Monday, April 4, 2016

The peculiarity of vision

I am pretty sure I mentioned at some time in the last year that I have a wrinkled retina. I can't remember if I recently mentioned that on my last visit to the eye surgeon I expected to make an appointment for retina-smoothing surgery. This is like sanding your retina down so it acts like a mirror again. No, that is completely untrue. It is a lot more like  removing an unwanted sticker from a window. At any rate, the last time I went I got a very pleasant surprise. My vision is a great deal better than it should be given the easily measurable amount of wrinkling in my retina. The eye surgeon had never seen anything like it. I don't know the physical mechanism for this, but this is how it seems to work:

When I look at something, it tends to look quite blurry, often too blurry to read (if it is text). But I keep staring for a few seconds and it suddenly becomes much clearer, almost like a photograph being developed. The text becomes easily read, and as long as I don't refocus my eyes, that continues to be true. As soon as I look away and then look back. It becomes blurry again and I have to wait again. I imagine that my brain has learned to reprocess blurry images, because that seems more believable than that my eye muscles have learned to do some unprecedented thing. So I'm curious, but grateful. If you actually know anything about this, I would love to hear what you have to say.

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