As Yukoners, Vancouver is our medical hub, the place we go to see any kind of specialists. Since JF was having an eye surgery done on both eyes for a visual dysfunction, we decided to bring the girls to see a specialized optometrist. We found out some pretty interesting things about all of our eyes, namely that Mathilde has some moderate binocular dysfunction that explains a lot of things (reading difficulties, focus problems, letters and numbers inversion still frequent, etc.). In her case, all 6 of her eyes muscles are weak, making it really hard to track objects, focus clearly, etc. whereas in the case of strabismus, for instance, it's only one muscle that is weak. The treatment for this type of dysfunction is vision therapy, which is pretty much physiotherapy for the eyes. The problem is that usually, you have to be in one place for a whole year and come to weekly appointement (the whole treatment costs roughly $4500 and is not covered by most insurance plans). This amazing clinic understood our situation and got us to meet with a therapist that explained all the exercises to do in the next 6 months by ourselves!
On the first day, while I helped Mathilde for her peripheral vision exercise, I realized I did even more poorly than her.... and decided to book an appointement for the twins and I... We found out that both twins eyes muscles are in good shape, but that they are both near-sighted!! I was pretty surprised to find out about that since both JF and I have myopia... When I hopped on the optometrist chair, I understood. She told me that I had much more severe binocular dysfunction than Mathilde (weak eye muscles that make convergence, peripheral vision and depth perception - in my case - very hard). Ah!!! And I thought all my life that I was simply a poor basketball, volleyball, tennis and badminton player (and well, any other sport that included a ball or anything moving really...!) and that I was a bad driver. Now, I at least have a good excuse for my clumsiness!!... and numerous bike falls!
The doctor explained that there should be 3 components to an eye exam: eye health, vision and eye muscles, but that almost all optometrists only check the first 2. I actually had one optometrist told me I had peripheral and depth problems about 15 years ago, but never told me I could actually *do* something about it! She told us that she was flabbergasted by how healthy our eyes were! She told the girls: you are sure eating your greens, are you? I was pretty surprised to hear that our eyes reflected our green juice intake! She told Mathilde that our eyes don't care about meat, dairies or grains, that they are all about fruits and veggies! She went on to draw a very interesting parallel by telling her a story. She talked about farmers working the field that needed strong muscles. She said if one has weaker muscles, he gets tired more quickly than the other ones and will want to move on to another task or take a break. The others will think that he is lazy or that he lacks focus, but it is because his muscles are not as strong as theirs... Mathilde sighed and spontaneously said: I knew it wasn't all my fault!! Sweet girl of mine... I wonder how many children diagnosed with learning disabilities and ADHD actually have a visual dysfunction... Too bad it's not more known... and too bad most optometrists do not screen everybody for this type of problem. There is a great Ted Talk about this here.
Anyways, we didn't go to Vancouver for nothing! We also took advantage of our time there to spend some time with our Yukon friends who are spending the year in North Vancouver. We shared a few good meals and bottles of wine, and went for a short hike in beautiful Lynn Canyon together.
And now, as I write this, we are driving into Washington State for the next leg of our adventures!