My name is Shea and I am a 73 year old grandmother and artist. Since I was 5 years old I suffered from the debilitating symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) for a total of 68 years. It was caused by several very severe blows to my head which caused misalignment of my eyes as was diagnosed recently by Dr. Andrew Taylor of Albany Spectacle Makers in Western Australia. I remember to this day the beating which left me with a fuzzy head that I couldn’t clear and the following after effects:
– Clumsiness and falling over often
– Difficulty in all aspects of reading
– Avoiding the company of other children
– Severe car sickness especially going around curves
– Dislike/Fear of ball games and other sports except swimming which I loved.
These symptoms made it very difficult for me during my school years.
On leaving home at 17 I became a heavy drinker to quell the symptoms (and other symptoms caused by childhood abuse) Of course heavy drinking didn’t work and other drinking related symptoms developed. At age 31 I stopped drinking completely and permanently with the support of Alcoholics Anonymous. However, the original symptoms gradually worsened and increased over the next 42 years of my life as follows:
– Double, blurred, distorted, ‘jangling’ and very strange vision plus eye strain and very sore eyes. I saw many optometrists and eye specialists over the years who all declared that my eyesight was normal. Removal of cataracts made no difference to my eyesight.
– Feeling fragile, disoriented, confused, forgetful and totally depleted. Over the last two years or so it felt as if I was developing dementia.
– Feeling totally spaced out, giddy, shaky, nauseated and as if I was heavily drugged. I was also completely overcome by feelings of deep despair. All the above feelings came and went in waves but some were permanent.
– Very intolerant of bright sunlight and glare which caused pain in my eyes and a brain pain.
– Very intolerant of harsh and loud noises causing tinnitus.
– Reading difficulties increased. I only read when I had to.
– On and off over the years I suffered from agoraphobia which included shopping centres and outdoor areas.
– I avoided people in groups and crowds and even singly. The only people I saw were close family members, a few good friends and my doctor as being with people really stressed me and left me feeling depleted and on a knife edge. I virtually became a hermit.
– I had no judgement of depth eg. going down stairs, stepping off gutters, traversing bumpy surfaces, etc. My balance was very poor and I was constantly tripping. I fell over often and broke a hip and elbow. I was constantly bumping into things and dropping things. I did not know that I could not see in three dimension. Everything looked flat like in a photograph. Of course I didn’t know that this was abnormal as I didn’t remember how I saw before I was 5.
– My body lent to one side while walking in order to see better. Funnily enough I wasn’t aware of this until it was pointed out to me. Sometimes while painting I closed one eye, tilted my head over or manipulated my eyes attempting to find better vision. However I noticed that working intensely and in detail on a painting caused my symptoms to worsen.
– I suffered from insomnia since childhood
– Avoided driving my car because of visual distortion. I definitely avoided flying.
– Over the years I had many consultations with GP’s and Specialists and various medical tests including CAT scans all with negative results.
However there is a very good ending to my story. I was so very fed up with constantly being wretched that I decided to search the internet. Eventually, by googling ‘DOUBLE VISION’, it lead me to Vision Specialists of Michigan, USA. There was a list of symptoms on the website. I identified with most of them. I knew I had finally made a break through. I filled out their online questionnaire and promptly received a reply revealing I had a high score for Binocular Vision Dysfunction and would definitely benefit from treatment. I was referred to Dr. Andrew Taylor, previously mentioned. Andrew is the only Optometrist in Australia who is able to successfully treat BVD. He was trained in Neuro-Visual Evaluation
by doctors at Vision Specialists of Michigan, USA using spectacles with specialised aligning lenses. I took a huge leap of faith and decided to fly across Australia with my granddaughter to Albany, WA. I had not flown for over 30 years. We stayed in beautiful Albany for a week and on the first day I spent 5 hours being trialed with the special lenses and resting between fittings so my eye muscles could relax. They had become very tight over the years. It was one of the most emotional experiences of my life as I saw clearly, crisply and in three dimension for the first time since I was 5.
I saw Andrew three times before leaving for home. He was the perfect person to help me. He was very kind and gentle and knowledgeable and trustworthy.
As for symptoms, it’s now 2 months later and most of them have completely gone, if not all of them. Some of them left as Andrew was trialing the lenses – in particular, neck, shoulder and back pain, body tilt and dysfunctional vision. I feel overjoyed that my new sight is a normal part of my life. I can now paint the magic of nature as I see in 3D.
I no longer feel nauseated, dizzy, confused; I no longer suffer headaches, nor do I feel depleted, exhausted or desperate. I can now walk straight and tall with my shoulders back and it feels so good; no more looking at the ground with a fear of falling. I can read with ease and immediately understand what I am reading. I have a new confidence and hope for the future. My general practitioner researched BVD and encouraged me to take the journey to Albany for which I am very grateful. She is now amazed at seeing all the positive changes in me.
Thank you Andrew, Camilla and Jodie of Albany Spectacle Makers for changing my life’s experience from extremely difficult to extremely comfortable and exciting.