This is a question to all strabismic people here who alternate between one eye and the other. Do you control this alternation?
Since I read Susan Barry's book, I thought that her strabismus was very similar to mine. However, with time I started to notice small differences. The most interesting one by far, which I discovered recently, is that of my selecting the eye through which I looked. I always supposed that every person with strabismus of this type could do it like me, but I've learned that there is a lot of people who cannot select or even say which eye are they using.
This creates an interesting problem for me. My vision is very conscious. Almost too much. And binocularity seems to be the polar opposite: when it works, it is a purely unconscious process. I have to learn to see with my mind working without me noticing to a degree that seems quite extraordinary to me. I have the feeling that people who cannot say which eye are they using could acquire binocular vision more easily, just by correcting the position of the eyes.
For instance, one of my biggest problems about looking with the two eyes at the same time is that I always find visual contradictions between them which bother me and make me conscious of the process ("what am I supposed to see this like?"). Instead of being an advantage, these differences are a problem to me (although I think I'm getting much better at accepting them.
Any opinions or experiences related to this?
Best wishes to everyone.
I think you may be right about your ability to know which eye you are using and your difficulties seeing in 3D. I never knew which eye I was using. The fact that you can control which eye you use may indicate that you are very well adapted to your strabismus, so much so that it is hard for your brain to give up your normal way of seeing and use both eyes together.
You describe an exercise in which you look with one eye through a transparent piece of paper and strive to see the other eye's image as if through the paper. Have you tried a luster exercise which may be similar. If you have a pair of red/green lenses, put those on and look at a large, white light. If you see the light as colored only red or only green, you are looking with one eye and suppressing the other. Another possibility is that you see part of the light as red and part green. But, if you can merge the input from both eyes, you'll see luster, that is the light will not look red or green but some color in between, perhaps yellow. If you can get luster, then walk further away from the light to make it a smaller target and again attempt to see luster.
Have you seen a developmental/behavioral optometrist? It would be great if you could get their advice.
Thanks Sue, I didn't know I could try out luster with a light. I always thought it had to be a bright white wall. I'm going to have to try this, as I never seem to be around a white wall with my red-green glasses when the sun shines in Ohio. :-)
And I agree, Pablo, you owe it to yourself to get checked out by a developmental optometrist, if you can. I found one using the College of Developmental Optomestrists website http://covd.org/ChoosingaDoctor/tabid/84/Default.aspx
I can totally control my alternation when I want to, and have the exact same conflict over those "visual contradictions" each eye presents which is a sort of mental and emotional outburst: "How am I suppose to fuze THAT THAT THAT THAT THAT?
I also find that it's a bad habit that I subconsciously do when trying to fuze, and interferes with my binocular efforts. It's an emotional habit of needing verification by "checking" if both eyes are "on" ... by alternating to the other eye, which totally defeats the purpose! Did I alternate to the other eye or break precious fusion? I have no way of knowing. Self defeating, it is!
It still happens when I use the Brock string. I fuze for awhile and get that glorious X, and then I get tired or push the bead out of range and start seeing right and left eye views. Then I know it's time close both eyes and take a deep breath and just open them again. Usually, the X is back.
Lynda, I, too, have the habit of always wanting to "check" what I'm seeing with on or the other eye. In fact, I read once (probably on this site) that everyone sees more clearly when they look with just one eye --the example of sharpshooters was given -- this means, to me, anyway, that in order to fuse like a "normal person", I have to knowingly give up clarity/detail. This is something I really struggle with especially when doing close up work or reading/writing.
Pablo, i can totally relate to what you are saying! Ever since I was a little child, I'd always "play" with my vision noticing the different visual fields in each eye. I definitely can choose which eye to see out of and I agree it does make it much harder to relax and fuse with both. If you haven't had VT yet, I also encourage you to go for it. It takes a lot of work, practice and (for me) talking to my brain to get the stubbornly independent eyes to work together, but it can be done!
Sue, when I look at, say, a penlight with red/green, I see a light that is some parts red, some green, more like a mosaic but still distinct colors. Should I be seeing a blended color? What does it mean when I still see the red and green instead of the blend? Obvioulsy, both eyes are on and looking at the same thing, but just not fusing? Thanks so much for helping us all out here!
If you see some parts of the light as red and some parts green, then, as you write, both eyes are looking at the light but you are not merging the two inputs. Try using a much bigger light source and then moving closer to the light to see if you can get some luster.
Wow, and here I thought I was fusing!! I'll definitely try what you said, thanks.
Don't I have to actually fuse to see 3D though?
I was responding specifically to your question about looking at a penlight with red/green lenses. That's a small target and it might be hard to merge the input from the two eyes while looking at it. However, when looking at real world targets, you probably fuse and see in 3D. Your optometrist would know better. I was just responding to your specific question about the penlight.
Thank you very much for all the answers! It's great to discover people who has similar problems. When I describe them to friends and relatives, it seems as if I came from another planet.
Sue, I will definetely be trying the luster exercise. Let's see how it goes...
By the way, I'm already working with an optometrist, but I always find it difficult to discuss with her certain subtleties about my sight; the resulting conversation tends to get too abstract. Although she's a very good professional, she's had binocular vision all her life, and that makes some of my questions hard for her to answer.
On the other hand, she's intelligent and wise enough to accept this, and she sometimes prefers to give me some freedom in defining my goals. "You know the way you see better than I do", she answered me once. She controls the process from the outside, but she accepts that I am who does most of the work and who takes decissions on an everyday basis.
The very prestigious ophtalmologist who operated my eyes some years ago was the opposite; one day, when I was trying to explain something about my sight to her, she even said to me very dryly: "Listen, I know perfectly well how you see". Without me telling her anything she already knew. It was a completely different attitude.
I can consciously control which eye through which I look. Sometimes this annoys me, other times I think it's advantageous to have this skill.
When I was in VT I saw my alternating as a bad thing. Now, when I'm not in stereo and trying to put myself in, I focus on a very small target about 15-20 feet away while alternating from one eye to the other. A dozen pairs of these shifts can bring me into stereo. Perhaps it's akin to taking the time to blink fully and rapidly - sort of a reset - as was suggested by one therapist.
Reading some earlier posts, and considering the idea that the way we see could affect the way we think, I realize my sight might have to do with some other problems I have not mentioned.
1) I've never felt very relaxed, or sure of what relaxation means. This might have to do with the fact that, from what I read in another thread, there seems to be a natural link between relaxation and binocular vision as well as one between selective monocular vision and the opposite of relaxation.
2) I've always been very conscious of everything, and it is hard for me to let go. I have problems with my imagination and my emotions. They are there, but there seems to be a barrier which makes it difficult for me to tell what's there. For instance, I find it very hard to respond to suggestions. My conscious mind processes are always "on", and they block more intuitive powers.
Other features which could be related: I am very rational, a little obsesive and, as I mentioned elsewhere, I have concentration problems.
Do other consciously-alternating strabismics recognise themselves in any of these aspects?
LOL, all of the above! Let me see ... 1.) tight neck and shoulder muscles from childhood on, perfectionism, "type A" personality ... 2.) detail-oriented, intuitive thinker more than feeler, visual-spatial learner, analytical to a fault ...
You are saying "intuitive" where you may mean "sub-concsious" perhaps? eg. My thinking process is more divergent and intuitive than linear. And it never stops! I feel my intuition gets in the way of the sub-conscious process of creating the binocular fused images of stereo vision with two eyes.