Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#375 session

Not too much to report.  I did about four sessions between the last proper entry and this one.  I've been doing substantially less.  Sometimes I take off two days in between VT sessions.  My vision on Sunday was excellent.  I noticed a lot of improvement.  I'm hoping that Diplopia speeds things up quite a bit.

My Oculus Rift shipped on Sunday.  The ETA is Wednesday.  I already have the Diplopia beta.  All I need is for the hardware to come and I will be able to run the game.  Diplopia is supposed to be able to support nVidia 3d Vision, which I have, but the beta version I have doesn't seem to support it.  I haven't messed too much with it yet.  I'm going to really start getting into it once I get the Rift.

I won't deny it.  I am excited and have high expectations.  From what I've heard, it's extremely effective.  People who've tried it say that it produces a lot of strain on the eyes that they can notice for a long time later.  One of the guys says that he started seeing depth within a few seconds of using the game (having had congenital stereoblindness).  He's someone for whom vision therapy was ineffective.  James says that for himself it took a very slight amount of time in the game in order to start seeing depth.

In a podcast James Blaha, the creator of Diplopia, said that the Oculus Rift is revolutionary because it allows us to have absolute control of what is coming into our eyes.  He envisions lots of applications for the headset.

It makes me think that classical vision therapy may be extremely comparatively weak, and that we may soon have much, much more powerful options available for fixing strabismus, as well as other visual conditions.  I've done vision therapy for 3.5 years and logged at least 1,200 hours of continuous vision therapy.  I will very soon have a new tool which very well might allow me to achieve my goals in a few sessions.  Um... yeah, I'm excited, for myself, and for potentially everyone.  The next post should be interesting.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Random thought

I ran out of contact lenses for my right myopic (-.075) eye last week, so the result was that I used no contacts at all for about seven days.

When I got myself prescribed for the lenses it felt like it made a substantial difference in the quality of my vision, because it did.  I notice that without corrective lenses when I'm looking off in the distance with my right eye, my vision kind of sucks compared to the quality of the image when looking right the left eye.  Even when I closed my left eye to avoid any kind of rivalry or influence, I couldn't get my right eye to accommodate enough to get the image to come in clearly.

But as the week went by, the difference in the quality seemed to be less.  My myopic eye still isn't quite up to snuff with the left eye for viewing distant objects, but it seems that like it improved substantially in only a week.  I wonder if my distance accommodation improved over the week as a result of using my eye more.

Before when I was getting prescribed the contacts, I was suppressing quite a lot (simply not using), so it would make sense why accommodation might suck for one of my eyes.  But now I'm suppressing quite a bit less, and thus, I'm using both eyes more.  So when the brain gets the signal that it needs to contract the lens to make it thinner for distance accommodation, it works harder to do it, because now the brain is using that eye.

Kind of an interesting thought.  I had heard that one can use vision therapy to improve accommodation--you know, improve long range and short range acuity with vision exercises so that you don't need glasses.  In other words, people can train themselves to not need glasses, or LASIK, or whatever.

I just got my contacts again, but I think I'm going to continue vision therapy without them for now.  The last week seems to have been very productive.  My vision is really getting quite good.  It seems as though suppression has gone down very substantially in the past week.  It's weird.  It seems like the less vision therapy I do, the more progress I make.  Heh, it might be an indication that I've way overdone it in the past.  Lately I've been doing a one-off, one-on schedule.  I may even do less: two days off, one day on.  We'll see.

Friday, July 18, 2014

#368 session: Finger Monster success and Oculus Rift anticipation

I go back and forth in terms of the kinds of cues I use for gauging progress.  Sometimes I judge progress by checking on the spread of my diplopia by looking down at my left foot.  Sometimes I judge by actually looking at the straightness of my eyes (although this doesn't seem to be the best indicator.  My eyes can get crazy looking when I'm tired or hopped up on caffeine--even if I'm doing well with vision therapy).  Lately, it's come to my attention that the Finger Monster exercises are working for me.  My performance on the exercises have improved markedly.

When I began doing finger monster exercises for the first time I noticed that as I slowly moved the monster from one side of my visual field to another, there was a point at which I suddenly shifted eyes.  I must change eyes at one point, because at the extreme of either side, only one of my eyes can see the monster because my nose blocks the other eye's view of the monster.  But for people who have normal binocular vision, this isn't so much changing eyes as it is losing an eye as the nose blocks the other eye's view of the monster.  As the monster comes back, the other eye seamlessly comes back in tandem.  Before for me, the 'switchover' would happen much sooner than necessary.  As it moved to the left, the power of the stimulus would hit a critical level for the left eye, and the left eye would take over, even when the right eye could still see.

Well, after months of doing this, this has changed a bit.  There's no real switchover now if I do it slowly.  As I move from the left I see relatively well with the left eye as well as with the right eye.  Then I move to the right and the switch appears to be seamless (there still is a switch), but it's quite unnoticeable.  It's getting closer to how it would work for a person with normal vision--no switchover, but there is simply a loss of stereo when one of the eyes loses sight of the monster.

I also noticed something when the monster creeps from the extreme right to just the point where it comes into sight for the left eye.  A few months ago, the left eye's view of the monster would be very significantly unaccommodated and out of focus.  I still have that, but it's wayyy down from where it was before.  Before, actually, when the left eye's view of the monster would come in, the rivalry would suddenly make the right eye's view of the monster (which was sharp before) blurry and unaccommodated.  Now I can keep both pretty accommodated and sharp as the left eye's view of the monster comes in.  Basically what this all means is that my eyes are becoming more like a normal person's eyes.

What else... I'm going to try a one day on, one day off schedule.  Because of the high power of my exercises I'm getting the impression that two consecutive days may be too much.

What else... OCULUS GOD DAMN RIFT BABY.  I've been waiting for this for years, and it's finally coming--not the commercial version, mind you, but the second developer kit, which is supposed to be hugely improved on the first developer kit.  I got an email from the Oculus guys saying that the DK2s (2nd generation developer kit) are going to be shipping next week.

I am super pumped about VR and the Oculus Rift, and what it's going to do for us.  I see huge potential for its uses with therapy, and vision therapy in particular.  I've done a fair amount of reading and research on the game Diplopia, and from what I can tell, it appears to be the real deal.  It's going to help restore vision for a lot of people.


I should get my DK2 (as well as a steering wheel peripheral G27 for racing simulators) sometime next week.  I will also be getting Diplopia when it finally becomes available.  The website says SOON, but I haven't seen anything definitive yet.  You can believe that I'm going to have some exciting new posts coming in the near future.  I AM EXCITE

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#364 session: VT vacation

I didn't do any VT for about seven days.  I had gone to New England for a family reunion.  I brought my VT gear with me, but I was so sleep deprived (bad hotel beds) that I knew that any VT I did would be useless.  So I didn't do any.

But that break from vision therapy did seem to have a positive impact.  It was around the fourth day that I was looking around a table at my mother's aunt's birthday party, and I noticed that it seemed that my left eye was turning on.  I knew at that moment that if I did some exercises, the feedback would have indicated progress.

I think every three weeks or so I'm going to try taking off four consecutive days for long term recuperation.  I have suggested in a previous post that my current regimen is pretty hardcore.  I think it's probably true with vision therapy, as in learning and lifting weights, that you get stronger during periods of rest.  So it's good to take mini breaks (one day off between two days), as well as a larger breaks (perhaps four consecutive days) every two or three weeks.  It just seemed so striking how much my vision seemed to improve while I was doing no vision therapy--as if my eyes finally had a chance to adapt to the constant load I was giving them.

To be clear, my current regiment is (while undergoing anodal tDCS stimulation on o1 and o2):
  • Tracking the finger monster in the closet, while standing on a wobble cushion for ten minutes.
  • Clown Saccades for about two minutes.
  • 20 minutes of antisuppression solitaire.  
In particular, I've noticed that my accommodation is getting quite better with tracking the finger monster.  It's usually quite hard to get both input streams accommodated simultaneously while looking at the monster on the right (this is not a problem on the left for some reason).  But now it's getting a bit better, especially if I move it slowly from the extreme right (such that the nose blocks the left eye's view of the monster) to the left.  

Today I was looking down at an energy drink and some of the things that were near me.  Yep.  The stereo cues were there, and stronger than I remember them ever being.  Things are still moving forward.