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

Some are color blind. I am stereo blind.

Archive for the ‘monocular vision’ Category

Schools Need Binocular Vision Screening

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I read about an appeal to write my congressman from the “Let Them See Clearly Campaign” to add binocular vision screening to a bill, as posted in a DIY Vision Therapy Group I belong to on Facebook.

I emailed a rather lengthy letter to my House Representative about three weeks ago, using the campaign’s information, and adding my own research and brief personal story. I haven’t heard back, but hope to. It seems to me that adding binocular vision screening to this bill would be a good fit.  Here’s why (Although I just learned after posting that the writers want to create a separate bill*):

To the Honorable ….

re. H.R 3535 the “Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act” in Committee

Dear …..

H.R 3535 should add screening for binocular vision (BV) impairment to the vision screening protocol to identify students with visual disabilities.* BV is tested via an assessment of eye focusing, eye teaming, and eye movement abilities (accommodation, binocular vision, ocular motility.)**

Under the “Categories of Disability Under IDEA” (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), “Visual Impairment Including Blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”(1)

The Visual Impairment definition further states: “Most of us are familiar with visual impairments such as near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Less familiar visual impairments include: strabismus, where the eyes look in different directions and do not focus simultaneously on a single point…” (2)

Strabismus (Esotropia and Exotropia) is just one of many Binocular Vision impairments. More common ailments are:

Convergence Insufficiency, where the eyes fail to team together to see things up close. “Convergence is the coordinated movement and focus of our two eyes inward on close objects, including phones, tablets, computers, and books.”

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” where the brain suppresses the image from one eye because the image is different than that of the other eye.

Diplopia or double vision

Esophoria or exophoria, where the suppression of one eye is intermittent.

Strabismus, as either Esotropia (“crossed eyes”) or Exotropia (“wall eyes”), occurs when the suppression of one eye is well established.(3)

Undiagnosed Binocular Vision Impairments are increasingly triggered in children by our convergent-based technology, which requires turned-in eye-teaming on phones, tablets and computers, with little outdoor play to aid binocular vision development. (4)

Unfortunately, at the same time, children in school are being misdiagnosed in IEP’s when binocular vision problems inhibit learning. These children can and should receive an early diagnosis and, hence, the opportunity to pursue certified optometric vision therapy and/or recommendations from an Opthalmalogist to normalize visual processing and improve learning ability and quality of life.

Furthermore, IEPs must include accommodations necessary to aid the child undergoing optometric vision therapy as advised by their Doctor of Developmental Optometry, in order to not undo progress made under vision therapy. This may include not forcing the child to read, for example, until her unstable convergence issues are resolved.

-13 to 20% of the population have impaired binocular vision that is 75% curable according to a double blind study by NEI (5)

-Studies by ADHD and vision experts show 20 -25% are misdiagnosed and have binocular vision impairments (6)

-Autism.com says studies show that 21 to 50% of autistic children also have binocular vision impairments. (7)

“Binocular vision impairments are more common than you may think. Just one type of binocular impairment, amblyopia (“lazy eye”), affects approximately 3% of the population. At least 12% of the population has some type of problem with binocular vision.” (8)

As an adult with alternating esotropia, a form of strabismus (crossed-eyes), I can’t begin to tell you how much better my quality of life would have been if my condition had been diagnosed and treated while I was a child in the 1960s. My parents gladly spent money to straighten my teeth, not realizing that all their harping about my feet turning out and my poor posture was due to my eyes not teaming to create a visual center-line for my posture and gait. This of course made gym class excruciating, as I was always the last to be picked for any team (imagine trying to catch a fly ball without any sense of depth) and also made socialization difficult as other children did not know if I was looking at them or something else.

Instead of learning how to use both eyes together, in early childhood my brain spent extra energy suppressing the vision of one eye or the other to avoid double vision. While my early well-established suppression allowed me to read without difficulty in 1st grade, it has lasted for a lifetime.

The extra energy expended by the brain to suppress vision and live and move by monocular depth cues, instead of fusing vision from both eyes to see palpable space and distance, limits one’s ability to: multitask on any level (how many jobs require this?); drive well during demanding depth needs (e.g. driving multiple sized vehicles on the job); work in food service, landscaping, auto-mechanics, carpentry, etc.; participate in sports or recreation (eg. yoga, dance, catching or hitting a ball); or watch 3D movies (the latter is impossible.)

