Friday, December 19, 2008

Dispatch from the Hallway

I see something.  Do I mention every moment?  The manicured bush this summer that looked like a floating anvil? I never knew bushes had tops!  The ordinary drain that stopped me in my tracks because I could see the street leading up to it and then the grass leading away from it? Who knew a storm drain could be so beautiful!

It has taken possession of me this new vision.  Each new sighting is like visiting another planet. If I don't report what I see in stereo they pile up leaving me tossing and turning at night; the snow, the table legs, the bumper on that car, the bush, my sugar bowl,  the pot on the floor, the window sill.  They all collect together and I am afraid if I don't document them, I may forget, so here I am with a dispatch of another 3D sighting.  My pug in the hallway!

I was at the end of the hall a moment ago.  Our dog came out of the sitting room looking for me and he suddenly appeared smaller in the hall and low to the ground.  (The first time this happened, it was the cutlery holder in our dishwasher.) As he walked towards the bedroom door the walls seemed to loom up on either side of him. I could see the space between us as he walked towards me. It was elastic. Layers of space in front of him and continuing on behind him.  If my dog only knew how he suddenly appeared; a little spaceman floating at the end of a long tunnel.  

Seeing in stereo is not only incredible visually, but there is another thing that seems to come along with the act of seeing differently and that is how I feel as I see.  It is amazing.  There are no words to describe it, it is pure joy.  It is a long thirst that I am finally brain seems to say, this feels good!  When I see that space I think that we are not alone, there is something bigger in all that invisible glue, there has to be.  It is divine. My little fat dog walking down the hall slowly towards me looking so different.  It is almost like I am in a dream or in the past. I see things as they are, but in 3D they are imbued with something that is like a feeling of deja vu.  I still haven't figured out why seeing in stereo does this to me.  

Imagine looking at something familiar, your refrigerator, a room in your house, or some object, and suddenly it is completely different.  It is the same, but not the same.  Space changes everything, but it keeps it the same.  You can still say, "that is my refrigerator..." but there is this other thing that is there too and it is space.  It is stretchy, bouncy, gooey and electric.  I can't say it is blue, or red, or rough or wet, but it is utterly alive!  

Not having it all these years makes it so precious.  I wonder if I will ever tire of seeing it?  It was alive in my head all these years unable to come out. Welcome Mrs. Stereo, please sit down and stay awhile!  


  1. Hi Heather - I've enjoyed your blog. I have very strong prism correction in my glasses. I have wear 30 prism diopters (15 in each eye). When my eyes are tired, I actually need more than 30 prism diopters, but my eye doc won't prescribe any more. Would love to chat about our common challenge!

  2. Hi Charley:
    Thank you for your comment. I am glad you enjoy the blog! How long have you worn the prisms? My prisms are so think that they are decals with lines going through them which makes my acuity very low, but they help me tremendously. Have you had any vision therapy? I corrected my PD from 80-90 to 30-40 according my optometrist. The work is hard, but worth it!

  3. Hi Heather -
    Thanks for the response. I've worn prisms since I was a teenager (I'm 44 now). I can remember my eye exam where the optometrist did a lot of different tests I'd never experienced in an exam. And, asked if I had problems with double vision when I was tired. And, I did! He told me about adding a new type of correction to my glasses, called vertical prisms. One of my eyes wants to point downward due to a muscle imbalance. It took about 2 weeks to get used to the new prism correction, but my eyes felt SO relaxed! I fell in love with the new prisms. It was only 10 prism diopters of correction, but made such a difference. I'm up to 30 prism diopters now, which is spread between each lens, 15 + 15. In my last exam, only a few weeks ago, the doctor said I could use more prism, but 15 in a lens was about as much as the lab could put in. He did mention the "press on prism" stick on type. However, like you said, he said the visual acuity wouldn't be as good. On top of all the prism challenges, I also learned I need bifocals! He gave me two prescriptions. One is for distance and one is for reading, due to my prescription being so complex. I haven't purchased the new glasses yet. I'm not too excited about switching between 2 pairs of glasses for distance/reading, and want to do some research before spending all that money.
    I've never tried vision therapy. At first, my prism correction didn't seem that strong. However, it seems to get stronger with every exam, so I should check into it. My new eye doc asked if I had ever had vision therapy. However, he didn't press the issue. To hear your success story makes me want to try it!
    I'm curious about the "press-on prisms". How much visual acuity do you lose? What do they look like? Can you see the lines that go through them? Do they make them in powers above 15 prism diopters? What power are yours?
    I'm also very nearsighted. Are you also near or farsighted? Would you mind sharing some pictures of your glasses?
    Sorry for all the questions. I'm excited to learn about your experiences, and possible new options for me!
    Look forward to hearing from you.

