Although not widely known, schools are seeing the benefits vision …
Vision therapy brings vision issues into focus
Tait was suffering from a dizzying mix of visual conditions. Neurovisual optometry solved the problem.
When I met Dr. McCrodan, I was on a lonely mission. I had a unique mystery to solve; one that appeared no one could help me solve or even help me towards making significant improvements. That all changed when I met Dr. Cam McCrodan and staff.
In 2008, I underwent the first of six Lasik eye surgeries. This was followed by right eye strabismus surgery in 2009. According to my surgeons, I presented with nystagmus, strabismus, amblyopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, associated asymmetric abnormal smooth pursuit, VOR suppression and saccades to the left, convergence insufficiency, along with ADHD, previous strabismus surgery at age two and a left head tilt. What all these fancy words mean is that of the seven visual abilities for learning I was seriously challenged in five or six. These are: accommodation – the ability to maintain clear visual focus, eye movement – the ability to smoothly shift from one point of focus to another, eye teaming – the ability for both eyes to work together as a team (to prevent double vision) , visual perception – the ability to compare and understand ones surroundings( to provide depth perception and peripheral vision), and eye-hand coordination – the ability to guide the movements of the hands with the eyes in actions such as reading and playing music, sports, etc. Visual acuity was an ability I appeared to have but it took tremendous compensating for me to achieve 20/25 and 20/40 vision. The seventh ability is visual imagery and this was my #1 tool for many, if not all, of my life’s endeavors. I survived on finely tuned instincts.
I believe that before I met Dr. McCrodan my good eye was overcorrected by Lasik which caused the weakened eye to become unsuppressed (wake up). When this occurred, I lost the ability to compensate and my eyes struggled once again to function together. Somehow this caused my null point (neck) and left side to shift to the center. My nystagmus was softened by this null point and when it shifted my nystagmus intensified felt largely when looking at a distance and, when I shifted my gaze from left to right, it caused my world to spin constantly. This caused my right eye to struggle to fuse which exacerbated my binocular fusion problems, diplopia, blurred vision, vertigo, dizziness and nausea. These issues alone were absolutely devastating and created in me the most intense feelings of nervousness and fear you could ever image. Without even realizing it, I had been operating my whole life by looking out the corner of my left eye and suppressing the rest of the world with my right. My body slanted left and twisted right while my right eye squinted to block the sunlight. My life up until this point was extremely challenging and then it all changed and shifted to a whole new set of challenges overnight.
I had no idea that I had been walking around my whole life with a load of visual challenges. I knew that I had a very high astigmatism and a lazy eye but I had no idea what they meant. I was certainly aware that I was not viewing the world like others and when I attempted to get help it was my behaviour and never my visual distortions that got the attention and it was not positive attention. The result of having these procedures as an adult was the opening of a Pandora’s Box for me. I spent more than four years doing my own research (which was extremely challenging for someone with my issues) into the difficulties I was experiencing. Nothing could have prepared me for the astonishment when I became aware of the degree to which I had learned to compensate for my vision problems since childhood. What would it take to relearn to function all over again with a new group of compensating skills?
One by one, I began to unravel the mystery and identified my problems and creatively found bandage solutions. No doctor I saw had the knowledge or time to tie all of my symptoms together and back to my vision and then provide solutions. I had no resources left and no support. No one was able to comprehend my challenges. Then, just as I thought it was over for me, I met Dr. McCrodan and after just one evaluation he assured me that, no matter my situation, he would find a way to help … and he did! He was able to validate all of my experiences, answer my questions, and put into play a series of visual rehabilitation exercises to carry me forward towards a fulfilling and active life.
When I started vision therapy, I couldn’t handle any task especially ‘at near’ work on the computer, reading, cooking, driving, playing with my kids, interacting in social settings, watching TV, etc. And if my vision wasn’t in the way, the physical pain on my left side of my body due to my head tilt depleted the rest of my energy. I am now half-way through my training and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. There has been no stone unturned and the layers continue to unravel. It feels most like I’m re-learning to coordinate my every move all over again and I mean every little move! It’s as if I have a left me and a right me fighting to stay in balance. Already, I’m reading, using the computer, and watching TV for much longer periods of time. My body pain has improved in tandem with the improvement to my eyes and I’m slowly working my way towards a fulfilling functioning life. I have four children and many aspirations. I always dreamed of being an inventor and using my insights to help to bring awareness to how our vision affects all aspects of our lives. These dreams are now not far from reality.