I’m pretty sure there was a point where I was exhausted and stressed and thought that eye therapy would never end, but it did. Earlier this week I reached two milestones: my last set of exercises at home, and my final in-person therapy session. In some ways, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of me because of just how often eye therapy felt like a lot to manage. The weekly appointments were across town, and the exercises sometimes left me physically exhausted, which dominated a lot of that day’s schedule. I’m prone to barometric pressure headaches and if I woke up to a day of headache management, it made doing the at-home exercises complicated because the headache meant my eyes couldn’t focus or the activities would strain things enough to kick the headache up to derailing-my-day levels. The unfortunate truth is that we hit an extended stressful and chaotic period of time about a month or so after I started eye therapy, and having that on my plate was sometimes just a lot. The big question now that it’s all over is was it worth it?
A few months ago, I would have easily answered that, overall, I was really glad that I did it but, honestly, the timing of everything was just the worst, which meant I was more stressed out keeping up with things than I imagined I would have been at other times. I’ve had some different revelations since, though, and now I’m not certain that the answer is really that simple. You see, I was about three months into Taekwon-Do when I started eye therapy, and a lot of eye therapy stuff helps with issues of coordination and awareness. I’ve previously mentioned that, since I have a lazy eye, my eyes never learned to work together and one of the results of this was a tendency for them to not track things together and to essentially tag team. This means I had an effective blind spot that explains why any sport involving a ball being thrown at me tended to go poorly. Over time, I developed a tendency to flinch if I saw say a basketball being thrown sort of in my direction. I don’t even mean directly at me; the ball could be aimed at something six feet away from me, but when my peripheral vision caught it, I flinched because part of me expected to get hit with it based on past experiences.
So what did this mean for Taekwon-Do? Well, over time my eye therapist noticed that any activity where I had to do movement was easier for me and it seems like there was an overlap with the stuff I was learning in Taekwon-Do. When activities involved my moving one foot and the opposite hand while, say, reading something, my Taekwon-Do patterns seemed to have something similar. I even remember a point when my punches naturally moved to the side and I had to concentrate on teaching myself that the mid-zone existed. Now I don’t have to think twice about a strike going to the mid-point. The flinching I used to do? Now someone can do a practice move where a punch comes close to my face without making contact and I don’t flinch anymore. My eye therapist firmly believed Taekwon-Do was helping my eye therapy practice and vice versa. I found myself agreeing with her, to the point where I’m not certain what level of progress I would have made in the past year of Taekwon-Do if I hadn’t started eye therapy. The two growth areas are just so blended at this point, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to differentiate them from each other. I love Taekwon-Do, and I am really proud of the progress I’ve made, and I’m not certain of how much of that progress I would have made without the eye therapy.
The final bill for my eye therapy landed in the $8,000 range and was not covered by insurance. I am very aware we are lucky to be in a place where we can handle that, and I feel I have to acknowledge that not everyone can make that happen. The scheduling is tricky too, and while my schedule allows flexibility, many Monday-Friday 9-5 jobs do not, which makes me often wonder how adults that are not me manage to make this sort of thing happen. In the end, I have noticed the difference that eye therapy has done for me, and while the timing of it was the worst in one way, it was also sort of the best in another. I’m glad that I persevered through and got to the point that I’m at now. So for other adults that may be considering it? If you can make the time and money aspects of it work, I would absolutely say to look into it, but I would highly advise making sure you know what those time commitments are before you begin, as some miscommunications with that kicked up a lot of stress for me. For every adult told nothing can be done about your lazy eye, I would like to say that may not actually be true.