Hi, sorry I haven’t posted a diary for a while. I have had a blocked ear. If you have been following my previous diary entries, you will notice that I often spoke about my phorias. However today I didn’t. They have been a lot less significant to me since July. As you will hear, I am much more interested in my interpretation through my ears, than what is coming in through my eyes right now!
Phorias and strabismus are both eye turns. They give you the feeling of having misdirected gaze. However strabismus can usually be detected by the human eye and although it might be intermittent, it will likely recur in the same direction to the same strength. A person will be said to have a right eye turn or a an up eye turn. The treatment is to align the eyes to attain binocular vision. This can be achieved with prism, or helped through vision therapy or behavioural optometry.
Phorias are more complex. A phoria is an eye turn or misdirected eye in any of the 8 compass points. And both eyes could have the same pattern, a different pattern or only one eye could be affected. When you add 8 to the possibility of having 0 phoria in one eye you get what is officially called the 9 cardinal points of gaze. When you do the maths and work out how many permutations there are for two eyes with nine points of gaze, you get to the number 81! Yes, there are 81 permutations of phoria. As an example of someone with phorias that disturb me, I have found that I have 18 permutations. So I have glasses made with small amounts of prism in one or two directions to treat all of these. It does make life more complicated but I get used to reading the light, knowing my needs, and it is worth it!
All my life I have been like a human: –
- Spectrometer (sensitive to the light spectrum)
- Thermometer (sensitive to temperature)
- Barometer (sensitive to air pressures
- Hygrometer (sensitive to damp)
Since I have been working to correct my phorias (changes in eye gaze caused by small eye muscle imbalances) I feel more centred. I feel stronger physcially, emotionally and mentally. I am less sensitive to the tiny changes in my own energy and the energy of other people. I am looking for ways to interact and collaborate with others, that I have never done before. in fact doing things with other people is right at the top of my list now, whereas before it was at the bottom.
As I work to correct my phorias using glasses with prism (and many different pairs because I have many different phorias,) I am feeling more centred as my nervous system relaxes. But there is more to it than this. We are all spiritual beings. Being more centred strengthens my aura and the stronger my aura the less sensitive I am to all the changes going on inside of me and around me.
Since we discovered our sensitivity to our phorias, my son and I are getting our lives back, one pair of glasses at a time! I am playing the electric violin and my son is playing the guiro.
Working with my phorias (eye gaze and muscle imbalance) I require lot of pairs of glasses. This is because my phorias move around a lot. I can test myself with the maddox rod test to find out where my phorias are and then choose the glasses to treat that phoria. Sometimes the glasses are on point and sometimes they are not quite on point but they will do. Sometimes I am surprised by which glasses help me. They don’t seem to quite match the test results. Sometimes one eye partially suppresses to allow my other eye to take up the reigns for a while. This could be better than the experience of both eyes fighting.
What I learnt is that my lenses are just bits of plastic with prism in that can help me. I play around with them like someone trying on shoes or hats. I enjoy them – my trial prism lenses are very precious to me! Some I have from a set of trial lenses and some I just popped out of a pair of cheap glasses that I bought with just prism in. So far it has been impossible to buy 0.25 diopter prism trial lenses so I had to do the popping out thing for these. I also sometimes combine glasses – wear one pair and fold the arm back on another to use the lens as an extra one. I work with any resources I can find to learn about my eyes and establish a relationship with them and my experience of the changing light.
Working with prisms is not an exact science. My husband who is no-where near me on the scale of sensitivity was trying out some prisms to find the up and down rotation. He found that for prism diopter 3 – 5 he was actually experiencing the prism upside down. The image was moving in the direction he didn’t expect. We didn’t have any answers for that. That was a mystery. In the same way prisms are doing mysterious things for me every day. I don’t fully understand how my brain relates to prism but it definitely likes it!
Prisms lenses – just bits of plastic that might help you!
Simply ask yourself these questions:
Do I sometimes:
Feel as if my eye is being pulled or stretched (this being even more extreme outside sometimes?)
Have extreme light sensitivity
Lack co-ordination for no apparent reason?
Struggle to walk in a straight line?
Feel as if my eyes are fighting with each other?
Struggle to focus on something because I am distracted by the background (subject and background both demanding the same attention?)
Have cognitive processing difficulties and feel easily overloaded by information?
Feel as if mentally I am going round and round in circles?
Feel that my eyes can never rest, even at night?
If you answer yes to some or all of these questions, then you could be sensitive to your phorias (direction of gaze). You may be aware of small muscle imbalances that occur when you change direction of your gaze. This could occur as a result of being stressed or tired but with more sensitive people, it can be triggered simply by changes in the ambient light. These imbalances, though subtle can have a massive impact on your quality of life.
