I'm not very sure about it, so I would like to ask to all people who recovered or is in the proccess of recovery of binocular vision about a recent experience I had.
I nowadays use both eyes most of the time, and although the fusion is far from perfect (my central area of vision tends to switch or even duplicate things some times), I think I might have noticed something peculiar when watching films.
I was diagnosed ADDH because I had problems with concentration, but medication never made it any better for me. When I watched a movie, I was thinking about something at the same time, and my attention alternated between the movie and my internal monologue, making the proccess a little tiring.
In the last few weeks, however, I've watched several movies and I've found myself thinking in the middle of the picture: "Hey, I'm quite into it, I haven't thought of anything else in the previous hour". When I came to think about it, I discovered that, in fact, I had different thoughts about different things during my watching the film, but these thoughts did not dettach me from the movie. That's, I think, the difference. Instead of being departures, they were integrated into the experience. It reminds me of Sue Barry's description of the strabismic way of abstract thinking.
Sounds familiar to anyone or it doesn't seem to be related with vision?
I am just starting to acquire some binocular vision, but only at near distance. I can tell you that I have had similar experiences with watching movies, especially if it is an action movie. I think it is just too much to keep up with, and since my vision doesn't catch all the action, I tend to depart and think of other things as you mentioned. I related very well to Sue Barry's mention in her book of falling asleep during action movies, as this has also happened to me! So if you have good binocular vision most of the time, and notice you can focus more on a movie, that is encouraging to me and something to look for as i improve my binocular vision. Thanks for sharing!
I suspect better concentration is very related to improved vision. Think of two meanings of the word "focus" for example... Could you copy paste Sue Barry's description of the strabismic way of abstract thinking for us? Or let us know what page(s) that's on in the book. Thanks!
From pages 131 and 132 (paperback edition):
Most surprising to me was that the change in my vision affected the way that I thought. I had always seen and reasoned in a step-by-step manner. I saw with one eye and then the other. When entering a crowded room, I would search for a friend by looking at one face, then the next. I didn't know how to take in the whole room and its occupants in one glance. While lecturing in class I always spoke about A causing B causing C. Until I watched my children grow up, I had assumed that seing the details and understanding the big picture were separate processes. Only after I learned the details could I add them up together in the whole. I could not, as the saying goes, see the forest for the trees. But my kids seemed to be able to do both at the same time.
I hope Mrs. Barry feels OK about my quoting a small extract of her wonderful book here.
Thanks Pablo. This gives me something to think about. If you are uncomfortable posting excerpts, we've all got the book and can look up any pages you give us. :-)
Thanks Pablo for initiating this discussion. When I first wrote Fixing My Gaze, I wondered if some of the characteristics I described about myself (such as falling asleep during movies, struggling to see the big picture) were just my difficulties or were indeed related to my vision. It is very reassuring to know that others with strabismus have observed the same thing. On the upside, my ability to watch a movie has gotten much better after vision therapy although I still can't imagine watching a double feature.
It sounds like you have made great progress! I fell asleep during Star Wars when I was 18...on a date! I have always had a difficult time concentrating on action movies. I look forward the change in my ability to focus. I have the same reaction to sports games.
Yes, I've always had a hard time keeping up while watching sports. I often miss important plays!
Just remembered, I fell asleep during the first Alien movie. :)
Not being able to see the wood for the trees is exactly how I feel most of the time. For example, when working I am good at the analysis and fine tuning, but addressing higher level business goals is always quite a challenge. I find that I need to jot everything down in order to work out get a good feel for the larger picture, by which time everyone else has arrived and moved on. Is it really possible that the strabismus can play a part in this?
I am certainly very distractable and my mind wonders all the time. I remember when I used to practice the violin for several hours a day as a kid. I'd practice an exercise, look at my watch and find that an hour had passed by without actually concentrating at all. Goodness knows where my mind had been. Around the world and back.
I don't tend to have an issue with watching films. However, particularly in social situations, I get very distracted by people's faces and gestures as they talk. So much so, that I have to really concentrate to follow their speech. Does anyone else have this issue?
Yes, this applies to me too - my internal dialogue takes over - it appears that this is because of too much activity going on the screen. I am happy others are saying they experience this. Thank you for raising the discussion.
I have to admit - the same thing happens when others are talking to me - my concentration wonders. Sometimes this really annoys others. Does anyone else find this too?
Unlike Sue Barry, I have always been a very divergent (non-linear) thinker, with a talent for gestalt and visual-spatial analysis. I do hold in common being hyper detail oriented. That is the big "what?" my brain defaults to at the expense of the "where?" that my VT would coach me to explore. My stereo experiences are incredibly "where" oriented, and at times overwhelming if the space is palpable beyond my reach. I much prefer the closer distance which feels more safe and what-like.
I cannot multi-task if my life depends on it. And I'm finding my intermittant stereo vision is very much something that involves multiple inputs: lots more peripheral engagement and motion parallax going down!
Socially, my natural default is to not look at faces, and I am not happy that I must consciously visually engage. Like Vikki, I may be distracted. However, I broke entirely free of this lack of eye and face contact in Honduras, when I was forced to look at the speaker to comprende la lingua. As a result, I felt very bonded to the people I met there (and the light touching of a hand or arm when women talk also contributed to the bonding process I'm sure.)
Eye contact has always been next to impossible, because I have learned it's really EYES contact, with the right eye fixed on the other's left and visa versa! I believe this is one of the main reasons strabismics may avoid eye and face contact, as well as a feeling of shame at our appearance.
I also have trouble following anyone who talks for any length of time, without allowing me to inject a comment. I am very a visual learner and not at all competent at absorbing information through listening. I must take notes in order to stay with the speaker, which is visually interpreting their speech.
I wonder if it might be possible to track different phases of non-binocularity to different levels of concentration. I used to be able to concentrate well for long periods of time even on very mundane, boring tasks. Indeed, I often really enjoyed tasks that were very detail-oriented (how many kids do you know that would regularly re-organize their bookshelf by different metrics - author, color, genre, etc.?).
About two years ago, though, I started having a terrible time concentrating, as well as troubles with remembering things and organizing my thoughts. My previously well-adapted system (suppression of my left eye) was no longer well-adapted. After 18 months of vision therapy, I'm finally beginning to feel like I'm regaining some of my thinking / memory / concentration, although it's far from "normal." I spoke with a cognitive scientist about this (I was in his class) and he told me that some recent work suggests that the different sides of your brain control different kinds of processing. So, the right side appears to play a bigger role in macro-organization (big picture) and the left side does more with micro-organization (details). As I've been struggling to work on strengthening my left eye, which is controlled by the right-side of the brain, I've definitely had a much harder time dealing with "big picture" things, so this feels like it fits my experience. It would be really interesting to see if there were some explanations to some of the similarities and differences in our struggles with thinking / concentration and the side of our weaker eye.