Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Heather's Unofficial Straight Eye Protocol









Chester my Pug

Eyes have been aligned for 4 days in a row. For the past month I have been paying close attention to what keeps them straight.

In addition to vision therapy once a week and daily exercises at home, I have come up with a few things that I need to do.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: I am not a MD and none of this information is medically supported. I am just a strabismic gal trying to keep my eyes straight, see in 3D and have found these things have worked for me. Please do not embark on a salt diet or exercise program without clearance from your own MD.

Heather's Straight Eye Protocol:
  • Sleep! Without any disruption in sleep pattern. I need 8 hours, but I have found it essential to stick to a bedtime and wake time. I can't go to sleep at midnight if I normally retire at 10 and expect to make up for it by sleeping in... My eyes cross if I do this! Same hour to bed, same hour to wake makes my eyes not deviate!
  • Water! I have asked 10 people with strabismus if they have low blood pressure and every single one said yes. This has convinced me that staying hydrated with 5 glasses of water a day is essential and to get plenty of...
  • Sodium! My MD told me that with my blood pressure on the low side putting more salt on my food is fine. So, I do this and it makes me feel better, but please check with your own doctor before increasing your salt intake!
  • Exercise! Gets my blood flowing and my muscles relaxed and the movement through space in the outdoors opens up my peripheral awareness. I should note here that I have been fairly athletic all my life. Swim teams, marathons, triathlons, etc. So I do not find extreme fitness tiring, but invigorating. If you find exercise tiring, then your eyes will probably deviate. I suggest cycling as the best option. There is no impact and it gives you a terrific chance to see all around you as you move through space.
Please also note: I had extreme strabismus for my entire life. No amount of water, sleep or exercise would have straightened my eyes. I write this having just had 2 years of vision therapy with a COVD certified optometrist as well as recent adult strabismus surgery (followed by more vision therapy). If your deviation is as severe as mine was, 80-90 PD, these tips will probably not help. If on the other hand your eyes are sometimes straight or if your misalignment is not severe, then these things might work for you, as they have worked for me. I do not write this to give people a false sense of hope, but rather share what seems to be working for me.

13 comments:

  1. Heather,

    This is great to hear such good news on your progress.

    James

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  2. Heather,

    Your blog is delightful, and the way you're able to chronicle the ebbs and flows of your binocular experiences is insightful.

    I am a colleague of both Drs. Gruning and Campolattaro, your vision therapy optometrist and your eye surgeon respectively. In the best of all worlds, the two professions work together synergistically, the analog of orthopedic surgery and physical therapy. Beyond the physical component, optometric vision therapy involves a cognitive component on the part of the patient, as one can tell from reading your posts.

    One other observation that shines in your posts is that eye position is influenced by a host of factors. In addition to the muscles themselves, there are pulleys that play a key role. Taken together, the eyeball in its socket is a unique pivot joint space comprised of muscles, tendons and sheaths, and subject to forces influenced by inflammation.

    Since the role of inflammation in health has become ubiquitous, it is not surprising that anything one does to boost general health, including fluid intake, adequate sleep, and stress management, can efect a delicate balance between the two eyes.

    I look forward to following your progress, and wish you the best for continued success.

