Wednesday, January 6, 2010

6. The 3-Finger Game

The Idea: Stereoscopic vision is the brain's ability to coordinate the separate images taken in by each eye and combine them into one image/idea. When the eyes focus on an object in a relaxed manner, the mind is focused and relaxed as well. The converse is true: when the eyes are straining to focus, the mind is strained and unfocused, which leads to more strain on the eyes. By getting the eyes to focus with relaxation, we relax the mind, paving the way for better vision.

How To:
Step 1: Sit or stand in front of a wall without any visual distractions on it. Hold one hand 15–20cm in front of your nose, the other twice that far, index fingers pointed up, other fingers curled down.
Step 2: How many index fingers do you see? Really there are only 2 fingers, but how many do you see?
Step 3: If you see 3 fingers, are the 2 that are side-by-side on the hand closer to your nose or further from your nose? Whatever the case, switch so that the double-finger is on the other hand.
Step 4: Keep switching, so that you see 2 index fingers on the hand closer your nose, then further, then closer, and so on.
Step 5: Should you drift into seeing any other
number of index fingers, relax into seeing 3.
Step 6: Remember to breathe, relaxing to switch rather than straining.

Variation—The 4-Finger Game: The 3-Finger Game can also be done with an additional point in the distance—a pine tree, telephone pole, church steeple, etc.—switching focus from the near finger to the further finger and then the far-off object. In focusing on this far-off object, how many index fingers do you see?

What's Going On:
• Each of our eyes sees its own version of reality from its own angle. When we focus on an object at a certain distance, the brain takes each eye's perspective and combines them into a single "3-D" image. Meanwhile images at other focal distances become distorted and part of the brain's job is to filter out this information. Our mental focus is in line with our visual focus.
• The 3-Finger Game works the eye/brain connection in being able to focus on things at different distances. In seeing one close finger and two further away fingers, we're exercising our ability to focus on close objects. Switching to seeing two close fingers and one further away finger, we're exercising our ability to focus on objects at a medium distance. In the variation where we look at a third object a bit further off (and presumably seeing 4 index fingers), we're exercising our distance vision.
• The key to the 3-Finger Game is being able to switch quickly between focusing on objects at different distances, seeing one of something and two of another with complete control. After practice, this ability to consciously master one's focal abilities will move from being an eye exercise and evolve into a vision habit, improving the everyday ability to focus—visually, as well as mentally.

Note: These drawings are exaggerated for illustrative purposes—the doubled fingers won't likely appear to be this far apart.

More info:
• Dr. Marc Grossman loves using these kinds of eye-brain tricks to help people see. He's collaborated with artists on some "Magic Eye" books, saying that they're good for the vision—the eyes and he brain working together.

No comments:

Post a Comment