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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

Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions, Sue Barry 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 developmental optometrist.

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. Unfortunately, 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 struggled with just about everything. Reading the blackboard at school, reading books and playing different sports with my friends were things that were always difficult.

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 helping 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 is 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 one eye 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 was it 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). This was weird . . . so, this time I thought, I'll go to a "real" eye doctor . . . an ophthalmologist.

Dr. (xxxxx) seemed like a great doctor. He performed various tests that I had never 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 with my eyes!!!!!! I was also told that I was lucky, because I was a unique case, and that, 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 New York.

After the surgery, I must have had double vision for a week or more. Things seemed to gradually get worse. The ophthalmologist began fitting me with various prisms, etc. . . . and I became increasingly uncomfortable wearing glasses. My right eye, 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 the 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 within 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 optometrist, to ophthalmologist to ophthalmologist -- no one ever mentioned eye therapy. No one. The doctors would basically just give me a new prescription and 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 Institute. 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 association, so I gave him a call. This doctor is the only doctor that didn't mind seeing me again. 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), however, 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 to go. 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 interesting.

Kevin Brocker

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 Vision Therapy, request a referral through our Referral Directory: Find a Pediatric Eye Doctor.

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