I'm 15 months in VT to see in 3D and I need some psychological encouragement. For those who are not into "New Age" thought, this may seem esoteric to you, but the power of the mind is vast and I want to use positive thinking to get me to seeing with both eyes and fusing.
I'm reading the book, "Power" by Rhonda Byrne. It's the sequel to the international bestseller, "The Secret" which was also an Internet movie hit. For those not familiar with "The Secret" and "The Law of Attraction", the basic premise is that to bring something into one's life, one has to imagine that he/she already has it, feel that he/she has it and believe that he/she has it. "Like attracts like" so you have to be on the same vibration of what you want in order for it to come to you. If you want a new car, you imagine what it looks like, you feel what it's like to drive it and you believe you really own it. Only thinking about not having something, like I do about 3D, is not getting me closer to having stereopsis because it only makes me more anxious, frustrated, etc.
Visualization is a key tool for the law of attraction, but those of us who are stereoblind can't visualize something we are blind to. So we need help, or at least I do.
Here's my question to Susan Barry, any optometrists in this group and to anyone else who has crossed the bridge from flatland to binocularity: how does it feel to see in 3D as opposed to 2D? I am not asking what it looks like because that's too abstract for me. People try to describe depth to me and they might as well be speaking in Greek, I don't understand anything. But I can evoke feelings. I am not talking about the feelings of surprise at the steering wheel popping out or the cherry tomato in the lunch salad popping (examples from "Fixing my Gaze"), but what does it feel like to see in 3D?
I want to feel what it's like to see in 3D to help me get there, but my only experience was with 3D glasses looking at a computer screen and seeing the soccer ball come out of the screen. I can't transpose that experience to the real world because it's freaky to imagine everything popping out of where it is and I have no idea how to do that.
Thanks in advance!
I don't have a good answer to your question. You may be trying too hard. I started vision therapy to stablize my gaze, not to see in 3D which I thought was impossible. As a result, I didn't look for things popping out and perhaps, having fewer expectations, allowed changes to happen. I walk every day, taking in the whole of the visual field, really paying attention not just to what is front and center, but to the whole picture. This is a very different style than my old way of seeing which was to pay attention only to what was front and center and close. Vision therapy procedures that have you working in real space may also be hellpful.
Do you keep a journal? This is a good way to know whether or not you are making progress.
I've been thinking about your question more as I wait to board a plane to fly to Europe for 2 weeks. Here are some ideas for getting your first 3D views in real life. As Bob H. says, however, you can't force this to happen by staring hard. It just has to come, like a good idea that pops into your head.
1. Enjoy looking around places that evoke a great sense of depth through monocular cues such as long hallways or alleyways where perspective already provides one with a compelling sense of distance.
2. Enjoy watching mobiles move in the air. Many people first get their sense of 3D from large objects moving in their peripheral visual fields.
3. When I first gained stereopsis, I enjoyed looking at trees under lamplight. The light cast shadows on the branches that provided strong cues to depth and added to my sense of depth through stereopsis.
4. You may see more depth while moving than standing still.
5. Look at things in a way that you normally don't. For example, I get a good sense of depth when looking down at things coming up out of the ground. We don't normally spend much time looking down so all our strabismic adaptations are recruited less when looking in that way.
6. I initially saw in 3D for objects that were close and sticking out directly toward me at my midline.
Seeing in 3D evokes a visceral reaction. I still get this feeling when looking outward and experiencing a great sense of distance. This is something like the feeling you might have when standing at the top of a tall building and looking down into the street. But as Bob H. indicated, everyone's reaction is different.
Finally, it goes without saying, that you need to practice VT procedures every day or almost every day. Don't practice to the point of exhaustion but do some procedures daily if you can. A little practice every day goes a long way.
"...Stereo vision gave me this incredible sense of being *immersed* in the space around [me] instead of sort of looking in on it."
Your words Sue. (From a short phone interview with Joe Palca at the very end of a segment of NPR's "Morning Edition" called "Learning to See in Stereo.")
Perhaps this is a provides a bit of what you were hoping to find Susanna?
I like the positive attitude. I believe it was Winston Churchill who once said if you think you can or you think you can't you are probably right.
I agree it is hard to visualize something you have never experienced. That is why you cannot try harder to achieve 3D. You can only try harder at what you already know how to do. 3D will be an accidental happening. Your guided practice will make it happen. You need to be prepared so that when it does happen you can experience what it feels like and start to play with how long you can see and feel that way.
Patient responses over 35 years have led me to three ideas on what it is like for the first time. It is either a panicky feeling because it is different, and if not prepared scary, or a calming feeling once you stop being afraid of the newness. The calm comes from knowing where you are with respect to everything. It is a sense or feeling of being surrounded and a part of your visual world instead of an observer.
Although it is not very plane, patients talk about everything they see having a place and things are so organized that everything looks like it is in its place.
Susanna, I know I am one who tries way too hard to see--to understand what is happening, analyze what my eyes and brain are doing and why and to be so self aware. It truly is a totally new way to see life, to see it and not to look at it. I certainly am not there yet, but I have had glimpses. Seeing the whole field, not just what's front and center takes some degree of concentration (for me) but at the same time, I have to relax and let it happen. I don't know if anyone can tell you how it feels (although I still think Sue does a great job in her book!) as it is probably different for each person. I would also encourage you to just do the mundane, sometimes ridiculous seeming exercises, and keep doing them and, I believe, with time it will just happen. I see it as something that you just have to take on faith based on the experiences of others who have gone before. It's hard for those of us who have adapted so very well for decades to our 2D life, but I believe it will work.
