Stereogram: Find the unattached ring that is not a circle

Stereogram: Unattached Ring
Courtesy: Sylvain Roques
Can you find the unattached ring that is not a circle? Click the thumbnail to try this stereogram, then use the back button in your browser to return to this page (see Caution below).

View a 3-D stereogram image by allowing your eyes to cross or drift while maintaining focus directly between the two images, until you see four images that merge into an unfocused third image in the middle. While maintaining your focus on the middle image, continue to relax your eyes until you can see it clearly.

The Unattached Ring stereogram is a more difficult one. If you are new to stereograms, try this cat card first. You can enlarge it by clicking the image at the destination site. This is exactly like the cat card my COVD doctor gave me to begin with. It took several weeks of effort before I could put the cat together in the middle. If you are have difficulty with this, it is especially important follow the Caution below.

Caution: My COVD Developmental Optometrist prescribed similar vision exercises for me. However, vision therapy is not a one-size-fits-all. Several COVD Developmental Optometrists have told me that doing the wrong exercises for your specific needs, or doing them incorrectly, can be harmful. If you have strabismus, you should ask a physician trained in Developmental Optometry (which includes Vision Therapy) which types of eye exercises are safe or beneficial for you before attempting this exercise. Click the COVD link or the Find a vision therapy dr. link in the sidebar to locate a Developmental Optometrist in your area.

My Travelin’ Eye: book review

My Travelin' EyeMy Travelin’ Eye by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

“When I was born, I came out looking both ways.” That’s how Jenny Sue begins her beautifully illustrated children’s book, My Travelin’ Eye. She writes, draws, and colors her “own experience as a seven-year-old with a lazy, wandering eye, glasses, and a patch” into a charming memoir story for children.

Jenny Sue helps kids relate by sharing how she was sometimes made fun of, but she quickly turns the disadvantages of a travelin’ eye into a positive experience. Most of us with strabismus bemoan how our eyes won’t work together. But Jenny Sue discovered that, “It’s sort of like having a twin.” Read the book to see how she took advantage of each eye’s own unique functions, apart from the other.

Children will relate as she shares how scary it was when her good eye was patched and she was given big, thick, red glasses. Vision suffered, teachers chided, and kids pointed. She cried herself to sleep, but next morning she told her mother how she felt, and her mother helped her design her first fashion-patch. The patch and glasses did their magic, her vision improved, and soon she was making a new fashion-patch each day. She was the envy of her class as “all the kids at school wanted to wear a ‘fashion-patch,’ but they couldn’t, not without a note from their ophthalmologist.” Jenny Sue illustrates 2 full pages of this 11.2 x 9.3 inch book with 24 different life-size eye patch designs that will get you started helping your child design eye their own creative eye patches.

Finally the day came — her travelin’ eye had “woken up,” and her eyes were learning to work together. The patch was gone, but the glasses were here to stay. So Jenny Sue and her mom decorated them into fashion-glasses, and…you guessed it! Once again, all the kids at school wanted their own fashion-glasses, “but they couldn’t, not without a special note from their ophthalmologist.”

Jenny concludes her book with an inspirational note for all of us who see the world in different directions: “My travelin’ eye still wonders sometimes,” Jenny writes, “but that’s the true nature of an artist — to see the world in her own unique way.”

This book is almost as much fun for adults as it is for children, and it will quickly become a favorite. Purchase the My Travelin’ Eye today. You’ll be glad you did! You can also visit the My Travelin’ Eye page at Jenny Sue’s Dancing Elephant Studio for more information.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from the author for review, but my review is my honest opinion of the book.

Susanna, the One Eyed Princess

Susanna was born with strabismus in the former USSR. The photo below is “of me in 1979 in Russia with a play phone, where you can see that my eyes were really crossed,” she writes. Susanna is a speaker, world-traveler, writer, and more. I’m fascinated with all Susanna is accomplishing in spite of her strabismus, and I asked her to share her story with us. Susanna writes:

Susanna in Russia, 1979In the Soviet Union, where I was born, doctors didn’t operate on strabismic babies or toddlers to straighten their eye muscles. But because my two divergent eyes made me look so weird, I went to a daycare for retarded and mentally handicapped children although I was not retarded.

My 1st surgery was at the Jewish Hospital (now called Barnes Jewish) in St Louis, Missouri, when I was three years old. After the surgery, I had a lazy eye which was straightened when I was 17 at Kaiser Santa Clara Hospital in California. It was a huge relief to me to wear contact lenses and have straight eyes. People stopped looking at me funny. I could tell when people weren’t listening to what I was saying because they were too busy trying to figure out which eye to look at. In 2006, I read the article, “Stereo Sue” by Dr. Oliver Sacks, when I was surprised to find out that I didn’t see like most other people. Prior to finding out about Susan Barry, I didn’t know that there was something called depth perception and that I didn’t have it. Finally, I had an explanation for why I was bad at parallel parking and merging traffic.

