With his mom’s permission, this is a photo of Quentin in my consultation office, with our Patron Saint of Giftedness, Albert Einstein, lurking in the background. Quentin is now 7 years old, and I initially saw him last year upon referral by our colleague, Dr. Cathy Stern. He had been evaluated by a neuropsychologist at that time, who was a friend of mom, in conjunction with his placement in a gifted and talented program. The neuropsych had conducted a visual screening that led her to believe that he may have a binocular vision problem, and asked Dr. Stern to recommend a colleague in northern NJ, where they live.
Mrs. Cunningham had no real inkling that Quentin had a vision problem. He was a precocious reader, hyperlexic in fact, though she noted that his spacing was off when writing. She was therefore quite surprised watching him struggle to read the acuity chart in my office, struggling to get to the 20/80 line with either eye.
Quentin’s retinoscopy was +3.00 -2.00 cx 180 OU through which BVA was 20/50 with either eye. Under cycloplegia he was +4.25 -2.25 cx 180 OU to BVA of 20/40. His phorias at distance and near were normal with and without Rx – the main problem was binocular instability and, as expected, accommodative in facility. Quentin was very observant and expressive, and I decided to give him a partial Rx of +2.00 – 1.00 cx 180 OU based on his subjective feelings and performance through various lens combinations.
Three months later, when he returned to my office, Quentin’s unaided acuity had improved to between 20/30 and 20/40 without lenses in place and between 20/25 and 20/30 with his Rx. I was able to obtain slightly better responses with +2.50 – 1.50 cx 180, and increased his Rx at that time.
I was reminded of Quentin’s giftedness when, after removing anaglyphic filters while he was viewing a fusion target with luster, he remarked: “Hey, that bottom circle is white. I see how you did that – you manipulated the color through the red and green glasses.” We so often expend considerable effort helping children who succeed who have been struggling, that kids like Quentin are a pleasant change of pace. Although they are already successful on multiple levels, we help them soar even higher.
Drs. Lynn Hellerstein and Linda Kreger Silverman lectured jointly about the Quentins of the World at our COVD meeting in Jacksonville a couple of months ago, and you can access their handout here. We blogged about Dr. Silverman’s book, Giftedness 101, a few years ago. And a few years before that, commended Dr. Nancy Torgerson’s essay to you on vision and giftedness in the 2e newsletter.