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    How Depth Perception Impacts Vision

    If your eye doctor has told you that you have problems with depth perception, you’re not alone. Depth perception is the ability to perceive the world in three dimensions and judge the distance of objects. Depth perception enables you to determine distances between objects and whether something is near or far away. Your eyes work together to make this happen, meaning you must have binocular vision, also known as stereopsis.

    For people who only see out of one eye, depth perception is skewed. They have to rely on other cues to determine how far away an object is.

    One interesting note: the farther apart your eyes are from each other, the better your depth perception. Insects and animals that have wide set eyes have the best depth perception.

    Causes of Impaired Depth Perception

    Certain conditions contribute to impaired depth perception, including:

    • Amblyobia, or “lazy eye.” This is when one eye is weaker than the other.
    • Optic nerve hypoplasia. This occurs when the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain does not develop properly before birth. It can result in partial or total vision loss.
    • Strabismus. This occurs when the eyes point in different directions.
    • Blurry vision. This is caused by trauma to the eye or another eye condition.
    • Injury to one eye. This trauma can alter vision temporarily or permanently.
    • Differences in vision between the two eyes.

    How Impaired Depth Perception Impacts Life

    A lack of depth perception can impact your life significantly. It can affect learning ability, cause problems when you’re driving and navigating roads as well as playing sports and exercising. What’s more, it can impair your ability to do certain jobs. For instance, if your depth perception is skewed, you’ll have a difficult time driving a forklift or working in a factory.

    Testing Depth Perception

    You can do a quick test of your depth perception ability at home. Here’s how:

    1. Gaze at a picture of a circle or a ball.
    2. Hold up one finger about 6 inches in front of your eyes, with the circle in the background.
    3. Focus on your finger. You will likely notice hazy images of the circle appearing on both sides of your finger.
    4. Switch your focus from your finger to the circle.
    5. You should see images of your finger on either side of the circle.

    You might have depth perception issues if:

    • You can see your finger better on one side of the circle than the other.
    • You can see only one image of your finger.
    • Your finger appears larger on one side or the other.
    • Your fingers appear and disappear or one finger drifts directly over the circle while the other is to one side or the other.

    Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also test depth perception in your eyes. It’s a good idea to visit a doctor if you think you have impaired depth perception. Your doctor may perform a test similar to the one above or give you some three-dimensional glasses and have you look at pictures to determine which circle in each pattern appears closer.

    Your doctor may also perform a random-dot stereogram, also known as a Randot Stereotest, the Random-dot E Stereotest or the Lang Stereotest. This test is designed to eliminate monocular or single eye cues to determine depth perception. This test uses two images, each consisting of black and white dots or squares. Each eye sees a different pattern in the dots but when seen by both eyes together, the patterns should reveal a specific shape if your depth perception is normal.

    Contour stereotests, such as the Titmus Fly Stereotest, are also used to determine depth perception. The patient looks at multiple images and is asked to identify the one that seems to be popping out of the page.

    Treating Impaired Depth Perception

    Treatment of impaired depth perception depends on the underlying issue. If the eyes are misaligned, you may need surgery to correct the problem. However, glasses may help align them. If you have a lazy eye, your doctor may recommend putting a patch over one eye to strengthen the other.

    Your doctor may also prescribe vision therapy to improve depth perception and help train the brain to blend the images from each eye or ignore the image from the eye that’s not cooperating. These include eye rolling and shifting your gaze to strengthen the eye muscles, resting the dominant eye intermittently by covering it to strengthen the weak eye and resting your eyes from light.

    Payne Glasses

    If you’re in the market for a new pair of glasses, Payne Glasses is here for you. We offer a wide range of affordable, stylish glasses for men, women and children. We also specialize in blue-light glasses, bifocal glasses, progressives and more.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us anytime. We love to help.








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