Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The relationship between strabismus and sports

I just went running. Strength is returning and I'm more relaxed. Communicating sources, I suppose. The experience I wanted to share is the following... After running for a while and especially the brief period after running lasting a few minutes, my eyes point at things more correctly. This is interesting because obviously I am getting tired, but at the same time I'm directing a lot of energy towards another process that doesn't involve too much accurate eye work. As long as I don't run into a tree, we're good. My intuitive explanation would be that most energy and brain activity is used for running and not for seeing, so it functions more based on ' basic instinct'. So vision really is a learned habit, and does not happen all by itself. It's an activity that a lot of people take for granted. I already knew that, but now I felt it. Once I rested for a few minutes after running, my eyes felt less flexible again and my brain started abusing my eyes again according to my deeply rooted strabismic habits... :) Yeah, call me crazy.

I want to elaborate a little bit more on sports and strabismus. Given the lack of stereovision and ensuing lack of depth perception and oversight strabismics usually aren't heroes when it comes to ball games. Although as a kid I played football every break I got and was actually pretty good at it. I actually loved playing football (the real kind, not the American kind) but I think my biggest strength when it comes to that game was my long distance speed and endurance. Aside from my recent health issues and serious fatigues, I've always been a natural runner. Running must be one of the few sports that are not strongly vision related. Cycling and swimming too, basically no contact sports. Without any special training I ran the 5K edition of the Antwerp 10Miles in 18min50' at age 14. I finished 14th of thousands. I did it again a couple of years later. I also did longer distances a few times, but 5K was my favourite. When the double vision started eating me away some years later I was slowly losing my edge, when normally speaking age-wise I should be reaching my top performance.

I'm sharing these facts to illustrate a theory I have about running and strabismus. Because of the additional physiological stress strabismus causes it actually makes your body stronger and more fit to run to some extent up to some point in time. Reading in particular and school in general is so demanding for a strabismic you have to get stronger to meet these challenges. I used to go running sometimes as a venting mechanism, to release visual tension. Looking back at it now you could call it 'unconscious self medication'. It relaxed the visual system. That only works up to some point of course... When the pressure of strabismus became too much and I was struck by double vision, it was sucking away so much energy that running was just adding to the energy deficiency. At that point the physiological stress caused by strabismus is just too much and detrimental. I remember my gym teacher telling me that it is very clear my stamina was above average and I should maybe consider doing something with it. The thing is that sport efforts also influence my vision. I tried pursuing athletics once but it was impossible for me to focus on school work with that energy consuming activity on the side. I had to choose between keeping up with mandatory school work and extracurricular sports. At the time I didn't understand why all this was happening to me, but I just couldn't keep it up so I quit. There just wasn't enough energy for all of it. It wasn't the first emotional breakdown, and it wouldn't be the last. I always prioritized my school work even after developing double vision and I shouldn't have. It took me a long time to figure out that proper vision is thé priority and that the option was even on the table.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Session 28: Staying calm and letting things go

Nothing too remarkable happened this time. Still working on fusion and fusion in motion. Two more trainings before another assessment, I hope it will be positive again. According to my personal feel it will. In the meanwhile it's about staying calm and letting some things go for a while...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cast away

As many vision therapy patients will confirm it is an utterly exhausting and lonely process. Achieving healthy vision for a strabismic person is like any great athletic challenge only you don't get any recognition for it and your prize is something that everyone takes for granted. Being discouraged is a real threat especially if quiting is not even an option... Many great film quotes do apply and I posted many during the last few months. It might sound cheesy but at the time reliving those movies about people who survived great challenges helped me for a little while, floating in this sea of nothingness and depression. Other books I read are amongst others The Alquimist, l'homme qui voulait être heureux and of course some more optometry documentation. But most of all I was very fortunate to have an awesome extended family to support me when my parents seemed to fail. Some things are just too hard to do alone.

"I have to keep breathing...
Because tomorrow the sun will rise...Who knows what the tide could bring..." Cast Away

"It's about risking everything for a dream no one else can see" Million Dollar Baby

"I choose not to indulge certain appetites of the mind" - John Nash in a beautiful mind about his way of 'solving' Schizophrenia

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Double vision and reading

It is certainly true that binocular eye problems prevent you from reading comfortably. This has all kind of repercussions on your academic (and athletic) performance. It's especially tragic if you like to escape reality with a good book once in a while but you can't really because of your diplopia. Reading with double vision is really hard. Nontheless, I do read with moderation though and I still love it. How do I know whether a book is any good? If I can read it 'effortlessly' with my left eye too. If the book is engaging enough, it becomes less of a struggle. I read all kinds of books but the books that were most easy to read for me were those written by Khaled Hosseini: Thousand splendid suns and Kite runner. That guy is just a natural story teller. Unbelievable.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Patience is a virtue

The exercises to cure strabismus require a lot of time, dedication and patience. Impatience will only slow down the healing process.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Inspiring affirmation that seeing is a brain issue

Seeing with his tongue. amazing! I saw a documentary of this guy climbing a huge mountain with this Brain port device.

Session 27: Fusion is undisputed

Fusion is undisputed, I saw one smurf with a yellow cap and a blue skin coming from two different images. Score

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vicious double vision circle

Yesterday I figured out that I ended up in a vicious circle... On top of the double vision I have a burn out. This makes sense... I feel like I can't get rested anymore... If stress caused by a problem that never gets solved never gets released your healthy stress relieve system just gives up after a while. It takes up to a year to recharge the batteries... Hopefully my eyes will have further improved or I'll be back in this mess sooner or later. I don't want to have an overdosis of stress just by trying to live a normal life anymore. It is said that burn outs mostly hit perfectionists and people with a great sense of responsibility... Might very well be true, but I'd just like to be able to use my brain and concentration. That's not too much to ask for. I need a profound and structural change in my vision.