How can I improve my depth perception?
June 15, 2007 10:59 AM   Subscribe

How can I improve my depth perception?

My 2d vision is alright – it was 20/20 until my late teens, and now it’s 20/30, but I have almost no depth perception. I'm terrible at catching frisbees, and I sometimes walk into walls when I'm trying to walk around a corners.

The last time I got my eyes checked (a couple of years ago) I could only identify the first out of 9 (?) items on the depth perception test. The optometrist said there’s nothing they could do for depth perception in particular, but that my depth perception would probably get better if I got glasses; I had terrible depth perception when my vision was 20/20, so I don’t see why correcting my vision back to 20/20 would help.

Googling around turned up this: (a page full of anecdotes), and not much else.

If this is correctable, where can I find a good optometrist/ophthalmologist in Austin?
posted by suncoursing to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does one eye need much more correction then the other? This is a common cause of depth perception problems, and if this is your problem then your optometrist is right in saying that correcting it will help.
posted by anaelith at 11:08 AM on June 15, 2007

Some people barely use their non-dominant eye which leads to horrible depth perception. The cure is to wear a patch over the dominant eye to force your non-dominant eye to get to work (basically to force your brain to recognize it more). To determine your dominant eye, find an object in the distance and then hold out your arm thumb up and put your thumb on the object. Now close one eye. If your thumb moved then you just closed your dominant eye.
posted by caddis at 11:21 AM on June 15, 2007


Oh, I forgot to talk about that. When I was a kid, my left eye was noticeably better than my right; there’s still a measurable difference, but it’s so small that I can’t notice it myself.


I purposely try to avoid using my weaker (right) eye when I’m shooting. Hmm. That probably doesn’t help things the rest of the time.

Since I’m asking a question about vision anyway, how can you get your vision corrected to better than 20/20? I remember seeing an article about how it’s now possible to scan your lenses, and make glasses that correct for small perturbations in your lenses, thus giving you much better than 20/20 vision. It doesn’t seem worth it to wear glasses to go from 20/30 to 20/20, but I’d definitely be willing to wear glasses if I could get 20/10 vision. I can’t find any information on that technique though, since I have no idea what it’s called.
posted by suncoursing at 11:32 AM on June 15, 2007

I believe you are thinking about the wavefront type lenses like the Varilux Physio.
posted by caddis at 11:49 AM on June 15, 2007

People who have lasik surgery (like me) often end up with better than 20/20 vision. I wouldn't suggest surgery to attempt it though. It's just a happy side effect sometimes.
posted by chairface at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2007

All throughout childhood I couldn't catch anything. Even after I got glasses it was bad... and I played baseball! Then I got to college and a friend who didn't know better tossed something at me to catch from across the room, and I caught it. I'm told the color in my face drained as a result. It really stunned me. Things have only improved from there. A few years ago I played on a rec. soccer league as the goalie with a, erm, "creative" defensive line and still the other teams only got one goal in 4 games.

Quite a lot of your vision is processed in the brain so it might help to focus on your brain and not the eyes. I think this is what happened to me. I was away from home and all of those stresses and as a result everything just started working. It wasn't immediate... it took 5 years to build up to those soccer games, but I did it. The brain is a funny thing like that. Try creating a controlled situation where you can test your depth perception and work on improving it. Batting cages come to mind but there is probably something you could do at home. I wouldn't go computer based. You probably need a real situation, not a simulation. Give yourself at least an hour between when you stop and bedtime, and try to sleep 8 hours (explanation; note the second study I mention).

I do think it'd be worth getting glasses or contacts, purely out of scientific protocol. For every failure you'll have that question in the back of your mind. It'd be better to address it first and go from there.
posted by jwells at 12:46 PM on June 15, 2007

To summarize: Depth perception needs three things: information from both eyes, and processing in the brain to compare the images to decide a depth. Weaken any one, and depth perception suffers. So: Both eyes must be well corrected with prescription glasses to produce good visual information (and, incidentally, looking at the same object, not wandering off), and your brain has to learn to interpret the information. It's in the brain that you can "learn" better depth perception, once your vision is corrected.
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:39 PM on June 15, 2007

I have horrible depth perception-I really suck at catching balls and parallel parking. My optometrist, also a good friend, has said that there are some therapies that might improve my eyes' ability to work together, but he recommended against it, saying that I've adapted to my current independent eye set up :) for all my life and that it can be really disruptive to change that this late. Who knows if this is true or not, but seemed good to me.
posted by purenitrous at 11:04 PM on June 16, 2007

« Older 813-840-3045. Who owns this number?   |   What's the best legal setup for a local chorale? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.