Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear

My eyes are not normal and it affects how I see the world. If you want to get a sense of how it works, walk around with an eye patch or bandage for a day. Notice how it affects the way you move around the space you’re in, how you pick things up, how you throw and catch a netball or hit a tennis ball.

Most people see the world in three dimensions. You use your eyes involuntarily and the two signals that your brain receives simultaneously are laid on top of each other, rendering a moving shifting swirling depth-filled world. It’s reasonably useful for judging the distance between things, for example your hand and a glass of water.

Most of the time my world has two dimensions. During my third and final eye operation (when I was about thirteen) something happened which made my left eye completely dominant. The signal from this eye forms 98% of what I see 98% of the time.

My right eye doesn’t really do a lot. It’s lazy and drifts around and is much weaker than my left. As it stands my glasses have the prescription for my left eye in both eyes, so the right eye isn’t magnified. This used to cause people to look mainly at my right eye (which I wasn’t using and so wasn’t looking at them) which led to all sorts of confusing.

Perceptually, this makes the world that I see flatter than how most people see it. My world is effectively a movie screen or a painting. It’s flat. This made me particularly average at ball sports when I was younger. It means that pouring wine into a glass is actually quite difficult, especially after a few drinks.

I’m not blind in my right eye, I just don’t use it. So if you want to sneak up on me you should do it from the right hand side. You’ll start to notice too that I prefer to sit on your right so that I can look at you more squarely with my left.

Until a few years ago I had never seen anything in three dimensions. The original 3D films were headache-inducing blur-fests. The technology worked by having separate things for the right and left eye – the blue and the red lens – and the mixture created the illusion.

The one day I’m in Japan at the science museum and there is a 3D planetarium that the friends I’m with want to see, so I go along, assuming I’ll be able to see bugger all and it’ll give me a headache. But the technology has changed, the meshing of the images happens via each lens simultaneously. Suddenly the planets and moons and stars are whooshing around the room above me, rushing at my head, speeding away. Amazing!

Needless to say I’ve been to the 3D screenings of every single film possible since then. Star Wars: The Force Awakens I saw three times in 3D (twice in boring regular old 2D). There’s a bit where the tip of a star destroyer feels like it’s right in your face. The Millennium Falcon’s battle with the Tie Fighters is also particularly memorable.

I don’t really know how all you regular folk feel about 3D films, whether you think it’s an interesting attempt to mimic reality that inevitably falls short. For me it creates a whole new world altogether.

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