I also wish you the best on your journey. Each of us has our own process to go through and are so fortunate to have such wonderful people in our lives and especially in this forum to help us along!
I know exactly what you're talking about. It can be extremely difficult at times for me to transpose the abilities I am developing through VT into real-time projections of the world around me. For me, I really have to accept that there is a complete dimension to life that I had previously been unaware of and embrace the change. The funny thing about this is that words don't help at all. I really think it has more to do with the use of the right side of your brain (a theory i've developed from the helpfulness of working through "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain). Another book I found very interesting and helpful was Flat-land by Edwin Abbott, which is a story of beings living in a 2-dimensions. In addition to all this, I have found that my faith has been profoundly influenced by this experience. The best words I can use to describe what it feels like to go through an extended period of seeing in 3-D is that it is a "peace with God, which transcends all understanding."
I found the complete online verion of Flatland here: http://www.math.brown.edu/~banchoff/gc/Flatland/
I love it too as an allegory of what we're trying to acheive.
And, Blake, I have a copy of Drawing from the Right side of the Brain and am now jazzed to read it! :-) And I love that scripture verse too, along with another: "We walk by faith and not by sight..." which tells me that what I am looking for in 3D is going to be revealed very differently from what I would imagine it to be ... ;-)
Sue, I am keeping a journal now as a text file on my laptop. I have my regular paper journal, but this is where I can jot down short accounts of just what I'm seeing, doing or not doing and feeling about my vision. It's been GREAT!
Thanks for all these ideas and thoughts. I've been enjoying looking at the rain and raindrops on roses. When I'd seen photos of raindrops on flowers before they had seemed too beautiful to be real, as though they were artificially redone on a computer. Now I see that it's my brain and eyes that are being redone and causing the difference in what I see. I ordered the book and movie "Flatland" from the library and am curious.
I wanted to give you a different twist on this since several people have responded "poetically" and with great emotional support at the excitement, wonder, and joy that you can get at just "looking" at the world. Even a plate of food scraps was gorgeous for months to me. I would just sit and stare at my dirty dishes and find beauty. But I had another reaction which might help your phsycological encouragement.
My 3-D vision wasn't as weak as many of the people who responded to your question but I still went through the extreme shock (not a good shock) of having full 3-D vision return to me as I underwent vision therapy. My transition to full 3-D wasn't all that happy in that the first thing I really noticed was my sister throwing a huge tree branch directly at my face. I was absolutely furious and had trouble controlling my shocked reaction and anger.
Later, I learned that she had been throwing a smallish stick in my general direction (purposefully throwing short of me since she knew I wasn't going to be able to dodge the stick if it came too close). It took me days to get my adrenaline in line with reality.
The next day, I turned and practically spit at a coworker who kept careening into me as I walked down a crowded hall. That coworker later asked my boss if it wouldn't be better for me to guide my fingers along the wall so I wouldn't keep causing a hazard. (I honestly was surprised that at exactly 5 feet tall, I was the one causing the "crowd." Apparently other people knew I wasn't good at keeping to my "lane" and they'd move away from me as I approached. This person didn't know me that well.)
So, in addition to all of the joy, wonder, excitment and near-religious experience, the full 3-D experience came to me as a nudge into the same world that other people were occupying. It helped me belong to their world and feel as if it was my world too. It made me a better judge of people's actual movitations and actions and it gave me startling insight into how other people judged me. It helped me change my reputation from being "that midget bulldozer." (I couldn't believe someone called me that as I consider myself downright gentle in nature!). And now if I think a hallway is crowded, I stop for a second and analyze if it's me causing the congestion. It almost never is anymore! And my perception is based on the same reality as the reality of the people around me.
Wow, that is such a totally different, realistic and very thought-provoking perspective on entering the 3D world!! I'm going to admit here and now that part of me is really slightly fearful of entering 3D. It is comforting in a way to have the world at arm's length--it's not engulfing me and it's not ominously huge. Seeing depth would put me right in the thick of things (instead of comfortably separated) and also the rest of the world so very far away (probably destroying my current total lack of fear of heights). It takes a conscious effort sometimes to put that fear aside and keep myself eager to jump into reality!! Anyone else?
I was worried all last night that I shouldn't have given you such scary thoughts. However, you are clearly based in reality and hopefully soon will be based in 3D reality as well. ;-)
Even so, I wanted to suggest another image to offset anything too negative that I said. Even though I've been living 3D for quite a few years now, one of the things I still take the time to do is peel navel oranges into huge, circular peels, rather than a patchwork pile of smaller pieces. This takes more time and is the type of thing that drives my quick-eating and very goal-oriented husband nuts. "Just eat it," he'll say. "I want to see it first," I'll respond. "I want to smell it first." He sighs and I just keep peeling very carefully.
Somehow by being able to see the glistening juice and the plump little sections underneath that thick, round peel, all of my senses are more aware. The contrast between the orange and white colors is delightful. The different shadows caused by the roundness on the inside of the empty- shell peel is intriguing. I don't know why I never noticed it before in 2D, but I didn't. I didn't notice a lot of things.
I now really taste the difference between juice oranges and navel oranges because I can see the difference in skin thickness and texture. I see how the juice fills the tiny little "cells" (I don't know what they are called) of the navel oranges and seeps between the tissue of the juice oranges. The two are quite different. I can smell the difference now that I'm not trying to concentrate on the mechanics of peeling oranges and instead concentrating on the mechanics of making it a work of art, smell, and taste.