Sunday, February 23, 2014

#252 session: stereopsis recovery is a slow and steady process for me

I honestly expected to see more changes occur this week, but I did have a particularly 'good eye' day yesterday in which I noticed my stereo cues to be particularly strong.  I just went through the week with the Mu Upsilon filters, doing clown saccades, tracking finger monster, and doing Columns.

It's the light tube that really enables me to practice good binocular posture.  That's where I really try to gaze at the glowing circle with both eyes simultaneously and try to squash the out-of-sync accommodation problem by keeping both input streams clear and sharp.

In my blog entry What does it mean to have good binocular posture? I talk about the importance of being able to accommodate with both eyes simultaneously and how accommodation is linked with attention.  When you pay attention to an object, you're automatically going to try to accommodate for it and get it into focus.  This can almost be called a reflex, similar to the accommodation reflex.  The two occur in tandem and they happen automatically.  If accommodation is out of sync across the two eyes--that is, the two eyes don't want to accommodate simultaneously--you're not going to be able to give the object proper focus and attention.  Also, you're going to continue suppressing that input that's not being accommodated.  Another consequence is that because you're not paying proper attention through that unaccommodated eye, you won't be able to give it proper movements.

This must be fixed in order for a stereoblind person to gain stereopsis.  It is a huge deal.  You simply cannot progress when accommodation is out of sync across the eyes.  I remember when I was on my first year of VT and I noticed this.  I explained to my vision therapist 'Hmm, I seem to be able to get this eye into focus, but not the other.  Then I get the other eye into focus, then the other goes out of focus.  What is this crap?'.  I was confused.  In my mind I thought it could be ARC because a false fusion point could explain the blurriness as a result of feeding low-resolution non-foveal input to the brain.  I thought she might be able to explain it.  Nope!  She just said 'I don't know.'.  Great, thanks.  But that's another discussion.  #vision_therapists_who_don't_understand_binocular_vision_but_who_are_still_happy_to_take_your_money

Fixing this accommodation issue does seem to be key for me.  I'm hoping that it's going to be the last major hoop for me to jump through in order to achieve my goal of stereopsis. Since I've been focusing on squashing this accommodation issue I do seem to have made very significant progress.  It's been noticeable particularly in my ability to get past a lot of suppression and improve motor control.

In the past week I've noticed that I can consciously perceive two input streams simultaneously--an indication of decreased suppression.  For example, when I look at a plug in the wall outlet, it sticks out a little.  I can notice and be aware of the fact that I have two different views--each being a little different.  In the past, I vaguely knew that I could see both, but one of the double images was too suppressed for me to really see any kind of detail.  It's kind of interesting to be able to see objects from two different angles simultaneously in the mind.

Yesterday I had a particularly good eye day.  I was playing Spec Ops: The Line.  There was a glitch in the game and there was a bunch of fire that was just sticking out from nowhere--just hovering in the air.  When I moved the camera over it, I was able to get a really nice stereo effect.  It was more powerful than anything I'd yet experienced.

Stereopsis recovery does seem to be a slow and steady process for me.  No matter how great I feel about a particular workout, it doesn't change the fact that this takes time.  But I am marching forward.  My left double foot is looking better than ever (the diplopia is diminishing).  My eye control and mobility is better than ever, especially as I reach the extremes.

There is also another technique that I do that I haven't mentioned yet in this blog that I use to gauge progress.  When I am laying in bed, I'll just relax and notice an object in the distance--in this case, a vent at the top of my room--and I'll completely relax my eyes and don't try to make it single.  When I do this, it becomes double.  As my vision improves, the perceived distance between the double images decreases.  That is, they get closer together.

Today I did that, and I noticed a very significant improvement in the double image distance over previous times.  The double images do seem to steadily, over time, move together. It does seem to be a good gauge of progress, right up there with looking at my left double foot and taking pictures of my eyes.  After all, when a person with stereopsis is at his laziest, he doesn't suddenly get double vision.  Having a singular view of everything is his laziest and most comfortable way to look at the world.


  1. That last paragraph in particular struck a chord with me. I often think of the phrase 'Perfection is not all about control, it's also about letting go.' Resting or relaxing is just as important as training in getting things to move towards a better equilibrium.

  2. When doing vision therapy and thinking about where I currently am in terms of progress I have a habit of asking 'what would a person with binocular vision see? how is that different from what I'm seeing? What can I do to change my vision so that I see like a person does who has binocular vision?' I use that as a guiding voice.