From a very young age I always struggled with reading…I found it challenging and difficult. While reading I found letters would jump around and really struggled to focus. As a child I didn’t know any better and many of my primary school teachers blamed dyslexia for me not being able to fluently read. I would openly discuss these issues with my parents growing up and had several eye tests however they all said my vision was perfect. Maybe I was dyslexic after all.
Being a determined individual and academically quite bright I made up for this deficiency by putting in addition effort. Often I would stay up memorising material to pass examinations at high school. The main reason for this was spelling. I could not spell and was years behind. All this was down to lack of reading, other than schoolwork I can openly say I read no more than 5 novels my entire life, 2-3 of which I finished in full. Not only could i not read, i was embarrassed with my literacy skills and was a huge personal issue in my teenage years. My mother’s a teacher and she was fully aware of my issues.Often she would encourage me to read and would purchase countless books however no matter how much will power I had (to please her mainly) I simply could not read. I gave up. The more I wanted the harder it was. I would force myself to focus on the text however the more strain I put on my eyes the more tired I became. Letters even paragraphs would start jumping around the page, the book would become fully animated. I can only describe it by forcing yourself to go cock eyed continuously in and out of focus then attempt to read a page. I would get to 10 pages of a novel and be physically shattered. My head would be spinning, the back of my eyes would be strained and sore. I can honestly say that reading had negative physical effects on me. It may sound dramatic but it actually made me feel unwell. This gave me no desire or will to read… I admired people who could sit down for hours reading a book… but I knew this just wasn’t possible for me.
Anyways on I went and got accepted to the University of Glasgow to study Aerospace engineering. It’s not an easy course and the amount of studying & reading required was a whole new level. I couldn’t memorise everything to pass the exams and my usual memorisation strategy was failing and by the 3rd year of the course I was struggling, it was too much. I would miss lectures because I was physically exhausted, I would constantly be light headed and the thought of reviewing materials in the evening was a dread. I just wanted to sleep because after a nap I felt normal again,I was no longer dizzy and could actually think. At this point I was doubting my ability and was seriously contemplating dropping out,it was just too hard. I didn’t find the material that difficult… its was the quantity of reading and I was struggling with it.
My mother as a teacher had always had a keen interest in my issues, she always knew i struggled and she always belived I wasn’t dyslexic, regardless of what other professionals had told her. That year she attended a seminar about children with learning difficulties. By coincidence Bill was there and did a presentation on the work he performs with eye therapy. I believe he is the only optician in the area that is crossing borders and going beyond the the mainstream and interlinking vision and vision therapy to learning difficulties with children. Certainly 10 years ago when I attended this therapy it was unheard of. After this seminar my mother instantly related his theory’s to the issues I was experiencing. When she told me I can honestly say I did not belive this could possibly help me, I was not convinced. However through shear desperation and facing dropping out of University I attended a weeks vision therapy with Bill.
On initial diagnosis, with a standard eye test with Bill I had perfect vision… I could read the bottom line off all the cards… This was what I was being told my whole life by your standard high street optician. When we did extensive focusing tests however, the issue was instantly apparent. I was loosing focus within a foot and regaining this focus took nearly two feet. This is the exact range you read a book. I was struggling and my periferal vision was non existent.
We embarked in the most unconventional therapy I know. Shining lights into my eyes, doing speed tests on boards wearing various lenses of different colours… at the time I thought this must be a gimmick but it was fun. What Bill was telling me was true.He was describing my issues then he would say ‘try these funny glasses bet this will help’. Sure enough I could read text 4 inches from my nose….I’ve never been able to do this my entire life. We continued and completed the course and although straining on my eyes after a days rest I could actually read more than 10 pages without getting tired or dizzy. I can honestly say I could not believe the results. That week I read my 1st book in almost 5yr. Over the next six months I continued with Bills exercises training my eyes and the difference was night and day. I honestly belive the therapy and glasses had a big part in me graduating and lead to me have the successful career I have. I don’t view Bill as an optician, his work is on par with my GP. Without my glasses I feel unwell.
I will be forever grateful for that day my mother listened to his seminar.