Please, please, make screening for binocular vision issues a goal, so that 12% of the population can benefit from early vision therapy intervention to avoid the everyday pitfalls this hidden, subtile disability creates, which must be endured for one’s entire life.

Respectfully
Lynda Rimke
https://leavingflatland.wordpress.com
*For reference:
Title II—IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND RELATED SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES
Subtitle A—General Provisions
Sec. 201. Identifying students with visual disabilities.
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr3535/text/ih

** https://covd.site-ym.com/?page=Exam

(1) http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/categories/

(2) http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/visualimpairment/

(3) http://www.covd.org/?page=VisionConditions

(4) https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/nei-pdfs/VisionResearch2012.pdf p50 “spending time in bright outdoor light appears to be important for normal eye development…In 1972, approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population, 12–54 years of age, were nearsighted, compared to 42 percent 30 years later”

The Binocular Vision Dysfunction Pandemic http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.covd.org/resource/resmgr/ovd41-1/editorial_binocularpandemic.pdf

(5) https://nei.nih.gov/news/pressreleases/101308

(6) http://www.add-adhd.org/vision_therapy_FAQ.html

(7) https://www.autism.com/treating_vision

(8) http://www.children-special-needs.org/questions.html

For further reading:

American Academy of Optometry Binocular Vision, Perception, and Pediatric Optometry Position Paper on Optometric Care of the Struggling Student For parents, educators, and other professionals August 2013
http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.covd.org/resource/resmgr/position_papers/revised_oct_18_bvppo_positio.pdf

http://www.covd.org/?page=VisionConditions

http://www.covd.org/?page=Vision_Therapy

* Let Them See Clearly Campaign LTSCC just commented on my Facebook share today: After meeting the HR 3535 writers from the American Federation for the Blind, they thought that though HR 3535 should pass that BVD needs its own bill. They said it was a statement piece that the extras may bog down my efforts and never pass. I do think a BVD on its own would be best and will talk to my legislation writer and my rep contacts about options. Thanks for the blog. HR 3535 should pass and will help with BVD along with a comprehensive bill. Working on that. :) Thx for your help

I replied: Let’s hope for the best. I’m going to add your comment to my post. Thanks.

And then, later: I’ve been thinking about this. I’m not happy they think comprehensive screening isn’t part of the bill. I mean, come on, how hard is it to add a simple cover uncover test and use a pen light? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZErvGS1EqyM

And just now: Ok, I remember— those two tests only discover well-established strabismus and not other binocular vision issues such as convergence insufficiency, which is far more common. Maybe a full bill just for Binocular Vision Disorders is the better idea … if it ever gets written!

 

Stereo Vision Survey

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Exciting news! Bruce Bridgeman, the gentleman who gained stereo vision after watching Hugo, has teamed up with Sue Barry of Fixing My Gaze to create a long crowd-sourced research project in search of those who have experienced increased stereo vision after watching 3D movies.

Although my stereo experiences are limited and have not yet been scientifically verified, there seems to be room for even me to take this survey, as there is a comment section at the end of three different sections where I can plug in additional information. (In my case, how BRAO has affected my vision.)

I encourage all strabismic adults to at least read the survey, which is instructive in itself. If you have had a stereoscopic experience after watching a 3D movie, share your experience in the survey.

The survey also takes into account if you have had any vision therapy or had your stereo-awareness measured by a professional.

The VisionHelp Blog

If either you, a family member, or any patients you encounter have developed stereo vision as an adult – even intermittent or weak stereo vision – please complete this survey developed by Sue Barry and Bruce Bridgeman:

http://bit.ly/1vThYaM

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The survey and its background were just published on page 13 of the new journal, Vision Development & Rehabilitation.  Through crowdsourcing of this nature, Drs. Barry and Bridgeman may be able to provide evidence to support that the viewing of stereoscopic 3D movies and similar modalities can be therapeutic for certain individuals.  We blogged about that possibility here last year, and this survey is an important step in that direction.

Completing the survey is entirely voluntary. You do not need to answer every question before submitting it. Your answers are sent to a spreadsheet which simply tabulates your answers with no other identifying information.  Thank you in advance!

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Shuffle Foot!

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In the last year that I’ve worn base-right prism I wasn’t completely sure if it made any difference. Until my glasses broke on Saturday.

The first thing I noticed was my left foot resumed it’s turn out. Then my left hip joint started clicking when I walked. Then it became apparent, very subtly so, that my head is pretty much turned left just a bit. All. The. Time. Which stretches the right side of my neck. In a previous post (many moons ago) I called the phenomenon “my 11 o’clock nose.”

