Herb Black: Geologist turned Optometrist after 3D vision discovery

“I had never had 3D vision, but didn’t really know it until I was an adult. I noticed I had no 3D vision because, as a geologist, my colleagues would look at stereo pairs of aerial photos, fuse them in free space or with a viewer, and see 3D. I could not do that at all. It was a real mystery to me how they could do that, especially in free space without a 3D viewer.

My daughter had binocular vision problems as a child and was helped tremendously by optometric vision therapy here in Denver. Years later, back in the 1990s, I finally went to an OD who specialized in these problems and was tested myself. He found that I was suppressing one eye, alternately, because of a very high exophoria or even exoptropia. Looking at childhood pictures of myself, I could see that I had exotropia at times (one eye turned out, but alternated). Thereafter, as an adult, I underwent weekly in office vision therapy visits for over two years. First, they worked on breaking the suppression and then worked on gaining stereopsis. I was told that I would probably see double for a while and things would get very disorienting once the suppression was broken. This is when many people quit therapy because it is difficult. Luckily, I had a great therapist and OD who explained all these things to me so I didn’t get discouraged.

When I finally gained stereopsis, at age 45, it was just as Dr Sue Barry describes so well in her book “Fixing My Gaze“. My whole world opened up. The most amazing thing happened when I went to see fireworks and I could see them come out at me for the first time. It wasn’t just a flat picture. I was so inspired by this event that I went back to school to become an optometrist at age 46, graduating at age 50 with my OD degree.

Now I can see 3D with the best of them. I can easily hold up a stereo pair of photos, fuse them in free space or in a viewer, and see 3D very easily. I love 3D movies. But seeing the real world in 3D is even better! Since then I have seen Mount Everest and many other landscapes in 3D which, as a geologist and as a human being, was very impressive and enchanting. At this point my stereo vision is effortless thanks to my Optometric Vision Therapy over 20 years ago.”

Herb and his wife

Herb and his wife

This article has 11 comments

  1. Robert Beresford Reply

    Hearing stories like this gives new found hope that my stereoblindness can be cured. Unfortunately, such therapies are not readily available on the NHS.

    • Michael Lievens Reply

      True! Up until now such therapies are being marginalized and that’s why they need a lot more coverage. Millions could benefit!

  2. Lynn Gehl Reply

    What a great story. Thank you for sharing it with us and thank you to Strabismus World for doing such important work.

  3. Aimee Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story and giving me hope for my 4 year old daughter with accomodative esotropia who currently has no 3-D vision!

      • Maryann A. Reply

        Are you still practicing in the Denver area? I want to start up a program again, like one that I went to Dr Martin Laderman in Phoenix for, in 1992. I don’t have the vision cards for his therapy program anymore. I have lack of convergence and in photos the past few years I notice that my right eye, the suppressed one, is exotropic.
        Appreciate your response and any help or referral in metro Denver.

  4. Carmen Reply

    Do you know of anyone in South Africa that could do this therapy with a 4 year old who cannot see 3D?

  5. jim mike Reply

    You are very lucky indeed. I was born with severe strabismus and did not get behavioral optometry until my late 30s. While I gained I cite in both of my eyes at once, my brain was never able to fuse the images together consistently , unfortunately. Now I plainly have simple double vision which is starting to, at age 60, unravel my nervous system. I’m going to have to wear glasses with ocular shields or prism’s to help me. It’s so heartening to read your blog because I went through the same kinds of awakening some once I started for a very brief time to see in 3-D.

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