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If you or a loved one recently lost vision in one eye, you may assume that your sighted eye will automatically compensate and it will be life as usual. Unfortunately, a transitional period does exist in which you will need to work toward feeling more comfortable and capable of managing all daily activities while relying solely on your monocular vision. Simply put, it is quite an adjustment. It may take six to nine months to adjust, according to Diane Whitaker, OD, chief of the Duke Eye Center’s vision rehabilitation service.

Dr. Whitaker developed a protocol to jumpstart adults who have lost vision in just one eye (monocular vision loss), no matter how the vision loss came about. Dr. Whitaker explains that many eye doctors have underestimated the process of re-learning and developing new behavior to compensate for this loss. There are exercises that can build up and make you more aware of your senses, which have a cumulative effect in your performance of daily activities, like tracking an object and driving your vehicle.

Visual Training Activities:

  • Reaching for and grasping objects
  • Orientation and mobility exercises to learn how to modify behavior to be more cautious when walking
  • Taking part in a rehabilitation program to become safer drivers using training and or adaptive equipment

Tackling such a comprehensive program will speed up recovery and improve confidence, according to Dr. Whitaker.

There are local programs that focus on this type of rehabilitation, so be sure to inquire through your ophthalmologist or optometrist. Putting in the time will be a great benefit to your independence and lessen any anxiety associated with your monocular vision loss.

Contact us at 732-774-5566 for more information.

Learning To Live With One Eye,” Duke Health Blog

Yesterday we had the pleasure of participating in Hackensack Meridian Health’s Mitchell-Vassar Vision Awareness Day held at the Grand Marquis in Old Bridge. Dr. Stacy Doumas and keynote speaker Jennifer Rothschild captivated the audience with stories of inspiration and emotional harmony.

Dr. Dumas discussed “Emotional Harmony” citing various techniques to ensure that our emotions are in agreement–to secure emotional stability as we go through our daily lives. She spoke about a simple concept that is often forgotten: We have the power to change how we react to behavior. It is in our hands. Don’t be overwhelmed, know you have the strength to get through the anxiety and difficult times, even if you wind up “sitting” in that difficult, uncomfortable space for longer than you had intended. Know that you can take the time, adapt, develop a resilience, talk to people, keep perspective and, most importantly, keep a positive outlook always. As Dr. Dumas reminded us: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

Jennifer Rothschild, at the young age of 15 was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retina condition which ultimately leads to complete blindness. In Rothschild’s words “light was replaced with darkness.” Through her story we saw that this was indeed a devastating diagnosis, but she chose to change her perspective. She shared that her condition did not define her, but, rather refined her path for the rest of her life. She turned to new outlets, experiences, and challenges to express herself living each day beyond her limits. She took on challenges and fought against doubt. She chose to make blindness her ally. Throughout her engaging discussion Rothschild explained that you can be the boss, your self-imposed disability DOES NOT define you, it actually helps you to grow. The key is trading fear for faith/flight. And, above all else always say, and believe, “I Can!” This positive perspective has allowed Rothschild to enjoy a rich life filled with personal as well as professional accomplishments and has been a great source of inspiration for those who received her very poignant message.

So grateful to The Mitchell-Vassar Bright Future Legacy and all the organizers at Hackensack Meridian Health who made this very special and educational day possible. The event, in loving memory of Janice Mitchell-Vassar, provided a poignant pep-talk for all attendees.

This year’s mission trip to the DR was another wonderful success, thanks to all the amazing volunteers that pitched in at every level. Drs. Ralph and Robyn Del Negro were accompanied by their youngest daughter, Isabella, and were very proud to join this amazing team of professionals.

Eye physicians and surgeons performed 400 surgeries including:

  • 166 cataract procedures
  • 8 Pterygium
  • 87 strabismus
  • 23 plastics
  • 38 SLT (selective laser trabeculoplasty)
  • 13 YAG capsulotomy
  • 3 dermatology OR
  • 62 minor procedures

In addition to the above surgical procedures, 1,214 primary eye care consultations took place, and a number of ocular prosthetics were used to replace the absence of a person’s natural eye, making a huge impact.

Here are some pictures from this year’s VHP DR Mission: