Vision Therapy

I was talking with a friend of mine recently who had a bilateral cerebellar stroke a few years ago. She looks great on the outside and this leads to a lot of people treating her with insensitivity. I can relate.

A lot of this insensitivity and ignorance has not surprisingly come from doctors. Her stroke manifested in severe problems with dizziness that are triggered by something having to do with her visual processing. She has been to many, many ‘specialists‘ regarding this who would always dismiss her, not take her stroke into account and say something like “I think it has something to do with your eyes.

Really? Well yeah, but that’s not the root of the problem. It’s much deeper than that. Her problems are originating at her injured brain which in turn sends messed up signals to her eyes and the muscles that control the eyes.

Would you not expect many ‘specialists‘ to understand what I just easily explained?

She’s doing better now, finally found a doctor that seems to know he is talking about and has started vision therapy which she says is helping with the dizziness. Her final diagnosis is neuro-ocular vestibular dysfunction from a traumatic brain injury.

Categories: Brain stuff, Health, Recovery, Rehab, Stroke stuff

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11 replies

  1. Well Amy, I have proven tens of thousands of times stroke doctors and researchers know nothing about stroke. We are completely on our own at least until I start running a stroke research foundation. Oh god, my arrogance showing again. Wish you were closer.

  2. Great she found someone! I can also relate to the invisible disability and the insensitive treatment. I was fortunate to get vision rehab from a neuro opthamologist. Fantastic results. My vision loss had nothing to do with my eyes.

    • What did vision therapy consist of?

      • The vision rehab therapy is new and when I asked what the results have been like, my neuro-opthamologist said, “I don’t know yet, you would be part of my research study”.
        It involved an hour of therapy every second or third day for 10 sessions using a LARGE touch screen monitor.
        I wasn’t a candidate at first because he thought I may have some natural healing, so he retested my vision after three months. It had not improved on it’s own, so I was moved up to 3rd in line from a waiting list for this therapy.
        It included various things such as circles of different colors moving around in a circular pattern and would change direction, also small circles of numbers, letters, or both. I had to keep my eyes focused on the center of the screen and as I only lost vision in the upper right quadrant of my peripheral vision, I had to track the circle next in the sequence and touch it when it entered my “dead” zone. The program could tell when I was not looking at the center and gradually got harder (faster, smaller circles). I was retested after the therapy with fantastic results. Now that I understand it was retraining my brain to “see” where it couldn’t interpret the visual information before. I still exercise my peripheral vision as much as I can, not unlike others with brain injuries relearning how to do things.

  3. Most doctors, I don’t believe, are insensitive to the plight of their stroke patients. I think it’s just that all strokes are different and require individual care. Doctor have a tendency to apply remedies based on what they have dealt with in the past. That’s why they call it a “practice.”

    To share my experience – I am three years and ten months into my recovery and I would say I’m about 65% back to where I was. I still suffer from constant vertigo, making it seem like I’m a little drunk as I walk and talk and I’ve lost about 40% of the right side of my vision in both eyes. My eyes occasionally have trouble immediately locking in on what I want to look at, so they sometimes momentarily over correct and wander. Probably the hardest part is my lack of endurance, which prevents me from working harder to turn my condition around. The good news is I can do many of the things I used to, if only for a few minutes. Even with my vertigo, I’m able to sometimes hit a golf ball fairly well. Not very long, but sometimes high and straight. Golf is the best therapy and also the toughest therapy. Something amazing happened the other day. I ran. Well, jogged about ten yards. I have been able to do anything close to what anyone would consider running since my cerebellum exploded almost four years ago. It was fantastic, but the person most excited was my wife who watched me trot across the street. Like I said, it was amazing.

    I’d like to thank Amy for starting this blog as it helps me to track my progress (not that this is a competition) against others who have suffered strokes and see how others are getting better. By the way, I had two, a month apart. I feel very lucky, if that’s possible, to even be here. Anyway, hope to hear more from all of you.


    • Thank you for sharing your story Dennis. A ‘specialist’ should have had lots of practice, agree? That’s where I get so annoyed. I still can’t break into a jog after 8+ years. So glad my site helps you!

    • Dennis,
      I work with both a vestibular therapist and a vision therapist. The vestibular therapist worked with me first to help me with any issues that might be due to the vestibular system and balance then I started vision therapy with an optometrist. I know right, an optometrist? But this on is trained in vision therapy. The only one in my area within 30 miles. They do dynamic adaptive vision therapy and neuro-optometric rehab. It seemed a bit too good to be true and I was skeptical given how many people seemed to think I was “just having anxiety. ” or trying to give me medication. No thanks. So I took the leap. It’s not cheap or covered by insurance. But so far I have made a lot of progress. I dont get headaches as often, or fatigued nearly as easy. And my dizziness has reduced a lot.

      -a series/sequence of scientifically-proven, brain-based, sensory-motor-perceptual procedures and techniques that remediate visual dysfunctions/deficits, which improves one’s visual efficiency and visual comfort.

      Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation (NOR) represents a specialized area of optometry, which addresses the oculomotor, accommodative, visuomotor, binocular, vestibular, perceptual/visual information processing, and specific ocular/neurological sequelae of the acquired brain injury population. This includes the diagnoses of concussion, traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular accident/stroke, post-surgical brain complications, encephalopathy, vestibular dysfunction, and neurological conditions adversely affecting the visual system. NOR includes standard optometric modalities, such as corrective lenses, prisms, tints and coatings, selective occlusion, and optometric vision therapy. Optometric vision therapy incorporates both in-office and out-of-office procedures for the remediation and management of the associated visual problems listed above with the goal to improve activities of daily visual living and performance. Optometric vision therapy is based on sound principles of neuroscience involving visual motor and perceptual learning reflective of the underlying visual/neural system plasticity. It frequently is provided in conjunction with other rehabilitation and health care professionals.

  4. This sounds so much like my ongoing effects from cerebellar stroke. Any chance you could put me in contact with your friend so I can ask some questions?

    As always, thank you so much for your posts. Since 2012, this has been one of the very few resources for me on the topic.

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