Tuesday, November 22, 2016

More changes

More exciting developments coming.

Today I noticed significant changes during daily activity even before I did vision therapy.  Better divergence, more light.

I'm getting better results with the fixation cards.  As I mentioned in previous entries, it appears that performance improves near the end of the session.  Today I got curious to see what would happen if I removed the prism.  It was pretty difficult, but I could tell that soon I would be able to do get good performance without any prism.  Then I went to to Brock String, and I had very good performance.  The double images are closer than they ever have before.

Objective changes now appear to be occurring very rapidly.  I think maybe it's to do with the latest technique I developed that I mentioned briefly in a previous entry.  That is, I fix and accommodate sharp with the right eye with both eyes on their respective targets.  It can take a while for me to get it sharp.  But once it's sharp, then I focus on fixing with the left eye.  I don't, per se, worry about getting it completely sharp, but I focus on fixing with the left eye while the right eye is sharp.  Once I get that, then I start fixing hard with the left eye.  While I do this, I pay attention to see to it that the right eye stays sharp.  By doing this, I think I am tuning the accommodation mismatch between the two eyes, because the eye naturally wants to accommodate for things that it's fixing on.  And while I'm doing this, I'm focusing on the feeling I have while doing this, so I can remember it for later.  And hopefully build onto the feeling.

In other news, I'm again working with the guys at Vivid Vision.  I can't say much about it since I signed an NDA.  So that's going on while I'm doing traditional vision therapy.

I used Vivid Vision with the DK2 (Oculus Rift 2nd generation developer kit), and it seemed to do interesting things with my eyes, but in the end, it didn't seem to work.  This is consistent with what James has said about his current generation of VV software.  He said something along the lines that it works best with people who have mild to no strabismus.  

But for someone like me, who had moderate esotropia and hypertropia with very heavy suppression as an adult?  I suspect the reason this VT journey has been so challenging for me is because my visual system would have been completely content being the way it was.  My vision was stable as a strabismic.  There were times when, as a child, I noticed a very slight drifting double image in my field of vision, but it was barely visible.  My suppression was almost complete.  Recovering full stereopsis would be a task of pulling my other eye back from the dead.  Now as an adult, trying to gain stereopsis involves constant deliberate action the entire way.  Everything has to be done through a grueling, manual, conscious process.

Right now, for people who are in a situation similar to my own, I see vision therapy via HMDs, as in Vivid Vision, as a complement to traditional vision therapy.  When I'm doing traditional vision therapy, it's just me, my visual system, fixation cards and prisms.  It's very simple, and I can put all of my attention on using feedback to build on connections.  From my current perspective, the amount of concentration I am able to muster is definitely helped by the simplicity of the equipment.  And the amount of work that I'm able to do seems like it would be hard to acccomplish via VR games with a cord around me as I walk around.

But I'm going to keep an open mind.   As my angle improves, as it has been via traditional vision therapy, perhaps the antisuppression aspects of the VV games will prove beneficial.  But of course, we're still talking about the first generation of software.  Eventually VR HMDs will have built-in eye tracking, 4k displays, will be much smaller, be wireless, and have the ability to control the angle with which light rays enter the eyes.  Then programmers will have the ability to make software that's potentially much more flexible and powerful than anything that's possible today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Noticing changes yesterday and today

Yeah.  Vision is definitely improving.  I noticed it in particular yesterday as I was walking by a plant.  I wanted to stop and look at it as I moved slightly back and forth, so I could add in some parallax to the experience.  But there were other people around and I didn't want to draw attention.  I'm unusual enough as it is.  Things were looking big and bright.  I was noticing space between.  Before you get excited--no, it's not stereopsis--yet.  It is the experience of decreased suppression.

I should mention that I added another routine into the mix.  As of now it's

  • Four minutes of acrylic target accommodation exercise
  • 12 minutes of fixation cards changing between seven and four diopter prisms
  • Two to three minutes of Columns exercise  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K49r34wN91g&t=14s
  • Eight minutes of modified Brock String
Not sure, but it seems like that Columns exercise is helping.  It definitely seems as though performance improves a lot toward the end of the fixation cards exercise.  I have to mess with things a bit in order to get accommodation equal across the eyes with the fixation cards.  It seems easier with the seven diopter prism.  But then it gets really easy, and then I go back to the four.  And then by the end of the exercise, I'm performing pretty well.  It could have been difficult because I didn't sleep well last night.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

More changes are happening and decreasing prism power

I noticed quite a few changes today.  My divergence seems to have improved a lot in the past week.

