Saturday, September 19, 2015

A few weeks in with Bubbles

It's been a few weeks so far with the new regimen.  To be clear, here's what I'm doing.

  • 30 minute session of the Vivid Vision game Bubbles.  
  • I do that game five times a week while wearing +1 reading glasses that I bought from Amazon.
  • I do that while undergoing tDCS with the cathode on the neck and anodes on o1 and o2. 
  • Before I begin the session there is a vision test called Angles, whose purpose is, as you might guess, to determine the angle of your deviation.  Dr. Tran told me that this information is used by the game in order to allow you to fuse, and to sort of gracefully emulate the function of a prism in software.  The game knows what your angle should be (none), but this test tells the game what your angle is.  This way the game knows where to start while also gently guiding you to where you should be (having straight eyes).  
  • I am in the habit of standing on my head for around five minutes per day--sometimes immediately preceding vision therapy, sometimes not. 
  • That's it. 
 "That's it." doesn't really merit its own bullet point, but there it is.

What are my impressions so far?

I think it's improving my vision.  The first session I couldn't do more than five minutes without the strain becoming too much.  This, I attribute mostly to the hypertropia, and the effort it takes to avoid the diplopia which is a result of the hypertropia.

The hypertropia and esotropia (and thus diplopia) are still there, but they've gone way down.

An interesting thing that I've noticed about this regimen is that it doesn't seem to have gotten much easier even though my angle seems to improved.  It is steadily challenging.  I can't say that it's fun, because it is quite a bit of stress.  But at the same time my score is steadily improving (last time it was around 14,000--the time before it was 12,000).  That is, my ability to pick out which bubble is closest is improving.

Another significant thing is that I'm able to draw a connection between effort and reward.  I think that helps offset the 'not fun-ness' of the game.  And when I say it's not fun, I don't mean the game mechanics are bad or anything like that.  I just mean that where I am, the stress level of the game is pretty high--which is a good thing.  Not a complaint at all, if Dr. Tran or James are reading this.  If there's anything that I've learned about myself in this venture it's that I can make myself do all kinds of things that are painful, dreadful, boring and keep it up for a long time, if I've convinced myself that it's worth it.  I suspect that the reason why the game is steadily challenging is because, as I mentioned at the beginning of the entry, the game is adaptive.  It knows my angle, which is probably changing modestly every time I come into the game, and then nudges me closer and closer to zero deviation as I adapt.  It's extremely similar to what Ben did with stick-on prisms (achieving fusion and then over time decreasing the prism refraction), it's just that this is much more high tech and elegant (in my opinion).  That's why the game's not getting easier!  It's adapting to me.  Of course, that's also why this is probably the quickest possible path to recovery.

What else.  I seem to 'notice' 'depth' best when I'm not looking at anything in particular, and especially when the bubbles initially pop into the scene.  I think what's going to happen is that my deviation is going to continue to decrease, and there will be a point in which it will appear from a subjective standpoint that vision is suddenly improving very rapidly.  In fact, the improvement will have been steady, it's just the subjective experience of improvement will be different.  As Dr. Tran advised me, 'Let me know if you have any 'aha' moments'.  The deviation needs some time to close, and then I will say 'aha'.  And of course that won't be the end, but rather a very significant milestone.

Another thing--since I'd mentioned Ben earlier.  He seems to be doing very well.  He's no longer using prisms in his exercise.  I periodically get excited messages from him saying that he's getting 3d more and more.  Apparently he still has an angle but it's significantly less.  He now seems to be perennially cheerful and high-energy.  He says his reading still stinks, but he's not worried about it.  I remember a long time back he expressed anxiety about it, and what the consequences might be if he shuts off suppression and everything's not perfect.  But the worry appears to have been for naught.  Needless to say, I'm extremely happy for him.  That would be pretty cool if we both got it simultaneously.

No comments:

Post a Comment