July 2, 2011
This article is by Herb Halbrecht.
Some of what we had been taught in medical schools and in science generally are no longer accepted as accurate today. A great example and one which is bound to have tremendous impact in opthalmology is the cognitive neuroscience field. The most critical bedrock change is the discovery that brain neurons do regenerate whereas previously we were taught that once a brain cell dies it does not regenerate. Some of the basic primer books include the “Mature Mind” and “The Brain that Changes Itself”.
We are now investigating the impact of the plasticity of the brain on many areas of medicine. These are mostly relatively new of the last 10 years or so. This issue is one of the fastest growing fields of science education and investigation in many U.S. and probably worldwide universities.
An example of another kind of change, particularly in the vision area, is that in prior years in medical schools it was taught the children with “lazy eyes” or ambylopia declared very firmly that if a child’s eyes with this problem were not corrected it was not possible to change. This is now proven to be incorrect. Susan Barry showed this in her book “Fixing My Gaze”. Professor Barry is a molecular scientist at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
I, personally, was diagnosed with having this lazy eye at age 3, but it was impossible to get me to do the corrective exercises. Rambunctious 3 year old boys are not great patients. At age 80 given a serious injection of that fabulous medicine called “hope” buttressed with strong encouragement, plus clear evidence after testing that the photo cells peripheral in my lazy eye were much more prolific and robust than in my heretofor considered the dominant eye plus simple exercises aggressively pursued were my salvation.
Several years ago my left eye was measured at 20/400. Today it is 20/80. Most of this change took place in the last year or so. Since my right eye is becoming increasingly occluded, I haven’t paid too much attention to it. The most important thing of all is that with special glasses of about 20 power for the left eye and the right lens blacked out completely, I can now read.
We are particularly looking for other examples of this type of change in conventional medical wisdom in all fields with particularly of that of vision. We would like this information so that we can distribute it to the medical profession and to patients who should be interested.
June 28, 2010
This article is by Herb Halbrecht:
There are many people who lazy eye when they were young. Up to about 15 or so years ago, opthalmologists were taught in Medical School that unless a lazy eye, Amblyopia, is treated before the age of 8 it is futile to attempt to do anything when they become adults. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG AND HAS BEEN PROVEN WRONG. Up to now, this has been mostly proven wrong for people up to the age of 45 or 50.
I was diagnosed with Amblyopia at the age of 3 and with advanced macular degeneration over a decade ago. Four years ago, I was advised by Johns Hopkins that the macular degeneration in my “blind” lazy eye was not as severe as in my “good” eye. I was further advised to use my telescopic eyeglasses to learn to read with my “blind” eye. It took many hours of practice, but I learned to read again, twice.
Last Tuesday I turned 83. I have clearly shown, after getting injections of hope and encouragement from the head of the Low Vision Dept. at Johns Hopkins, that determination and perseverance can lick this problem at any age. I’ve done it twice since I was 79. If the information I’m sending to Dr. Cousins is of interest to anyone for themselves, I will be pleased to assist them on a 1:1 basis 24-7-365. It can be done and it has been done.
When you saw me in May I indicated that I was having problems reading after a 3 months period of hospitalization/re-hab for surgery on my knee but I was determined to again get functional control for reading. I did the same things I had done the first time. I started reading a large print book using more powerful glasses than the 10X I used last time. They have been increased to 14 or 16. Dr. Goldstein at Johns Hopkins indicated that after examining me my vision had diminished somewhat, as it also had done 6 months earlier at my last visit to her. She was reluctant to increase the power any more because that would require me to keep the book so close to my eyes it would be touching my nose. I read an entire book of about 600 pages, large print, and although it was difficult at first it became less so as I went along. I was reading at least 30 minutes 3 times a day and then 4 times a day. Although the glasses used were more powerful than before I could easily tell that my eyesight has been diminished. I then went to a regular print book which I am reading now, also 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a day as well as a couple short sessions of 10 minutes a day.Hereto my reading is becoming better though still not as good as before I went to the hospital.
BUT I CAN READ! I have to keep the book closer to my face than I am accustomed to but I CAN READ.I am mostly convinced that “lazy eye” might be conquerable with diligence, perseverence, and a total refusal to accept the concept of futility which had been told me by a low vision OD.
I am paying attention to some important basic advice given me by Gerry Mansell who has been very helpful. I really have to have good special lights, the paper of the book has to be a good clean white, and the print a clear strong black. Inexpensive paperbacks simply won’t do.
Despite my being a voracious reader, I accept the notion that I cannot and will probably never read as well as I used to. But I CAN READ.
The one thing I am curious about is whether this reading enhancement is only useful for people with “lazy eyes”.
I feel relatively certain it can’t work with many diseased eyes, but ….