Sunday, February 23, 2014

#252 session: stereopsis recovery is a slow and steady process for me

I honestly expected to see more changes occur this week, but I did have a particularly 'good eye' day yesterday in which I noticed my stereo cues to be particularly strong.  I just went through the week with the Mu Upsilon filters, doing clown saccades, tracking finger monster, and doing Columns.

It's the light tube that really enables me to practice good binocular posture.  That's where I really try to gaze at the glowing circle with both eyes simultaneously and try to squash the out-of-sync accommodation problem by keeping both input streams clear and sharp.

In my blog entry What does it mean to have good binocular posture? I talk about the importance of being able to accommodate with both eyes simultaneously and how accommodation is linked with attention.  When you pay attention to an object, you're automatically going to try to accommodate for it and get it into focus.  This can almost be called a reflex, similar to the accommodation reflex.  The two occur in tandem and they happen automatically.  If accommodation is out of sync across the two eyes--that is, the two eyes don't want to accommodate simultaneously--you're not going to be able to give the object proper focus and attention.  Also, you're going to continue suppressing that input that's not being accommodated.  Another consequence is that because you're not paying proper attention through that unaccommodated eye, you won't be able to give it proper movements.

This must be fixed in order for a stereoblind person to gain stereopsis.  It is a huge deal.  You simply cannot progress when accommodation is out of sync across the eyes.  I remember when I was on my first year of VT and I noticed this.  I explained to my vision therapist 'Hmm, I seem to be able to get this eye into focus, but not the other.  Then I get the other eye into focus, then the other goes out of focus.  What is this crap?'.  I was confused.  In my mind I thought it could be ARC because a false fusion point could explain the blurriness as a result of feeding low-resolution non-foveal input to the brain.  I thought she might be able to explain it.  Nope!  She just said 'I don't know.'.  Great, thanks.  But that's another discussion.  #vision_therapists_who_don't_understand_binocular_vision_but_who_are_still_happy_to_take_your_money

Fixing this accommodation issue does seem to be key for me.  I'm hoping that it's going to be the last major hoop for me to jump through in order to achieve my goal of stereopsis. Since I've been focusing on squashing this accommodation issue I do seem to have made very significant progress.  It's been noticeable particularly in my ability to get past a lot of suppression and improve motor control.

In the past week I've noticed that I can consciously perceive two input streams simultaneously--an indication of decreased suppression.  For example, when I look at a plug in the wall outlet, it sticks out a little.  I can notice and be aware of the fact that I have two different views--each being a little different.  In the past, I vaguely knew that I could see both, but one of the double images was too suppressed for me to really see any kind of detail.  It's kind of interesting to be able to see objects from two different angles simultaneously in the mind.

Yesterday I had a particularly good eye day.  I was playing Spec Ops: The Line.  There was a glitch in the game and there was a bunch of fire that was just sticking out from nowhere--just hovering in the air.  When I moved the camera over it, I was able to get a really nice stereo effect.  It was more powerful than anything I'd yet experienced.

Stereopsis recovery does seem to be a slow and steady process for me.  No matter how great I feel about a particular workout, it doesn't change the fact that this takes time.  But I am marching forward.  My left double foot is looking better than ever (the diplopia is diminishing).  My eye control and mobility is better than ever, especially as I reach the extremes.

There is also another technique that I do that I haven't mentioned yet in this blog that I use to gauge progress.  When I am laying in bed, I'll just relax and notice an object in the distance--in this case, a vent at the top of my room--and I'll completely relax my eyes and don't try to make it single.  When I do this, it becomes double.  As my vision improves, the perceived distance between the double images decreases.  That is, they get closer together.

Today I did that, and I noticed a very significant improvement in the double image distance over previous times.  The double images do seem to steadily, over time, move together. It does seem to be a good gauge of progress, right up there with looking at my left double foot and taking pictures of my eyes.  After all, when a person with stereopsis is at his laziest, he doesn't suddenly get double vision.  Having a singular view of everything is his laziest and most comfortable way to look at the world.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

#245 session: increased lazy eye mobility

I'm probably going to increase the frequency of my posts since I feel like things are starting to move quickly, and I'm going to have stereopsis relatively soon.  It's just that there's more to report, and I'm noticing new changes on a daily basis.

One of the things that I'm noticing is improved mobility.  As suppression decreases, smaller issues with the lazy eye become more apparent.  In order to have binocular vision, both of the eyes have to be working in perfect synchrony.  Having imperfect input (conflicting input) is somewhat tolerable because of my suppression.  Usually the conflicting input isn't a big deal because I can superimpose most of the time.  I lose superimposition when I change focus to something at a different area of my field of vision, or if I'm tracking something.

But now this de-fusion is becoming less tolerable with the decreased suppression and that's driving increased mobility and motor control.  Again, this is another example of sensory fusion driving motor fusion.

