Wide-eyed Wonder: an artist's musings on three-dimensional vision

Some are color blind. I am stereo blind.

“The Matrix” in my head

with 2 comments

Morpheus:
You’re here because you know… feel…
that there’s something wrong with the world…
like a splinter in your mind…

Do you know what I’m talking about?

Neo:
The Matrix.
What is it?

Morpheus:
It is everywhere…
it is the world that has been pulled over your eyes
to blind you from the truth.

"The Matrix" ©Warner Bros.

This morning, in broad daylight, I body-slammed into the right side of a doorway, then over-corrected and bumped the left side on my way through. I turned around and looked at the door with my binasal-occluded glasses and said out loud “What was THAT?!”

“The Matrix” in my head is reprogramming itself to ignore the peripheral vision I first saw with the binasal-occluded glasses, that’s what. I’m running into a law of diminishing returns. It’s been weeks since I first giggled like a kid in wonder because I was so newly aware of the optic flow of the doorway going by as I walked through it. It’s been weeks since I’ve felt I was in a movie or video game while wearing the glasses and seeing motion parallax in action. I’ve gotten used to ignoring whatever is not directly in front of me, even with the occluded glasses.

How to keep seeing that heightened reality of the doorway when the psychological novelty of seeing for the first time has worn off? That is my new big question.

Maybe the answer is to wear the glasses a little less, to get the novelty to kick in again.

The larger answer is this: I need to work more consistently at widening my gaze both with and without the special glasses; to create a habit that, after days and weeks of conscious application, will become a part of me without thinking.

I’ve learned to correct my slouch while driving this way, and learned to squat to pick things up and save my back, so I should be able to learn how to maintain peripheral awareness, use my left eye more, make my eyes track better, etc. just by consciously and consistently making myself do these things more often than not.

That’s the training part. Neo went through training, lots of training.

Neo:
Why do my eyes hurt?

Morpheus:
You’ve never used them before.
Rest, Neo. The answers are coming.

My eyes do “hurt” for a bit, after I pushed them right and left and up and down with the new exercises I got yesterday. The goal is to condition my eyes to move without moving the rest of my body. I am now stretching muscles that have not been stretched before, and they will grow more supple over time, little by little. Those muscles feel a little tired after the exercises, but it is a good tired because next time they will be stronger and more able to do the work. That’s training.

In fact, I also get mentally weary. During yesterday’s office visit, after the umpteenth time answering whether the chart had gone up or down or right or left or up and right or down and left or up and left or down and right when a prism was applied, the brain-fog rolled in and I just couldn’t see movement anymore. My therapist knew to give me a break, to have me rest my eyes and brain. But we both know I will be able to sustain more visual awareness next time. That’s training.

Morpheus:
The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy…

You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it …

Were you listening to me Neo, or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?

Neo:
I was …

"The Matrix" ©Warner Bros.

It is so easy to fall back into old visual habits of not seeing … of dullness to the realities around me.

This is the visual suppression system I have depended on for as far back as I can remember.

But if I’m ever to break free of the matrix of visual suppression in the back of my mind, I will need: endurance born of a strong will to break free, a vision-therapist guide to take me through training, and my fellow shipmates to encourage me along the way.

Neo:
I know what you’re trying to do.

Morpheus:
I’m trying to free your mind, Neo, but I can only show you the door, you’re the one that has to walk through it…

You have to let it all go, Neo, fear, doubt, and disbelief.

Free

your

mind.

"The Matrix" ©Warner Bros.

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2 Responses

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  1. Beautifully done, Lynda. We always look forward to working with adults in vision therapy who can internalize change. Few can articulate change as well as you. It can be frustrating at times, from “the other side of the table” for we as therapists and docs to try and guide adults to self-discovery who aren’t nearly as motivated as you are to change. It is a huge commitment, and we thank you for giving voice to the changes you are going through. Your visual system is a giant jigsaw puzzle that was years in the making in assembling with your former adaptations. The disruptions you’re experiencing with binasals, and re-configuring these pieces into new peripheral/central maps can certainly be disorienting at times. Keep up the great reporting from the front lines!

    Len

    January 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    • Dr. Press, I’m delighted that you are enjoying hearing from “the other side!” I’m happy to report the journey, as best I can.

      Yes, my suppression “matrix” has dominated my visual cortex for 50± years, undetected. I’m happy to at least unravel some of the funky adaptations that have been a hindrance to seeing well, even if fusion remains elusive.

      Yesterday, I discovered the left side of my nose! Imagine that!— not seeing the left side of my nose for 50 years AND not even being aware of how crazy that sounds?

      That’s one reason why the blogging is helpful to me. I can report my discoveries and those who value them can also enjoy the process. It’s a win-win. :-)

      Lynda Rimke

      January 15, 2011 at 10:13 am


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