Our sense of depth perception and ability to see in 3 dimensions are often-overlooked benefits of our complex visual system.
Our eyes gather a significant amount of visual data as we observe our surroundings. Both eyes send this gathered data back to the brain, where it is interpreted and combined into a single cohesive image.
The fact that the eyes are set a small distance apart from each other allows them to gather slightly different sets of visual information, which the brain interprets as depth and distance when combining the two images. This produces 3-D vision.
Here are our top 4 reasons why 3D vision is so crucial:
3D vision plays a key role in a child’s ability to learn in school. Children who have problems with 3D depth perception will often have difficulty with spatial skills and visualization. This impacts their ability to form letters correctly, develop accurate word memory and easily understand complex shapes. These challenges can significantly undermine their reading speed, spelling abilities, handwriting, understanding of mathematics and comprehension.
3D vision is especially important in subjects such as geometry, where a sense of depth and space are essential to understanding basic concepts.
In sports like basketball, football and soccer, it’s essential to know where other teammates are standing on the field or court in order to pass the ball. It’s also a key part of catching incoming passes and judging the distance to the basket or goal post.
In baseball, 3D vision is necessary for sizing up the ball as it comes across the plate, for judging distances, swinging, catching and hitting, and running the bases.
Driving safely is absolutely tied to depth perception and the ability to see in 3D. Without them, drivers may not be able to avoid hitting other cars, know when it is safe to change lanes, and how far to go when backing into or moving out of parking spots to avoid other cars, the curb or pedestrians.
Accurate 3D vision is particularly important at night, where there are fewer visual cues, such as the size and movement of nearby objects, to make quick decisions.
4. Day-To-Day Tasks
Even the most basic day-to-day tasks, such as shaking another person’s hand, are made easier with proper depth perception and 3D vision.
3D vision also makes the world around you safer. Crossing the street requires you to estimate the distance between yourself and any cars that may be on the street, as well as the speed those cars are traveling. Even walking downstairs can be hazardous if you can’t properly gauge the distance from each step down to the next.
Your Eye Doctor Can Help With 3D Vision Issues
If you’re experiencing difficulties with 3D vision, speak to your eye doctor about vision therapy. This doctor-prescribed, evidence-based regimen of in-office and at-home eye exercises helps reset and strengthen the connection between your eyes and your brain. For 3D vision, this means helping coordinate the signals coming from your brain to each eye, so that the eyes can move and focus in unison.
For more information about 3D vision, and how our eye doctors can help, visit The Niagara Vision Therapy Centre at Dr. Hopkins & Associates Optometry today.
Q: How can vision therapy help with 3D vision issues?
- A: After we perform a functional eye exam to confirm that vision therapy is the right choice for you or your child, we’ll begin creating a customized therapy program for your specific needs. The vision therapy program will help strengthen the connection between the eyes and brain, to help the entire visual system work together more effectively and efficiently. In the case of 3D vision issues, this may mean working on helping the eyes move in unison more effectively or improving the eyes’ ability to converge effectively on objects close-up.Though vision therapy can sometimes take a while to address the problem (4 to 6 months on average), it is usually quite successful.
Q: What is the difference between a functional eye exam and a standard eye exam?
- A: A standard eye exam will check for visual acuity and the presence of eye disease. However, a standard exam doesn’t assess eye teaming, convergence/divergence and other problems affecting 3D and binocular vision. That’s why a functional eye exam is so important. If your child is behind in school or having developmental issues, these may be tied to vision problems that can be detected as part of a functional eye exam.
Our practice serves patients from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, Welland , and St. Catharine, Ontario and surrounding communities.