“I had never had 3D vision, but didn’t really know it until I was an adult. I noticed I had no 3D vision because, as a geologist, my colleagues would look at stereo pairs of aerial photos, fuse them in free space or with a viewer, and see 3D. I could not do that at all. It was a real mystery to me how they could do that, especially in free space without a 3D viewer.
My daughter had binocular vision problems as a child and was helped tremendously by optometric vision therapy here in Denver. Years later, back in the 1990s, I finally went to an OD who specialized in these problems and was tested myself. He found that I was suppressing one eye, alternately, because of a very high exophoria or even exoptropia. Looking at childhood pictures of myself, I could see that I had exotropia at times (one eye turned out, but alternated). Thereafter, as an adult, I underwent weekly in office vision therapy visits for over two years. First, they worked on breaking the suppression and then worked on gaining stereopsis. I was told that I would probably see double for a while and things would get very disorienting once the suppression was broken. This is when many people quit therapy because it is difficult. Luckily, I had a great therapist and OD who explained all these things to me so I didn’t get discouraged.
When I finally gained stereopsis, at age 45, it was just as Dr Sue Barry describes so well in her book “Fixing My Gaze“. My whole world opened up. The most amazing thing happened when I went to see fireworks and I could see them come out at me for the first time. It wasn’t just a flat picture. I was so inspired by this event that I went back to school to become an optometrist at age 46, graduating at age 50 with my OD degree.
Now I can see 3D with the best of them. I can easily hold up a stereo pair of photos, fuse them in free space or in a viewer, and see 3D very easily. I love 3D movies. But seeing the real world in 3D is even better! Since then I have seen Mount Everest and many other landscapes in 3D which, as a geologist and as a human being, was very impressive and enchanting. At this point my stereo vision is effortless thanks to my Optometric Vision Therapy over 20 years ago.”