A great blog posted a few days ago on Mindsight relays the experiences of the Lim Family residing in Malaysia. Being strabismic herself, Jolene Lim dutifully took her son Caleb to the ophthalmologist when he was a toddler, and was informed that he had both strabismus and amblyopia. After a period of patching, the only treatment offered for his amblyopia, Caleb underwent surgery for esotropia at age 3. Subsequently his eye began to turn inward again, but this time upward as well.
The drawing above was made by Colleen Lim, Caleb’s younger sister, who also had strabismus. When it was apparent that surgery and patching wouldn’t help Caleb keep his eyes straight or use both eyes together, Jolene’s search for a different direction led her to Sue Barry’s book, Fixing My Gaze. An entirely new path opened up to her. Empowered by her research and correspondence with a neuro-developmental optometrist in the U.S., and after beginning Caleb on therapeutic lenses with binasal occlusion, the optometrist referred Jolene and Caleb to Stanley Tien, O.D., FCOVD, who practices in Malaysia. In 2012 Dr. Tien evaluated Caleb (age 7 at the time) and the following year vision therapy was initiated. With his guidance, Caleb learned how to use both eyes together well enough to gain 3D vision.
Pam Happ, executive director of COVD, commented on the organization’s Facebook page: This quote from Caleb’s mom really struck me: “On hindsight, I now realize Caleb’s strabismus was NEVER an eye muscle problem. Caleb’s eye muscles worked perfectly. His brain, however, just didn’t know how to use BOTH eyes together as a team! If your child has a speech problem, we should not rush to have tongue-muscle surgery; but instead seek the help of a developmental speech therapist first.”
Caleb’s success with vision therapy prompted Jolene to enroll Colleen in therapy for her strabismus as well. The multi-faceted issues surrounding her family’s journey is the subject of the Lim Family’s book oriented toward children but enlightening for readers of all ages: “Unlocking the 3rd Dimension”. From the Amazon website:
“Jolene Lim is a stay-at-home-mom. She lives in sunny Malaysia with her husband, Kevin, and 5 cheeky homeschooled children. She was born with Strabismus and two of her children were also diagnosed with Strabismus. After both children had unsuccessful eye muscle surgeries, she turned to Vision Therapy. Today, both her children have aligned eyes and the coveted 3rd Dimensional Vision. Having experienced the challenges of growing up with Strabismus, she committed to equip her children with information and pathways to manage public perception, and gain 3D vision. Most who are born with 3D vision cannot imagine life without it and vice versa. This book is her encouragement to young children and their parents, in their respective journeys towards embracing the amazing wonders of 3rd Dimensional Vision.”