When you shift your gaze from one side of your visual field to another (either saccadic or pursuit movements), ideally, there should be something close to a 1:1 correspondence in the movements of your eyes.  That's not the case for me.  The fixing eye moves right to the target, but for the lazy eye to get to the target, it sort of takes two steps.  It'll get there, but not in a single instant.  If it's a pursuit movement, it'll get close to the target, and then I have to sort of 'un-stick' it and tell it 'go' in order for it to get there.  The good thing about this perceived 'stickiness' is that my mind is no longer tolerating laziness on the part of my left eye. Although the correction is done consciously, I imagine that it will eventually become an unconscious maneuver in not much time.

Another thing that I've been noticing is that the light tube looks god damned good.  That glowing circle is beginning to look great--fused.  And also, I'm noticing something about it that I have experienced before, but haven't noticed in a long time.  I'd mentioned it in previous blog entries (somewhere around #session 40 or so), but what would happen is that I would consistently oscillate between sessions where I had to actively correct my hypertropia.  Some sessions I would have to push the eye down (and thus the lazy-eye image up) in order to superimpose; other sessions, I would not.  I had hypothesized that this was because as the lazy eye loses suppression, minor problems with it become noticeable and become intolerable to the brain.  So they have to be fixed with conscious correction.  I haven't experienced this in a while, but it's been happening in the past couple of sessions.

Also, the subjective experience has seen a very big improvement--even just today, and it's only 3:44pm.  I asked a lady at the grocery store where the ethnic food isle was, and when she explained to me that our HEB is not well stocked, she gesticulated with her hands, which gave me a pretty solid stereo effect.  Awesome.  Things are going great.  I'm stoked, and quite happy at the moment.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#243 session: fastening the system into place

I sort of predicted that this was going to happen.  As I get closer to stereopsis, my daily subjective experience of improvement is becoming more pronounced.  As my eyes align themselves, and as the diplopia becomes less and less, the experience is becoming more vivid and I'm now experiencing more... and the visual experience is becoming more powerful.  I'm noticing the changes daily.  It's particularly noticeable when I'm looking down, say, a lit hallway or something where there's distance and where I can trace vanishing points.  It's becoming more obvious to me why people in general are such visual animals.  It's because properly functioning eyes provide a visual experience that is intensely stimulating--far beyond what a stereoblind individual can understand.

As for exercises... lately I've made some small changes.  I'm now doing five minutes of Columns, five minutes of tracking with my finger monster, five minutes of clown saccades, and then about 40 minutes of circular movement light tube exercises, all while providing anodal stimulation to my occipital poles.  And I'm going to swap out Alpha Delta filters on Saturday for Mu Upsilon.  I've done two weeks with Alpha Delta.  It's time to give those cone cells a break.

The last few nights I've also been getting back into playing SpecOps: The Line, in stereo 3d.  My stereo power is definitely increasing, and it's particularly noticeable with these stereo 3d games.  I'm going to keep stereo 3d gaming in the regimen.  I think it's probably a good addition to the current regimen.

As I get closer to fusion, I become more clued-in as to what it's going to be like--this idea of both of my eyes being locked on target to the same spot in space; this idea of not having diplopia; this idea that when I'm fusing I'm not going to be looking at something with a particular eye, but both simultaneously with there being no preference between the two.  When this happens, there will likely be a very rapid diminishing of suppression since all of a sudden visual conflict has been reduced to zero.  Suppression can be completely shut off.  The complete loss of suppression, I imagine, will be an intense experience.

Right now it's as if I've got the bolt twisted down to the end of the threading.  All I have to do is now torque it into place.

Monday, February 3, 2014

#233 session: new control, new information, and more detail

I was inspired to make an entry today because I am noticing a particular lot of improvement in my vision today.  It is very overt.

It's the feeling of taking control of the lazy eye and having simultaneous control of it, and my normal fixing eye.  It's a foreign feeling, but it feels really good and I'm noticing quite a bit more information, which is nice.

I'm not sure why--is it because I changed light tube filters to Alpha Delta on Saturday?  Incidentally, I figured out why they call it Alpha Delta, Mu Upsilon, and so on.  Each filter is actually two filters.  So each Greek letter represents a different color filter (Alpha is red, and Delta is yellow). Together they make a orange-ish red.  Mu Delta is green-yellow.  Mu Upsilon is green-blue.

Anyway, I'm enjoying my daily new vision.  Now I'm starting to relax, and enjoy the process of gaining stereopsis.  I'm no longer in a panicked rush because I know it's coming, and I get to relax (except when doing eye exercises) and watch new information coming in every day.

When I do light tube exercises, it just feels right, like I know what I'm doing now and I know what kinds of sensations I should follow.  I've developed a binocular instinct if you will.

I have a weird theory.  I think it's, in principle, possible to go from stereoblind to having stereoscopic vision without doing any vision therapy exercises.  It's a certain way that you look through your eyes.  It's tricky to know how to do it because it doesn't cause you to see any differently and there's no feedback, but by doing it, you're flexing the binocular muscle.  If you keep doing it, you'll eventually have stereopsis.

The purpose of vision therapy exercises is to guide you toward the proper way of seeing.  If you're sensitive and receptive to the guidance that VT is providing you, you should in theory, not need to do vision therapy very much and you'll gain stereopsis much more quickly than someone who unthinkingly does the workout and then forgets about it and goes on with his day.

Just a random thought.