I have been doing vision therapy for two years and I am obsessed with it. One thing I’ve noticed is that SO many of the activities are very simple…in fact, simple enough to make on my own. I LOVE to geek out over all vision therapy tools so being able to create my own is really taking my nerd alert to the next level.
So how can you create your own red/green activities to use at home?
- Open up your favorite computer program, I use Pages (similar to Word) on my Mac, but word or adobe illustrator would be good too and create a new file.
- Find the right colors that will cancel with red/green glasses. I use blue (Red 219 Green 253 Blue 254) and yellow (Red 252 Green 237 Blue 187)
- Create anti-suppression activities that have shapes/pictures/letters of each color and try to see both simultaneously.
- Make 2 of the same object, one of each color, and slide one just to the right/left of the other to get a great convergence or divergence activity.
Need more step by step directions? Read on!
Want to just buy some that I have already created? Head over to my shop!
Disclaimer: Check with your optometrist, ophthalmologist or vision therapist before trying any vision therapy or homemade activities. This is intended as a fun how-to for my fellow friends who love to have fun with their vision therapy home exercises, it is not meant to be a home DIY vision therapy kit.
What are Red/Green Activities and Who are they Good for?
With strabismus and amblyopia, there is generally one eye that is stronger. Getting both eyes to work together can be challenging!
It’s not as simple as other body parts. If I wanted to strengthen my right bicep, I would just do more bicep curls on that side.
The problem is that it’s not that easy when it comes to the eyes and the brain because most of their functions are automatic. We don’t make a conscious choice to use one eye or both eyes.
To get the brain to use both eyes, there are some great tricks to use, and red/green lenses are a very effective, simple solution.
When wearing them, the right eye sees through a red lens and the left eye sees through a green lens. Looking through a colored lens blocks out anything that is that same color. Looking through a red lens means that everything red (I actually feel like yellow cancels better) will be blocked for that eye. The same is true for a green lens except it generally cancels with blue.
Note: The same is true if you are using red/blue glasses, they are, essentially, the same.
This means that if you make a picture with a lot of different blue and yellow items, both eyes will need to be working at the same time to see everything.
Wearing the glasses in the picture, my left eye would see the tomato, hotdog and cake through the red lens, but the other items would cancel out. My right eye would see the pizza, pretzel, and turkey through the blue lens. So to see all six items, simultaneously, both eyes must be working.
This is beneficial for anyone who is having trouble using both eyes together.
So how can you make your own activities? Follow these simple steps.
1. Choose the Right Computer Program
To get started, you need to use a computer program that has shapes or images that can be manipulated. You will be changing the color, fill, outline, size, opacity and other things so it is a must.
Professional programs like Adobe Illustrator are ideal and extremely versatile, but definitely come with a hefty price tag.
I use Pages on my Apple computer and it is fantastic. They have several different pictures in the “shape” menu. Everything from shapes and animals to food or symbols. Each of them can be completely customized.
The newer versions of Microsoft Word have “icons” which are basically the same thing. I haven’t used this program, but from what I see online, it works very similar to Apple’s Pages program.
Just open a basic document and start adding the pictures you want.
2. Get the Canceling Colors Added to Your Color Pallet
Once you select an image or icon and put it into your document, you’ll need to make it a color that cancels easily with red/green or red/blue glasses.
Click on the object and click on the color option, on Apple it looks like a little rainbow ball. Once you click it, a new color menu pops up.
Find the sliders or boxes where you can put in your own color values, you are looking for the RGB sliders.
To get the correct color of yellow, use Red 252 Green 237 and Blue 187.
To get the correct color of blue, use Red 219 Green 253 and Blue 254.
If you’re interested in having the color saved so that you don’t need to type it in each time, drag the big box that has the correct color in it to the little mini box grid and you’ll have it for good.
3. Creating Anti-Suppression Activites
This is where you get to be creative. Just start adding icons, images, and pictures to your document and either turn them blue or yellow for very basic anti-suppression activities.
You can also create mazes, dot-to-dots, sudokus, or word puzzles. The possibilities are endless…as long as you have the time.
My mom gave the labor of love and even developed a font that can be used to make word shape puzzles and you can adjust the color to be one that cancels. It is available for download in my shop, check it out here.
- For beginners, make sure the items are larger, the smaller the icon or image, the more difficult the activity.
- Experiment with spacing. For me, I can keep both eyes working and keep the different objects lined up more easily if they are large and close together. When I leave big spacing, the images shift all over the place. But it could be the opposite for someone else.
- Adding on items that can be seen by both eyes is a great way to keep the viewer more grounded. Sometimes having that concrete item helps the brain.
When I look at the two slides below I have a very different experience. When looking at the more simple version without the glasses, my brain separates them further and they are not lined up vertically. On the slide with the glasses, I can easily see both lined up vertically and they are the correct distance apart. I go back and forth between the two for a great eye workout.
4. Creating Vergence Activities
Vergence activities are definitely more complicated, but they are also so much fun! I have created some really fun ones that I find really effective that you can see over in my shop.
To create your own, just add an image to your document. I prefer to just have the outlines, it makes it easier to see, so I select the “no fill” option and just use a border.
Then just make an exact copy of the same item so there are two of them. Make one blue, the other yellow.
For Base In (BI) the item is going to appear to go behind the screen while you are wearing the glasses. To create this effect, put the blue item on the right and the yellow item on the left. (This is for glasses with a red lens on the right side).
For Base Out (BO) the item is going to appear to come closer to you, in front of the screen while you were the red/green or red/blue glasses. To create this effect, put the yellow item on the left and the blue item on the right.
- Larger items are easier to see depth with so experiment with size.
- The further apart you space the items, the more depth the illusion will have, until they are so far, that the brain can’t combine them at all.
- Create several pages in a row of the same items spaced differently and skip from page to page.
- In real life, items that are close are larger than far away items, experiment with the sizes to either make it easier for the brain to see (matches reality) or harder (opposite of reality).
I have loved creating different red/green and red/blue activities so much. It has been beneficial for me in my therapy to try new ideas and it is just fun to geek out over eye games, I just can’t enough.
I can’t wait to see what you create!
I will be adding new activities for vergence and anti-suppression to my shop every month so keep checking back for new items!