Concussions

Vision Therapy Update

I met with the neuro—ophthalmologist on Monday for a re-assessment. I was scheduled to meet with him every 12 weeks, but due to COVID, it has been 17. It’s okay though. What matters is that it actually works! I am making progress. Yay!

My family and I are noticing that I am getting more energy again. I’m consistently able to go on 20 minute walks with Michael. I’m able to keep up with meal prep and house work for the most part. I’ve even contributed here and there with our renovations. My concentration and memory is beginning to improve as well. 

The doctor noted that he could tell that my therapy is working. My visual memory was the biggest area that needed improvement when I started. He said that I was only in the 16th percentile. Now I’m at 44. He said that was great to see. It would have been okay if it hadn’t really moved yet. He said that’s normally a sign that everything else is improving and getting in order first. So since there is a marked improvement, things are moving in the right direction. 

He studied my converging and diverging. Converging means processing information while crossing my eyes. Then diverging is processing information while widening my periphery by slightly going cock-eyed. To the normal eye, you can’t notice I’m going cock-eyed. But that’s actually what your eyes are doing when you’re looking out at a distance. 

He said that my converging is weaker than my diverging right now. That’s kind of opposite to what most people experience. Diverging causes your eyes to relax. Since a concussed brain is always in high stress, it is harder to get your eyes and brain into a relaxed state. He said that because I’m struggling a bit more with converging, that’s also actually a good sign. That’s because it takes a shorter amount of time for that area to recover than the far-sighted diverging. Another point that I’m in the right direction. 

Dr. Quaid mentioned they plan, on average, for people to be in therapy for approximately 48-49 weeks. He said sometimes they need 12 weeks more, sometimes 12 weeks less. Because I’m consistently keeping up with the therapy and thus my recovery is improving, he thinks I’ll end up on the shorter end of finishing. Another yay!  

Now to introduce syntonics. Syntonics is a form of light-therapy. It means sitting in a pitch-black room and staring at a colour filtered light for 20 minutes a day. As Dr. Quaid explained it, our eyes work along the rainbow coloured spectrum. (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple). When someone has a concussion, they typically need the blue shade on their glasses to help filter light. In my case, bright light causes symptoms. I can’t stand fluorescent lighting due to the colour, intensity, and flickering of the light. If I’m outside, I have my blue filters on and a baseball cap to block the sun from my eyes. 

He said that I’ll start with the Blue 3 shade (one of the darkest) for 20 minutes a day, for two weeks. Then as I get used to that, I’ll move to Blue 1 (light shade) for 10 minutes and Blue 3 for 10 minutes. This will help me transition closer to the yellow spectrum, where most house and outdoor lighting resides. Then I won’t need the blue filters anymore! 

The syntonics will highten my symptoms for the first couple of weeks. He said it’s normal to feel nauseous and gross for the first little bit. But then things will really improve. I’m not looking forward to feeling like I’m digressing for a bit. But at least I know it’ll all be worth it and will help to propel me into greater healing. Now I wait for the lamps to arrive to the clinic so I can get started. Hopefully they come soon. 

As long as I keep consistent with my therapy, I’ll keep seeing marked improvement. The doctor mentioned at my first visit that it is around the four to six-month mark that I’ll start to feel “normal” again. Look out people. More energy and healing to come!

Argh! I’m the blue-eyed pirate!

Michael asked the doctor where I’m currently sitting on a scale of one to ten. He said if he considered I was a zero when I first saw him, that I am now around a four or five. When I first saw the doctor, he told me that he can get me to an eight or nine. So, I’m technically half way there.

Thank you to all those who have contributed to my therapy fund. I have the sweet relief and excitement of paying my therapy bills each week. It makes the adventure more exciting, especially knowing I have people cheering me on. 

We had a sweet surprise after the appointment. We thought that each doctor assessment was $250. I got in the car yesterday and noticed the payment request said $85. I contacted them to make sure there wasn’t an error. They said that only the first appointment was $250. Every one after that is $85. Yay for more of God’s blessings!

All in all, everything is going well and moving in the right direction. I am excited to continue on this road toward healing. It allows Michael and I to dream again of all the possibilities that lay before now, as I continue to be able to handle more in life. 

Thank you to all of you who have upheld me in prayer, asked how I’m doing, and shown your support. Please continue to do so, and we’ll keep praising God for His goodness and provisions!

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2 Comments

  1. Steph

    June 11, 2020 at 5:44 am

    Thank you for sharing your good news!

    1. Rachel

      June 13, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Steph. You’re welcome! I figured people could use some of that these days!

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