The day before Thanksgiving, 2011, I was sent to the ER having experienced several days of unexplained trembling along with other issues.  The attending physician insisted, against our hesitation, that I have a heart catheterization done for, what we now know was, a panic attack.  After the procedure the staff was unable to waken me and it appeared I had experienced a massive stroke, although there was no evidence of that on the MRI.  I was unconscious and out of control for two days, then "returned," but my brain suffered what a close friend and retired neurologist called, a major "insult." He assured me I would recover in time.  It was several months before I was able to drive or return to my studio work.  When I did I struggled because as I worked on drawings at the easel, lines disappeared.  I was also unable to bring street signs into focus, but the difficulty working in the studio was particularly distressing.  My regular optometrist realized I was having convergence problems, and recommended surgery, but he asked his associate to also examine me.  Dr. Katy Falk, who has trained with Dr. Draisin, cautioned against surgery as she felt it would eventually leave me cross eyed. She recommended vision therapy instead.  Dr. Falk's research turned up three possibilities for vision therapy that were relatively near us (we live in GA); the Draisin Vision Group was one of these.  We also consulted with our son, Michael, who has been training as a vision therapist under Dr. Nancy Torgerson in Seattle, WA.  At Dr. Torgerson's recommendation, relayed through our son, and because of her professional knowledge of and relationship with Dr. Draisin, we chose to come to Charleston.  My problem was in fact convergence insufficiency (and some other stuff I don't remember – vestibular issues?), and we began double sessions bi-weekly with diligent practice in between. At first the sessions were exhausting.  I progressed in being able to read the Hart chart from a 6 foot to a 12 foot distance. Unfortunately after a couple months, progress plateaued and I became very frustrated and discouraged.  It was at that point that my vision therapist, Diann, recommended the VEP test for the sake of more information.  The VEP revealed that I "had no brain waves."  Diann's excitement eclipsed my dismay, because now she knew what direction to take.  The "stroke" had compromised my neural pathways, and now we would take steps to rebuild them.  Using Lumosity, red-green readers and television watching, and continuing with other exercises, my vision once again began to improve.  I learned to use my eyes correctly and to keep my right eye, which liked to yield to my dominant left eye, "turned on."  Then this past summer (2013) I experienced another plateau regarding my ability to see detail; particularly the ability to see one crisp image.   In August I combined a trip to Seattle for advanced art workshops and time with our son, which included a visit with Dr. Torgerson.  She applauded all that had been accomplished through my work with Diann, but discerned a slight vertical tracking "issue”.  Her colleague, who also examined my eyes, confirmed developing cataracts.  After returning home, I discussed the cataract issue with Dr. Draisin, wondering if that might be part of what I now felt I was fighting against.  Dr. Draisin referred me to Dr. Boatwright, which resulted in cataract surgery in November and December this past year.  Cataract removal and toric lens implants now enable me to see crisply and clearly with no distortion. My eyes are corrected to see clearly at "easel" distance. My eyes track well and adjust easily from near to distant vision and back again.  It has been a joyful challenge learning when I need to use my glasses.  I recently returned to Austin, TX to complete portraits I began there in May of 2013 about midway through my vision therapy.  I found the same structural inaccuracies in all three portraits as well as problems with the skin tones which were all too purple.  The errors that I made fascinated me but also confirmed healing of my vision problems.  When I began the portraits, I had a very difficult time deciding where edges or construction lines should be, since at that time I was seeing multiple edges.  After my first eye surgery, I noticed immediately that colors in the corrected eye were much cleaner and the light more blue; like the difference between a daylight light bulb and an incandescent bulb as the uncorrected eye made everything have an amber cast. (Amber –yellow- neutralizes purple.)  That explained my skin tone problems.   I had a wonderful time finishing the portraits. The likenesses are splendid and the colors are fresh and lively.  I have my professional life back and I am very, very grateful for the restoration of my sight through the practice of vision therapy, along with the guidance and help of Diann and Dr. Draisin. As much as I love Monet, I want to keep my painting looking more like Sargent's. Now I can.

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