This is the opposite of my initial visceral response exiting my Developmental Optometrist’s office the day I got the new lenses. As I stepped outside and headed to the car, I felt a corrective “shove” from the left. “Oh wow,” I thought “That’s where the car is!” Interesting.

My response when my doctor first put the prism on in her office and had me walk was interesting as well. “Oh wow, THIS is what a smooth gait feels like!” The very same traverse across the office just before felt like a horrible weaving sort of gait in comparison to my princess walk with the lenses.

In grad school, a fellow student from Taiwan had a pet name for me: “Shuffle-foot.” (Say it in your head with a Taiwanese accent: shuffle fOOOOOOOt!) I had never noticed what the long polished hallways of academia made obvious: I drag my feet. All. The. Time.

It took me about three months to adjust to the prism and only 3 days to regress to my life-long “normal.”

Tomorrow’s task: get out the super glue and try to put my glasses frame in temporary working order, and call for an eye-exam.

Although it was fun to dig out older glasses and compare, I was completely lost with my old progressive lenses, which I tried out first. Things looked ok and I was liking them better than the bifocals I’ve been using with the prism, perhaps because I didn’t have to suppress the lower part of my visual field when walking. Then I went to make a smoothie and poured the frozen blueberries from the bag, not into the blender, but onto the counter just to the right of it! (Which was totally weird, as this was also a shove from the left. Maybe residual?)

Next pair to dust off (since I didn’t trust myself with the progressives) were my glasses of 10 years ago, before I became presbyopic and was merely myopic. I am enjoying the clarity of just having distance vision and could probably get by with this script, except for that danged left foot way of walking.Image

Prism is like training wheels that never come off. I shall remain a prismer … it’s either that or the ball and chain of “shuffle foot.”Image

Written by Lynda Rimke

February 27, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Sightings in 2012

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SIGHTINGS in 2012

Dr. Leonard Press, in his blog Vision Helps states that

“stereopsis is a quale of binocular vision that immeasurably enriches our daily lives.”

Throughout 2012, I recorded my own 3D qualia in scribbles in notebooks and texts to my iPhone and iPad, and on my homesteading album:

120129qualebush

January 29
“I delight over the extruding branches of the two, snow covered honeysuckles in the evening light. I am so entranced I walk around each bush two times.”

February 5th
On my homesteading album, I wrote “I appreciate how I can use the balance board while doing dishes. It combines a core work-out with vision-therapy-enhanced ability to see 3D, as both sides of my brain are working at balance and therefore work more readily at bringing both eyes into play. Yes, I’m still leaving flatland. I never saw the hollow insides of soap bubbles before!

February 8th
Felt my eyes coming together on an apricot as I held it about 8″ from my nose. It was highly defined and inhabiting space. Later, as I rinsed a pan, the front edge appeared to be 3D.”

March 21st
In my homesteading album, I wrote “A very 3D bramble reaches out to me this morning.”

bramble120321

April 4th
I practiced physiological diplopia with the doorstop that is in the middle of the bathroom wall at Hennis, and “while looking at my fully extended finger, I continued to see two doorstops.

“Then, as I was washing my hands, I almost fell into the sink— it was so deep and the faucet so high!”

May 11th in my garden
“I bend to smell dames rocket. Then the onions pop!

September 2nd
“In the Hennis bathroom, I discover I can ‘hold’ the door bumper double image and track my finger with both eyes from 6” to arm’s length at intervals and see the distance between the double doorstop image widen and narrow. Then … I did it smoothly, like a trombone! No big stereo faucet pop after, probably because I was consciously looking for it.”

September 7th with one of our dogs
“Onslo’s nose becomes very long and 3D while we are relaxing on the couch.”

September 28th at Paint Oglebay
“After painting and lunch I tiredly hike up the hill feeling brain-drained and empty-headed, and thought ‘This is how I feel when I see 3D.’ Suddenly all the dead leaves popped out in sculpted beauty and the fronds of undergrowth along the path were moving independently and dancing in their individual spaces as I walked through, very very slowly, like a queen in fairy land.

December 30th
“While in the kitchen pouring, it feels like two eyes see. This is happening more often with space-intensive kitchen tasks.

Later, the folds of the shower curtain fill the space in front of me while I am seated as usual. This is the second or third time the curtain has taken on volume in the semi darkness of the light from an electric candle, just before bedtime.”

