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3D Vision: Driving and Sports

“I’ve grown more confident in my tennis game. Prior to therapy, I had begun to fear being hit in the face by the ball and my reaction time was slowing down. After 4 months, my game is much more aggressive; I track the ball better and by development of my peripheral vision, I’m able to place the ball more accurately without “telegraphing” to the other player where I’m placing the shot. When the game heats up at the net, I’m confident, alert, and relaxed. When the game keeps me back in the service court, I’m able to put more power into my swing and I’m always aware of the other players positioning without taking my eye off the ball.”

What is 3D Vision?

3D Vision is short for “three -dimensional vision” or two-eyed depth perception. 3D provides a stable, solid world. Indeed the medical term for 3D vision is stereopsis, which is derived from the Greek words for “solid vision.” 3D suggests how comfortably and efficiently your brain coordinates the fourteen muscles of your eyes. When such coordination is poor, 3D vision may be reduced, stressful or painful. If one eye turns in toward the nose (strabismus), then the brain may learn to suppress or ignore 3D vision at all times. Even in such extreme cases, 3D vision can often be partially or fully recovered with vision therapy.

How big can you see?

If you can read the eye chart, then you have 20/20 acuity: the ability to see tiny details. Seeing little, however, does not guarantee that you can see big. Seeing the seams on the baseball while simultaneously seeing the ball’s position in space demands good central vision combined with good peripheral vision. 3D vision can add to your ability to see big, whether for reading the green or judging the curves on the road at night.

“I can now tell if my shot is going to land short, long, etc. I can “read” greens. My putting has improved tremendously.”

3D Vision Demonstrated 

When vision is normal, each eye sees from its own angle. The brain combines the different view from each eye into a single three-dimensional picture. To see 3D for yourself, perform the following demonstration:

  • Hold your right hand about ten inches in front of your face.
  • Turn the palm-side of the hand toward your face.
  • Half close your fist and extend your finger-tips directly toward eyes.
  • With your other hand, cover first one eye, then the other.
  • Compare how each eye’s view of your fingers appears different.
  • Uncover your eyes and view your hand using both eyes at the same time.
  • Behold any extra space between the fingers. You may even notice that your finger-tips appear to spring further out from your palm.
  • This increased perception of space is known as stereopsis.
  • Another way to experience two-eyed depth perception is to cover one eye and look around the room at objects positioned at different distances from you. Then uncover the eye and look with both eyes and see the extra space or “air” between the objects.

3D Movies

When you see a 3D movie, the glasses allow each eye to see a slightly different picture; the brain combines the two views to create the illusion of depth. There is possibly no better screening for two-eyed coordination than a 3D movie. If the movie appears flat, then two-eyed depth perception is poor. If the movie causes headaches, eyestrain, or nausea, then something is wrong, probably with the coordination of the eyes. If 3D movies are avoided, then there is likely frustration in one of the following areas of life:

  • Reading fatigue, avoidance, or discomfort
  • Headaches or eye strain when reading or driving
  • Avoidance of night or freeway driving
  • Motion sickness
  • Failure at hitting or catching a ball
  • General clumsiness
  • Difficulties with driving confidence or safety

Schedule an Appointment

At Cook Vision Therapy, we specialize in 3D vision. Dr. Cook instructs doctors from around the world on the subject. If you are interested in seeing the dimensions of the world for improved school, sports, or driving, call 770-419-0400 for a Free Phone Consultation and learn if you may be a candidate for enhanced 3D vision.

Check Out Our Resources

Dr. Cook’s Publications:

  • Published articles in top optometric journals.
  • His article “Eyesight, infinity and the human heart” was voted “Best Non-Technical Article” by the Association of Optometric Editors.

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