  4. Hi Charley:
    Thanks for your great email. I do not know much about all of this, but I would be curious to know why you needed to go up in prisms after your original ones??? Would your doctor say that you became used to them? My prisms are almost impossible to see out of. They are stick on decals, ( will post a picture of me in them in my next blog entry.) There have to be at least 12 lines going through each lens, which I believe indicates a prism layer...but not sure. I will find out for you. I think they are between 80-90 PD. I need to start learning more on the technical side. I have been so caught up in the therapy, and what has happened, that i am a bit behind on the terminology, but I will learn more.
    The changes began this summer and have made a profound impact on my life. I had absolutely no idea that this would happen. I will tell the story in more detail in future blogs.
    What power are yours?
    I have almost perfect vision in both eyes, however, as I am 42 I need reading glasses to read ANYTHING!
    I am not sure where you are located, but you want to find a developmental optometrist that specializes in vision therapy. I have been at it for almost a year and it is a 'baby steps' kind of thing. But as an adult, we are much more aware of the subtle changes than children.
    Have you ever done the fly stereogram? You know the test with the big fly that they show you? What does it look like? For me it is still flat.
    As far as I know you see double because both eyes are turned on, but not pointing in the same direction. I suppress, so I never see double... I switch from eye to eye.
    I hope i answered some of your questions. Please don't worry at all about asking many more!! I am limited in my knowledge on this stuff, but just know from my own personal experiences.
    Have you had surgeries? Have you always had this issue with your eyes?
    I would say that if you keep getting stronger and stronger prisms, that that might not be ideal... It might be better to get some therapy where you can learn to fix your eyes at the same thing at the same time. Have you done The Brach String exercise? This will tell you where your eyes are pointing.
    Again, I would consult your dr. about all of this, but getting some VT can't hurt either.

  5. Hi Heather -
    Thanks! I'm really enjoying our email conversations! If you'd like to chat via IM or regular email, let me know and we can swap IDs.
    My prism power (if that's even the right way to phrase it) stayed the same for a few years, then started increasing a little over the years. I've had different doctors tell me that your eyes get used to the prism, and start wanting more.
    Why are your prism glasses almost impossible to see out of? Is there a lot of distortion from the prisms, or is it the material? I'm anxious to see the lines that run through them. The glasses sound really interesting. I'm definitely going to check into the decal type prisms. Do they just stick on to regular glasses? Are your glasses bifocals? I really need to get my bifocals/reading glasses made. I'm having a really hard time seeing up close. As they say, my arms are not long enough to read! And, without my glasses, I can only see a few inches from my face because I'm really nearsighted.
    It's wonderful to hear about your VT success, and what a positive impact it's had on your life! That's great!
    My glasses are about -5.00 (nearsighted) with about -2.00 astigmatism. Prism is 30 P.D., which they split between both lenses. So one lens is 15 P.D. Base up, and the other is 15 P.D. Base down. One lens is really thick on the top of the lens, and the other is really thick on the bottom of the lens.
    That's good that you have near perfect vision, and aren't nearsighted or farsighted! And, we are both in the ol' "bifocal" club! My reading addition on my new prescription is +2.25. How strong is your reading power? (I know, more technical questions).
    I do want to check into the vision therapy thing. When my eyes are "fresh" (when I wake up), I can see single images when I really focus. After I put my glasses on, it feels so relaxing. After wearing them for a while, I definitely see double when I remove them. When I get really tired, I start to see double WITH my glasses! Yikes!
    I have done the fly stereogram test. If I'm able to get my eyes to align properly, I see the 3-D effect. If not, it looks flat, and I see 2 images. You explained it really well, both of my eyes are "turned on" so I see double.
    I have not had any surgery. I think I've had the issue most of my life. It just wasn't identified and corrected until I was in my teen years. I can vividly remember putting my prism glasses on for the first time and feeling such a relaxed feeling (but very dizzy for a couple weeks)! When did you find out you had strabismus? I think you wrote you were pretty young, if I recall.
    I haven't tried the string exercise. How does it work? Is it something I can try on my own?
    Thanks again, Heather, for answering all my probing questions! I've learned a lot, and look forward to chatting more with you! Also, feel free to ask me anything you'd like. I hope I've answered your all your questions. You've done a great job answering mine. Talk soon!

