Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Clearer Vision for the Future

It turns out that not as many people are dyslexic as one would think. I was surprised when at my eye appointment yesterday, my doctor told me that one of the tests he had done disclosed to him the fact that I have a problem with my visual convergence, meaning that my eyes see things differently than other people's.

He's aparently only one of about four doctors in Kansas who's certified in this area, but it's because he has experience with it, himself. This is what I'm talking about:

When reading something, I frequently get tired, lose my place, skip lines and don't have good comprehension of what I've read, not to mention the fact that it takes me forever because I read one word at a time and "hear" myself reading it in my mind. But that's the only way I can get any comprehension of what I'm reading at all.

I thought I was partially dyslexic, because that's what a doctor told my dad was wrong with him. My dad is a very poor reader, but whether it's dyslexia or the problem I have (which, by the way, is genetic), I don't know.

The good news is that it can be fixed. I was sent to a doctor today that specializes in vision therapy. She sent me home with a home-based kit that's supposed to help about 60-75% of the people who use it. If that doesn't work, in-office therapy works about 96% of the time, she said.

As if one could guess, this isn't covered by most insurance companies; they just aren't as "with it" as they need to be.

It's especially important for me to try to fix my problem because #1, I'm a graduate student who's doing a lot of reading for comprehension and application purposes, and #2 because I'm a journalist, more specifically a journalist trained to be a copy editor.

I'm putting this on my blog because this is a problem that so many people have but don't know they have, partially because many eye doctors aren't certified and don't know how to check for this kind of problem. It's easier if it's caught when you're a child, but doesn't take as long to correct as an adult, if that makes any sense to you.

This isn't a mental problem or a reading problem, but a vision problem, and it's treatable within less than six months, in most cases. So if you're having some of the same problems that I am, ask your doctor if he/she can test you for it.

I'll keep you posted on my progress, too, so you can know how it's working for me. Bonus: I get to wear cool 3-D glasses to do the exercises!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Erica,

Two of my children have convergence insuffiency. My ten year old went through 8 weeks of vision therapy , and the problem has been 100% corrected for over a year now. My 18 year old has it to a lesser degree, and has been doing vision exercises on her own. It makes a HUGE difference in their ability to read and study.

Glad you go it diagnosed!

Mary Brazier

Mrs. T. Swede said...

Me, too. I always wondered why I was able to succeed in advanced classes when it took me forever to read anything and repetition of reading to get much comprehension. I'm glad it's correctable, and I'm glad I'm able to see a doctor who recognized it.

I'm glad to know that others have gone through this and had great results. It makes me feel more positive about the therapy I'm doing at home.