Stereoblind Guinea Pig

I went to MIT for the vision study last night, and I have some strange news and some good news. Which do you want to hear first?

OK, the strange news is that I learned that I have a condition called stereoblindness. The good news is that means I qualify for the full-on research study.

I am still in shock…I’ve been stereoblind for 34 years and I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW? It is surreal, to say the least. I am still wrapping my head around it all, but basically it means that because I was born with one crossed eye, I didn’t “learn” to use both eyes at the same time to look at an object. WTF! So I have monocular vision vs. binocular vision.

I’ve always thought my vision was a little funky, but it’s never bothered me per se. For example, when I use binoculars, I am really only using/looking through one eye at a time. It has always felt odd, but I don’t use binoculars much, so I didn’t really think about it. And apparently I can’t see 3D. But again, I’ve probably seen three or four 3D movies in my lifetime, so I never noticed anything strange. I remember seeing Harry Potter in 3D a few years ago, and definitely recall feeling like things were coming out of the screen at me. But maybe I am not getting the “full effect.”

I came home from the study and of course started googling like a mofo. I found that a neurobiologist/professor published a book last year about her experience of being stereoblind, and training herself to be “stereo acute!” Basically by doing physical therapy for the eyes. I can’t wait to read the book. I’m not sure if I am going to take that route…

So fMRI machine here I come. Scan that grey matter! Oh, and do not fret that I am seeing a flat world…as the researcher described it, I do still have some depth perception, due to other visual cues, such as seeing shadows of 3D objects, textures of things…and one other cue I can’t remember.

I will soon be going back to MIT to perform some basic visual tasks. And then the final session is two hours in an fMRI machine. Eeeekkk….eh.


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