Friday, March 27, 2009


I had my first eye exam yesterday in more than 3 years. I figured that after 3 years it was about time to see if my prescription needed adjustment, especially because it seemed to be increasingly difficult to keep my vision focused. My curiosity was also piqued by the vision therapy exercises Dietrich is doing to correct his vision problem. When I try some of them I find that I have as much difficulty as he does, sometimes even more. Yet when my wife or daughter tries them, they don't have any problem at all. Hmmm.

So I went to Dietrich's vision therapist for my eye exam because I knew that she would be able to determine whether there was something more going on than the need for a prescription adjustment. Sure enough, there is. I have a problem called hypertropia. To put it simply, my right eye likes to wander upwards and doesn't really track well with my left eye. Learning this was a bit of an "aha" moment, as I finally understood why I have difficulty keeping my eyes focused. For example, while reading I find that the text often likes to split in two and it can be very difficult to bring it back together. Even now typing this on the computer the screen keeps wanting to separate into two different images. It really increases the strain on my eyes as I try to keep my vision focused. Sometimes I can pull the eyes together. Other times I effectively ignore the right eye and concentrate on the left, as I'm doing at the moment.

Understanding the nature of my problem is a relief. At least I know what's going on with me and it's not just that I'm getting older! But now I'm faced with the question of what I will do about it, if anything. The optometrist feels that she could work with me to improve the problem but did say clearly that hypertropia is very hard to completely overcome. At the moment I don't think that I can afford therapy for myself anyway, on top of already paying for therapy for Dietrich. If only one of us will get treatment, let it be him. At least then he can benefit from a lifetime of better vision, whereas I've already made it nearly 40 years compensating for my problem.


  1. Ahyes, but you can always learn from his exercises and do them for yourself to improve your own vision.

    I have a similar problem, didn't know a name for it. But, I was born cross-eyed and for the first year of my life my brain learned to compensate for the problem as a result my brain only takes the information from one eye at a time (usually my right) so I can't even tell when my left eye goes wonky. Also means that I have no/limited depth perception. You know the fly pictures in the eye tests in elementary? Yah, total mystery to me!

    Quite interesting.

  2. Yes, Dietrich had basically no depth perception when he was first tested last fall. Now, after 3 months of therapy, he's beginning to develop some. I have a decent ability to perceive depth, though I learned yesterday that I do have some problems with that too.

    Dietrich's issue is slightly different than mine. It's more like yours and has a different name, though the fundamental issue is quite similar--that the brain doesn't learn to coordinate both eyes and so ends up ignoring one of them. Dealing with this with Dietrich has been a fascinating journey for us. Now to find that I have similar issues is just another dimension.