December 31st
“In the morning, as I approach the seating area around the wood burner, the angles of the furniture look strange and abnormal. Patrick seems further away and his feet appear larger … Foreshortened more.”

As an artist trained to draw the human figure, foreshortening of arms or legs is rather formulaic for me:closer is drawn bigger and farther away is rendered smaller than the way I see it. However, two or three times this last year, I actually SAW it. When viewed with two eyes, the approaching hand becomes much larger and the receding feet much much smaller.

It’s an apparent exaggeration of what I consider to be reality, from my normal, monocular point of view.

—–

It could be that these sightings are merely “monocular depth perception cues.” I have described many monocular cues here, and even more cues and an excellent post on how they contribute to the “quale” of stereopsis can be discovered at Vision Helps with an awesome link to a computer rendition of kinetic depth cues added to a 2D image here:

However, the fact that these brief glimpses stop me in my tracks and cause me to grope for words to describe what I am seeing is evidence enough that something exceptional is going on, something beyond my normal monocular depth perception cues, something extraordinary, however esoteric it may be.

“… to experience a quale is to know one experiences a quale, and to know all there is to know about that quale.” —wiki

Less than half full

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I lost the moon the other day. When I bent to see it out the passenger car window, the car roof blocked my left eye, but not my right. The moon hid itself in the blind half of my right eye. It was quite a surprise! Thankfully, I don’t normally see things disappear in this way.

It’s been over 3 months since my vision loss from the branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO) and I am pretty resigned to not regaining my central vision. The blindness in the upper half is a bit more than half, making reading impossible with the affected eye, and eye-teaming by pointing both eyes at the same thing at the same time next to impossible. My tests with the Brock string reveal a partial string in front of the bead that my right eye cannot see without a conscious effort to look above the bead (photo illustration here).

My decision to pursue more vision therapy to gain stereopsis is pretty much settled: if I could read with the right eye and see the Brock bead easily, I would go for it. But alas, I cannot. When it comes to seeing 3D, my glass is less than half full.

I do have one friend who has urged me not to fully resign myself to permanent loss until six months have passed. He also had BRAO and regained more vision in months 4-6. However, the retinologist said the ischemic tissue would resolve in about 3 months, so I’m mostly resigned at this point.

And so I have begun to grieve a bit. When watching the best documentary of Dr. Susan Barry’s (aka “Stereo Sue”) story yet (Imagine: The Man Who Forgot How to Read and Other Stories, Part 3 beginning at minute 11) I felt that I would never be able to see the front end of a Toyota (minute 14:14) with anything close to her jubilation over it’s roundness … I got misty-eyed when the film ended with Oliver Sacks sadness over his stereo loss (Sue’s gain is compaired to Dr. Sack’s loss in part 4). That night the family cat breathed her last, and the next morning the torrents flowed over the dual losses. My husband was relieved to see me cry, finally.

My self-portrait is another step in the grief process. Today, I took advantage of the cracked side of the mirror and left the top of my head in a vignette to illustrate not so much what I see, but how my impairment can feel at times. I’ve felt the need to do this portrait before pursuing my art again. (I still can’t make a nose pop out like it should!)

The good news is that my brain has smoothly pieced together a complete visual field. I actually do see a near-complete picture without wrinkles or cracks, but sadly, this is because my right eye is almost fully suppressed. I am a master suppressor, having suppressed my left eye for no real reason all my life right up to March 26th. I was beginning to overcome this rogue suppression when the BRAO hit. Now, ironically, suppression is helpful.

I only see my blind veil when the left eye is occluded by the bridge of my nose, most often when I turn to look behind my right shoulder to back up the car. At those times, I rely on my recently learned ability to look above what I need to see. Nothing is clear, but movement and large objects can be detected out of the corner of my right eye. Needless to say, I avoid backing up the car as much as possible, and do so very slowly when I absolutely have no choice.

I frightened myself passing a box truck last week. I felt way too close to the truck when I quickly got back into my lane after realizing the oncoming pickup truck was much closer than I had first determined. I felt it was a close call, and I’m sure the other drivers thought I was out of my head!

When not encumbered by driving, my summer hours in the outdoors have been delightful. I attribute this to a ramped-up sense of motion parallax. This week, picking blueberries and pruning are challenging my brain and eyes to orient myself in space. These are visually demanding situations where “where” is more important than “what.” When I make a move, the branches of bushes and trees diverge and converge just like a 2D video game. What fun! I also routinely search for and destroy the random leaves of returning poison ivy with carefully aimed squirts of herbicide, first-person shooter style.

