Updated: Dec 9, 2022
I took a poll on IG & you all were super interested in my writing about what has gone on with my own vision over the last few years, soooo here we go!
Without knowing my history, you cannot know the full picture. This is why it is so important to take a full history of patients.
Age 10 braces
Age 12 1st head injury ( concussion & loss of consciousness)
Age 14 first pair of glasses
Age 16 or 17 small whiplash injury with gymnastics
Age 18 or 19 whiplash with car accident
Age 22 small head injury from a weightlifting barbell
Age 24 glasses prescription changed
Age 24- 28 chronic insomnia, hormone dysfunction
Age 28 - moved to texas, saw a neuro-optometrist, glasses prescription decreased
So to begin, I had a head injury while I had braces on my teeth and 1 year later I couldn't "see" well. Ultimately, my cranium had gotten a hit of torsional forces going on which negatively affected my ability for my eyes to receive information. The head injury was significant as I lost consciousness and had a concussion. (I actually got punched in the face! At age 12, I stuck up for myself on the bus! What can I say, I was a little rebel from the start.) By age 14, I got glasses. I never really wore them until I began driving at age 16. By then I felt I needed them. Nothing too crazy here, just some typical growing-up things that can occur in life!
Let's skip to age 24 when I was a competitive Olympic Weightlifter. Here is where the story gets a bit more interesting. Around age 18 I began lifting weights and eventually got into bodybuilding and Olympic Weightlifting. Olympic Weightlifting is an extreme sport where athletes are pushed to the max to see how much weight they can lift in both the snatch and clean and jerk. From my size, I was a powerful athlete with hopes of making it to the national level. In my first year of weightlifting, my eye prescription had increased slightly. I just remember that I had been on the same script for all of graduate school and then when I graduated, I needed a new prescription.
From age 23-28, I was a super competitive athlete and my life revolved around my sport. I trained 20-25 hours a week and I could squat 2x my body weight. I could snatch up to 150 lbs and clean and jerk 185 lbs. I was also teeny tiny...I competed at 116.6 lbs. I was a promising athlete and I had worked so hard to achieve the goals I set out for myself. My biggest limitation was my ability to sleep. I struggled a bit as a child but I never had the sleep issues that started in 2016/2017 when I was 23 years old. By 2019, after struggling with severe insomnia that definitely affected my training, I started to realize that my body was breaking. I was having many symptoms of HPA axis dysfunction or adrenal fatigue. From sleep to GI to hormones & mental health, I was not regulating properly. I researched like crazy to figure out what to do, how to fix it and how to move forward in life. In 2019, I decided to take a step back from my love of Olympic Weightlifting. I actually wrote a blog post on that, so I will link it here. My body was too stressed out and Olympic Weightlifting was my greatest stressor
. Taking a step back from it was heartbreaking as an athlete. I still was feeling terrible & I even went on sleeping medication in 2019. Even with strong medication, my sleep was not regular. For humans that struggle to sleep- I understand and can relate deeply. It is very hard. When I can't sleep, I read, so, the only positive is that I end up reading TONS of books!
So, how does this relate to vision?
In 2020, I moved to Texas. The calmness of Texas helped me on SO many levels. it helped heal my nervous system & my hormone issues. I truly believe that you cannot heal in a place that made you sick. I went to see the neuro-optometrist that my mentor, Kasey, works with. The first thing he said after assessing me was that he couldn't believe how overcorrected I was. I was overcorrected by 1 full diapoter on each eye. That is a great deal of extra power in each eye! I should really say it is overpowering to the brain. Your eyes ARE constantly communicating directly to the brain. What you put on your eyes, affects how your body understands its surroundings. Of course, he changed my prescription and I continued on with my life. Little did I know how much it would affect me!
I was wearing something on my eyes all day for 4 years that powered up my nervous system so much that it did not allow my system to relax, causing me insomnia. At the time I did not know this. It took 3 days and I remember feeling like I was starting to sleep differently- deeper. After a month, I noticed significant changes in my sleep. Now, I sleep pretty well! Nothing compares to what I went through the last few years. Of course, I struggle here and there with sleep because I struggled for years. If I have anxiety from a long day or if I have to wake up super early for something important the next day, I usually struggle with staying & falling asleep. Overall my sleep has done a wild turnaround...and it is mainly from my eyes!!!!
I had a conversation with a different neuro-optometrist about this and she said although rare, she has seen this before. It is not everyone's solution to insomnia but it was mine.
Right now I walk around uncorrected in my right eye and slightly corrected in my left eye. When I moved to Texas, my original prescription (in 2016) was closer to -1.75 in my left eye and -1.25 in my right eye with no astigmatism correction. During my 1.5 years in Texas & with the help of PRI, my prescription decreased to only a -0.5 in my left eye. These changes took place over some time, (& some quite important dental changes) however, they are significant to regulating the nervous system. This is another reason I am also very against Lasik.... our bodies can change! Just because a script was static for 3 years does not mean that it will never change. My script was static from my senior year of college in till I graduated from Arkansas which was about 3-4 years, however, we clearly see that my prescription was incorrect and changed years later. Right now, what I am wearing isn't completely correct, as there have been many changes in my cranium in the past year, but it is pretty amazing to see how PRI plays out when it comes to vision!
Bodies can heal from within when given the right inputs!
I hope this story is interesting for you all to read!