Recently, after watching people at tradeshows look at my multiperspective photographs I noticed that a couple of people (2 out of a few hundred) complained and appeared confused by what they saw; they didn’t want to get too close to the photographs. I was able to talk with one person about it, and she said that the picture moved around and she couldn’t “see” it right. She said, “I just can’t look at 3D stuff.” Further discussion revealed that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with her vision – there just was something inherently wrong with “those 3D movies and pictures”. She was willing to dismiss that others could easily see 3D and implied that there was something wrong with them. I wanted to videotape her response to my questions but she adamantly refused that request!
I was fascinated. And I thought back to discussions I’ve had with various professionals about the power and bias of human perception. I felt this woman could be an example of how rooted or vested a person can be in how they perceive the world — to the exclusion of contradictory evidence. She had no desire to even consider that something could be wrong with her – it was the 3D stuff that was wrong.
I wonder why? Was it just her personality or something more primal? Is what we see and how we see given such prominence by the brain that it controls our thoughts about the world around us? If that is true then virtual reality and 3D immersive games and extended viewing of stereoscopic content could have some sort of impact in changing the perception of the world by those that engage in those activities for extended periods. It also implies that there could be a lot of people out there with vision problems that never seek treatment because they don’t believe anything is wrong with them.
I’ve come to learn that stereovision tests are not given a very high priority by pediatricians and opthamologists. If it is true that stereovision is a major contributor to how humans perceive the world they live in, then that is not a trivial medical ommission. Perhaps simple autostereoscopic photographs might become a useful tool for medical people to become aware of a “red flag” in terms of a lack of good stereopsis or poor convergence or…? I’m very keen to learn more and I’ve asked Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A to consider some of my ideas and evaluate and help me experiment with autostereoscopic multiperspective photographs for this purpose. I hope to have some samples for him in May and also some additional anecdotal observations I continue to make while watching people look at my 3D photographs. With their multiperspectives and dynamic attributes (when you move closer or farther away from them) it seems to me that they might have great potential for providing evaluation information in an informal exam setting. I have zero medical background and will rely on the advice and guidance of professionals.
I hope that many vision professionals out there will help me to understand this better and to perhaps create some useful and cost effective tools for vision evaluation.