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Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  619 ratings  ·  89 reviews
When neuroscientist Susan Barry was fifty years old, she took an unforgettable trip to Manhattan. As she emerged from the dim light of the subway into the sunshine, she saw a view of the city that she had witnessed many times in the past but now saw in an astonishingly new way. Skyscrapers on street corners appeared to loom out toward her like the bows of giant ships. Tree ...more
Hardcover, 249 pages
Published May 25th 2009 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published May 5th 2009)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Cheryl
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to anyone who suspects they have any sort of undiagnosed vision problem, and to teachers and parents frustrated with children who seem to be having behavioral or learning disabilities for no other convincing reason. Just because you can read an eye chart at 20 ft while sitting quietly does not mean that you can catch a ball, or read comfortably, or drive.... And if you can't read comfortably, if you can't 'focus,' you're likely to be frustrated with schoolwork....

I need to find a pkg
...more
Laurie
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When Susan Barry was an infant, she developed crossed eyes- strabisimus. When she was seven, she had surgery to correct them. They looked normal then. It wasn’t until she was in college that she realized that she didn’t have stereovision- the ability to see in three dimensions. Of course it was too late by then to do anything about it- the scientific community agreed that the cut off point for restoring stereovision was in infancy. She was way too old to change things; her brain could not be ...more
Laura
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm strabismic like the author, tho my problems aren't as severe. While I've known all my life that I see differently than others, I never really knew why, how, and what it meant. Its amazing to learn all that, and mind blowing that there might literally be a an entire dimension out there that I'm not seeing!

Well written. She's a neurobiologist, but doesn't get bogged down in the science.
Molly
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book has the potential to be life changing. I picked it up after reading about it on amazon the week it came out. As a strabismic who lacks full depth perception, I was interested to hear of a woman who taught herself, through vision therapy, to see in 3D well after the "critical period" - what is believe to be about two years of age. Susan Barry saw in three dimensions for the first time at age 49. She relays her own experiences, and those of others, to make a compelling case for vision ...more
Mishehu
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting subject (neuroscience of vision, brain plasticity). Part popular science review, part memoir. Writer is, of all things, a professor of neurobiology whose own lifelong case of strabismus was, through intensive therapy, corrected in later life, thus enabling her to experience the visual world in three dimensions for the first time ever. Author does a fine job of coveying the profundity of this experience, and of describing the science behind it. I was surprised to learn how ...more
Emily
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medicine, 2012, science
I found the message of this book so exciting that it will be hard to review it qua book. It reads a bit like the disappointing memoir Remembering Smell, and I had already read the 2006 New Yorker article, Stereo Sue, which made me wonder about my vision. The book, which goes into much more detail, leaves me as convinced as a book (rather than a medical exam) could, that I do have this problem and that it is correctable.

The two conditions discussed in the book are strabismus (cross-eyedness) and
...more
Lorin Rivers
Dec 22, 2014 marked it as to-read
I WAS strabismic & stereo blind (almost corrected by glasses) as a result of a head injury as a teenager. I went to see an eye surgeon who's patients are overwhelmingly pediatric but who occasionally treats adults who have become so after puberty.

She was able to correct my strabismus surgically. After waking, it was disorienting at first and I experienced some odd visual distortion until my brain learned to interpret this bizarre new capacity to see in 3D. Most obvious was looking at a
...more
Amanda Zeller
Sep 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a Developmental Optometrist, I recommend this book to all my patients. It has a lot to offer those with strabismus as well as those just wanting to learn about the workings of the visual system.

Sue Barry is truly inspiring. Every time I hear her speak, it reminds me why I do what I do, and encourages me to give my best to each and every patient.
Payel Kundu
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book had some pretty interesting elements. First of all, I’m a big fan of books that advocate (and empirically support) the idea that you can positively change your mind and your body throughout your lifetime. As a neuroscientist, I have a special soft spot for stories of adult neural plasticity specifically. Also, this is my favorite category of that kind of book because it’s written from the first hand perspective of a neuroscientist. Providing both great personal detail (qualia) as well ...more
Bob Spaulding
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having had the condition described in the book since I was an infant, I can attest Barry adroitly describes in detail a number of the wide range of impacts from driving to reading, though seems to intentionally tread lightly through some of the more potentially personally consequential strands. Well-written and hopeful, it does a great job weaving together personal experience, scientific principles, and evolving thought. It’s a very readable length, though with 60 pages of footnotes, it ends ...more
Molly
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that's awkward to read in public, but totally worth it. A lot of the nuances of stereo-vision were described not just in words, but with pictures too, which really helped. It meant though that I'd find myself covering one eye, then the other, or moving the book closer and farther from my nose, to really understand the optical illusions the author was describing. It earned me more than a few odd glances at the coffee shop. Although this book is written by a scientist, I ...more
Zombie Karin
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zombie Karin by: Josh
Finally--a book from the perspective of someone who has my crossed-eyed troubles and vision limitations. So much of what Barry said about her own experiences resonated with my own life story. From difficulty with sports with moving objects (7th grade tennis class--I'm looking at you) to attempts to make your crossed eyes less noticeable (being photographed from the left is a favorite of mine, though I would prefer to just never be photographed); it's all there.

