Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Your Eyes Meet Your Soul: Convergence Insufficiency and Psychology

 How you see  the space around you affects your mental health.
  According to Dr. Warchowsky, there is a relationship between the ability to focus your eyes properly and your sense of being in this world.

Vergence is a disjunctive movement of the eyes in which the fixation axes are not parallel, ie the eyes are not focusing.

Convergence insufficiency occurs when your eyes don't turn inward properly while you're focusing on a nearby object. When you read or look at a close object, your eyes should converge — turn inward together to focus — so that they provide binocular vision and you see a single image. But if you have convergence insufficiency, you won't be able to move your eyes inward to focus normally.

People develop as individuals through their own perceptions. Visual function is an integral part of perceptual function and that urgent gives insight into personality. A lack of ability to control and manipulate vergence can compromise a patient's visual perception and diminish his awareness of space.

Other factors such as posture, balance, visual motor integration, accommodative, and ocular motor skills play significant roles in broadening the understanding of a patient's vision. Vergence allows patients to understand the difference between their personal perception of space and the objective reality of space. There are three levels of commitment for someone to feel secure interacting within a particular space: an awareness of where we are (antigravity), an awareness of what it is (centering), and what it is (identification). Personality and behavior complex interactions of the brain and body.

Information is obtained from monocular cues such as overlap and parallax that provide information about where one is in space from a two-dimensional perspective. Binocular vision, where two eyes work together, gives a three-dimensional perspective on "where one is in space" and how a person is positioned relative to other objects within the space, the egocentric process. Action is added when one begins to interact with people and objects in space. The concept of distance lets people recognize how other people and objects in space are relative to the individual. Finally there is an emotional/psychological layer.

Correct vergence allows people to answer the following questions: where am I in this space? What are the boundaries? How far away are they? How close are the objects? How large are they, relative to me and my location? Am I safe here? Am I in danger? Do I room to move?

Problems with vergence impact judgments of size and distance. They impact the assessment of reality and illusion especially in regard to space and size. When people can function properly in space, a sense of connection follows. The person feels "I am part of the matrix". Conversely, people with convergence insufficiency lack a sense of centeredness and connectedness to their world.

Developmental optometrists have seen that resolution of convergence issues results in reduced anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia.

Additionally, Convergence Insufficiency is particularly high among children with ADHD.  According to the New York Times,  ADHD is often accompanied by convergence insufficiency and other vision problems. Also, eye problems themselves are misdiagnosed as ADHD.

 Issues in convergence can affect more than a person's tendency to hit a baseball too early or too late. Over conversion individuals may approach perceptual tasks from a more central perspective than a peripheral one. As a consequence, they may choose to process information sequentially rather than spatially, from a gestalt perspective. People who suffer from over convergence (Central) see the world in detail that is, figure. While those people who suffer from under convergence (peripheral) sees space in a more broad, holistic perspective, that is, ground.

Philosophers and religious thinkers have grappled with these questions of perception, judgements about reality, alienation,  and connectedness throughout the ages, across cultures and philosophical/science/spiritual domains.   Philosophers from Aristotle through Kant, Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein have pondered the basic questions of how do we know what we know.  The Existentialists like Kierkegaard, Camus and Sartre have tackled alienation.  The Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism have posited a basic sense of nothingness and illusion as a foundation.

With advances in neuroscience, we have the tools to visualize and study how we know our world.  We can start to tackle the questions of how do we know what we know.    Do we understand our world through our perceptions?  Or, do we have a mental framework that organizes our sense data?
Problems with vergence may color how people choose to organize their world:  whether they see it by collect their individual perceptions detail by detail  and then organize them or whether they have a mental framework in which they organize the world.

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