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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's not what you look at… It's what you see

That was the last line of the episode of Brain Games I recently watched. I immediately made a verbal note in my iPhone to remember it for when I wrote in my blog next. If you have not watched Brain Games yet I highly recommend checking it out!  Its a National Geographic channel mini-series.   It might be my new favorite show!

This particular episode was all about how we see, how our brain perceives what we see, what we miss when we are looking at something else. Of course all of this was explained in terms of normally sighted people. But I found it very interesting. And wouldn't it be cool to have the same type of show but in the perspective of somebody with Stargardt's?  I''ll volunteer!

One test that they did was to flash names of colors on the screen but the letters were in a different color. The challenge was to state the color of the font rather then reading the word. Interestingly enough I was able to do this better than my husband. He found it hard to ignore the word and just focus on the color. I, on the other hand, am used to not being able to read words on the screen so its almost natural for me to ignore the text. .  So even though the letters were large and I could read them, I was able to focus more on the color of the letters..

In another segment they had the dance group the Jabberwocky's perform and the audience was asked to count how many times certain members of the group stepped in and out of the spotlight. Then after the performance was complete the host asked if anybody noticed the penguin walk behind the dancers onstage. I am pretty sure nobody noticed it. Most people were surprised that they wouldn't have noticed the penguin walk across the stage! As you can probably guess, I did not see the penguin either. But it doesn't come to a surprise to me when I miss things. 

Another part of the show which I found very interesting was a test of peripheral  vision I found this section on YouTube and I have included the link below . This showed how few details we catch in our peripheral vision. The narrator said that peripheral vision is too weak to be able to grasp lots of detail.  He compared peripheral vision to the low resolution of  an old cell phone screen. The fovea, a tiny part of the eye is where the high def detailed vision comes from.  A ha! So people like me who virtually only have peripheral vision obviously do not see detail too well! 

There is so much more to this show than what I have touched upon. It's probably silly of me but it's nice to know that even people with 2020 vision don't see everything around them.
So the next time you wave/smile at somebody and they do not wave/smile back, before jumping to the conclusion that they are rude, think about this... perhaps they are visually impaired or perhaps they look like they're looking at you but are focusing on something else. Of course it's entirely possible that they are in fact a jerk.. Ha ha!  :)

This week, I am going to the Schepens Eye Research Institute to participate in a research study. I am actually looking forward to it! I will be sure to share my experience with you all! 

1 comment:

Mary Jane's Playcare said...

Yet another vety interesting and informative blog, Heather. I am going to have to watch the Brian Games. It looks great. Of course, it is 12:10, so I watched the video without sound so as not to wake up Dad. But, looking forward to rewatching it tomorrow. It looked tricky!
You are right, we ould be great to have one on stargarts or one on different ways people with low vision see. You'd be great.
So glad you are doing the research in Boston again. Awesome! Plus, I get the kids! Wicked fun.
You are a brave young woman, Heather. As if you have a choice, huh??! But you do, some would not fight as hard as you. Proud of you always. Love, MA