“I Have Achieved Everything I Hoped For From The Therapy”
Experiences with VRT: a patient and her optometrist tell her story
From time to time we like to bring you real life stories of our patients and how our therapies have affected their daily lives. In this blog we present two sides of the same story – seen from the point of view of the patient and also from the point of view of her optometrist. We have presented these in their own un-edited words, but translated from the original German.
Patient: Helena H, aged 31, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Sometime in late spring 2014 I realized that for several weeks the vision of my left eye had worsened. Since the right eye functioned well, I had not noticed this earlier. I went to an optician to have my eyes checked in case I needed glasses. He referred me to an ophthalmologist because he did not find anything wrong with my eyes. I went directly to the ophthalmologist but nothing was found during the examination, and I was referred to a neurologist. The neurologist found my symptoms “strange” but could not diagnose anything, and referred me to the hospital for a liquor test. In the hospital they reviewed an MRI done already in May 2014 and discovered a meningioma – a benign brain tumour. The tumour pressed against the optic nerve, the compression led to a vision impairment of the left eye.
After the tumour operation my vision was a lot worse – complete loss on the left eye, and decrease of visual acuity to 30% on the right eye, plus a visual field loss to the right side. It felt as if I was looking through a tunnel. Fortunately, in the following months the visual acuity of my right eye improved back to about 70- 80%, but the visual field loss remained and I still could not see with the left eye.
I searched for therapy options, and started a visual field training with a provider nearby. I was however missing any level of support service; I got a CD and worked with it at home at my own judgment, that did not feel right.
In a second attempt I started Vision Restoration Therapy with NovaVision. In January 2015 I went for an initial visual field measurement to Ms. Tolksdorf in Herne, afterwards NovaVision shipped all necessary equipment to my home and provided my therapy program via Internet. I started the first out of six therapy modules in early February on my computer at home. I performed my sessions twice daily very regularly, even though it was quite strenuous. After every module I received a detailed evaluation of my results and based on this evaluation an update to my therapy program.
In March 2015 I returned back to my work place, where I also work mostly with the computer. I had to decrease my therapy to one daily session, more was just not possible for me. But I wanted to continue and complete the therapy at any rate, because my vision got better and better. My ophthalmologist performed perimetries on a regular basis and also found continuous improvements of the visual field. Since August 2015 I have been able to drive my car again and I feel safe.
At the end of May 2016 I completed the sixth therapy module. In NovaVision’s visual field tests I detect 16% more than before VRT, the deficit in the central visual field is nearly completely gone. This is how I experience my visual performance myself – in comparison to before VRT this is a quantum leap.
I have achieved everything I hoped for from the therapy. I don’t see in the left eye, but I am overall very happy with my visual performance. I see better, I have less visual field deficit and in addition I am independent without any limitation. In the final measurement Ms. Tolksdorf found, to my surprise, that during VRT also the left eye has improved, and that in the distance I really see with both eyes, even though I am not aware of it. She is convinced that with a special visual training in her practice I could achieve even more. These are completely new prospects that I am currently thinking through…
Sabine Tolksdorf, Optician And Optometrist: Observations And Measurement Results:
Ms. Sabine Tolksdorf is an optician, optometrist and visual trainer in her own practice in Herne, North Rhine-Westphalia (www.sehen-lernen.de). She has worked with NovaVision for many years.
“Before starting VRT Ms. H. came to my office for initial diagnostics. In addition to a high resolution measurement of her central visual field as required by NovaVision I examined her visual acuity and other visual abilities and repeated this at her final visit after the therapy.
Visual field tests showed a notable vision improvement in the right half-field, particularly in the lower right quadrant. Before VRT Ms. H. detected in her central visual field less than 70% of all light stimuli presented, after VRT more than 90%. Discrete light stimuli were still not seen, but there is no continuous deficit area any more.
Before VRT, visual acuity of the right eye at distance was 0,8 with correction of -0,75 dpt – after VRT it was 0.8+ without correction; at near it was 1,0.
Acuity of the left eye increased from simple “light detection” before VRT to 0,1 afterwards, when tested under binocular conditions (= tested monocular in the binocular field). Ms. H. experiences her left eye as blind, but acknowledged a clearer and larger overall impression of the space around her. After use of Syntonics-Optometry (individually adjusted application of colour light), which opens additional visual pathways, left eye distance acuity under binocular conditions increased even to 0,2. That is in comparison to the findings before VRT a considerable increase in acuity.
Using the Pola-Test I was able to determine that Ms. H. is seeing with both eyes at distance. She has binocular vision, a precondition for stereoscopic (spatial) vision. This enhances her balance and her proprioception. The better spatial perception is very important and helpful when driving a car, for example for holding track or estimating distances.
The new neurological connections have led to an overall better perception. The left eye could improve further with specific visual training that I conduct as a functional optometrist. I would really like to work with Ms. H on this. With the right therapy and training methods and with her stamina and perseverance she as achieved so much already and there is still further potential! “