The world that only formerly-blind people can see
By Esther Inglis-Arkell | io9
They once were blind but now they see. Which begs the question — what exactly do people see when they gain sight for the first time? Often, it’s terrifying.
What happens when people first really look at the world? Generally, we don’t know. They’re far too young to tell us what’s going on in their mind. By the time children are old enough to articulate what they see, they don’t remember what the world looked like in their first few weeks of life. There are special occasions, though, when full-grown adults can see for the first time. For the most part, they see a complete confusion. Often, that does a lot of emotional damage.
One of the earliest-known cases of regained sight is Virgil, the Roman poet. At age fifty, he had cataract surgery and regained his sight. Soon after, he wished he hadn’t. This is common to many blind people who regain their sight. Unlike infants, who are catered to, whose brains are primed for learning, and who have no option but to learn, blind people are asked to replace a familiar sensory system that reliably guides them through the world with an unfamiliar one that does nothing but confuse them. Sometimes the strain of assimilation is too much. Like many other patients, Virgil would shut his eyes and pretend he was still blind when the situation became overwhelming. He became depressed and died of pneumonia soon after his surgery. Although he had seen the world with his eyes, he retained his “mental blindness,” or what experts call “visual agnosia.”
For someone to see an object, the eye needs to pick it up, but the brain also needs to recognize it. This process takes both practice and a certain physical ability in the brain. Agnosia patients have generally suffered brain injuries and lost the ability to understand what they see – they see a rectangular object with a brown circle on top and a loop on one side, but don’t understand that they’re looking at a cup of coffee. There are only shapes. Those who have been blind most of their lives “wake up” with a certain amount of visual agnosia.
Spatial distance is often the primary problem they run into. One man saw people walking away from him as inexplicably shrinking. Another would practice spatial recognition by going out in a field and throwing his boot as far as he could. He’d hold out his hand to grab it, and if it wasn’t in reach, step forward before trying again.
Another area that many newly-sighted people find inexplicable is paintings and other visual representations. They can comprehend real objects, but not painted ones. When they do understand what the paintings are meant to represent, the shadows that are meant to define space and give shape just look like dark marks on the painting. Which, technically they are. It’s only a willful visual laziness on the part of the sighted that lets us see these paint blotches as shadows rather than shapes and colors.
Because we develop familiarity with faces and facial expressions at specific times in our lives – those who are deprived of human contact or changing facial expressions at that age often have trouble reading expressions for their entire lives – formerly blind people are often face-blind, or unable to decipher emotion from facial expression. Some have trouble differentiating between male and female faces.
Read the full article at: io9.com
App developer hopes to use Google Glass to help the blind see
Belgium Euthanizes Deaf Twins Going Blind
World’s first bionic eye gifts blind woman eyesight
Blind Mice Given Sight After Device Cracks Retinal Code
Google’s self-driving car takes blind man to Taco Bell
Blind People ’See’ Shapes, Navigate Using Echoes
Blinded Merseyside soldier ’sees’ with tongue device
TouchColor Helps Blind People to Draw
Synesthesia - Numberphile
Synesthesia May Explain Healers Claims of Seeing People’s ’Aura’
David Eagleman - Synesthesia, Unconscious Brain, and Tales from the Afterlives
"Altered States" 1980 - sensory deprivation, hallucinogens, experiments
Sensory-Friendly Film Screenings for Kids with Autism
Eye Contact May Disturb Autistic Kids’ Thinking
Latest News from our Front Page
Facebook To Censor & Remove Users For Anti-Obama Posts
Facebook is submitting to Obama in a truly sickening way this week as they announce a new policy regarding dialogue that involves “hate speech” and “xenophobia” on European profiles in reference to the Muslim refugee crisis.
According to World Daily Online, Facebook executives have created the “Initiative for Civil Courage Online” in Berlin, and it pledges to help non-governmental in counteracting “racist and ...
Cologne Carnival: 2 Rapefugees Arrested
Two rapefugees—a Nigerian and an Afghani—have been arrested in two separate sex-attack rape incidents in Germany during the first day of the North West Rhine’s (NRW) famous street carnivals, police have admitted.
According to the Focus news service, “Police have arrested an immigrant from Africa,” after a 24-year-old woman was raped at the street carnival in the NRW city of Gütersloh.
Hungarian Woman Speaks Out Against the Betrayal of European Women and is Called a ‘Racist’
According to the Women’s rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committee of the European Parliament it is only racism that may lead someone who sees any problem in the mass violence committed against women in Europe by migrant men. Every day there are instances of European women being subjected to sexual abuses, insults, violent actions that force the European women to ...
US Border agent: 'We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether'
In a shocking reversal of policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are being told to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings, essentially a license to stay in the United States, a key agent testified Thursday.
What's more, the stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals released are not to ...
This Country Will Be The First Islamic Nation In Europe, Muslims Claim
Daily headlines prove that Europe is bursting at the seams with Islamists attempting to establish Sharia law and homegrown terror plots. France is ablaze with radicals, ISIS threatens they will send Spain back to the times of the Ottoman Empire, and Britain is much too concerned with appeasing Muslims that they are doing away with their own citizens’ free speech.
|More News » |