On my first visit for vision therapy, my Behavioral Optometrist had me to take off my shoes and walk in my stocking feet a straight line made from a strip of masking tape stuck to the floor. She assured me it was not a “sobriety test,” but even so I thought this was a bit off the wall! I obligingly did it though — well I tried to do it.
I felt clumsy and uncoordinated trying to put one foot in front of the other, keep my big toes on the line, point my index finger to the opposite toe, and keep pace with the beat of a metronome, all the while counting “one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four…” out loud. I don’t think I would have passed a sobriety test if it had been based on my ability to walk a straight line under these conditions!
I got better at it, though. Interestingly, as my ability to “walk the line” improved, so did my ability to coordinate my eyes. My vision therapist explained that the eyes are the center of balance in the body, and that the auditory (hearing) and optic (seeing) nerves should work in unison.
What really convinced me, though, was my first therapy session after my strabismus surgery back in May. I’d gotten more proficient with the line walk by then, and could even do it backwards. But on that first day back, my eyes had not yet “found” each other in this new alignment. I mirrored their confusion as I staggered side to side when I tried to walk the line!
I’ve learned that there really is a connection between hearing, seeing, and balance. We’ve cut down on the length of the vision therapy sessions, and there is no time for line-walking now. But I’ve purchased my own metronome so I can get back to walking the line at home. I really need this balance in my life!
See followup added November 9:
It’s all uphill from here!
Here’s an interesting article:
Balance & Illusions of Movement
Photo credit: Nick Lobeck