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

Some are color blind. I am stereo blind.

Never Play to the Gallery

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Words of wisdom from a man who maximized his unusual eyes:

David Bowie’s unique appearance was the result of an accidental injury to his left eye during a tussle with a friend as a teen. The friend’s punch landed close enough to his eye to cause the pupil to become permanently enlarged, a rare condition called anisocoria.

Read more about David Bowie’s anisocoria here.

What I noticed more than the difference in pupil/iris appearance in this clip was that he also appeared to have exotropia. His angle of eye deviation is so severe, it’s hard to tell if he’s looking at the camera, or at an interviewer to his right … or both. It has a crazy way of driving his message home.

It would make sense that his brain would suppress the eye with the dysfunctional pupil. I could not find an article to verify his strabismus, but strabismus in the form of exotropia, where the suppressed eye is turned out, is my educated guess. He may have even patched his right eye in the 70’s in an effort to correct amblyopia that developed in the dysfunctional left eye, and used the patch to good effect!

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David Bowie, 1974     |     Credit:AVRO

As a person with strabismus, I found his “Don’t play to the gallery” philosophy doubly inspiring. I can easily make the connection between his way of seeing everything differently and his commitment to remain true to his inner vision, no matter what others thought during his life.

It’s clear he did not let his unusual eyes get in the way of relating to people on stage or in interviews. If anything, his eye conditions informed his outlook on life and his music, as well as his other-worldly stage presence.

Bravo! Olé!

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Written by Lynda Rimke

September 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm

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