CBR book reviews – Fixing My Gaze

 

By Professor Susan Barry
Reviewed by:  Alice Lagas, PhD Student

Warning: do not read Susan Barry’s book “Fixing My Gaze” if you are not prepared to become fascinated by vision research. Not only does she take you with her on her journey, she also makes you aware of the most complicated vision processes.

As a toddler she had multiple operations on her eye muscles for having strabismus (eye turn). The operations were successful but as for many children who had this surgery because of a tiny difference in eye alignment, her brain still refused to fuse the two images from each eye together. In her case her brain dealt with this confusing difference by alternating vision from each eye separately. Because vision tests at school measure vision for each eye separately, they assumed she had perfect vision and as a result her reading difficulties made her become categorised as a hard learner.

It was not until her 40s, after lecturing vision science for 20 years, that she was able to pinpoint the difficulties she had in daily life, when she was sent to a specialised (developmental or behavioural) optometrist for visual training. After one year of this training on how to fuse the two images together (and hours of homework), on one morning for the first time in her life she woke up feeling calm. She realised that for the first time in her life she no longer sees jittery images. Not only does her brain now fuse the two images properly, but on top of this she also gained proper depth perception (even though stereovision is supposed to be fully developed at around one year of age).

When basic sensory processes are healthy, you barely realise how amazing and significant these processes are. So I warn you again that by reading Barry’s book, you’ll start to enjoy and appreciate the 3D-ness around you after reading it.