Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A nice chat with Shane

Yesterday I talked on the phone with Shane, a member of the DIY Vision Therapy group.  I was interested in him because of a Facebook conversation we had earlier about the ketogenic diet.   I mentioned that the energizing effects of the ketogenic diet seems to have a positive effect on my vision.  He mentioned in that conversation that he knows of two others who claimed that their eyes had straightened themselves out while on the ketogenic diet.

So we talked for about an hour on the phone.  We started basically with where we live.  He's from Canada (I forget exactly where).  I didn't get his age--not really important.

His condition is interesting, and sort of unusual.  I was looking at his pictures as we were talking and commented that he looks normal, and that pushed me to ask 'do you have strabismus?' to which he answered yes.  Apparently his strabismus is on and off.  So sometimes his vision really looks normal--like a normal person, and sometimes, especially when he is tired, he gets rather significant exotopia--I couldn't wager a guess as to how many diopters, but it's significant.  He said that his eyes are aligned maybe 50% of the time.

And interestingly he has full stereoscopic vision when he is fusing, and he is able to resolve Magic Eye puzzles, which is the ultimate test for stereopsis.

Like many others, Shane developed strabismus.  I'm growing increasingly aware of those who were born with normal vision, and who had normal vision as children, but who got strabismus later.  Shane got strabismus, I think when he was in fifth grade.  I forget exactly the details, but apparently he got really, really sick, and got a fever of 104 degrees F.  After that, he started getting exotropia periodically.  He did mention that he thinks that perhaps vaccines which were given to him caused his strabismus--something to do with mercury and aluminum getting past the blood-brain barrier.  I sort of doubt it's the vaccines, and possibly to do with damage done by the illness.  There could possibly be a genetic component as well, since he mentioned he has a cousin with strabismus.

We did talk a bit about drugs and the ketogenic diet.  Shane has used Ritalin and Adderal to treat his ADHD.  He noted that he had no vision problems when he was on Adderal, which is speed.  But he had to stop taking it because it was destroying his teeth.  He also used Wellbutrin for some off-label use, and said that it also seemed to have positive effects on his vision, although he stopped since it seemed to have a lot of side-effects.

I noted that the ketogenic diet--when you're really in ketosis--appears to have some antidepressive effects.  That is, the feeling that I have when I'm in ketosis is familiar and similar to the feeling of being on an effective antidepressant.  [As an aside, I have had experience with depression (basically my entire life) and antidepresssants (for about three years).  I no longer have depression and haven't needed antidepressants at all for about two years.  Obviously there's more to be said there, but that's a long aside.  Main point, I have some experience with these drugs.].  Interestingly, I have heard of papers in which researchers have combined antidepressants with vision therapy with positive results.  It is my understanding that some of these antidepressants can improve neuroplasticity.  They definitely improve mood.  For me what's interesting is how similar the feeling is between being on a well functioning SSRI and being on the ketogenic flow.  It is a very specific feeling, and it feels great.  It's coupled with very high levels of feelings of well being, focus, cognitive energy, easier breathing, diminished appetite, and diminished sex drive.  And I notice that it appears to have a positive effect on vision therapy.  So I wonder what's going on with a ketogenic brain, and why the effects seem to be so similar, at least for me.

[edit: I did some research and found that there have been some findings on the antidepressive effects of a ketogenic diet]

Shane did mention that he knows of two others who mentioned that their eyes straightened out while in the ketogenic diet, but we didn't really get into any details of that.  They're people in some zero-carb Facebook group.  I just joined the group, so I'm going to investigate a bit more.  There are 10,000 members... so it should be interesting.

I guess what's notable about the past three paragraphs or so is the idea that there are things you can put inside your body which can possibly influence and improve your ability to fix your vision.  More work for me.  More stuff to look into.

Aside from that, he did ask me a number of questions regarding vision therapy, like 'is it effective', and surgery and LASIK, and whatnot.  I basically said that surgery sometimes works, but it's risky.  I told him that vision therapy definitely works, but there are a number of caveats.  And that was basically the extent of the conversation.  It was pretty good.  Pretty interesting and eye-opening.  Heh.  And with that awe-inspiring paragraph, I will now stop writing.

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