And yet. The story is really how
...more
Jordan Vezina
Sep 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I love this subject matter but could not get through the book. If I did not know she was a professor of neurobiology I would think she had not graduated high school. The writing is absolutely atrocious. Is this the same woman who wrote 50 shades of grey? No more commas for you ever...
Spotted obvious spelling and grammar errors about 5 pages in. Probably a good book but I am offended as a writer.
BTW apparently Princeton is basically a second tier art school.
Shauna Elias
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this book at the recommendation of a doctor so that I could understand what my 9 year old sees and what he will be going through when he starts vision therapy next week. I recommend that teachers read this book so that when they have a student with vision issues they might have some understanding.
Alison
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a fellow strabismic and a fan of Oliver Saks, I couldn't resist this book when I found it on the shelf of a vacation rental. I've always known that my vision prevented me from seeing 3D movies and 3D posters but I didn't think I was missing out on much more. Now I'm not only reanalyzing what I do see but psychoanalyzing myself and reconsidering the other possible effects of my vision.
Michelle
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Lots of scientific information, but still easy to read and understand. As someone without stereovision, I found this book very interesting. I now wonder if vision therapy could enable me to someday see in three dimensions.
Ben Zimmerman
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked up this book after having some weird bi-stable perception experiences at the DMV with the stereoscopic vision test that no one else was apparently having. I've always been a bit confused about my vision and was curious to see if this book elucidated anything for me.

The book is an interesting case study with many elements that I enjoyed reading about. I always enjoy learning about the ways that past experiments were incorrectly interpreted that led to some prevailing view in science,
...more
Jessica Barnett
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever had vision problems - you are not alone! She gives a simplified explanation of how the eyes and brain work, sprinkled with her personal experiences with being cross-eyed and vision therapy. It is a hopeful book, and one I found emotional to read because I could relate to her experience.
Jennifer
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm working on some vision screening devices at work right now, and it's always more interesting to me to read a personal story then oodles of papers. Not to mention that the way the brain works is incredibly fascinating.
Geoffrey Kleinman
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting story, but better as a Ted talk/magazine article. The core concept is stretched out and repeated over and over again. Less info about other forms of vision training vs just cross-eyed.
Marissa
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Here you have the rare confluence of three factors: a) a scientist who b) is an excellent writer and c) herself experienced something very out of the mainstream. In Susan Barry's case, that thing out of the mainstream is regaining the ability to see 3D at the age of 48 after extensive optometric therapy.

But this is much more than a case report on Barry by Barry. Instead she both reaches out to the wider world and finds other folks who have changed their vision after the alleged critical period
...more
Amanda
Nov 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While sitting in the waiting room at the eye doctor, a book on the reading materials table caught my eye. It was titled "Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions." While waiting for my appointment, I glanced through the book and added it to my book list. Somewhat technical in the scientific language, it still provided a very interesting perspective on the continuum of vision and what can and cannot be done to improve the way people see.

Susan Barry was born
...more
Djallel
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this book after searching about the subject of binocular vision and stereopsis.
After it was a long-standing medical wisdom shared amongst scientists and doctors, that strabismus could not be corrected and that stereopsis could not be acquired at adulthood but only at a critical period in childhood. The author, Susan Barry, strabismic as a child has undergone a surgery to realign her her eyes but she never had stereovision, She comes along and shares her story of regaining stereopsis
...more
Joseph Harris
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When neuroscientist Susan Barry was fifty years old, she took an unforgettable trip to Manhattan. As she emerged from the dim light of the subway into the sunshine, she saw a view of the city that she had witnessed many times in the past but now saw in an astonishingly new way. Skyscrapers on street corners appeared to loom out toward her like the bows of giant ships. Tree branches projected upward and outward, enclosing and commanding palpable volumes of space. Leaves created intricate mosaics

...more
Patrick
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ideas
Amazon review:
When neuroscientist Susan Barry was 50 years old, she took an unforgettable trip to Manhattan. As she emerged from the dim light of the subway into the sunshine, she saw a view of the city that she had witnessed many times in the past but now saw in an astonishingly new way. Skyscrapers on street corners appeared to loom out toward her like the bows of giant ships. Tree branches projected upward and outward, enclosing and commanding palpable volumes of space. Leaves created
...more
Cynthia
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brecken
Jan 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Remarkably educational in a fun, story-filled memoir kind of a way. Susan Barry grew up with a vision deficit, and had to compensate in many unusual ways. But when she was nearing fifty she unexpectedly heard of a developmental optometrist that administered vision therapy. Through a year's worth of intense, focused therapy, it all paid off. Living in a world with stereopsis now she is able to appreciate the beauty and depth of life and the world we live in. As a vision therapist myself this ...more
Kelly
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this book mostly because I can relate to the author's strabismus and vision problems, and I've been thinking about doing vision therapy to try to correct my sight beyond what surgery and glasses have done for me. My mind was blown by some of the experiences she talked about and by the thought that I might not see in 3D myself (I really don't know, as I have only seen the way that I've always seen, and can't compare it to 3D vision..). I've never been able to see 3D movies or images in ...more
Tanya
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
No one in our family is cross-eyed and stereo blind, but I got this book from the library because I wanted to know more about vision therapy. This account of the author's experience gives me so much hope in the plasticity of the brain and the potential for recovery (post-concussion). Even with 20/20 vision, there is so much more to seeing and being able to function and carry out activities of daily living. I wanted more information about some of the specific techniques, but understand why this ...more
Jennifer
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aadl
So, I should start out by saying that my optometrist recommended this book to me.

Barry tells her own story of growing up cross-eyed, and without proper fusion or stereo-vision. It is well researched, well written, and astonishing.

I know that I have stereo-vision, mostly because I know I can pass those tests at the optometrist (though they are difficult), but I have fusion issues. Issues to such an extent that I cannot or maybe will not drive. My depth perception changes, so I can't tell how
...more
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