What I didn't realize until I recently asked my neurologist was I couldn't do it right after my stroke. I thought I was following her finger but I wasn't really. Every time I had to close my eyes to regain focus or turned my head were counted against me performing the activity. Even now when watching this video, I have to blink my eyes...15 months later. That shows I still have a problem.
DOH! I didn't appear to have a problem reading or so I thought. I started paying attention on how many times I had to go back and read a line of text or use my finger to read to keep my eyes focused on where I needed to be. I didn't notice it while driving because my head is always turning to get a clear picture of what is going or coming and measuring distances.
I can look straight ahead and see fine. For the first six months I couldn't look up or down without getting dizzy or disorientated. Yes, I could quickly resolve these issues with the none impaired executive function part of my brain. Now I can look down with no problem, but I can't look up the change a light bulb in the ceiling fan or snag cobwebs without feeling like I'm falling.
The same goes for scrolling text like twitter. My brain just can't handle the input from my computer screen. So for now, I've sworn off Twitter and tweets. But instead I get digest of what has been said.
Reading left to right is better because of the small screen on my e-reader. I actually have the font enlarged so that only about ten lines of text appear on the screen too.
I read books while I was in the hospital and didn't notice any problem. But what I really wasn't focusing on what I was reading either. Ask me what I read or what happened in any of the books and I couldn't tell you. That's because I was speed or skim reading. It was a trick I learned by having to read mountains of text books, IRS Code changes every year, and hills of research I do. By having a photographic memory, now kaput, it was easy to do. I could mentally flip the pages in my mind to recall what I had read.
I did notice the eye tracking difficulties once I came home. In part because I was having to focus more on everything because their wasn't someone available with just a push of a button. I started following my finger across each written word so my eyes wouldn't dance across the page or screen like some Fred Astaire/Ginger Rodgers musical because I couldn't make my eyes behave.
How did I achieve this ability since my stroke? I cheated and used focusing tools. A cursor, a ruler, a finger all helped me focus on one word at a time. I constantly tried to look at my left ear and then my right. No, I can't see them. Can you see yours? But it's a focused exercise in focus. I would do one side for a ten count and then go the other direction. But even with this I can't look up yet, but I can look left and right diagonally up so that's improving too, but not straight up.
My sister had what my mother called a "lazy eye." But I remember her doing eye exercises with her every day to strengthen weak muscles. Now when I'm tired or been reading to much I find my head moving along sentences instead of just my eyes. I'll put whatever it is down and close my eyes. Usually it's about nap time anyhow so it works out.
I once told a sister in law that yes, I was now visibly handicapped, but it's the muscles you don't see that cause me the most problems. Little things like stomach, bowels, diaphragm, throat, and even eye muscles are affected too. At least that has been the way of my stroke.
Anyhow, this is something I'm still working on. At times I feel like Marty Feldman who had no control over which way his eyes pointed. Although his condition was permanent, but with God's help mine won't be. I've set a semi hard goal of changing a light bulb by Christmas. Wish me luck.
Nothing is impossible with determination.