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on November 13, 2013
This book will be of special interest to those of us with stereo-blindness caused by strabismus or amblyopia ( crossed eyes or lazy eye). But it should be required reading for opthamologists as well. The long-standing tenet of these conditions being fixed in toddlerhood was 'busted' by the author's experience and supported by hundreds of other cases reported by the individuals who, as adults, regained binocular vision. It got the attention of Oliver Sacks, then PBS, and then the author, a professor of neurobiology, wrote the book. It is her story, but it is about to be mine. At 62, I will have surgery to better align my eyes. Then I will find an optometrist who can guide me in the therapy to regain mt binocular vision. My opthamologic surgeon (who does only strabismic surgery) is skeptical, but interested. My chances of regaining full depth perception may be small, but the book inspires me to try - and after a life of spacial disorientation, minor repetitive car accidents upon backing up or turning left, and 'visual confusion', I am ready for the adventure. Brain plasticity lives! This book is a must-read for anyone interested in perception, brain plasticity or neuro-science.
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on April 24, 2014
I read this book for the sake of my sister, with amblyopia, and my daughter, with visual processing problems and a very mild strabismus. Susan Barry writes like an intelligent person without medical training, so there's a lot of very useful information without the medical jargon (she explains "amblyopia" and "strabismus").

The content was earth-shaking for me. At the time I read it, I was in the unique situation of being in the middle of what has to be a program the same as or similar to the one Susan Barry did with my 6 year old daughter. I can't say I really understood what my daughter was being asked to do or why it might be successful before reading this book. I do now. The brain is incredible.

The writing was clear and engaging. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with vision problems, their family members, and anyone interested in neurology and neuroplasticity at a layman's level.
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on August 26, 2017
Good stuff for the science and stereo newbie. You don't need to know much about how it should go and it gives good insights into what might go wrong when assessing stereo pictures. The nature of driving a dominant eye or forcing stereo vision through contrast was a great insight. Stereo vision is extremely forgiving and I never had a good sense of why, this book has given me some excellent directions to explore.
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on September 15, 2011
This amazing story tells the struggles and triumphs of a woman who just wouldn't give in to incredible challenges or negative medical opinions. She is an inspiration to all. I got it for my wife, Rachel, who is battling a genetic disorder which has collapsed her airways over 90% in the past two and a half years. She is a 34 year old American who was once awarded a spot in the prestigious Royal Ballet in London and who has danced at the Kirov in St. Petersburg, Russia, and other prestigious companies both in the US and abroad. But now her only hope of survival is a rare procedure to re-grow her airways from her own stem cells and transplant the new trachea to replace her damaged tissue. Her story is at (...) This book helped inspire her to fight on in this seemingly impossible battle. You can never give up simply because some doctor says you can't overcome something. You have to press the edges of conventional wisdom and personally take charge of your own health care. That message comes through loud and clear in "Fixing My Gaze" and it is more that a title. It is an anthem declaring that each of us must develop a similar single minded sense of purpose to see our goals as being achievable in spite of what stands in our way. Buy it. Read it! Never mind if you have the same condition or not - we all face situations in life that require us to reach deep within ourselves to create our own answers. Or, as someone once said, Move, and the Universe moves with you!"
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I ordered this new book just after meeting the inspirational Dr. Barry at this year's meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. The book arrived this last Friday and I spent the day reading it. I confess to be blown away by her story, as well as the scientific and clinical implications of her work. Add me to the list of people who loved the book!

Sue Barry's astonishing development of stereopsis at age 48 changed - profoundly - the way that many scientists (me included) view visual development and plasticity. Somehow we had tuned out, en masse, one hundred years of successes using vision therapy (including the extensive the work of Frederick Brock). The stuff of vision therapy was ignored, relegated to the fringes of sensible vision care. Instead, several generations of us took the Nobel Prize winning research of Hubel and Wiesel as gospel truth, going beyond the data by wrongly concluding (perhaps unlike the Nobel laureates) that stereopsis could only develop during a critical period during infancy. It took Barry, a well-established neuroscientist and keen observer, to bring us to our senses.

And yet now, having read her new book, I see that the story is much deeper and profound than I thought. First off, she's a very entertaining storyteller in her own right. The human drama escalated as she went through frightening surgeries as a child (including an encounter with a deceptive anesthesiologist); as she experienced shock and disappointment at being exposed as stereoblind; as she had her vision problems dismissed by one ophthalmologist as a psychiatric disorder; as she experienced steropsis bursting out at her for the first time; as she gained steam and knowledge, recognizing the scientific, clinical, and human implications of her story; as she brought celebrity neuroscientists on board. And so it is a story of empowerment for Barry the patient, Barry the scientist, Barry the teacher, and Barry the instiller of hope.