    - Dr. L. Press

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  3. Sorry for not posting back sooner. Several months ago I told you about putting tape on the inside of your glasses...and you said it was very strange..that the next time you went to VT that your doc had taped your glasses...do you remember me?...If you want to talk to folks in the same boat as you...I am as near as your keyboard...I have done months of experimenting with tape...it has evolved into some very interesting configurations...after weeks of walking around with the tapes in a certain position...a new configuration would come into my mind and I would experiment with that new idea...and so the progression has gone...there are a lot of other things I have/am trying that you may find of interest...just like your ideas about getting enough water/rest/exersize....these are things that seem to drive me on to believe that strabismus can be forced to give up its hold on me and the other 3/4/5%? of the population that must put up with this @#$%&^*( problem...I currently have 3 pairs of glasses taped up in various ways...1)gold iridium Oakleys...2)gold Cartiers...and 3)some cheapo frames from Eyemasters....no one can see through the Oakleys; so I use them for walking around the neighborhood or going to stores etc...I also use them to drive during the day...the Cartiers are used for driving at night...but only in familiar territory...the cheapos are used for wathing TV and around the house.... the point is that I have logged thousands of hours in using the taped glasses ....May I elaborate further without boring you?...One of the most interesting ways to use the "cheapos" is to watch TV...I have a 65" TV...the glasses are taped on the left side in an arc similar to a paranthasis ---)...pardon my spelling!...So far i have found several movies that seem to be "made" for this activity...they are..."The Bourne Ultimatum" ..."Cars"...Meet the Robinsons"..."The Incredables" ...I stumbled across "Bourne" by accident...it is made in such a way that the camera angles are constantly changing every 2-3 seconds throughout the entire movie...it is almost hypnotic...THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART...watch a movie with some taped glasses...with tape on the dominate side...maybe 1/5th of the lens covered...sit in a position so the you are able to see the left edge of the TV with your left eye...and the right side of the TV with your right eye....relax and your mind will alow your eyes to merge the TV image into one solid image...I AM DEAD SERIOUS!!!.... it also seem to help if you position yourself just slightly off to one side....It will give you what I think of as a panoramic view...the quick movement/transitions in the movies mentioned above will totally imerce your eyes....OH AND SOMETHING ELSE....do not turn on the sound...in fact if you have a sterio....listen to some quit music...I find that you do not want to be intersted in any of the audio from the movie...because if you do ...you will tend to "over-focus" your stronger eye in order to know every little detail going on in ther movie...THIS IS ALL ABOUT VIDEO...please believe me...I have suffered as you have...I would not tell you this or any of the intersting things I have engrossed myself in ...in order to beat this problem... I spend my whole day going from one "exersize" to the next...I have vowed to eliminate this "Habit"..... Thats all it is ...A VERY VERY BAD HABIT....are you laughing yet?...If my e-mail crashes now ...I will scream!!! If/when you try this....e-mail me back and we can discuss some other things that only other people with strabismus would dare to try and understand.....I have spent the last 3 years in exercizing my human rite to see in..............3D..........rgds...

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  4. Wow! So you are occluding the center field of your vision with the tape and only allowing your eyes to see the TV out of the wider sides of the two lenses? Interesting... I think it is also very interesting that you recommend turning down the volume and I think this makes sense, as your eye would want to target specifically what the dialogue was highlighting.
    Bourne Identity, I think I have seen that... It is with Matt Damon correct?
    What do you think this taping is doing for you? Do you have double vision normally?
    I will certainly try it and report back to you!
    Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Also...make sure the glasses you use have a bridge that completely blocks your field of view from either side....otherwise the dominate eye wil "cheat" and attempt to see through the tiny area in the bridge of your glasses...also its better in a very dim/dark room.....more later.....Eye am at work now......3d......

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  6. Currently I am only using tape ON THE DOMINANTE SIDE...but the right lens adds another interesting effect to this configuration...in my case the inside left lens is taped one fith....HERE IS THE TWIST....the right lens from the inside looks like small rectangles of FLORESENT tape arranged in a clocklike circle...the "tape" is actually cut from little stick-on circles you might use to put a price on an item at a yard sale...there are TWO DIFFERENT COLORS...this lens is used for what I would call "ORBITAL EXERSIZE".....the eye in need of a good workout can differentiate between the two colors in order to give your mind exact feedback as to the position of your eye...you know when you are looking at the ten-o-clock position...or the two-o-clock position...etc....the colors are brightened when you are out of doors or when you are sitting fairly close to a computer monitor....the brightness makes it easer to locate each indivdual "clock position" as you rotate clockwise and counter clockwise....also allowing you to stop and stair at a "rectangular position" for a few seconds or more....its easy to rotate the weaker eye with the other eye covered....the challange is to be able to rotate/exersize the weaker side while looking out of both eyes at the same time.....once again...let me assure you EYE AM DEAD SERIOUS....pardon the play on words!!.... the beauty of these glasses is that you can wear them around the house any time you are home...who is going to tell you otherwise? you can "ROTATE" anytime you like...and often :) its a no-brainer/ to easy!! ..it may take 30 minutes or so to get the tape put on the glasses in the clock configuration...but to me it seems to be a worthwhile effort.....I enjoy it every day...whew!...sorry about my longwindedness.... one thing this also does is allow me to increase the time I spend daily on achieving steriopsis ...(3D)in a VERY easy manner...probly now I am spending at least 3 to 4 hours of every day....I am constantly trying to come up with some "New" form of exersize to help increase my total exersize time per day...with a view toward occuping my entire day with this type of activity....to put pressure on my mind untill it finally says...ok...you are not going to give up....NOW YOU CAN SEE PROPERLY....how much time would you say you spend on a daily basis doing things that chanllange your eyes to break "THE HABIT"??....let me know what you think....3D.....

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  7. Could you please show a picture of the glasses? I really do not seem to understand how it works.

    I would be ever so grateful. I would be able to try this at home as well.

