On Thursday I had an appointment with a neuro-optometrist in Leigh-on-Sea, and I'm getting a very interesting referral. This appointment was specifically for my visual and spatial symptoms, but I have hope that it will be the path to deeper recovery. He asked me what my symptoms were. (Double vision, radically decreased area of focus, poor 3D perception and spatial awareness, almost absent visual memory). First he gave me a standard eye test, where nothing unusual occurred.
Then he tried out a set of mesh lenses. They were his own variation on an existing theme which generally helps double vision and dyslexia. (Search term: "honeycomb lenses"). They improved my vision in subtle ways. The scene in front of me was less visually confusing, depth perception was more present (things looked more 3D), and bright colours weren't so distracting and prominent. I was more aware of things at the edge of my field of vision, and my eyes were more able to focus. But everything was still double.
He then did a neurological test where he told me to look away, tapped me on the back of my hand and told me to locate the place he'd tapped. I was crap at this. I could feel the tapping but couldn't connect it to the right place on my hand. Apparently this signifies a body mapping problem and is characteristic of something called "dorsal stream dysfunction" (also called ambient processing disorder or dysfunction). The dorsal stream is the neurological pathway that leads from your retina into your brain, but does not handle what we think of as "vision". It deals with spatial awareness and body position awareness, and also has connections to other sensory processing areas. These connections have the weird side effect of making it possible to use glasses and visual exercises to treat problems in other senses such as hearing. (I have trouble processing sound too).
He has now referred me to a guy in Scotland (Ian Jordan) who apparently works miracles for double vision by using tinted lenses. This guy also cures prosopagnosia (face-blindness), which I've also got. He has suspicions of the MMR vaccine, which I had just before my symptoms began. He believes it can interfere with visual systems. The best part of all? He does all his work for nothing.
The part that is still unclear is how (and whether) all this is affecting my cognition. I suspect it is brain fatigue due to cognitive load - my brain is working overtime handling weird sensory inputs and its processing of other things is slowed. We'll see if things improve if/when the vision is dealt with. Until I've seen Ian Jordan, I'm going to hold off on the self-administered rehab program I was considering. I really think this could be the answer - or at least part of it.