Thursday, January 29, 2009

How This All Came About - Part One

I have been blogging about my recent experiences learning to see with two eyes but haven't filled in the story of how I got here, how I found myself on this path of visual awakening.  For those of you who don't know, I have seen the world as flat since I was three years old.

I was standing on 14th Street in Manhattan waiting for the M-15 to take me home on June 26th, 2006.  It was a warm day, there was no bus in sight, so I headed to a newsstand and scanned the covers of all the magazines. A New Yorker grabbed my eye, on the cover an article by Oliver Sacks about vision.  I absolutely love Oliver Sacks, so I bought it and jumped on the bus.

Isn't life so amazing? Tracing back from extraordinary events, we see it was nothing more than a moment that started it all.  For me it was a summer day standing on a dirty sidewalk waiting for a bus and deciding to look at magazines. 

Dr. Sacks wrote about a woman named Dr. Sue Barry who had discovered a wonderful visual world unbeknownst to her one day while walking out of her optometrist, Dr. Theresa Ruggerio's office in Northampton, Ma. 

I remember the day perfectly. I hopped off the bus, and continued reading on my couch that afternoon until my husband came home from work and found me exploding with the story I had just read.  

Oh my God Sean, how was your day, but wait, wait, before you tell me, I have got to tell you about this article I just read in the New Yorker... This woman... Oh my God, I just can't believe, it... she, she, well she is like me... I had no idea there was even others out there who had no depth perception... and she GOT IT BACK!  I mean, she, she actually got it back and supposedly it is totally different.  It is just the most amazing thing I have EVER read.  

I could barely contain myself. The opthamologist told my mum and dad when I was a child that I would not miss much, perhaps have some difficulty with depth in sports, but that was it, and here I just read about this woman who had this experience of seeing in a way that seemed incredible, magical, spectacular, unbelievable.  I wasn't even sure if I believed it.  I thought, how could things really look that different? I can see, and function in the world just fine.  Ok, maybe I slam glasses down on tables misjudging the distance or I miss when trying to pour things, but otherwise I see just like everyone else, right?  
I cried that night in the dark bedroom of our East Village apartment.  I had no idea I was ever missing anything... Somewhere in the blur of my tears I decided that I was going to find out if I could see this way, I was going to find this magical visual world that Dr. Sue Barry found.  


  1. Heather, I just found your blog from FB... OMG I had no idea your vision issue was so complex... that you suffered like this. Your blog is fascinating and incredibly beautifully well written!


  2. Thank you Jessica!
    I have to jump on your blogs... I started reading the Black Bra and it was great. You write beautifully and I adore your photo!
    Thank you for your feedback, it is so helpful to get feedback like this. It FEEDS me! (hey, I wonder if that is why they call it feedback!!!!)
    All the best and let's have drinks SOOON!
    Big hug,

  3. Me too......what a pain in the neck......just now starting to work on the process of fixing the problem.......from my of success....

  4. Hi, Heather, I found your blog today and it is fascinating. I am an alternating strabismic with suppression, and I've been thinking about getting vision therapy. I recently read Sue Barry's book--she had issues similar to mine, and I found her success very encouraging. How did you find your vision therapist? I've looked on the web--there are COVDs--how important is that designation? Otherwise, I don't know who the topnotch people are in my area (Seattle). Asking an ophtholmologist is no help because they don't think vision training is legitimate, especially for an adult. I would appreciate any suggestions.

  5. Hi Pashber,
    Thank you for your note. Yes, Sue's story is amazing and she is a wonderful inspiration. I would definitely look for the COVD distinction, as I know that is very important. You can try calling my doctor, Dr. Carl Gruning who would perhaps know someone in Seattle. The number is (203) 255-4005 and it is called Eye Care Associates. Tell them that you were referred by me and you would looking to find a COVD Vision Therapist in your area. It is difficult work and sometimes you think, what the heck am I doing, but the rewards are incredible.
    Please stay in touch and let me know how you are doing,
    Heather Fitzpatrick


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