Thursday, October 3, 2013

Check-up 7

I already knew what my improvements and results have been over the last few months but I'm always happy to go for my 'report card' to make it official. It is almost exactly three years ago that I first set foot in my optometrist's office. The situation was abysmal. Post-op strab with constant double vision. You can read plenty of entries on this blog to get a faint idea of what it must be like. His initial verdict was that they had made it impossible for me to recover and that he thought it would be useless for me to start training.

Every check-up since I have exceeded his expectations and this seventh time was no different. During our last meeting he was already shelving his skepticism to a great extent. Today I was welcomed with the phrase 'You are a tough guy, aren't ya?'. Hahaha. 'Yeah, and I'm not done yet' I replied. He looked at the computerized training reviews and we discussed my experiences. My ocular control and motor abilities keep improving both in accuracy and duration. My double vision has almost disappeared all the time. Not only in static situations but also while moving. I told him that for the first time I felt like these new abilities were impacting my productivity for the better. He noted that I don't seem to reach an upper limit or plateau 'which is unusual'. During the meeting he said things like 'This is truly inspiring. Not everyone can pull off what you are doing here. This gives me renewed faith in the power of vision therapy.' It's great to get recognition and I do work a lot on this stuff. However, I think I just did what I had to do to survive. There is no other way. So at last my Germanic, reserved optometrist has finally defrosted and might end up being my biggest fan. Yay! No more explanations about how I might not have developed binocular cells that might prevent me from succeeding. He now admits he just doesn't know where this might end and that he can't promise me anything but he can't exclude anything either. I knew that. You will never know your potential to do something until you develop it. Or as our good friend Nelson Mandela would say: 'It always seems impossible until it's done'.

Nonetheless a few interesting things happened during our testing routine.
- When covering one eye and then consequently waving the pedal in front of the other eye my gaze remains rock solid. Previously when focusing with one eye the other eye would start to wander. No more. At least not at that moment.
- We did some tracking exercises and both eyes seem to follow pretty well for most angles.
- Since my visual abilities start to reach a certain level that might allow for a new way of perceiving sooner or later he asked me to look at a stereogram with polarized glasses. It was a 'near-by' stereogram testing close up stereopsis which requires converging the eyes. I didn't really see any stereo or whatever so he told me to use my intuition and guess which animal in a row of five was closest to me. There was no way to cheat or rationalize my way out of this, so I just looked at it for a few instances and thought it might be the second one. He asked why I thought that as if it were the last question of 'Who wants to be a millionaire?'. I just thought it looked a little darker or something because I couldn't really say why. The right answer was indeed the second animal! It might have been sheer luck but he told me it could also be some stereo-ability creeping up on me unconsciously.  Five minutes later we also did an in-instrument divergence stereogram and this time I didn't get the correct answer. The future will tell whether stereopsis is growing in the back of my head or not.

All in all it was great to get this kind of feed back. The road is long but I'm still advancing against all odds so the outcome will depend on my own work. Even if I don't develop stereopsis (although I think it will logically ensue) I will reach a level of functional vision that will allow me to live.

2 comments:

  1. 'It's great to get recognition and I do work a lot on this stuff. However, I think I just did what I had to do to survive.'

    Developing stereopsis is by far the most challenging thing I've ever set out to achieve. And when I get it (in a month or so), it will be my greatest achievement and most glorious triumph. But it's not because I'm 'tough' or because I have a superhuman tenacity. I am able to do it because of the perception of there being no other option. It has less to do with virtuosity, and more to do with doing what I have to do.

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