Dynamic is the operative word in Eco-Optics as applied to vision therapy, and in Part 6 I credited Roderic Gillian, O.D. for introducing the concept of Dynamic Adaptive Vision Therapy. Clearly in the world of neuro-optmetric vision rehabilitation and in sports vision, balance and movement are at a premium. Most often when we speak about the need to incorporate more dynamic aspects of vision into the equation, people think of dynamic visual acuity. Therapy addressed at identifying letters rotating at variable speeds is wonderful for picking out salient features of a moving target, but it represents focalizing features whereas we’re more interested in our discussion in the ambient or relatively peripheral optic array.
I want to bring to your attention yet another seemingly simple vision therapy set of procedures with a lot of underlying complexity. The procedures are know collectively as Infinity Walk. Any idea where this stems from? As best I can tell – and please share you ideas with me if you know of another origin – these sets of procedures were organized by a psychologist, Deborah Sunbeck, Ph.D. Here is a YouTube video in which Dr Sunbeck overviews her set of procedures.
The concept of Infinity Walk incorporates the principle that we introduced previously of limiting the complexity of the visual environment at the outset. When done with an infant in a stroller, or with a rehab patient in a wheelchair, Dr. Sunbeck refers to this as Infinity Riding. You will recognize components of cognitive loading adding to the core of figure 8 walking. This is elaborated on the formal Infinity Walk website. Dr. Sunbeck lauds Infinity Walk for its ability to integrate right and left hemispheres and building bilateral postural symmetry. I would add that it is a very powerful approach to incorporating ecological optics and optic flow.
Dr. Sunbeck intended to put out a four part book series on Infinity Walk, with Book 1 as The Physical Self, Book 2 the Emotional, Part 3 the Cognitive, and Part 4 the Spiritual. As far as I can determine, only Book 1 has been published. On page 27 of Book 1 Dr. Sunbeck introduces a very useful construct, stating: “Bilateral muscle imbalances tell the history of our motor habits”. If I were lecturing on this right now I would repeat it for emphasis: Bilateral imbalances tell the history of our motor habits.
Bottom line here is that we encourage Infinity Walk with a very wide range of our clinical population. Again, this a procedure that typically begins with a very uncluttered visual environment due to the demands of optic flow. The patient may be disoriented or unstable at first, but as the continuity or flow improves, more detailed visual surround or objects are introduced. One might introduce a Hart Chart on the wall, or a Peripheral Awareness Chart, or even a video to watch, and ask the patient to maintain fixation or verbally describe what is being seen on the charts or on a screen while doing the figure 8s of the Infinity Walk.