Detached Retina-PVR: A Low Vision Specialist’s Huge Tape Tip

I’ve always thought of myself as a cup-half-full person. Just about any time that something hard or challenging occurs, I’m out there trying to help solve the problem or at least make things better. My continuing retinal detachments (a.k.a. proliferative vitreoretinopathy or PVR) together with oil that may never be removed from my eye, have challenged me.

My new glasses

My new glasses!

Following the fifth surgery in early December 2013 I’ve continued to feel frustrated, afraid, and helpless, not all at once, of course, but at various time and especially when double vision hampers my piano playing and writing activities.

During the winter months I began to feel a bit better. I made an appointment with a low vision specialist, an optometrist with advanced training in the treatment for people with sight limitations. Almost every eye clinic at a hospital or medical center has a low vision section. On the day in early February when I visited the specialist I entered the office feeling terribly sorry for myself, and within the hour I emerged feeling more positive and hopeful. Something wonderful happened at that appointment.

The optometrist spent quite some time tweaking my vision — not just looking at how my eye manages with the rows of letters, but also at how it processes shapes and colors under different light conditions. Using various combinations of lenses, she worked at lessening my double vision — actually she said it’s less double and more like overlapping vision because my two eyes cannot work together very well. I left my appointment with a splendid new prescription that helps me see a lot better with fewer vision coordination problems.

Scotch Gift Wrapping TapeBut the greatest piece of advice, the one that changed my attitude, and yes maybe my outlook on life, was the tip about Scotch gift wrap tape. My optometrist suggested that I put a piece of clear tape (3-M and it must be the purple kind — not the others) down the inside center of the right lens of my glasses to cut back on the double images. AND IT WORKS!

This little tweak, hardly noticeable to anyone unless the person is standing directly in front of me, addresses the issue of my two eyes not working together. Most of the time in most positions I see only one image, yet the bad eye continues to work and process light. The vision in that eye is not improved, but the tape, placed just right, cuts out the overlapped image. If I turn my head too fast in one direction or another, I see fleeting, uncoordinated images because I’m not looking straight through the tape, but it’s no big deal compared to what I was seeing.

Look carefully at the picture of my glasses, and you will see the tape.

I’ll have much more to report, because the low vision specialist recommended that I return for another examination in three months.

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