    Lucy

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  8. Let me see if you can post photos on this blog.....3D

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  9. Just so no one gets the wrong idea...I am not a doctor or anything of the sort...these are just my own thoughts and ezperiences relative to Heathers discussion....!!
    There seems to be no way to post a picture....if anyone knows how...please instruct...
    So Lucy.....just so you can get a better idea of how to place the pieces of tape...
    1. draw 2 circles on a sheet of paper....in the shape of your lenes.
    2. cut colored tape or stickers in the shape of small rectangles or half circles...
    3. if you want to exersize the right eye....apply the peices of rectangular or half circular tape pieces onto the inside of the lens....
    4. think of it as if you were looking at a clock....put one piece of tape at the "12 0'clock" position...put another piece of tape at the "6 o'clock" position....then at the "3 o'clock" position....all the way around the inside of the glasses lens...alternate between 2 different colors of bright tape
    5. on the other lens...put a piece of tape on the inside edge of the lens from top to bottom.
    6. also cover any area around the bridge of your glasses frames ...so the "stronger eye" can not "cheat" by looking through the little opening that many frames have....
    So ...in short...put the pieces of tape on the inside of your glasses lenes in the shape of the times on a clock...
    ..after typing that...i just realized that instead of putting a picture of me on the blog as i see others have done...i can put a picture of the glasses ....will try it when i get home....3D

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  10. Lucy....the picture of one pair of my glasses is shown as the picture named Corvette69....

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  11. These are some thoughts organized in a paper by Dr. Gallop...

    It often requires a little creative thinking to help people get the most out of their visual process.

    The standard eye exam does not address a person's real everyday visual needs.

    But how hard it is to appreciate that one person’s distortion can be another person’s reality, that we look at the world through different eyeglasses

    In building a theory of the world, it helps if one’s vision is a little blurry

    Are myopes actually superior beings being kept at bay by a world of frightened, uptight emmetropes?

    Who says the world is actually clear? Perhaps nearsighted people are simply favored with a special mode of perception that is more tuned in to the vast web of connectivity that binds us as one world.

    As we all know, this sort of blurry behavior is quickly investigated and punished by sentencing the offender to a life term of so-called corrective lenses.

    We did the best we could, not having a handy guidebook describing all the factors and all the possible consequences of our choices.

    We also learn very early, and typically very well, how to suppress thoughts and emotions with which we would rather not involve ourselves constantly, or ever.

    Perhaps some ways of seeing are appropriate for some circumstances, and other ways appropriate for other circumstances.

    My sense is that once we find a way of doing things that requires less effort, provides greater results and is more comfortable, we are likely to make certain that we access this behavior as much as possible. This, in turn, makes it likely that this learning will not be forgotten.

    Most people only know what they are told, having neither the inclination, nor the time to research their situation. Optometry believes that maximum monocular distance acuity is critical, therefore the public believes this. People assume that there is only one way for lenses to work. They assume that the only issue is absolute clarity.

    A lens is a tool. It is always important to have the right tools for the job.

    What if seeing blurry is actually an advantage, an evolutionary leap forward, and not something to be eradicated at all costs.

    Who decided that 20/20 was THE right way to see things every minute of every day? I’ll tell you who - a bunch of uptight emmetropes trapped in a sharply defined world of countless discreet images. These are people who have no concept what its like to see in a nice, mellow, fuzzy way, allowing the alleged borders within our environment to become less restrictive, allowing the so-called parts of the world to blend together.
    Sometimes this way of seeing can be refreshing, if not downright enjoyable. Who among you remembers the 60s? How many of you know what it’s like to see street lights and traffic lights without all that sharpness? They look a lot more interesting when I have no lenses to distort the way I naturally see them. Of course you’d better hope that I’m in the passenger seat while I’m enjoying this uncompromised visual feast, but perhaps you get my point. Things are not always as they appear, or maybe they are but only through certain filters of perception. By limiting the filters through which we view our patients, and restricting the filters we provide for them, we are limiting the freedom to compute, perceive, and create.

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  12. Wow, this is terrific! Keep commenting people! What a wonderful chance to share what works.
    A lot of this I believe is uncharted territory and I think those of us who have Strabismus can be the best beacons towards alignment!
    Heather ;-)

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  13. I, too am working with the Brock String. I have a plethora of vision problems and am doing vision therapy as well. I am monocular and want very much to see in 3D having had a brief fleeting moment of it in the optometrist's office.

    I am going to try what you are saying about increased exercise and more water. I am debating about sodium as my husband has severe issues with salt and I have a lot of heart disease in my family. I have been sticking with low sodium but I will ponder adding more salt to my own food.

    Additionally, I am working on a variety of other physical problems including central auditory processing disorder, motor apraxia, balance problems and a learning disability.

    I will be posting more on my adventures with the brock string shortly. You can read my blog at journeythroughthecortex.blogspot.com

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