Vision Therapy Success Stories: Amanda

I am a 35-year-old graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. My story of misdiagnosis and the resulting emotional distress started when I was a child. I was born with a slight lazy eye (strabismus) and had three serious concussions as a child from falls.

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As part of our Vision Therapy Success Stories series, we welcome guest blogger Amanda Hauns to share her personal account.  Amanda is a 35-year-old graduate student who now has aspirations of going to optometry school thanks to her life-changing experience with vision therapy including Vivid Vision for her Convergence Insufficiency.   

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My name is Amanda and I feel like I have been waiting all my life for my life to start.

I am a 35-year-old graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. My story of misdiagnosis and the resulting emotional distress started when I was a child. I was born with a slight lazy eye (strabismus) and had three serious concussions as a child from falls.

When I was about 11, I confessed to my mother, a librarian, I could not read.

I only skimmed summer reading novels and still feel guilty for lying to her about finishing a book so I could get ice cream. I struggled to articulate my abnormal visual experience to her and she took me to a psychiatrist under the assumption I couldn’t concentrate. I was misdiagnosed with ADHD and thus my psychotropic drugging by doctors began; however, I continued to have problems. I failed the driving test two times. My college friends joked that my Australian exchange student friends could park a car better than me and they drive on the other side of the road.

Although learning and studying are very important to me, I always struggled in school and had to take a reduced course load in college because reading was so difficult for me. When I read, I noticed words moving in and out on pages, which really frustrated me and made school work difficult. But after six years of hard work, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami with a 3.6 GPA Pre-Medicine track; Psychology and Biology double major, and a minor in Chemistry.

I went on to nurse practitioner school at the University of Pennsylvania but struggled with the hands-on portion and did not finish. I was criticized for being too anxious and clumsy on the hospital floor. But, the first glimpses into my undiagnosed vision problems were found while at UPenn. An instructor suggested I see an ophthalmologist because my eyes did not follow her finger.

At 28 years old, I finally discovered that I did not have ADHD, but actually Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

At 28 years old, I finally discovered that I did not have ADHD, but actually convergence insufficiency (CI) which caused my symptoms of double vision. I inquired about vision therapy, at Wills Eye Hospital, but it was discouraged. They said it wouldn’t work. I felt down and hopeless because reading was really difficult. I had to consciously focus my brain to bring the images on a page together; even with strong prism glasses the images on pages would drift apart and back together. My ability to hold them together into one image only lasted for minutes.

Last year, at age 35, I finally received treatment for my CI.  By chance, I found out about Vivid Vision through a post on Facebook. I realized I have the kind of visual problem they can treat.

Using Vivid Vision made a positive impact on my life. I notice the edges of things more clearly, objects pop out at me, and I can really see depth. I am now reading with ease and comfort. I can see in 3D, read faster, do hands-on course work, see at greater distances, am less clumsy and I am neater overall. Most of all, I finally feel like there is nothing wrong with me! No longer disabled, I am not disadvantaged (academically) compared to others. Although I am upset about the struggles in my life, which were not my fault, I feel like I have a new identity.

Overall, getting treatment for my convergence insufficiency and using Vivid Vision has significantly improved my life in a short period of time. As a result of this life-changing experience, I am applying to optometry school with aspirations to do both clinical work and research in binocular vision disorders to help others.

~Amanda Hauns, Maryland, USA

Amanda's case was presented as a poster at the 2019 College of Optometrists in Vision Development annual conference in Kansas City. 

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