Vision Therapy Success Stories
Below are success stories submitted by two of our visitors who had strabismus surgery for esotropia as children and then discovered non-surgical Vision Therapy as adults. You can browse through 100s of stories about adults and children with many types of visual conditions at Vision Therapy Success Stories.
RE: Alternating Esotropia #1
by Susan R. Barry, Ph.D., Neuroscience and Behavior, Mount Holyoke College
I have been cross-eyed since I was only a few months old. After three
childhood eye surgeries (at ages 2, 3 and 7), my eyes looked straight but I still did not
see normally. As a result, I had problems learning to read in school,
was put in a class of problem children, and had a hard time learning
to drive. When I was forty-eight years old, I went to see a
The optometrist discovered that, among other things, my left eye saw images higher than my right eye. In other words, the images from my two eyes were vertically misaligned. This meant that I had both congenital alternating esotropia and [hypertropia].
The eye doctor placed a prism in my right eyeglass lens to correct this vertical
misalignment. Then, she started me on a supervised in-office Vision Therapy program. In my case, I quickly learned to point my two eyes at the same
place at the same time and, for the first time, I began to see in 3D!
The experience was unbelievable. Tree limbs reached out toward me or
grew upward enclosing whole volumes of space. Their leaves formed 3D
mosaics. Light fixtures appeared to float out toward me...snowflakes
drifted down in an amazing 3D dance.
My optometrist was NOT surprised when I experienced 3D vision. It was
explained to me that this has happened to many other people. I
looked through the internet and found other adults who also gained
3D stereo vision later in life with vision therapy. You can read other
stories about older children and adults gaining two-eyed 3D depth perception through vision therapy at 33 Year Old Woman overcomes Lazy Eye as an adult with Vision Therapy and Adults and Children Improving Eyesight with Vision Therapy.
Since then, I've written my own book describing the importance of 3D
stereovision, documenting my own visual experiences and that of many
others. In my book, I clearly explain how my abnormal vision made reading difficult, how vision therapy works, and how better vision changed my life. My book is called
Fixing My Gaze, A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions by Susan R. Barry.
RE: Alternating Esotropia #2
by Kevin Brocker
My name is Kevin Brocker, and I recently stumbled upon Rachel Cooper's story while playing on the computer. I was amazed at how similar her story is to my own.
however, I was unaware of Vision Therapy and had eye surgery. As I now know
(but did not understand until my late twenties/early thirties), I have strabismus; more specifically alternating esotropia.
When I was a child, my parents did take me to an eye doctor. He examined me
and said that my eye condition was not uncommon and that I would grow out of
it. From that time on, I went about my business of being a kid, growing up,
playing and going to school. I never thought for a moment that there was
anything wrong with me. I played little league, went to school, rode my bike
and hung out
with my friends after school. Looking back though, I can see how I
just about everything. Reading the blackboard at school, reading books and
playing different sports with my friends were things that were always
At some point, perhaps at the age of 9 or 10 an eye doctor prescribed a pair
of glasses for me. I wore them around for a while, but I don't remember them
much. As a kid it was kinda cool to have glasses (at least I thought so) --
but it wasn't long before I lost them and didn't seem to mind at all.
By then I was in high school -- I struggled, but I made it (no glasses etc. . . . ). Off
I went to college . . .
I was becoming more independent and I realized that I was squinting to see the
blackboard (larger classrooms, etc. . . . ), so I made my own appointment to see an eye doctor off campus. This
an appointment that sticks in my mind. I tried to explain that I was not
only squinting, but having trouble concentrating and that I felt I was using
more than the other. At this point though, I still didn't have a feeling
that my eyes were not straight (I was not conscious of any cosmetic
problem). The doctor ran
around his office and gave me a pair of glasses and said, "just wear these".
I could tell something was not right, but hey, I got a pair of glasses . . .
and he was the doctor. He never even used the words "lazy eye" or anything.
Basically, I went through my twenties going to different optometrists. Never
mentioned that I had an eye disorder/disability -- I can now say that this
was a great injustice.
When I was 29, I went back to school. Being back in school made me confront my
eyes again. For the first time, I became aware (consciously), that one of my
eyes was not straight. In addition, I now noticed that I could switch from using one eye to the other (that's why it's called alternating).
weird . . . so, this time I thought, I'll go to a "real" eye doctor . . . an
Dr. (xxxxx) seemed like a great doctor. He performed various tests that I
been exposed to before. He spoke about fusion, and defined my eye problem as
alternating esotropia . . . I was amazed someone actually told me what was wrong
my eyes!!!!!! I was also told that I was lucky, because I was a unique case,
with surgery, I had the potential for fusion. I was quite excited and filled
with a new hope. On May 8, 1992, I had eye surgery at XXX Hospital in
After the surgery, I must have had double vision for a week or more. Things
to gradually get worse. The ophthalmologist began fitting me with various
prisms, etc. . . . and I became increasingly uncomfortable wearing glasses. My
that he operated on, turned back in, and my glasses were too strong and killed
my eyes. Also, though I could switch between my two eyes BEFORE the surgery, the eye turns had not been cosmetically
noticeable. Now, however, both eyes switched or turned noticeably and I seemed to lose
dominance of my left eye. To make matters worse, I became increasingly
monocular and suffered from severe eye pain. I would put my glasses on and
a short time I would take them off. Driving also became more difficult.
I did not know where to go. Who could help me now???? I went from
optometrist, to ophthalmologist to ophthalmologist -- no one ever mentioned
eye therapy. No one. The doctors would basically just give me a new
write up a bill. I went to the (xxxxx) Medical Center and visited a Dr.
(xxxxx). He wrote up a nice report but that was about it. An orthoptist in
the same office, however, took pity on me and gave me the address of a
specialist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. I traveled down to the
city and she did a fine job asking me questions and examining my eyes -- but,
again, I was handed a new prescription.
Somehow my mother heard about an educational Eye
I was always complaining, so, she had been keeping an ear out for someone who could
possibly help me. A behavioral optometrist was mentioned in the letter from this
I gave him a call. This doctor is the only doctor that didn't mind seeing me
Eventually, I began Vision Therapy in his office (a 2 hour drive from my home)
once a week. I was skeptical about his approach to my eyes (Vision Therapy),
I have been making weekly visits and am making real progress.
My case appears to be severe, but I am thankful that I now have a place
This behavioral optometrist has done more for me in 6 months than any other eye doctor.
Well, that's my story... ( a bit long-winded perhaps).
Thank you for all of your time and I hope you found this story a little
Read more personal success stories written by adults, parents and children at Vision Therapy Success Stories.
To locate an eye doctor who provides comprehensive pediatric vision examinations and treatment, including
, request a referral through our Referral Directory: Find a Pediatric Eye Doctor