  6. Hi Charley:
    Wow, great email. Ok, yes, I remember the base up and base down thing now. Before I got the decals, the therapist put together some prism glasses for me that sound similar to yours (only mine were probably about an inch thicker!) They were thicker on the top on one, and then thicker on the bottom on the other.

    The reason I can not see out of the glasses with the decals is that there are lines going across the lenses (each representing a diopter?) and I need such strong prisms so there are a million lines going through the lenses. (still have to post the photo of the glasses for you, which I will!) The decals are also a bit of a pain because they have air bubbles in them! No matter how much I press they always seem to get air bubbles!

    What the glasses give me is the ability for my eyes to grasp enough alignment and for me to walk around (very carefully) with my dog outside and see big areas in 3D. I have a very long story to tell, but this summer once I got the glasses, table legs started looking weird and then my sugar bowl shrank! It was all so incredible. (the fatigue was not fun, but i feel I am past that a bit now...)

    Have you read the article in the New Yorker written by Oliver Sacks called "Stereo Sue?" Try to find it on the internet and read it, it will amaze you.

    You are obviously a lot more savvy with the technical side, which inspires me to learn more about what all these things are called! I am still researching to see if I have even titled my blog correctly, as I am not entirely sure "seeing 3D" is what I am doing! Perhaps it is more "seeing in stereo!"

    I was also fascinated to hear your 'fresh' eyes thing. I thought I was the only one that had fresh eyes at some times and crazy eyes when I was tired. I see how essential sleep is and also how this is all in the brain!

    RIght now I have become interested in learning more about deja vu. I get a strange feeling when things pop into 3D and I can't quite explain it. It feels as though I am in the past all of a sudden and I can't quite identify what it is. It is like I am looking at an old photo or something. You know how you can look at a photo and their is this color to it (I don't mean really old, I mean 20 years old...) and this haze to it that you know it is a photo taken in the past? Well, I get that feeling when I see 3D! I am trying to find out if the part of the brain that experiences 3D is the same part that experiences deja vu!!! Then i would understand that was i was experiencing wasn't completely loony! Or maybe it is! Whatever!

    So my email address is boykingroup at mac dot com if you would like to email me directly. I would definitely try some vision therapy, it does help tremendously and it sounds like with your awareness about your eyes, that you would get a lot out of it.

    The Brach String is basically a string tied to a point on a wall (I have it tied to my kitchen cabinet) with three beads on it. The string should be slightly lower than eye level) You put one bead in the middle and the other at the end closest to the wall. Hold the string up to the bridge of your nose and when you look at the middle bead you should see an X with the bead you are looking at in the middle and when you switch your gaze to the bead further down the string you should see a giant V with the bead in the middle of the string becoming two beads and the strings coming to a point against the wall... I am not sure if this explains it! For me, it gives me instant feedback as to where my eyes are pointing. If you have two strings that tells you that BOTH eyes are turned on. For me, the strings are not parallel, which makes sense because my eyes are not parallel! After a year in VT, I am JUST beginning to understand that i can move my eyes (a completely new concept to me!) and get the strings to be parallel. But still, they are not exactly where they are supposed to be. I have a long way to go, but this learning for me has come in waves...

    I suggest you call Eye Care Associates in Southport, CT and ask if they can refer you to someone in your area that does the kind of work that Dr. Carl Gruning does. You want someone who has the specific certification in developmental VT. (it has a name, but of course I can't remember it!)



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