Inside the Northern  Laurel Oak

I really sensed space inside my magnificent Laurel Oak, but alas, a photo doesn't capture volumes of air.

Occasionally, I thrill over my sense of what Susan Barry calls “palpable space” as well as the heightened textures of grass, weeds, and even asphalt. This is probably because I am seeing the world through my “other” eye and the viewpoint and perspective are new. While hanging laundry, I truly sense the space between the moving clothes-lines and pins. Sometimes, I am enchanted by the hollow spaces inside trees, and the “float” of the lily pads on my pond. I can see “under” the wire mesh deck table when I bob up and down in my deck chair in the evening cool. I see the space inside my coffee cup (this I consider to be true stereo). It is all a delight to my inner child.

So much of the world in my new, 5-acre homestead (photos here) is a rediscovery of childhood delights: stars at night and glorious moonshadow; weeds I haven’t seen since childhood blooming in delicate flower at the edges of the pond. We even have bats at sunset, that swoop over the pond in amazing aerobatics as they scoop up their insect meals: another childhood memory from my Nana’s summer cottage in New Jersey. When a cold front comes through, the clouds dance over the house and fields …

I can still be amazed at everything I see. I still SEE, and so my half-empty stereo-vision cup overflows.

My new brain plasticity

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My eyes are straight … sometimes. And sometimes, when I look at a thing and cover and uncover each eye, I can tell that they are not moving.

I want this to be my new default mode. Two straight eyes looking at the same point in space at the same time.

I have a window of opportunity to create a new default mode because, last Saturday, I lost vision in the upper half of my right eye. My body threw a small clot or plaque into the lower branch of my right central retinal artery.

My husband took me to the emergency room Saturday afternoon because we both wanted an ophthalmologist to look at my retina, as I had experienced strange spots and gradually increasing loss of vision throughout the day. We both thought I was having a possible retinal detachment, but in fact what the ophthalmologist found was a branch retinal artery occlusion.

I underwent a battery of tests to discover the source of the clot or plaque. All tests show nothing abnormal happening anywhere in my body. For those interested, I have given this detailed report to my vision therapy and strabismic friends in a new discussion on BRAO on sovoto.com

As I type this, I am using my left eye only. My brain and eyes are in what Frederick W. Brock calls a monocular posture. This is because the central vision in my right eye is half blurred, so reading and writing with that eye are not possible.

Maintaining monocular posture, means that only one eye fixates the object of special attention. The eye that looks at the object of regard is the eye that is used for the cortical interpretation of that object. The other eye is not used for that purpose. The other eye may,be looking in an entirely different direction. This ‘eye may have, at the moment, a perceptual purpose or it may not. The question now arises, is it used for any other purpose? If it has no other purpose, is kept in “cold storage” so to speak, we have monocular posture, for what the other eye is doing at the moment is of no interest to the organism. [1]

But I am not resigning myself to molecular posture without giving binocular posture a chance. Call it my bargaining phase: I am noticing my eyes are straight at times, with catchlights spot on in identical areas of my pupils. Furthermore, at times when I look at things with both eyes, the area above my blurred central vision is filled in correctly. This first happened when I looked out the sliding glass door. The central post was aligned. This morning I looked at our fireplace, and the fire was visible above the central blurred line. An unlit pillar candle in front of the fireplace was also in alignment.

Binocular posture is the ability to maintain such relative eye positions in anticipation of a certain visual task that both eyes directly fixate a single object of special regard: Binocular posture means, essentially, looking at a single fixation object with both eyes at the same time.[1]

I also am able to still alternate. This is happening mostly when I am trying to verify if I have binocular posture … when I am trying too hard. Or when I consciously switch to my left eye while doing close work, like reading or writing.

Maintaining separate lines of direct gaze for each eye, or strabismic posture. In the sense defined here, it does not include all strabismics but is limited to those who are ambiocular in their visual behavior.. The term “ambiocular” describes a condition where both eyes are used for separate and distinct purposes. That is, they attend to different functions at the sanE time. We find this posture in “anomalous projection” of alterating strabismic.[1]

My goal, for the next six months while I am waiting for ischeal tissue in my retina and vision in my right eye to resolve, is to increase opportunities for binocular posture and decrease activites that require monocular posture. This means limiting reading, writing, drawing and painting, which my right eye cannot do. It means increasing my awareness of what it feels and looks like when I am using both eyes correctly, with the feedback I am getting from my blurred central vision and the areas above it filling in correctly, in alignment. I am making these concessions to train my brain to NOT concede vision with my damaged right eye.

