Optometric Sons and Daughters of Stereo Sue and Dr. T

Man, I’m like a kid in a candy shop this morning.  On the heels of discovering Strabby’s blog yesterday came word from Lynda Rimke about the heady blog she’s created in the same vein – as a patient currently undergoing optometric vision therapy to address her strabismus.

Lynda adds another dimension to the growing cadre we’ll call optometric sons and daughters who’ve been inspired by Stereo Sue Barry’s book and experiences.  Look at the magnificent artwork she incorporates into her blog, such as this self-portrait in binasal occlusion.  As much as I was blessed to work with Sue Cohen, a gifted medical illustrator for my textbook that has bearing on strabismus therapy, I feel equally blessed to have discovered Lynda’s gifted artwork and can’t wait to see more!  Her anaglyphic depictions show exquisite detail and thought.   The evolution of open communication and shared information about vision therapy among patients in the public eye, set in motion by the collaboration between Dr. Theresa Ruggiero and  Sue Barry, is unprecedented.

As if that talent pool weren’t enough, Sue clued me in to another blogger inspired by her book, Squinty Josh, squint being the British term for strabismus.  Josh is a graduate student working in the ESL field who, like Sue, had three eye muscle surgeries.

As you can see, Josh has exotropia or outward strabismus of his left eye, but he can alternate just as well to fixating with his left eye and letting the right eye take a siesta.

Take a look at Josh’s graphics and you’ll see that he does a magnificent job of portraying what he’s working on each week in vision therapy.  This morning I pinched myself in the arm and it hurt, so I knew I wasn’t dreaming.  What a delightful sensation it is.  Stay tuned to Strabby’s, Flatland’s, and Squinty’s blogs, and you’ll find yourself doing the same.  I’m looking forward to this information going viral, and to seeing the bloggers link to each other.  Don’t be shy about spreading these magnificent new blogs around within your networks.  Marjie Thompson is smiling from heaven today.

– Leonard J. Press, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO

26 thoughts on “Optometric Sons and Daughters of Stereo Sue and Dr. T

    • Agreed! As impressed as I am with the contribution that each is making, look how well Josh (Squintyeyes) is able to do his graphics to depict his procedures! Indeed, it’s a huge boon to not only encourage others, but a new level of sharing among patients that will filter back to their doctors. This is real patient-driven innovation and networking. It’s PAVE on Steroids!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Optometric Sons and Daughters of Stereo Sue and Dr. T « The VisionHelp Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. How amazing and exciting to have my own *peers* on this visual therapy journey! Dr. Press, thank you for your warm welcome to this bloggy world where strabismus and real, therapeutic correction are normal. 🙂

    This sense of connection and the wonderful opportunity to learn from others’ vision therapy experiences reminds me a bit of the long tail phenomenon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Tail

    I’m off to add these strabby blogs to my “blogroll”–thank you. (And I, too, am feeling quite like that kid in a candy store you were talking about!)

  3. Dr. Press, I can’t thank you enough for telling the larger story of the tremendous energy Sue’s book has given to adults with strabismus, and how we “children of Sue” are finding each other as we explore solutions for ourselves.

    Sally just let me know about your post via a discussion board on Sue’s facebook page. Gotta love these new internet tools that connect us!

    I’m feeling tremendous synergy developing, and am humbled to be a part of it. I’ll be checking out Josh’s blog next. Hooray!!

  4. It looks like social media will be the tool to expose the brilliant branch of our profession called developmental optometry to the world! NO more best kept secret. Thank you Dan, Len , Carol, Carl, Stan, Gary and Barry for doing what you are doing with this blog. At this point in my career, direct patient care is one of the things I do. To see what I’m doing that I consider high level VT go to http://1317eastcarson.blogspot.com and also google the u tube video from Transition Pittsburgh on 1317 East Carson! Our practice of behavioral optometry is truly enabling others to change the world!

    • You’re welcome, Elisa. Social media is definitely the tool. For years we’ve speculated that patients weren’t more vocal about their experiences because of privacy. Ironic that in the world of HIPPA over-extrapolated, social media has exploded enabling patients to share compelling experience openly. How sweet it is. Good luck with the green building project!

  5. Wow, thanks for writing about me! It’s great that more people are blogging about their vision therapy experiences. And I love the title of this blog post, by the way. Stereo Sue, Matriarch of the Strabismusphere.

    • Excellent, Josh. “Matriarch of the Strabismusphere”. Keep up the magnificent updates on your progress. As I said to our staff at our morning meeting yesterday, we can learn as much from your posts as you from us. Through the years VT docs will tell you we have learned much for our adult patients who are able to articulate their experiences. Your diagrams are a wonderful way of sharing your experiences and the modifications you’re making in concert with guidance and feedback from your doc/therapist. Simply outstanding!

