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Perrot Setting His Sight

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

by Mike Ball

September 27, 2004

(TORONTO) -- Things are looking a little clearer for Nathan Perrott these days.

As he and the rest of the St. John's Maple Leafs gathered at Air Canada Centre on Monday for grueling fitness testing before hopping a bus to Kitchener, the pugilistic forward discussed his latest round in an ongoing fight.

Perrott has spent a good part of his summer working with eye specialist Geoff Heddle in Boulder, Colorado. Heddle conducts vision therapy to help correct sight problems. Perrott has suffered issues for most of his life.

"I have a problem with my vision where I can only see out of one eye at a time, which affects my depth perception so I'm going through therapy to help correct it," said Perrott.

This can't help.
(Getty Images)

Receiving a pass on the go from a teammate without depth perception has to be one heck of a challenge. Just imagine dodging a punch from the likes of Georges Laraque or Peter Worrell.

The six-hour per day sessions were to correct what Perrott describes as "lazy eye" or amblyopia. Amblyopia is common, affecting approximately two or three out of every 100 people, and occurs when poor vision develops in one eye during childhood.

Perrott says his brain doesn't have the ability to process information from both eyes at once because they don't point in the same place at the same time. Without that, you have no depth perception.

"Well it's a good thing the puck is flat," he joked.

Thankfully, the condition can be corrected through exercises and treatment.

"I've been doing the therapy for two and a half months and I've come quite a ways, but it's going to take quite some time before I'm seeing with both eyes propery."

"I can see with both eyes in a little tiny area, but we're working on stretching that out.

"I've spent the last two months breaking down the mental barriers I've built up over the first 27 years of my life. It's really rewiring my brain, so to speak."

So as the tough guys heads back to the AHL he's looking to experiment with the strides he's made so far in his treatment, but knows the "A" will be no cake walk with an increased influx of talent heading down.

"It's a really good league. I've spent most of my career there. A lot of kids down there will be looking to make a name for themselves," he said with a sheepish gin, knowing that he'll be dodging punches again in no time.

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