Posts Tagged ‘vision’

I Have Parallax and Stereopsis; Do You?

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I recently got glasses for pretty much the first time in my life. And they found something wrong with my eyes that NOBODY ever looked for before. I want you to know in case your vision might be like mine.

Everybody thought my vision was great. Things were in focus, and I could even read small things very far away. I could see the 3D thing in the test book, and my peripheral vision was good. So what could be wrong?

I noticed about a year ago that I was having trouble focusing, but it changed from day to day. I finally saw someone about it. My eyes are healthy. No disease. I’m pushing 40, so my eyes don’t focus as fast as they used to, and it takes a bit more effort for them to stay in focus. I have a very slight astigmatism.

The optometrist mocked up some glasses in those funky steampunk things they have. He asked me to try those, and make sure the floor wasn’t warped and the walls weren’t slanted. I put them on. And something amazing happened. I felt like I had put on 3D glasses.

Evidently, for many years, my left eye has been weak and terrible. My brain’s response to that was to mostly ignore what was coming through. My right eye is nearly perfect and in focus, so life was in focus… but life was fairly flat. I had decent depth perception. I could drive well. I played tennis. I didn’t bump into things, or try to put a drink down where the counter had ended. But everything looked like a flat photo. Things closer to me didn’t stand away from the background. They seemed part of the background.

Because my brain was mostly ignoring my left eye, I didn’t have a true stereo 3D view of life. I couldn’t describe this to people… how when I put on these glasses, they were like 3D glasses. My friend, Eli, an artist, understood. He said, “You have parallax.” Yes, that was it! I wiki’ed that, and found my way to stereopsis. People confuse stereopsis with depth perception, but according to the article, people without stereopsis can still have good depth perception since the brain gets plenty of depth and distance info from one eye. So that was me.

I have 3D glasses! My life is in 3D. I had no idea anything was wrong. So make sure that when you get your eyes checked, if you live in a flat world, if everything looks like a flat photo, make sure the doctor knows. It can be helped! These glasses help so much that the moment I put them on, my brain accepts a lot of what’s coming in from my left eye, and I get stereopsis. Amazing. Life-changing.

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