  6. Thank you for these wonderful blogs! Even as a vision therapist, I am always learning more and more and am inspired by other’s stories!

  7. Pingback: blog-tacular! « strabby

  8. Greetings, Dr. Press, I’m delighted to read the various comments from people motivated by “Stereo Sue’s” book! You probably know that after some 25 years of writing factual material about optometry’s specialty of vision therapy, I turned to fiction. I wrote two mysteries, “Eye Sleuth” & “Eye Wit,” in an effort to help bring news about optometric vision therapy & behavioral (or developmental) optometry to a wider audience. So often, people comment, “Oh, never heard of it.” One reader told me she felt she’d been to “eye college” after reading “Eye Sleuth.” It’s along time since I’ve been to NYCity but I lived there for many years & still enjoy the occasional visit. Best, Hazel Dawkins.

  9. Thanks Dr Leonard

    I didn’t know about ACBO. But I’ve contacted a local behavioural optomestrist (VisionLink in Hastings) and been for a first checkup. Have yet to speak with the expert though.
    I’ve aldo read papers by Dr Ben Thompson and others from the University of Auckland:
    They do look for volunteers for their research but I’m not in the area unfortunately.

    Anyway, my question is: has Sue Barry’s book caused too much hype and too much trouble for some people?
    I loved the book, it’s so inspiring but the reality is, as I see it, that a lot of people (don’t know how many) not only didn’t acquire stereopsis but instead they developed horrible diplopia.
    What we call strabismus or ambliopia can mean so many different cases that even the experts (i.e you) cannot tell for sure who’s going to benefit from VT.

    I’m so seriously tempted to give it a serious try. But as a father of two, maintaining a family, and with a mortgage, serious doubts need to be addressed.

    Thank you!
    (from Italy, but now living in Hastings, New Zealand)

  10. Sue Barry’s book has done more to create public awareness about neuroplasticity and its role in therapy beyond the presumptive critical for strabismus than any other source. It is the role of the knowledgable clinician to do a differential diagnosis and assess what the patient’s potential is for fusion and stereopsis. Not everyone is a candidate for vision therapy, and Sue makes that very clear in her book. To answer your question, Emanuele, I’m not sure where you’re getting the information that “a lot of people not only didn’t acquire stereopsis but instead they developed horrible diplopia”. Can you back up that assertion with any facts?

  11. Hi Len,

    totally anecdotal evidence. Just based on the blogs you mentioned in this post:
    – Lynda Rimke: no stereopsis (maybe partial), no diplopia, other serious problems (not linked to VT!)
    – Strabby: no full stereopsis
    – Squinty Josh: last blog a long time ago, no full stereopsis AFAIK

    I’ve spoked with a lady who’s had a lot of double vision trouble and VT for three years!
    The doctor who visited me mentioned of another person who’s developed diplopia.
    Now, I started with a totally positive attitude. I’ve also read on Sovoto a doctor’s opinion downplaying the risk of diplopia (provided that amblyopia is treated first with excercises for the non focusing eye, prior to anti-suppression exercises).

    Then, I read totally opposite opinions, see: http://www.strabismus.nl/drupal/node/9
    “It is not known what causes strabismus. It’s effects on the development of the visual systems in the brain are known to a certain extent.These effects are permanent and cannot be fixed (lots of “behavioral” optometrists will disagree with me on this one!).”
    “Whatever you do, don’t EVER patch your good eye. Just don’t. Amblyopia is there to stay anyway, and you won’t gain anything besides perhaps terrible diplopia.”

    So that’s the situation, my heart is with Sue Barry and friends (go for it! the brain is plastic) – heck! I’ve learned Spanish to native level at 23! and I’ve started learning the saxophone 6 months ago at 36!

    But my brain says: “Well, I’ve adapted to give you the best possible outcome. Some 3D in peripheral vision, some fusion perhaps through ARC, you can drive, and work, forget about it.”

    VT won’t fix my general state of grumpiness anyway 🙂

  12. Thanks, Emanuele. It’s a very personalized decision to pursue VT, but we feel patients should be given informed consent all the way around. That means surgeons telling patients the prognosis for stereopsis with surgery, if we’re going to compare apples to apples. And prognosis for need for multiple surgeries, effect of scar tissue on ocular function, acquired vertical imbalances, etc. Not just scare tactics about intractable diplopia after VT, which has never been documented with any kind of study because it is so rare. If intractable diplopia were a true clinical problem, it would logically occur more often after strabismus surgery, which is a form of shock therapy that radically re-arranges the sensory status of the two eyes within cortical maps in the brain, than it would with the gradual process of vision therapy.

    Since we’re left principally with anecdotes, on Sovoto you’ll note discussion from an adult patient of mine, Greg Voth, an accomplished graphics specialist, who delights in his acquired stereopsis through VT. Best wishes on fixing your general state of grumpiness. If you find a cure, let me know. 😉

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