Young Adult Learns to See in 3D

“In 2014 I had a 21-year-old female come to see me for an eye exam. She had esotropia as an infant and she had undergone multiple strabismus surgeries where here eye muscles were altered to try to straighten out her eyes. As a result, she was able to alternate her vision between one eye or the other, so each eye was correctable to 20/20, but she was not able to fuse the vision from each eye together to see the world in 3D. Initially she had a low symptoms checklist score, so I told her that vision therapy would likely not be worth the time investment. She, however, thought about it for a few months and decided that she really wanted to try learning to fuse the vision in each eye so that she could see in 3D. I recommended that she read the book, “Fixing My Gaze,” by Sue Barry, since that tells the story of “Stereo Sue,” an adult with a similar history of alternating esotropia that eventually learned to see in 3D. She began reading the book, and I began vision therapy with her. 

I do not have a fancy vision therapy clinic, and I practice rural optometry–I do my best to serve anyone that walks through my door. I was able to teach her activities to do at home and her progress began. I did a therapy session about every 3 weeks and she worked diligently at home to make significant gains between visits. She first began seeing double, which was a bit of a shock to her–but I assured her that this was a part of the process–she then had to learn how to move the two images she saw closer together until they overlapped and created a 3D image. She enthusiastically accepted this challenge and her journey towards fusion and 3D vision began.

The journey to fusion and 3D vision took 26 vision therapy sessions with me, plus a few sessions with Dr. Jen Simonson, who has a “Vision-Therapy-only” practice in Boulder, CO. It spanned almost 2.5 years.  The journey to fusion culminated when she watched some 3D movies at Disney World on her honeymoon and she was able to see them in 3D and she was blown away! I was so happy for her. Even though she had my guidance, she did most of the work herself. I still credit her success to her desire to improve her vision. She was very passionate about it and would not give up. To this day, when I see her for her annual eye exams, her eyes look straight–even when I test her with the “cover test.” This is a truly remarkable story, and one that has touched me personally–one that I will never forget.”

-Jordan Ballantyne O.D.

Headache Complaint Leads to Brain Surgery

“A teenage girl came to me complaining of severe headaches and visual disturbances–tunnel vision with “TV static” in her peripheral vision. I dilated her eyes and found bilateral papilledema (swollen optic nerves). An MRI revealed a cyst in her brain that was causing pressure to be put on the optic nerves. She had an operation to remove it and she made a full recovery.”

– Jordan Ballantyne O.D.

High Stroke Risk Discovered During Eye Exam

During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, a patient told me that part of his vision was blacked out in his right eye. I discovered a branch retinal artery occlusion near his macula. I explained that the blood flow to that area of his retina was blocked and as a result that section of retina had essentially lost function forever. I then expressed to him the need to go to a stroke center at a hospital the next day to assess what kind of stroke risk was present. His visit revealed right carotid artery stenosis and an operation was scheduled. He was very grateful that he was referred so quickly so that he could avoid having a full-blown stroke, or even worse–death.“

– Jordan Ballantyne O.D.

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