I was born with strabismus, commonly known as crossed eyes. Most strabismus is the result of an abnormality of the neuromuscular (including brain) control of eye movement. When the eyes are oriented in different directions, the brain receives 2 different visual images. I am told that, as a baby, my brain somewhat ignored the image from the misaligned eye to avoid double vision, resulting in poorer vision development of that eye. To strengthen my “weak” eye, as a young child I wore an eye patch over my strong eye for several years. This was a success, I didn’t lose vision in the weak eye. I have always had monocular vision; both eyes work, but separately. Monocular vision, as opposed to binocular vision, apparently increases the field of view while decreasing depth perception. I was told, as a child, that I would not be able to catch or hit a ball being thrown at me. But, It has never really bothered me much because I have never known normal, binocular, vision.
At 16 months of age, I had cosmetic eye surgery. This did not change my vision, just the strangeness of my appearance. As a result, most people never knew I had the condition. During the healing process following this surgery, I was strapped into my crib so that I would not rub my eyes. While I have no conscious memory of this, I can’t help but wonder if it shaped me in any way. Perhaps it contributed to my early fear/shyness of people- other than family and close friends.
I have been asked how strabismus has effected my painting? My answer is, “I really don’t know”. A professional photographer once suggested that I see as a camera lens sees….Maybe…. What I do know is that I greatly value my vision and am grateful for the opportunities of expression that it affords me