Concessions occur when there is a lack of demand for all existing abilities … Visual training if it is properly applied, makes a demand for all existing abilities. [1]

Sue Barry teaches the Brock String (Part 1)

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My new toy has only three beads

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.” — Dr. Seuss

I posted a link to a 9 minute youtube video of Sue Barry’s demonstration of the Brock String exercise on my last progress report. But I doubt everyone took advantage of that link.

There are some incredible epiphany moments that Sue shares that are identical to my own. Sue was, and I am, an alternating esotrope for over 40 years. Until she was 48, Sue used to see out of one eye at a time, and the non-seeing eye would turn in. She did this her whole life, until she began to work with the Brock string and teach herself what normal people learn as infants.

Read the transcript below to understand why, after five weeks of vision therapy, I am out-of-my-mind excited about graduating to a new career with the Brock String at age 52. It’s never too late!

+++++++++++

Sue begins by saying her developmental vision therapist, Theresa Ruggerio “taught me how to aim the two eyes at the same place at the same time … what I first did was use a technique called the Brock String, developed by my hero, Frederick W. Brock …

“He was brilliant, an absolute genius. He understood strabismus better than anybody else and he developed techniques for it, and he published a lot in Optometric Weekly in the 1940s, which is why nobody knows of him. But I do have copies of all his papers …”

Sue hands out strings with only one bead to the audience and instructs them to hold the string straight out from the nose, with the bead at the far end, next to the outstretched hand.

“How many beads to you see?” Sue asks.

“One.” The whole audience answers.

“Go-ood!” Sue offers warm positive feedback and the audience chuckles.

“How many strings do you see?” She asks with just a touch of orneriness.

The audience is mostly silent, then you hear ” … two.” … scattered answers from the three braver folks.

“You see two strings!” Sue confirms. “Why? Because you’re fixated on the bead; your two eyes are aiming at the bead. The bead is falling on the same central part of both retinas. But the string, which is in front of the bead, is falling on non-corresponding points of the two retinas … It’s not in the same plane as the bead. It’s in front of the bead, and so you see two images of it.

“The right eye image is the string image on your left and the left eye image is the string image on your right.

“Now take the bead and put it in the middle of the string. … What do you see now?”

(Multiple answers, some saying the strings are crossing)

Susan Barry points to the Brock String "X" made by two eyes fixated on the middle bead.

“So you might see something like this …” (see photo)

“What you’ve got here is the line of sight of both eyes. This is giving you the feedback to know where your two eyes are pointing.

“Now if you’re strabismic like I was, you don’t aim your two eyes at the same point at the same time. For me to learn how to do that (which is an automatic response that most people develop within the first six months of life … I did not) … I need to learn where the two eyes are pointing. How am I going to know where they’re pointing? The Brock String gave me the feedback to know where the two eyes are pointing.

“This to me was (she’s speechless for a second or two) … fantastic. It was just fantastic feedback.

“It wasn’t easy for me to do what you are doing now. What I had to do was start with the bead right about an inch from my nose, where people who are cross-eyed do have a little binocularity … and so I would start at what Brock would call the centration point where I could actually make a normal convergence movement and see one bead and the “X” shape around it.

“And then I would move the bead back a little, and again get the double (string) images and keep moving it back, and back and back, to develop a range where I could make normal movements of my eyes: diverge them for looking further, converge them for looking close. The bead and the string gave me the feedback to know.

“Initially when I moved the [bead] back, the left eye image of the string was going right into the bead, and the right eye image was faint, and somewhere (she waves her right arm) in the wrong place. And now I had the feedback to know how to move my eyes to get them both pointing at the bead. (She brings both hands together and touches her fingers to emphasize the centration point.)

“And then … I didn’t work with just a little short string. Eventually I graduated to an 11 foot string with five beads …

It took me a year to get to the point where I could do five feet, using three different beads. It took me a year to master that, because my whole life had been directed toward turning in one eye and suppressing this. So to get this new way of seeing, it look a long time.”

+++++++++++

Now you know what I’ll be doing every day that I can for the next year, and for 5-10 minutes a day for the rest of my life, along with other vision therapy exercises to widen my gaze and improve all my eye-brain connections.

I’ve been at it two weeks, and can see a bead from 4-7″ with that marvelous “X” … and I am working on using two beads, one at 4 or 5″ and one at 7 or 8″, to converge and diverge.