GAINING PERSPECTIVE THROUGH VISION THERAPY
My vision therapy is done. 45 weeks of work complete. I had not gotten the results I had hoped for. The vision therapist sent me on my way for 3 months of rest.
This journey started 12 months ago when a friend mentioned vision therapy to me. Born severely cross-eyed, I’d never used my eyes together. This caused my world to be two dimensional and I had no depth perception. Optometrists and ophthalmologists had told me if I’d not learned to use my eyes together by the time I was 2 or 3 years old, I never would. My friend, Michelle insisted that adults go to vision therapy and encouraged me to give it a try.
So, in December 2016, I embarked on a journey to see if I could gain depth perception by going to vision therapy. The eyes plus the brain equals vision. Most eye doctors only look at our eyeballs and ignore the brain. I have definitely had successes, but after 11 months, the testing showed that I still lacked the ability to see the world as most people do.
I had been told that often the greatest results happen after therapy is complete. The theory is that the brain needs to rest in order to enjoy the benefits of the work it has done. Blah blah blah. It’s hard for me to believe that rest gets us anywhere. I work hard. Very hard. I’ve had to. It’s my way of life. Intense, driving, aggressive. This is my MO as I navigate my life to be on guard for abrupt revelations around each corner. It’s how I achieve goals, it’s how I stay ahead of my fear, it’s how I’ve adapted.
A week after therapy was finished I went for an early morning run. Wearing a head lamp, I ventured out on the cool morning enjoying the fresh air in my lungs. Many thoughts about being present had been swirling in my mind. It’s difficult for me to stay in the present and easier to think of the past or look to the future. Running is a perfect place to practice this. Enjoy this mile. Breathe in. Breathe out. Stay relaxed. Enjoy this minute. Look around, be grateful, and love your legs for carrying you through life.
The sun began to come up behind an overcast sky. The clouds were a brilliant red. So beautiful. Not everyone can enjoy the sunrise in this way, Cathy. Breathe in, breathe out.
As the morning got brighter, there were just 2 miles to go. I purposefully stayed focused on the steps right in front of me, ignoring my thoughts of, ‘you’re almost done’, and ‘it will feel good to get something to drink’. As I ventured down a familiar road, things began to look different. Defying explanation, I had a clear feeling that something had changed. Was the cloud covered sky reflecting some odd light?
I looked across the street to a shopping center and saw the building with new eyes. It held depth and sharp lines. The side of this tired building was beautiful. The wind began to whip and I slowed to a walk. Tears streamed down my face. What was happening? My eyes darted to the grass and the street. Everything looked clear with a sharper focus than I had ever seen.
I had a sneaking suspicion this had to do with my vision therapy but guarded my heart, not wanting to be disappointed. Deciding to hurry home to see what my house looked like, I began to run again. My eyes looked everywhere and had never been so wide open. Each house looked clearer. As I ran by a familiar tree, it looked different which stopped me dead in my tracks. Turning around I gazed at it again. Each bump and line in the bark captivated me. This must be a fantasy. Am I dreaming?
As I came through the front door, my familiar surroundings presented themselves in a whole new light. I could tell that I was inside the room. The kitchen counter was separated by space from the stove. I could see space. The bathroom door frame separated that room from the next. I questioned out loud what was happening. Then the tears started to fall. Each piece of furniture held a new charm, different than I had ever experienced before. The hallway looked different and I could see the space between my dining room table and the wall.
The next few days will forever be etched in my mind. As I drove around town, each building was more defined than ever before and delightful beyond my previous perception. I kept noticing my hands. They occupy their own space and move in such beautiful ways. My life became less scary as I could see so much in front of me and wasn’t concerned about something jumping out and surprising me. I could see space. At times I would forget about my new-found vision, pay attention and be overjoyed all over again.
Another door has opened. I don’t enjoy full 3D vision yet, but can now see a whole new world. I’m hopeful for what I’ll see next, excited for the next chapter, and
intent on enjoying this very moment.