Socks

After I posted the Glaucoma Study entry, Eliz said that I should have talked a bit more about the socks task.  At the school where Eliz used to teach and our kids went, they would call this the Socks work.  It was work for me.  Here’s how it worked…  There were seven socks pinned to a board on a wall at eye level.  There was a table that was 30 x 60 up against the same wall that you could spread the 10 socks out on.  You then had to place the sock on the table under the correct match that was on the wall.

The first time I did this task, I was given the ground rules: I couldn’t touch the socks on the wall, I could get as close as I wanted, and, there was no time limit.  Most people had to this (and all the other tasks in the study) three times.  First time with both eyes, the second time with one eye covered, and the third time with the other eye covered.  I only had to do it (and all other tasks) twice since I have only the slightest vision in my right eye.  Believe me, 2x is enough.

I verified the ground rules with Maryanne before we started.  The last time I did this task the observer seemed to have a problem with the way I did this task.  She then started the clock and I began the task with my right eye covered.  It was covered from the last task and both Maryanne and I forgot to remove it.  I spread the socks out on the table, looking for the one I knew had no match.  It was easy to spot since it had cream or gray colored stripe near the top of the sock.  Now I just had to find the correct seven of the remaining nine and match them up.  So I hopped up on the table and zeroed in on a lighter gray sock on the board.  I found two socks that were similar in color and held them up close to the one on the board.  I could feel a pattern on one of the socks and knew that wasn’t the correct one.  I placed the other on the table beneath its mate.  This went on for about 18 minutes.  I missed two or three.

Now it was time for me to do it with both eyes.  It seemed silly for me to do it with both eyes, but at one of the other tasks I had done better with both eyes than with just my left, so I was up for seeing if it made a difference with this task.  I asked Maryanne to mix the socks up so that it would be a fair comparison.  She did and then started the timer.  I found the striped sock again and discarded it.  I hopped back onto the table and began matching.  This time it only took me about 11 minutes and I got ’em all!  I think that was the first time in the study that I matched them all correctly.  I was happy until I realized it took me about a minute and a half to match a pair of socks.

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Glaucoma Study

My latest Fields

My latest Fields Test done at Wills Eye during a glaucoma study.

Over the past year, Eliz and I have taken part in a glaucoma study at Wills Eye in Philadelphia.  I was asked if I’d be willing to participate and when they realized that Eliz would be bringing to each session, she was asked to participate as part of the control group.  Fortunately, Eliz doesn’t have glaucoma!  The study included a (torturous) visual fields test, IOP and vision  check, a questionnaire on how glaucoma affects your life, an obstacle course, spotting different size boxes around a room, dialing a “telephone,” reading in varying lighting conditions, spotting objects moving on a computer screen, and, my favorite, matching socks.  It takes about three hours to complete and we had to go in four times within a year.  Last Thursday (17 Sep) was our last session.

We were compensated $20 (total) and had our parking validated at each visit.  At the end of the study, we are each to receive $160 (which is due in the mail in the next week or two.)  To get paid to get a fields test is AWESOME!  It’s like getting paid to be water boarded…  The fields test is so exhausting to me, because I have trouble just looking at the dot in the center of the machine.  I only get the test done on my left eye, as my right eye can barely tell light from dark (I can tell light is shining on it by waving my hand between my eye and the light source, about 10 inches from my eye.  If I see a shadow, I know there’s light and six more weeks of winter.  Of course, I could always just open my left eye, but I like to know what I can see with the right eye.)  For those that haven’t taken a visual fields test, as you look at the center dot, a series of lights, ranging in size and intensity, flash all around the inside of the machine, one flash at a time.  You have button in your hand that you press if you see the light.  It’s kind of like being on a game show.  I would hope that I would hit the button more if I were on a game show…  I’ve posted my my fields test from that day so you can see the results, they weren’t pretty.

One of my concerns that day was the eye chart.  I could only see the big E at the top with my left eye (the “good” eye.)  That is the 20/400 line.  I was able to see the E on the 20/200 line, but only with the pinholes.  I have noticed over the past few months that my vision seemed to be slipping (again.)  I have also noticed some double vision, especially on lighter objects with a dark background.  This is extremely frustrating, because it has really effected my reading on the computer.  I have a local ophthalmologist appointment next week, a glaucoma specialist appointment the following week, and my cornea specialist appointment in mid-October.  Hopefully, one of them will be able to find the problem and fix it (though I’ve been waiting my whole life to have my problem fixed, so I won’t hold my breath.)

I was asked at the glaucoma study if I would be interested in participating in more studies.  I told them I’d be happy to so.  It upsets me when I see a young kid at Wills Eye to see a glaucoma specialist.  I know what is ahead for them and it isn’t fun.  I also know what you are now thinking, ‘With technology and stem cell research, they’ll be able to take care of that problem…’  I hope so, but pardon me for not being as optimistic.  Those same things have been said to me over the years, from the time I was in middle school to the present day by friends, teachers, coworkers, employees, and others.  I’m still waiting.

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