Many blog entries can be found on our site regarding the continuum of stereoscopic binocular vision. I’ve also written a number of times about how eye muscle surgeons (pediatric ophthalmologists) tend to judge the success of their surgeries by how straight the eyes look after surgery. How comfortable or efficient or binocular the patient is remains an epiphenomenon of sorts. Jeremy’s mom was talking to a friend of hers whose daughter has an eye turn partially compensated by glasses, and had undertaken vision therapy with us with great results. Despite the fact that Jeremy had eye muscle surgery, this mom felt she could still tell that all was not as good as it could be. Sometimes it takes a year or longer to develop good binocular vision, but when Jeremy’s parents brought him to us we felt that we could accomplish our goals within a six month period of time. We agreed that if additional time were needed, we’d cross that bridge later. Well today marked Jeremy’s completion of his weekly optometric vision therapy visits, and he did beautifully. At the outset he lacked any stereopsis, local or global, and demonstrated intermittent suppression with considerable binocular instability. His surgeon told Jeremy’s mother to stay away from vision therapy because it might cause double vision. She consulted with two other pediatric ophthalmologists who were also dismissive of any further intervention. Don’t get me wrong: pediatric ophthalmologists are superb at what they do well, which is surgical re-positioning. But to find a pediatric ophthalmologist who understands the role of optometric vision therapy is almost an anomaly. Yet they exist. In fact in a new textbook just out, a chapter on multidisciplinary care finds one of its co-authors (an ophthalmologist) noting that vision therapy is typically not part of their training, and a potential benefit that should be left to the professional judgement of the optometrist.
Back to Jeremy, and the beautiful Success Story his mother gave to us today. Her correspondence is anything but an anomaly. It’s typical of what patients encounter when they and their parents work hard with our talented staff. Here’s what Jeremy’s mom wrote:
“So many changes. Jeremy had surgery to straighten his eyes about 4 months before we began vision therapy here. His eyes were practically straight but I could see that he was still alternating, using one at a time. I had that sense, rather. After a couple of months of vision therapy, I started to see his eyes “locking” on me some of the time, and I realized that I really could tell when he was using them together (eye teaming) and when not. Most important, I began to notice that his eyes were teaming more and more until now it’s just about all the time.
About 3 months in to therapy Jeremy went to a 3D movie & reacted just as his twin brother did. He could not have appreciated 3D before. Also, Jeremy used to cover one eye when he was tired, and did so more at certain times during vision therapy but I have not seen him do this for 2-3 months – at all! This is a huge relief because I worried about him having eye strain or double vision.
So I am absolutely thrilled and grateful to this incredible team of people led by Dr. Press – the surgeon said vision therapy would do nothing but I know she was wrong. I am so glad that we made the commitment to this program. It has take away what could have been a disability for Jeremy. The team communicates superlatively with one another and with parents. Everyone is so pleasant & helpful. Jeremy likes coming. It has been an incredibly positive experience.”