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.

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