I see the world differently than you do. Really, I do.
I don’t know what normal vision is, I’m just used to what I see. I have known since I was little that I didn’t have the vision of others. At different points in my life, people have been freaked out by my eyes. How is my eyes “scaring people” or making a police officer think I was drunk?
I have Nystagmus.
I have had it since I was born. My parents took me to specialists when I was really young. One doctor suggested eye surgery when I was Lily’s age (thankfully my parents got another opinion). They found out that it is not as much with my eyes, but with my brain. If you have seen me, you probably have noticed the Nystagmus. It causes my eyes to move back and forth side to side without me knowing it. I can’t even tell it is doing it, it’s just what I’m used to.
Growing up, I was always told by my eye doctor that there wasn’t really anything that could be done to fix my eyes. I couldn’t get to 20/20 vision, but to be thankful I can see well enough to drive. I am very thankful that I can drive and can work on a computer being an engineer. But earlier this year, when I went to my new eye doctor in OKC, he told me he heard about a doctor that helps people with nystagmus and lazy eye. The doctor is Dr. White at Visual Skills Specialist. So after having a quick consultation in April that he could help me, I went earlier this month to have the complete vision testing to see what condition my eyes are.
Two weeks ago, we sat down with the doctor for a couple of hours to learn about my eyes and how to proceed. Obviously, I have nystagmus which is a condition in the brain that causes it. There are many different reasons why people get it, like trauma. Like I mentioned that a police officer thought I was drunk once because of my “shifty eyes,” but like someone that is chemically imbalanced because they are intoxicated my brain doesn’t control my eyes like it should. Dr. White said that the Nystagmus won’t go away, but might be able to lesser the frequency and angle of eye movement. But that isn’t the main thing that is of concern about my eyes.
I also have limited depth perception and it comes and goes. My eyes don’t move together for one will move at a different rate of the other. My eyes are very slow to focus on an object. I have trouble tracking an object for my eyes bounce off the object. I knew that one because of sports. I have a hard time following a ball when it is flying by (one reason I really don’t like dodgeball). Also my eyes are aligned right in their resting position. So that is somewhat like a small form of lazy eye. Finally, my brain choses what eye it wants to look out of for distance. So instead my distant vision being my eyes working together, my brain choses what image (eye) for me to see so I sometimes have overlapping double vision. This also is why the decreased depth perception.
As you can see (pun intended), most of my eye problems besides the slow focusing, are not eye problems, but how my brain controls my eyes. It’s not going to be a quick fix to get my brain to control my eyes. I wish I could just take a pill or have surgery and it’s all fixed. But it doesn’t work that way. We will have to train my brain to use both my eyes and then control how it sees out of them. It will be step by step working at improving my eyes.
This Thursday, we start treatment. I go every Thursday at 4pm for an hour to do different exercises to improve my control. Then every day with Jennifer working with me, I will have 30-45 minutes of home exercises to keep my brain using what I was just taught. This will go on for 45 weeks at first and might go on longer if I am still improving. Obvisouly, this is a big time commitment and it is a huge financial cost. Insurance doesn’t cover it so it is going to drain most of our savings. Hopefully this will dramatically improve my vision although I might not notice the dramatic difference since it is over a long period of time. Kind of like we know Lily is getting bigger, but we see her each day, it’s others that notice her change more.
Please be praying for us as I start this. Pray that it will help my vision and for our finances that we don’t have any major expenses next year with having our savings decreased. We know we will be alright financially, but prayers are always good. 🙂 I will keep you posted on how the treatment is going. Also I want to thank Jennifer for being so supportive about doing this eye treatment, also for driving me around at night.