“Kind of Like Puberty for the Eyes”


When I was a kid, one of the most popular features on TV was Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things.  That’s what happened yesterday when Nolan was in my office and I asked him how things were going.  Nolan was referred to us by another optometrist, with a contact lens of high power on one eye, the other eye being emmetropic.  A challenging case, pre-teen Nolan was now nearing the end of an 8 month therapy program during which he made tremendous gains, normalizing acuity in both eyes and acquiring a high level of binocular vision.  He noticed at times a “ghost image” of what he was looking at, that only existed when both eyes were open.  Although we had purposely avoided undertaking physiological diplopia activities such as the Brock String, I demonstrated physiological diplopia to him, and to his parents, explaining that his brain was experiencing an aspect of visual development for the first time that people with “normal” binocular vision undergo early in childhood.

Nolan and his parents were reassured by the explanation.  He thought for a moment, smiled and then remarked: “So it’s kind of like my eyes are going through puberty”.  Wow!  I exclaimed.  That’s a clever and insightful way of looking at it.  Where did that come from?  His parents, sharing my amusement (and incredulity), explained that Nolan had just been taking the requisite personal hygiene/education classes in school, and puberty was on his mind.  I told Nolan that this was the first time I ever heard anyone express delayed visual development that way, but that I was going to quote him on it.  Art Linkletter was right.  Kids do say the darndest things.

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