The Solution I’d Been Searching For
I developed a balance problem immediately following the birth of my daughter 21 years ago. I saw multiple doctors and had extensive testing done at the time, but no one could tell me what was wrong with me. I made adjustments to my life over the years because walking around outside in wide open spaces or around a mall or parking lot was terrifying for me because I didn’t know if I was going to fall or stumble. I also had no idea why these symptoms would happen, so it was just too scary to do a lot of things. I could keep the symptoms under control while driving until about a year ago, when the symptoms became dramatically worse and I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive any longer.
I frantically searched around online to see if I could come up with any reason for why this happened to me, and I stumbled across some websites with people describing my exact symptoms. Their problems had all been with their eyes. I made an appointment at Northampton Vision Specialists, and after the extensive testing they did, Dr. Hannigan walked into the room and told me that yes, my eyes were my problem and that they had a solution for me.
I took part in their Multi-Sensory Training, which at first seemed very unconventional but later proved to be a miracle. After finishing up the therapy, I am able to drive again. I can also walk around a mall or outside in the open, and I feel as though I have my life back. I’ve even driven on the highway again, which was something I hadn’t done in years.
Everyone I came in contact with at the office was kind, caring, patient, understanding, and most importantly, incredibly knowledgeable. I can’t thank everyone there enough, especially Dr. Hannigan, for being able to define my problem and for giving me the solution I had been searching for all these years.
A New View of the World
Since first grade I knew my eyes were “funky.” I went cross-eyed in a variety of settings – the theatre, watching a music performance, sometimes in a movie and once simply sitting in a small class with a teacher who made me nervous. I sometimes had double vision and often had headaches. I worked with behavioral optometrists in my twenties, and again in my thirties, but did not have success in overcoming my problems. Then when I was in my forties, I found Dr. Ruggiero and her team.
Getting My Life Back
On February 21, 2009, I had a stroke. At the time, I was in my early 50s, without any significant medical conditions, active and living a healthy lifestyle. The stroke happened on a Saturday afternoon while I was doing some easy chores and projects at home; no precipitating cause was ever found. Along with a total loss of equilibrium, the stroke caused severe double vision and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). After discharge from the hospital, I spent a few weeks in rehab learning to stand and walk again. However, I still couldn’t see to read, write, drive or work.
That all changed when I met Dr. Ruggiero. I completely credit her and her entire staff for giving me my life, as I knew it, back.
Unparalleled Breadth of Care
I have recommended several friends to Dr. Ruggiero’s office because I think the level of care, the commitment to treating patients as individuals, and the willingness and interest in problem solving individual circumstances to their most beneficial outcomes is of highest priority in the office.
As an educational consultant, I have also facilitated contact between the parents of students in area schools with her office when children are struggling with academic work in ways that might be related to the functioning of their visual processing systems. As more research is published concerning the effectiveness of vision therapy, it is essential that students who are in need of these services receive them.
When I recommend Dr. Ruggiero’s office to others, I tell them that the depth and breadth of care will be unparalleled. I also tell them that the interpersonal interactions that I have had with all members of the staff have been excellent, professional, helpful and supportive.
As a musician, teacher and performer, good vision matters – close up, far away, and in between – for various aspects of my work. But not only have I been nearsighted since grade school, I’ve now added aging eyes to the mix.
Dr. Ruggiero understands my vision and my needs and has worked with me to find the perfect solution for my eyes and my lifestyle. She looks at the big picture and doesn’t stop until we’re both satisfied that my vision is the best it can be. My contacts work great at all ranges – no need to carry around reading glasses – and my backup glasses give me seamless vision as well.
I find myself recommending Dr. Ruggiero over and over to friends who are not happy with their prescriptions or who say, “I can’t wear contacts because…” The attention to detail, breadth of understanding and care that Dr. Ruggiero brings to her patients makes all the difference.
Wearing Glasses with Ease
I was desperate for reading glasses; I couldn’t even see well enough to read the newspaper! Yet every time I tried to use glasses other than the ones I’d had for a long time, I’d get violently motion sick and remain so for hours afterwards. I was deeply afraid that I would “lose my vision” when my old glasses inevitably broke.
Dr. Ruggiero figured out right away that my convergence insufficiency was the root of my inability to switch glasses. Thanks to the appropriate diagnosis and effective vision therapy, I’m now able to switch glasses like a normal person – and see!
A Trusted Physician
When my complaints about my vision lead to the conclusion that my eyes weren’t working together as a team, Northampton Vision Specialists provided vision therapy – and what a difference! Conversely, when a diagnosis indicated a retinal problem, they were speedy in getting me to a specialist – no three-month wait, and no attempt to fix it themselves.
Bottom line: I’ve had very few doctors whom I felt cared about me personally. There have been some, and Dr. Ruggiero is right up there at the top. Visiting her office for an exam is like having coffee with a bunch of friends – and by the way – here are your new glasses. Except for the dilated eyes, I always leave her office feeling good about myself and the day ahead.