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3D Stereoscopic Vision, Binocular Depth Perception
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How to See 3D
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Adapted from MAGIC EYE: How to See 3D


WIZZY:Why call 3D viewing Gymnastics for the Mind?

DR. I.C. THREEDY:You have to coordinate your two eyes and many parts of your brain in order to see 3D pictures.

WIZZY:And this is good exercise for your brain?

DR. I.C. THREEDY: Yes! 3D viewing stimulates many areas of the brain, so most people find it very pleasurable. The stimulation makes them feel alert, yet relaxed. It feels good!

WIZZY:Well, people don't feel good when they can't get it. They get pretty frustrated! Why do some people with normal vision have trouble seeing stereograms?

DR. I.C. THREEDY:Many people give up too quickly. You need to give your brain time to process and recognize the image. Can you remember a situation when you were looking at a confusing visual scene and it took you a while to figure out what you were seeing. Your mind had to grope around for a while. That groping process isn't a bad thing -- it wakes up your senses and helps develop mental flexibility!

WIZZY:Hmmm, I can remember experiences like that. It was confusing, but, also, exciting . . . So, you're really saying that people are exercising their minds by trying to recognize something that's unfamiliar.

DR. I.C. THREEDY:Yes, people can stretch their brains this way. In English we often speak of changing one's "perspective" or looking from a new "point of view." 3D viewing requires learning to look and see in a new and different way.

WIZZY:But, how can people learn to see in a different way? Most people believe they see one way and that's that.

DR. I.C. THREEDY:Good point, Wizzy. I'd agree that most people believe their vision is a given. It's something that they don't expect to change much. They either wear prescription lenses or they don't and they don't think any more about it. Maybe, those same people also believe that everybody basically sees an identical picture of the world. But, to quote another eye doctor:

"Eyes do not tell people what they see,
people tell eyes what to look for."
Larry McDonald, Doctor of Optometry

You see, vision is a dynamic process that's learned by the mind as well as the eyes. It's possible to teach the mind to process the information received from the eyes in a new and different way. Many people come right out and say, "I have bad eyes!" But, the eyes are actual extensions of the brain. Do you know anyone who would stand up and announce, "I have a bad brain!"

WIZZY:Not me! And not anyone I know, either! But, does that mean that if a person can't see 3D he or she has a bad brain.

DR. I.C. THREEDY:Absolutely not! I'm just saying that vision involves a learning process and the integration of eyes, brain, mind and body. We think we see with our eyes, but we actually see with our minds!

WIZZY:Fantastic. Most people are capable of "changing their minds", so maybe they're also capable of changing what or how they see!

DR. I.C. THREEDY:It's worth a try!


Try some Mental Gymnastics!

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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.