When I was driving home last night, I heard something on NPR about a story of a woman who had monocular vision due to strabismus until she was in her late 40s and then re-trained her brain to have binolcuar vision . . . which is sort of counter to most expert's thinking on the brain and vision development (most believe binocular vision has to be developed in childhood or is lost forever). I heard the name of the book, and couldn't wait to tell Brian about it. Then, after dinner, we turned on NPR and the full story was on, which is very random b/c whether I admit it or not, I'm more of a Ryan Seacrest radio girl than an NPR one so the fact that TWICE in one day I happened to be listening to NPR and heard this story is incredible enough ;o) Anyway, more to the point . . .
The interview on NPR was with the author of the book 'Fixing My Gaze: a Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions.' Fascinating! The author had been cross-eyed as a child and had three separate surgeries to straighten her eyes. Then through therapy in her late 40s/early 50s taught herself to see in 3-D. Oh, and while she was doing this she was a professor of neurobiology! We were obviously interested because of the relevance to Sam's eyes but you should listen to the interview (or read the book, which we plan to do) because she does a good job of explaining strabismus and how the brain and body adapt to the condition. Not to mention the fact that it's just plain interesting.
The NPR interview (on Fresh Air) can be accessed from the author's website - www.fixingmygaze.com.
So, it was fascinating, and also a good reminder of how malleable (and incredible) the human brain really is. We are told that Sam's binocular vision is fine (and the doctors credit her early surgery with this) but we know her tracking and depth perception is a little off . . . but again, the doctors tell us those pathways will form in time. This story reminded me that we don't have to be in a rush! Sure, we'd like for Sam vision to be perfecto asap, but really, the brain is incredible, and she'll get there (wherever "there" is!). . . in her own time.