Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
Over the past year, I have been experiencing increasing blurriness and double vision, especially when working at my computer or reading. I find myself straining to bring objects and words into focus, leaving me with tired, watery, eyes; difficulty concentrating, and headaches.
Knowing that anxiety makes things worse, I chose to believe that my symptoms were part of the normal aging process, and fought my natural urge to turn to the Internet to research the many vision disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease. The prospect of what I might find was too scary, especially since I already had a front row seat to my Dad’s struggle with advanced macular degeneration.
I started worrying when I discovered that if I put a patch over one eye – which one didn’t matter – I could see clearer than I could with both eyes. Why did my ophthalmologist not pick up on this during my routine eye exams? I wondered.
No mystery there; I never mentioned the symptoms I was experiencing. I just increased the frequency of my visits and kept getting stronger near vision lenses. Finally, I was referred to a specialist who told me I have convergence insufficiency (CI), thanks to my Parkinson’s disease. This disorder cannot be detected by screening with the 20/20 eye chart alone. It requires a two eye vision evaluation of eye “teaming” and focusing.
My exam revealed that my eyes tend to drift outward when trying to focus, explaining the blurriness and double vision I have been experiencing. This can be corrected by embedding thin prisms into corrective eyeglass lenses. The prisms help bend light to bring the midpoint between the two eyes into focus. This lets the eyes see the same thing, and fools the brain into thinking the eyes are working together.
My world came back into focus as soon as I put on my separate computer/reading and distance/reading prism glasses. While not a cure for CI, these special lenses relieve the symptoms and improve quality of life, my doctor assured me. She told me she treated her father (who also had Parkinson’s) with these for many years and he retained his ability to read until he had a stroke and passed away. I can live with this.