When I asked my optometrist who was fitting me for contacts if it was true that I couldn’t see in 3D, he looked at me funny and said, “Really, you didn’t know?”. He seemed to think it was no big deal as his aunt couldn’t see the tree outside of her window. I’ve been to over 50 countries. I’ve seen Macchu Picchu. I’ve been to the Coliseum. If there’s another dimension of life to which I am blind, I most definitely want to see it.

After reading “Fixing My Gaze” by Susan Barry [see below], it took me another year and a half to commit to vision therapy. The financial impact of paying for it on my own, as my insurance would not cover it, was the most important barrier. But as soon as I embarked on my journey to 3D, I encountered major psychological stumbling blocks during vision therapy appointments and outside the doctor’s office.

I am a traveler and adventurer by nature, but his road to 3D is the most difficult journey ever. No sign posts, no express bullet trains, no maps. Just hard work every day. And faith. Man, this takes a lot of faith in the power of the brain to change. I speak seven languages and have written books on learning language through music and the media and budget travel. Vision therapy is harder than writing books, learning languages or traveling in former war zones. It’s a journey through the mine fields of my brain and past struggles with being cross-eyed.

I created my blog, One Eyed Princess, to document the trials and tribulations of doing binocular vision therapy as an adult because I needed an avenue to express myself. Few people around me could understand why I was suddenly getting tired or had trouble driving at night. The blog was and is a form a catharsis and a way for me to reach out to other people going through the same thing.

Please feel free to visit my blog: http://www.oneeyedprincess.com and comment.

Video games improve vision in adults with amblyopia

lan partyVideo games can improve vision in adults with amblyopia by 30% according to a Sept., 2010, news release from the University of California, Berkley.

Research subjects age 20-60 played video games for two hours at a time, for a total of 40 hours over one month. Experiments included one group that played action games without patching, and another group that patched one eye while playing non-action games.

According to this report, it can take three times as long (120 hours) for children with lazy eye using occlusion therapy (patching) to see improvement. Some showed improvement in less than 40 hours with video game therapy.

The internet has been abuzz for several years about the potential for video games to improve visual acuity. In September, 2007, we posted a story about Nintendo DS Flash Focus, designed specifically to improve hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision.

This study provides new hope for adults with amblyopia. Researchers caution that this research is in the early stages, and encourage patients to work closely with their eye doctors to determine the therapy that is right for them.

See Video games may help treat lazy eye for more from WebMD.

Photo courtesy Jeroen Thoolen

New fun video game offers vision training in minutes a day!

Screenshots of gameFlash Focus: Vision Training in Minutes a Day is a new video game for Nintendo DS. It’s designed to improve hand-eye coordination, focus, and peripheral vision through a series of fun games. Flash Focuswas developed in Japan and is distributed there as well as in Europe, the UK, and Australia as “Sight Training: Enjoy Exercising and Relaxing Your Eyes.”

Created under the supervision of Dr Hisao Ishigaki, a leader in the field of visual training for athletes, Flash Focusmodels vision training programs used by top athletes. It includes a lot of sports related activities like hitting baseballs and running with a football. There are also games like ‘Box Track,’ in which a dot is placed under one of three boxes, with the user having to track where it has moved to. Flash Focus customized training

Users complete daily training activities to challenge Hand-Eye Coordination, Peripheral Vision, Dynamic Visual Acuity, Momentary Vision and Eye Movement, then track their results with a calendar and easy-to-understand charts.

The exceptional thing about this game is that the software checks each individual user’s visual strength and offers a customized training program based on their score. It works like this:

Flash focus ability chartWhen users first begin, their visual strength in the above five aspects of vision, termed ‘Focus Ability’ in this software, will be checked through a series of exercises and from these results an overall in-game ‘Eye Age score’ is given. When the in-game ‘Eye Age score’ has been calculated, a regular training program is proposed with the aim of creating an overall balance of ‘Focus Ability.’

Recognizing the importance of relaxing the eyes, the game also includes an excellent Eye Relaxation program.

The Touch Generations website offers a thorough explanation of Sight Training, and the Five Aspects of Focus Ability and the Eye Age Check. There is also an excellent Explanatory Video of the game, as well as a video on Relaxing the Eyes, an Interview with Dr Ishigaki, and Screenshots of the game.

Watch trailer on You Tube.

Sight Training as reviewed in The Sun UK newspaper.

Review of Sight Training from Nintendic.