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Two Seeing Eyes = Two Views!
Two Views Used and Fused in the Brain = Stereovision!

What does it take to see life in 3D...not to mention 3-D stereograms, stereoscopic photographs, or 3D TV or movies, such as Avatar 3-D? On this page, you will learn about an exciting part of normal human vision - stereovision (a.k.a., stereoscopic vision or stereopsis). For now, let's just keep things simple and call it stereovision.

Human Beings with Two Eyes that Work Together Have Stereovision
Human beings generally come equipped with two eyes and one head. If you have any doubts about your equipment or your ability to see 3D, check out Why Some People Have Trouble Seeing 3D before continuing.

Unlike horses, humans have two eyes located side-by-side in the front of their heads. Thanks to the close side-by-side positioning, each eye takes a view of the same area from a slightly different angle. The two eye views have plenty in common, but each eye picks up visual information the other doesn't. Have you ever compared the different views of your right and left eye? The Eye Hop Game lets you do just that.


Two Eyes = Three Dimensions (3D)!
Each eye captures its own view and the two separate images are sent on to the brain for processing. When the two images arrive simultaneously in the back of the brain, they are united into one picture. The mind combines the two images by matching up the similarities and adding in the small differences. The small differences between the two images add up to a big difference in the final picture! The combined image is more than the sum of its parts. It is a three-dimensional stereo picture.

The word "stereo" comes from the Greek word "stereos" which means firm or solid. With stereo vision you see an object as solid in three spatial dimensions--width, height and depth--or x, y and z. It is the added perception of the depth dimension that makes stereo vision so rich and special.

Stereo Vision Has Many Advantages
Stereo vision--or stereoscopic vision --probably evolved as a means of survival. With stereo vision, we can see WHERE objects are in relation to our own bodies with much greater precision--especially when those objects are moving toward or away from us in the depth dimension. We can see a little bit around solid objects without moving our heads and we can even perceive and measure "empty" space with our eyes and brains.

If You've Got Stereo Vision, Count Your Blessings!
Here are a few examples of occupations that depend heavily on stereo vision:

  • Baseball player
  • Waitress
  • Driver
  • Architect
  • Surgeon
  • Dentist

Here are just a few examples of general actions that depend heavily on stereo vision:

  • Throwing, catching or hitting a ball
  • Driving and parking a car
  • Planning and building a three-dimensional object
  • Threading a needle and sewing
  • Reaching out to shake someone's hand
  • Pouring into a container
  • Stepping off a curb or step

Are You Sure You've Got Stereo Vision?
It's hard to know what you're missing, if you've never had it. Do you see with both your eyes? Are your two eyes similar or different in sight?

This Is Just A Test -- of Your Stereo Vision System
Are both your eyes turned on and working together as a team? Try this easy test and find out if you are a good candidate for 3D viewing. It's The Framing Game and it only takes a minute!

* To read more about the difference between the side vision of horses and the frontal vision of humans, check out an eye doctor's in-depth explanation of how 3D stereovision and stereoscopic depth perception evolved in humans and other predator species (tigers, sharks, etc.).

You may have arrived at this page because you were searching for an explanation as to why you can't see Avatar or other 3D movies in 3-D. Can you see 3D? If you can't, keep reading and find out why?!!

HR
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Magic Eye How to See 3D copyright © 1995; Out-of-Print
by Magic Eye, Inc. and Rachel Cooper, Advocate of Vision Therapy Eye Exercises for Lazy Eye.
All other images and text: copyright © 1996- by Rachel Cooper. All rights reserved.