My divergence has improved such that I'm seeing it prudent to reduce the prism diopters from seven to four base in.  Heh.  I'd given up on that prism set that I bought from Ebay all those years ago.  Now they're coming in handy.  I seem to be able to get the double images easily on top of one another even with the four diopter prism.  This is, after all, what I had in mind about what stereopsis recovery would be.  Getting fusion with the help of prisms, training my brain to fuse, and then reducing the prism until I'm not using them at all.  It's just strange to see it actually happening.  For some reason I expected vision therapy would not work for me.  But it is apparently working for me.

I still don't quite yet have proper fusion.  The fixing is getting good, and appears to be improving.  Also, the accommodation mismatch is improving a lot.  I'm not sure.  It feels like I'm slowly but surely closing in on the problem.  What's a good analogy?  Imagine you're a novice chess player, and you're up against a grand master.  However, he only has his king, and you have a king and a queen.  You're going to win.  But he's going to dance around and be a pain in the ass, and make it evident about how clumsy you are, and how unfamiliar you are with the board.  It might take ten or fifteen minutes of awkward maneuvering, but eventually, you're going to figure it out and beat him.  I think that's where I am.  I'm fairly confident it's in the bag.  Time is on my side.  Vision is steadily improving.  The problem will eventually be squeezed out of position.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Noticing changes and continuing to get a grip

I took a four day break from vision therapy.  I went on vacation to Miami with my girlfriend.

It was interesting.  Sometimes I notice changes in my vision when I lack sleep, or something jars my nervous system.   For instance, on the day that I left for Miami I slept for like two hours so that I could make the jet because it departed at six am.  I remember on the flight I didn't have any thing to do or read, so I was looking around on the plane the entire time, playing with my vision.  I noticed that my left eye was 'on', more or less the entire time.  It was pretty damn cool.  Still had diplopia and whatnot, but not a whole lot.  The spread of the double images wasn't bad.  It was the feeling, and the awareness that I had of the eyes being on that I found enthralling.  It felt different and I did my best to hold onto it.

Today was the first day that I did vision therapy since last Wednesday.  I noticed improvement in both the fixation cards and the Brock String.  I noticed quite a bit more depth with the Brock String.

The fixation cards are getting better.  The change in the accommodation differences is getting more manageable.  It seems like the accommodation improves quite a lot toward the end of the 12 minutes.  I think one technique that appears to be working is fixing mostly with the left eye, since the right eye oddly stays well accommodated on the target.  When I bring the card closer, accommodation on one of the targets breaks down, but by fixing hard on the left eye, I can get them both very damn near close to perfect accommodation.  This technique seems to help stretch the ability for my eyes to accommodate in synchrony.

I am again getting excited.  Vision therapy is nothing if not a roller coaster of emotions.  Up, down, confused, excited, dejected, enthralled, depressed, and sanguine all over again.

I found out recently that Davina Klatsky died.  She's someone I met from Vision Therapy for Adults, and who joined DIY Vision therapy (both strabismus Facebook groups).  It's so sad to hear.  She was a sweet, but tortured lady.  I forget all of the details, but I think she suffered a developmental disorder, which resulted in an asymmetry of her body.  She had a lot of complications in her health, strabismus being among the symptoms of those complications.  She was extremely self-conscious about her unique appearance, which one presumes was a result of the developmental disorder.  I thought she looked fine.  Her posts were, from what a remember, a bit frenetic, despairing, and angry about the lack of help available for people with strabismus.  Like I said, I got the impression that she really was a tortured soul.

But yeah.  I wasn't in her shoes.  Life can be brutal.  One can only speculate what it must have been like to be Davina.  Nonetheless, I liked her a lot; she was a sweet lady.  She was one of us.  May she rest in peace.