The P.A.V.E. website says: “P.A.V.E. is a national non-profit education, resource and support organization whose mission is to raise public awareness of the crucial relationship between vision and achievement.”
I’ll be turning 60 this year, and I’m only now beginning to understand some of the reasons I struggled to keep up much of my life. I’m not sure I would have made it through school, and especially nursing school, had I not found books so fascinating. Though it was an effort to keep my eyes focused, I loved the treasures I found inside, and it was worth the effort to explore their pages.
But it became harder and harder to read as I got older. Although I was diagnosed with intermittent exotropia at age nine, most eye specialists I saw simply treated the problem with a new eyeglasses prescription when I complained of struggles to read.
A couple years ago, as my ability to stay focused became critical, I was being evaluated for Alzheimer’s, ADD, or Learning Disability. See my June 22, 2005 post: Is this all in my mind?. Before my testing could be completed, however, my inability to focus my eyes became so bad that it was obvious my problem was related to my strabismus. It took several decades for my vision to get to such a critical point that left little doubt about the root of my struggles.
I often think how my life could have been different if organizations like P.A.V.E. and others who support Behavioral Optometry had been around back then. But my life is different in a different way now, and that’s not all bad! Now I’ve seen first hand how strabismus can masquarade as other problems and worsen with age if not treated. I have a unique opportunity to help educate others about the importance of early vision screening and treatment.
There is no reason now for anyone to have to go through life with untreated strabismus as I did. Help is available today. I’m thankful for organizations like P.A.V.E. that are educating the public about that help.