleive, however, that the brain can be trained to overcome this problem.

  3. Lilly Rebecca says:

    Hello lovely,
    I’m still pretty new to the strabismic changes in my life (it’s been just 3 years – although it feels like it’s been an eternity) and one thing that I keep learning over and over is that our respective journeys are different from one another. Your entry has revealed another false assumption on my part… I really enjoy going to 3D movies… because it’s the only time, so far, that I can see in 3D. I thought it was the same for all of us because the depth is created by other methods… glasses, etc… and not dependent solely on our own eyes to create the sense of depth. It’s not real, but it looks real, and it feels real.

    You have tried to see a movie in 3D before, right?
    Is it not the same for you?

    I realize now that I can make another (unexpected) point here… and I hope that you will recognize that I don’t mock your pain, I acknowledge it… and OH HOW I understand it! But if someone WITH strabismus, and a clear understanding of your pain and your experience and your trial (because I walk a similar path) can still make an assumption that can cause such remorse, how much easier is it for someone who has no idea to do the same?
    I too have felt the same pain, cried the same hot tears that burn my face in anguish when someone has said or done something that seemed absolutely insensitive and thoughtless. I better understand their ignorance as I realize that I too, even from a perspective of knowing personally this point of view, can make an assumption that turns out to be so far from truth.

    Through this experience, I am compelled toward two things.

    First, I want to apologize… profusely… and with great depth of sincerity, for my own ignorance and insensitivity toward you. I am so very sorry, sweetheart. I assure you, it was unintentional.

    Secondly, my heart is softened toward those who have, in their own ignorance, said or done something that has hurt me. And this is good, because forgiveness always brings peace. But now, I understand THEIR perspective a bit better for having had this experience.

    THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts.
    They have widened my perspective in unexpected and wonderful ways.
    Thank you.

    • Rebecca,

      Thanks for your heartfelt response.

      That’s so cool that you can see in stereo in 3D movies. You are so lucky! How does it feel? Do you have any after effects once you leave the theater?

      I will give it a try in a movie theater. I’ve looked at 3D TV screens with special glasses and I’ve seen nothing special.

      How have you managed to change your reactions to your friends’ insensitive comments? Have they changed their behavior or made attempts to understand your situation? I am not in a space to forgive now. I am so deeply hurt. Luckily, I am out of the country now because I can’t even bare to see this friend of mine and another common friend who has also recently disrespected me on the issue of my eyes.

      I had told this Spanish friend of mine before that I don’t go to 3D movies because I can’t see in 3D. I told him about how impressed I was with the movie Hugo and how incredible it was on a regular screen to see the snow flakes (or rain drops?) flying on the screen as though they were coming in my direction. At that time, I could see that he wanted to tell me that the movie was even better in 3D but I could tell that he restrained himself. But a few days ago in his email, he didn’t exercise the same caution as he had before. I also remarked that he asks me the same questions about my vision that he has asked before, making me realize that he either doesn’t listen, doesn’t understand or doesn’t remember. This is what hurts the most to know that I can explain until I am blue in the face and still get treated as though I have never said anything.

      And he’s one of my close friends. So this is why this is so painful. Even my mom didn’t accept my situation until I sent my two strabismic aunts to talk to her about the realities of living with strabismus and how hard it is to drive, park and do other activities. They are both introverts who spend most of their time at home, the exact opposite of my mom. I think having them talk to my mom provided proof of why I spend so much time alone and in silence just to keep my sanity. But I can’t send my aunts around to everyone who has hurt me.

      How do I move on and how do I change my reactions?

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