When I was 4 years old, my preschool teacher told my mom that she noticed one of my eyes turning outward and had noticed me squinting a lot. My mom took me to a pediatric optometrist who confirmed I had an alternating exotropia (each eye took turns going outward). The doctor prescribed a vision therapy program for me, which was partly done in his office and partly done through home activities. Needless to say, I was not very compliant. My doctor then prescribed glasses and I had to wear an eye patch on one of my eyes for a brief period. The eye turn improved and was not noticeable most of the time, but I still struggled with my depth perception. I hated playing sports of any kind, afraid that if a ball was thrown to me, it was going to hit me. I did well in school, but had to read out loud when studying in order to remember what I read and it took me much longer to do my homework compared to some of my friends.
During my first year of optometry school, we began learning how to do a refraction (the part of the exam where we determine your glasses prescription). Part of the refraction involves using special lenses to create double vision. When a classmate tried this technique on me, I was unable to see double vision and realized that I was only using one eye. My brain was completely ignoring my other eye. Now it all made sense why I hated sports and had such difficulty with reading and homework. I then did a much more intensive program of vision therapy at my school. This greatly improved my depth perception. I am now able to use both of my eyes as a team and control my eye so that it stays straight.
My personal experience with vision issues inspired me to want to help others who were struggling with similar issues. I have a strong passion for helping these kids and adults overcome their vision issues and improve their academic performance, sports performance, and overall quality of everyday life.
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