Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#338 session: good weekend

Yeah, I'm on the right track.  Yesterday and today seemed to be pretty 'good eye' days.

It does seem that in the past week or so I have been particularly moody: up and down, which is not very normal for me.  I try not to let it affect my behavior, especially towards others, but I mostly notice it in my internal dialogue.  One day I'll be very happy, and then another day I'll be really irritated, and I'll allow for negative feelings to take control--except it doesn't really feel like a choice.

Also, this weekend for some reason I was extremely exhausted and I slept a ton.  And even on one of my days in which I slept for around 11 hours, I still wanted to sleep later on in the day.  Now that I'm in the week, I probably was so tired because I needed the sleep.  I think it's probably because vision therapy, especially productive vision therapy which is actually doing something in the brain, is exhausting.

I've heard that vision therapy can do this, and it can also cause mood swings.  It makes sense why this could happen.  You're causing non-trivial changes in the brain.  You're opening a channel through which a flood of new information will enter permanently.  Susan Barry talks a bit about these non-trivial changes in Fixing My Gaze, and how she perceived that vision therapy changed her brain's laterality.  Now a flood of new information is coming through, and accommodations have to be made for that.  I can easily see how that might have cascading non-visual-specific effects on the brain.  She mentioned greater ability and facility in processing information in a left-handed way (detail-oriented), and right-handed way (big picture, holistic) simultaneously.

That's actually another reason that I want to recover stereopsis which I didn't mentioned in this post, Does stereoscopic vision really make that big of a difference?: experiencing life with a stereo brain--not just the stereo vision, but all of that which it entails; having a fully-functional brain, made as nature intended.

We talked a little bit about that in DIY.  It was suggested by a member of the group that people with strabismus may have higher levels of anxiety than people on average.  I should really keep my mouth shut, because I don't know of any data which suggests that this is true.  But if I was forced to guess, I would say that it's true.

When hearing about the experience of people who recovered stereopsis, one of the most common things I hear is something along the lines of 'The world feels more real.  I feel more confident in navigating through the world.'.

If you feel more confident, you're going to have a greater sense of control.  I'm no psychologist, although I'm really interested in psychology.  It's my understanding that having a sense of control over one's environment is extremely important for a person's psychological health--and this is not just for humans, but all animals.  And if you're less confident than others on average, I could easily see how this could increase the likelihood of one developing different neuroses.

Anyway... enough speculation.  Off to the closet.

Monday, May 19, 2014

#333 session: my exercises are pretty hardcore

Things are moving along at a brisk clip, it seems.  I'm currently in a phase of rapid progress--not at all a plateau.  I had a really good day on Saturday.  At one point I was doing an exam (CCNP ROUTE).  One of the test administrators came in (interrupting me) and asked in broken English about a woman who was taking a test.  He was gesticulating in the air, pointing past me.  It produced a fairly powerful stereo effect.

The exercises I'm doing seem to be fairly hardcore.  That is to say, the power of the stimulus is high and to get the full benefit of the exercise, I need to allow the body and brain to adjust--just like lifting weights or learning any skill.  You can't master a skill in a single go.  It takes training, stimulus, feedback, rest and recuperation, stretched out over time.

I've noticed that my 'good eye' days usually happen on days of rest, or a day after my day of rest.  I'm going to try and run with that idea a bit by doing vision therapy on a day-on, day-off schedule: give my system a lot of stimulation, and then give it a break for a day, and just keep doing that.

What else... anything interesting to say?  No.  Not really.  I'm still doing tDCS, I need to make more saline and change the battery.  I'm currently doing 15 minute sessions of Finger Monster in the closet.  I do another 15 minutes of antisuppression Solitaire.  The Eye Can Learn website got rid of Clown Saccades!  Damnit!  I have to find another way to do saccades.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

#327 session: understanding exactly what it is that you're doing can make all of the difference in the world

In previous entries I played around a bit with the idea of vision therapy exercises teaching you how to use your eyes.  They provide you with feedback showing you how your eyes should be working.  I've also played around a bit with the idea that intellectualizing what you're doing has a lot of value in doing vision therapy, especially if you're someone for whom vision therapy does not bear immediate fruit.

I was thinking about this yesterday when I was doing vision therapy in my closet.  The ceilings are too high for me to get near a good source of light in my room, so I stand on a chair in my closet so that I am able to get close to the light bulb.  Then I do about 15 minutes of finger monster, tracking it across my visual field.

The exercise is improving quite a bit.  Both of my eyes are not yet fully trained on the monster.  I notice that one of the images still wants to get out of focus (unaccommodated).  When I move the monster to the right, I see more with my right eye and it is sharp.  When I move it back, I notice that the left-eye input is somewhat blurry.  I can sort of will for it to come in sharp, but it takes a lot of concentration and it can take several seconds.  An easier way for me to get it to accommodate is to move it all the way to the left so that only my left eye can see it.  Then the left eye is going to automatically get it in focus because there's no competition.  It also works halfway too, so instead of just using brute force will to get the left-eye input sharp, I can make it somewhat easy by putting it closer to the left side of my visual system, making it more difficult for my suppressing left eye to ignore.  I can use this technique as a sort of stepping stool, while I ramp up the ability of my left eye to be able to focus with the other eye simultaneously.

By doing this I'm recalibrating the accommodation reflex, tuning it so that my eyes can both accommodate while pointing at the same spot in space.  When I move the finger monster across my field of vision, as long as one of the input images wants to get out of focus at some point, this mechanism is not yet properly tuned.  So in this way the exercise provides both feedback and tuning stimulation.  I've found that by putting my focus on understanding exactly what I'm doing my exercises become particularly effective.

By intellectualizing what you're taking away from feedback exercises you can build an accurate model of what's going on with the visual system.  You can then use those models to guide more effective vision therapy.  That's why it's so important to be intellectually engaged during exercise.

Monday, May 5, 2014

#325 session

There's nothing particularly interesting to report.  Vision does seem better.  I took two days off--Saturday and Sunday. I am still noticing some of the out-of-sync accommodation-ness, and I suspect that it will be there until the very end.  One of the things I noticed is that my eyes are automatically pointing to where they should be pointing.  Antisuppression Solitaire is looking great. It's surprising when I look at the cards through my anaglyph filters because I'm seeing quite a bit less black (the result of suppression).

The meditation seems to have made a big difference in my life in general.  It's easier for me to focus on what I'm doing, I'm less anxious, and everything seems to function better.  That's about it.  I may make a video in a week or so.