If you would like to know more please go to Help with Your Vision or just get in touch and have a chat.
What is a phoria?
A phoria is a latent (hidden) eye deviation. The eyes appear to be straight, but when covering an eye and breaking fusion, the eyes assume a position away from normal alignment. Most people have a very small phoria if tested, but a large phoria makes it hard to keep the eyes aligned. This could occur as a result of being stressed, tired and it can be triggered by changes in the light.
If a large amount of phoria exists, your eyes are will not rest on the subject you are focusing on. Your gaze will move elsewhere. Keeping both eyes fixated on your chosen subject requires an effort by you.
However, a sensitive person can be affected by a small phoria. People not sensitive may be able to ignore any small amounts of distortion but sensitive people can’t. Any lack of congruency, any deviation from the whole is a problem for the sensitive person.
I Have Four of Them!
UP OUT (uncorrected) – makes me feel like the right side of my head is fuzzy and it affects the nerves in my shoulders and arms. I feel pulled away from what I am trying to think about.
OUT (uncorrected) – makes me feel that I can’t think clearly at all. I don’t want to think about anything outside of my immediate experience. Everything feels too much.
IN (uncorrected) – makes me feel trapped like I can’t see out. I feel like I can’t move. I am inflexible.
IN OUT (uncorrected) makes me feel low hearted and negative. My body aches especially the muscles in my legs, and my knees feel suddenly weak.
All I Need is Prisms
How simple can that be? Fixing these problems with just a pair of glasses? But it works. All you need is a prism sending your gaze back in the direction you intended it to be in. Phorias could play a part in depression, anxiety, fatigue, dyspraxia, ADHD and more . . .
If you would like help looking to see if you or your child have a hidden phoria, please get in touch below. One simple appointment, one pair of glasses and you could feel like you have your life back, or you could know what life is for the first time!
When children say that they don’t want to wear something or eat something, it is not a disorder. It is a gift. They are basically saying that the piece of clothing that we are asking them to wear, or the food we are asking them to eat are not a match for their deeper selves in that moment.
Your child is likely picking up information about their environment that you as the parent may just not perceive. They may know that the light is slightly more blue today and so they shouldn’t wear a deep blue dress. They may know that the light is slightly more red today so the pink top they wore yesterday will overpower them. They may know that the light feels a little more blue today and that means they can only eat crunchy food and they won’t like scratchy textures or harsh sounds. They may know that the light feels a little more red today and they need something soft on their plate and would like something soft to cuddle.
What your child has is a gift to detect the subtle changes in energy inside them and all around them because they detect subtle changes in the light spectrum. If they are given the support to hone their gift, they will be able to use it to nourish themselves and make themselves and others feel good. Without the right kind of support and by medicating the problem, their gift could be lost to the world for ever.
I often see too much blue and not enough red. When red tones are missing, nothing feels complete.
When I went back to school as a child the trees were losing their leaves and they didn’t feel compete.
The pumpkin of October didn’t feel complete and even less so with holes in.
The flames dancing around on the fire in November hurt my eyes and didn’t feel complete.
The presents and tree of Christmas didn’t feel complete. The colours and patterns of my clothes didn’t feel complete.
The colours, shapes and patterns of the food on my plate didn’t feel complete.
People’s voices, music, the sound of a bath tap didn’t feel complete.
A hug or a kind word didn’t feel complete.
Nothing felt complete until New Year when there was a bit more blue and red light and my hope of completion started to rise. By Easter things were feeling better and by my Birthday in May I could process the patterns on my new Birthday cardigan.
And then in June, that old feeling of incompleteness started back again. On a sunny day when all looked so beautiful, the garden felt incomplete, the beach, the hills, the woods – they all felt incomplete. And vegetables and meat started to become very slightly blue and colours appeared in general a bit drained, like someone was forgetting to add red to the world. I felt unsafe from September to December but now it was a different feeling of being unsafe – the light felt brash and harsh and I could feel exposed and lost. So my ‘normal’ is to feel ‘incompleteness.’
As an adult I understand it. It is all about my perception. The world doesn’t change like I think it does. My perception does.
My experience has taught me to trust and taught me to have faith. These are the two things that are constant in my life. These things are unchanging.
CVI stands for Cerebral Visual Impairment and it is the closest diagnosis we can find to the experience of ambient colour sensitivity that my son and I have.
To avoid brightness, UV and business, we decided to leave for the seaside at 8:00 am and as the sea is quite close to us, by 8:45 we found ourselves walking down the seafront of the popular Dorset town of Lyme Regis.
Previously I had carefully packed 3 rucksacks with cameras, binoculars, snacks and drinks and chosen the right colour coat for myself to wear on that day. Also I had to choose some combination of hat and brim to keep out the brightness and UV. My son was in his usual grey, and I was in my usual white bamboo trousers plus pink coat and the hat of the day which happened to be purple. My husband was in his usual blue shorts and white t-shirt. He would wear colour and pattern if we could only manage it.