I believe that Susan Barry has demonstrated for many of us that stereopsis is, indeed, important. I, for instance, was trained to believe that binocular vision and any advantage it afforded us wasn't that big a deal. Sure, I loved stereo viewers and all that... But as an undergrad at Berkeley in the early `80s, I recall a visit by Bela Julesz, of cyclopean vision fame. Two of my academic heroes, Russ and Karen De Valois rose to challenge Julesz, eventually (as I recall) suggesting that two eyes really aren't that much better than one. As I read Barry's book, as well as her descriptions of the consequences of her visual deficit, I realized that my early academic training (as a I had encoded it) was quite wrong. The book makes it clear that lack of stereopsis, and having two eyes that don't fuse images properly, has profound consequences for people like Barry (e.g., her driving, her energy level, and her sense of efficacy). Moreover, it is fair to say that Barry is an extraordinary observer of stereoscopic experience, and that she uses her newfound, developing perceptual ability to achieve scientific and clinical insights that are elusive to us who grew up with normal stereopsis.

One of the epiphanies for me was when I read and grasped the following paragraph: "Just as I could not imagine a world in stereo depth, an individual with normal normal stereopsis cannot experience the worldview of a person who has always lacked steropsis. This may be surprising because you can eliminate clues from stereopsis simply by closing one eye. What's more, many people do not notice a great difference when viewing the world with one eye or two. When a normal binocular viewer closes one eye, however, he or she still uses a lifetime of past visual experiences to re-create the missing stereo information."

People interested in stereopsis will find excellent coverage of the basic issues and the key scientific figures past and present (e.g., Wheatstone, Hering, Helmholtz, Eileen Birch, Shin Shimojo, Denis Levi, Uri Polat, Chris Tyler). It is nice, if not surprising, to learn that the already positive, cool Oliver Sacks played a positive, cool role in Susan Barry's story.

If you have strabismus or some other disorder of binocular vision, you will find what you need here. You will find out how to find an appropriate vision therapist. You will find extensive, understandable information about the theory and science of binocular vision. More importantly, you will learn in marvelous detail about the experiences and practices that can in some instances lead to acquiring stereopsis late in life. My guess is that vision therapy patients will use this book as a guide for years to come.

One last thing: I recommend listening to two NPR interviews (2006, 2009) featuring Sue Barry, as well as other key scientific figures in the story, including Sacks, Hubel, Levi, and, briefly, the heroic Theresa Ruggiero. The NPR programs are available online and go quite well with the book.

Two thumbs up! (one with uncrossed disparity; one with crossed disparity).
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on August 28, 2009
After reading this book, I will never take stereovision for granted again. The author, Susan Barry, so clearly describes that seeing space, depth, is an awesome experience. There is much interesting science information but the most valuable aspect of the book is the personal stories of those with abnormal sight. It caused me to rethink how I perceive the world. It also should remind us that our ideas about how life works must be tempered with humility; we are often just guessing. Those guesses, when taken as truth, can prevent improvements that would help people cope better with life.

The author's style is friendly and personal so the science doesn't seem difficult. Once readers know Susan, we want to understand how her vision problems occurred and how they were fixed.
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on September 25, 2015
This is an awesome book! A very well written book, that conveys a great deal of very important information. This should be a must read for parents and expectant mothers. Identifying an issue while a child is still very young, can allow things to be corrected early, and possibly avoid problems in the future that can change ones life. Undiagnosed vision problems can lead to poor performance in school, and it just goes downhill from there. I highly recommend this book!
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on October 27, 2014
So many oddities of my vision now explained. As a result, I have also participated in vision therapy, and found new ability to see in stereo. The results of vision therapy are directly linked to each person's commitment of time and energy - and well worth it. Too bad more medical insurance providers do not see the benefit of covering this service. Maybe more children and adults could relieve headaches, postural issues, reading ability and comfort, plus more if financial assistance was provided.
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on June 17, 2013
I recommend this book often! The author describes her visual impairment and then the "miraculous "improvement gainedwith proper visual therapy. Vision therapy is effective and valuable for many people. This book explains in a very accessible way how vision therapy works, how it can help the individual and how the author achieved amazing results from treatment. A terrific resource.
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on April 25, 2016
Loved it! Great read. Insightful. Interesting. Quite an education for those interested in trying to understand how we see. Also very inspiring as Susan Barry makes it clear there is help out there! This book gave me hope and ideas for some of my pediatric patients struggling with vision issues!
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