Retraining my eyes, MFBF – Monocular Fixation in a Binocular Field

December 18th, 2012 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

Retraining my eyes

If it isn’t one thing with Dysautonomia it’s another. The symptoms I was having 6 months ago are being treated and while I’ve had improvement, I would dare to even say I had the month of October being pretty much symptom free. All that went out the window when not only did new symptoms develop but some oldies came back from a short hiatus.

One day, and no gradual progression I mean literally one day, I looked to the right where my husband was talking and I said, “umm there are 2 of you, and of everything for that matter.” My vision did calm down and I took it as a pre-syncope moment, pretty standard for my chronic illness. We then went to lunch and I was reading the menu and looked up and thought I was about to pass out because everything, and I mean everything, had gone double, maybe triple, it was hard to tell in my internal panic. This was going to be a tough one to feign denial with.

A few days in the house and it didn’t seem to be happening as often, then I went to meet a friend for lunch. I was doing okay until I turned my head to look for a land mark and holy camoly I had to pull over for a minute. Selfishly all I could think was ‘crap they are going to take my license’. I did get to lunch and home okay but have not driven since then.

As if the fact my heart rate and or blood pressure could drop or rise at any given moment isn’t enough to make social situations hard for me. Just imagine for a second being mid-conversation and the other person looking like they are suddenly about to fall asleep, start swaying or they start talking too fast and sweating, that’s me with my all over the place heart rate and blood pressure. Now I get to add that I may or may not be actually looking at you because I am trying to figure out which of you is real. Luckily one of you is usually oddly translucent so as long as I am not seeing dead people I can usually get it right.

So I put a call into my Autonomic Specialists office. I know eye dilation is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) so when I come inside from outside it stays dark for me longer than it does someone whose eyes dilate properly on their own, opposite for going outside, it is very bright for me for a while until I can adjust. It was reiterated that  ANS and dilation are connected but still advised to see an optometrist to rule out any other vision issues.

I didn’t expect much when I went to the eye doc. I usually spend most of my visit with anyone in the medical field explaining Dysautonomia. I mean I get it, it’s a rarely diagnosed chronic illness but seriously medical community, a not properly functioning ANS is not a sudden development of a third eye.

So I write on my paperwork that I have Dysautonomia and I watch him as he reads it. He looks up and says “hmm, so all the automatic nervous system things misfire; is it always or does it come and go?” WOWSER! A real question instead of ‘what’s that.’ I can’t even get that from any cardiologists in town! At this point I am seeing floaty stars and hearts over this Docs head. I have a glimmer of hope that he will work with me and my condition instead of just throwing in the towel and saying something about how I have a rare condition and he doesn’t know what to do with me.

Instead of surrender I was given an explanation of the ciliary muscle, a muscle that through the ANS contracts and relaxes to allow a smooth transition from up close to then far away objects. I wasn’t able to process all the needed transitions from seeing my hands on the steering wheel to the car in front of me, not to mention my surroundings. It is amazing to think of how many things our eyes, or better yet at this point your eyes, can process all at once. It is actually called a spasm of accommodation, meaning almost every natural accommodation my eyes try to make causes a spasm instead of the instantaneous adjustment the eye should make on its own.

Eyeglasses or contacts are the usual answer for visual issues, however this requires something a bit different. My eye glass prescription has been adjusted greatly and we are adding a few vision therapy sessions daily. The first will be MFBF – Monocular Fixation in a Binocular Field, or as I call RGGG – Red Green Goofy Glasses. I place red and green films over the computer screen, book or kindle and wear these amazingly in style red and green filmed glasses. The idea is for therapy to encourage the muscles around my eyes to work in sync. Not sure if it will work but wow do I look cool while we try!

trying to type this post with Red Green Goofy Glasses
Much cooler Instagram photo…

yes this is the cool version, stop laughing!

(if you are in the Columbia Missouri area Advanced Vision Dr. Jalai OD tell him the Mildly Medicated Gal sent ya)

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10 Responses

  1. Emily Walsh says:

    Hello,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Emily

  2. Sandra Tyler says:

    You poor dear. I seem to read a lot of blogs by people with chronic illnesses and I am astounded the strength and perseverance I see. I guess you have not choice. But you seem to have some humor, a way of stepping back by writing about it, which I hope makes it all the more bearable.

  3. Kerri says:

    Hey Carrie!
    (Great name by the way!) Glad you found my blog! And I’m glad I stopped by… Hope to continue to get to know ya!
    Kerri

  4. Thanks ladies! It is a wacky ride and I am glad you all are with me!

  5. Kim says:

    Newest Follower from Bloggy moms. Glad I have found you. I too live with a chronic illness (liver disease) Looking forward to reading more! Love the glasses by the way. Very cool!
    Kim
    http://www.myhopewhispers.com

  6. Thanks Kim,
    I feel like I should sing ‘I’m sexy and I know it’ when I wear them. ;)
    Carrie

  7. badhbt says:

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if the glasses helped with your vision. I have visual problems too and I am looking for some answers.

    Thank you!

    Heather

  8. Rach says:

    Hi Carrie,
    I have this problem too, in fact it was one of the first issues with my eyes that was picked up. My neuro-opthalmologist called it ‘focal spasm’ but didn’t have any suggestions re. treating or improving it. I have just got new glasses and I am having such trouble working with them. I had forgotten about this focal spasm issue, I think I will talk to my optom about it. Thanks for sharing!
    Rach

    • Nick says:

      Rach,
      Hopefully you have found someone to help you already but if not look for an optometrist on OEPF.org or COVD.org. Those two organizations are made up of thousands of optometrists who are focused on the kind of issues that you and Carrie are dealing with. Hope this helps someone in the future.

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