“I would not look directly at someone, but slightly off to the side so they wouldn’t notice my eyes”

January 19, 2011
Essay written by a 15 year old patient

Right now I am in Vision Therapy every Tuesday.  Since I was a kid I have had a lazy eye.  Over the years, I was ridiculed and made fun of daily.  People would tell me to “look at them” or ask “What are you looking at?” and then laugh at me.  My self-esteem and confidence started to dwindle.  I had a great sense of inferiority.  I had three cosmetic surgeries in Seattle to fix the alignment of my eyes but sometimes one eye still “looks” off.  Over time, I developed defense mechanisms to try to hide my eye.  I would not look directly at someone, but slightly off to the side so they wouldn’t notice my eyes.

Vision Therapy has helped me get more control of my eye alignment and make better use of my right eye, which used to turn off.  Each time I go to therapy, I feel as if I’m making my eyes better.  I don’t just notice physical changes either, but visual perception and personality changes too.  I am more positive about myself.  My self-esteem and confidence has given me a better feeling of doing well in sports and I am more comfortable socializing with peers.  My Optometrist/Vision Therapist, Dr. Winters, and the therapy program have given me a better outlook on life and myself.  I no longer need my defense mechanisms because of what Vision Therapy is doing for me.
I would enjoy bringing these changes and feelings to others, just like Dr. Winters does for me and his other patients.  He is a person I look up to in the profession because even though he doesn’t have superpowers, he has helped me with my troubles.  I can tell that for Dr. Winters vision therapy is not just about making a living, but about improving patients’ visual systems so they can have a better life.  I want to help kids and teens with their eye issues and with their outlook on themselves.  I want to be a Vision Therapist because it is cool and interesting and has had a deep, personal connection to me.  No child or teen should go through what I have.  I want to be someone who makes a difference.  Like Dr. Winters, I want to be a modern hero.