I started by explaining my left eye does not focus on anything. It never has. It is not capable of focusing on anything, at any distance. That’s just they way I am.
He tested my eyes, and there was one bit where he put a lens in front of my left eye with my right eye closed. The picture got sharper… but so did the contrast, and the letter jumped around everywhere. Kinda made me feel a tad nauseas to be honest. Then he explained it would be useless to do anything with my left eye, he just wanted to see what would happen.
He then chatted to me about how my eyes function. Basically, for whatever reason, my left eye has never developed the ability to see a clear image. It’s not a structural thing, my eye is perfectly formed. It’s just that the specialised cells in the back of my eye were not exposed to clear images for some reason at a critical point in their development. If they don’t get the right stimulus at the right time, they won’t develop to see clear images.
So, because my right eye is the functioning one, it has to work harder. My brain can’t make sense of the signals from my left eye, so it basically ignores it, except the fuzzy extra in my peripheral my right eye doesn’t cover. Or if I close my right eye, it forces my brain to accept the signals from my left.
I pretty much knew all this already. What he did confirm for me is that there is no way to fix it, ever. Surgery will not help, because it is not a structural thing. Lenses will not help, because the cells won’t be able to understand the clearer image (I’m guessing that’s what happened with the crazy super contrast jumpy letters).
He also explained why I struggle particularly with night driving. When one eye is blinded by headlights, the brain will normally give priority to the vision of the other eye. My brain doesn’t get that option. Poor little right eye does all the work and gets tired so quick. The brain normally takes the signals from both eyes and puts them together to make a clear picture. Lefty isn’t pulling his weight. And since there is less light when it’s dark anyway, it makes things even more difficult.
He then started commenting with things like : “You’ve never been able to see those Magic Eye 3-D pictures, have you? And 3-D Movies don’t work for you, do they?”
I’m sitting there, agreeing, thinking back on how I used to stare at those Magic Eye pictures for hours, and when they were in a book I’d flip to the back and see what it was supposed to look like, and then pretend to everyone that I could see it. This was when I was much younger and didn’t know why they never worked for me. I just wanted to be able to see what everyone else sees.
In 3-D movies, I never seemed to see the big deal – there isn’t much to it, I don’t see as much as everyone else does, and it gives me major headaches. And my eyes hurt. He tells me a story about someone else who had their eyes tested, and how they brought a 3-D tv. This man then complained to Harvey Norman because it never worked staff there didn’t get it because they tried it and it worked. He eventually got his money back, then got his eyes tested later on and found he also had one eye not working.
His next comment was “Because you only have, effectively, one eye, you’re depth perception probably isn’t that great.” I’m still nodding and smiling – yeah my depth perception is not so good. Cue memory of the time my boss at the Pool thought I was wierd because I couldn’t estimate the length of the florescent light properly.
Then it was “I bet people call you clumsy”
Yes. I call me clumsy. Because I am.
Then: “Because it’s been like this your whole life, your brain has adjusted to the deficiency as best it can. If your left eye suddenly started functioning properly, you’d be like “WOAH! IS THIS WHAT THE WORLD LOOKS LIKE???”
At this point, I felt he was rubbing it in a bit. I’m missing out on what he takes for granted every day, apparently.
But then came the highlight: “You know what you should do? Take your friends out to a park, cover one of their eyes, and throw things at them. See if they can catch it. See how they feel then. Maybe they won’t call you clumsy after that.”
So long story short, I’m special, and I have permission to disable my friends and throw things at them.
Also, if I ever want to dress up as a pirate with an eye patch, my depth perception won’t be affected. Because it’s already wrecked.