We have 3 seats in the front of our car (an old Honda FRV) and my son sat with his phone and headphones listening to his techno music to block out the sound of the engine and the wheels on the road. I sat trying on tinted glasses to find the optimum pair for that day and my husband concentrated on driving!
When we reached Lyme Regis we went to our usual carpark and parked under our shady tree. We got out of the car and my son asked for his No.3 tints and I put a sunhat on his head. He went straight to find his camera (a big old DSLR one.) He put the strap over his head and straight away was taking a picture of two seagulls on a roof near to where we had parked. It was the sort of picture most people would miss, not thinking it was exciting enough. But not Luca. He finds the pictures others don’t see.
We paid for the carpark and then walked down the steep hill into Lyme town. I was commenting on how pleased I was with my new pink ski jacket. Yes, it was about 17 degrees and I was wearing a ski jacket! Temperature is not something I process easily. We walked down to the front and on a big wall from where we could see the whole beach laid out before us, I started to unpack my glasses! I had some prescription glasses, some purple glasses with prescription, and three different sets of polarising glasses. I was desperately looking for polarising glasses with the correct tint because I had realised that I couldn’t look at the colour or the movement of the sea. My son was becoming impatient wanting to move on but I knew I had to either find the right glasses or filter out the sea somehow. Having come to the seaside, that thought was depressing so I dug deeper into my bag. And I found a pair of pinkish purple polarising glasses. I put them on and Ahhhh, I could breathe! Everything just went calm and I looked at the sea and it had transformed from ugly and angry to beautiful and tranquil . Now I stood a chance of enjoying the rest of our trip.
Next I knew I mustn’t lose control of things when it comes to Luca. He has limited energy when we are out and if we walk too far, he might not have the energy to get home. We walked along the seafront and there were more seagull pictures to take. And Luca has a particularly clever way of tracking them and and keeping them in focus as they move across the sky. Everyone was happy . .
My husband has a way of being drawn towards the Cob that juts out into the sea, like a bee to a honey pot. But this always means a longer walk and always means going through the business and clutter to get there. Suddenly there is sand and cafes and lots of people, meaning lots of clutter, noise and smells. And yes, once again we found ourselves drawn towards the Cob. And once more I wasn’t happy! I started walking faster which is always code for ‘I want to get out of here quickly!’ so we found a quiet side street and I immediately felt that I could breathe again. And there on a wall nestled between the rooves was a seagull’s nest with a parent looking after their young, so my son was happy now too!
So what was next? Hunger, of course. I suddenly realised I needed a snack so we headed down to the pebbles as my son doesn’t like the sand and, as I said, the beach was too busy. We spread out our picnic blanket and I got out my sandwich. My husband got out his little pack of Nairn’s chocolate oat biscuits. Then my son said “You can’t eat those!” He doesn’t like the smell of chocolate or strawberry jam. I looked around and you could see beach for a good quarter of a mile in both directions! “Can’t Luca move from the smell?” I wondered. I broached the subject but he said he was tired and he had nothing to sit on. And also that he wouldn’t eat his sandwich on the beach because last time he was harassed by a seagull! So our snack became a quick bite and then we needed to find shade away from the beach. By now moods were lowering and I was feeling disappointed. Why hadn’t I thought to bring 2 picnic blankets?
By the time we had walked to the top of the park that backs onto the beach and found some shade, the day was getting hot and the UV levels were getting higher. I was starting to feel the affects of the light spectrum in my nervous system, especially my hands and arms. Now I just wanted to get home. We had been out too long. We had walked a little too far. We had got a little too hot and there was a little too much visual clutter. We quickly found our escape route from Lyme – a pretty alley-way between cottages that leads nearly back to the carpark. On the way, I managed to share my disappointment and receive some solace from my trusty team. At the end of the alley-way, there was just one more hill to climb – the steep one we had so happily come down on our way into the town. This was one too many hills for my son.
Having made it back to the carpark, the car was nice and cool. It was 10:3o am. Lots of people were arriving for their day at the beach and we were glad to be going home from our hour at the beach! We started the drive home. My son said “That was good. It was a bit difficult but I think it was worth it!” That was all I needed to hear! I breathed a sigh of relief.
Living with CVI is one challenge after another. And just when you think you have completed all the trouble shooting you need to do, something changes. It could be the season, weather, or time of day all affecting how you perceive the colours, line, shape, edges and movement around you. In fact you have no constants. When you have ambient colour sensitivity, your only constant is change.
To read more about living with ambient colour sensitivity – a type of CVI – please take a look at my book.