My left eye is amblyopic. I wish I could say it used to be amblyopic, because now it can see, but it cannot see as well as my right eye, even though both of my eyes see 20/20. Isn’t that weird?
As a result of vision therapy, my left eye stopped being a non-seeing amblyopic eye, but it is still amblyopic…how can that be, and what am I experiencing?
When I am looking at something detailed with just my left eye, I can see it, but it’s difficult to perceive. It is not blurry, but it is tricky. My brain is working hard just to see it, maybe the way the brain works hard to listen to a faint noise.
The Hart chart pictured here is where I really notice the amblyopic quality of my left eye. It is easier for me to read the letters on the edges of the chart, but the letters in the middle of the chart are very difficult to track. I loose my place.
It’s like trying to count two dozen ducks floating on a pond as they move with the waves and one of them flaps its wings and another bobs its head under the water…you just want them all to freeze motion for just a second so you can track them. It is hard for me to track and hold on to those wily letters in the middle of the Hart chart.
Everyone in the strabismus biz knows about this phenomenon. It’s called crowding and Dr. Len Press has a nice discussion of it on his blog.
When my eye doc examined my vision the other day, I looked at the line of letters across the room and recited them; everyone knows that routine. With my right eye, she projected regular letters. But for my amblyopic eye, she used letters like the one pictured here…the contour bars around that H are magical. With those bars, I can see the H. Without them, it’s harder to keep my eye on it…like those diving ducks.
My eye doctor explained my amblyopic eye this way, the signal coming from my left eye to my brain is not as strong as the signal from my right eye. This concept makes me think of how we are right-handed or left-handed…all of that writing we do with the right hand, day after day, makes the right hand strong and capable.