Thought about writing this thread for a long time, but I had never gotten around to thinking it out and writing anything down. So here it goes.
A trait I inherited from my mother, I was born with monocular vision and a lazy eye. To save a long winded description, here are a couple links:
(Note the patch on the kid’s eye - I had to wear those as a child until midway through elementary school. Starting with full days and progressively less per day until it was stopped. As such, I didn’t have them on at school - phew!)
My left eye is the lazy one, and had weak muscles which prevented it from being aligned for binocular (stereo) vision. This was surgically corrected before I turned five if I recall correctly. While it did help, it was really only one piece of a much larger puzzle.
Other issues included vision of 20/200 in the left eye (right was 20/20 - normal) which I remember as a blur of colors. Imagine trying to paint a kaleidoscope with finger paints, or something… To top it off, my left eye is also sensitive to light. On a sunny day, if the sun is behind me and reflecting off objects ahead of me - I have to wear sunglasses or the left eye just wants to wince in pain. It can even be worse on overcast days if the cloud layer isn’t thick since the light is diffuse and no direction provides relief. I always wear sport style sunglasses (wrap-around - think Oakley’s) on those kind of days as any ray of light from any angle can set it off.
Fun fact: as a patient at Sick Kid’s hospital in Toronto, I was featured in a training film for their doctors on how to work with kids with monovision. They liked that I seemed to understand my issue (thanks mom!), and worked with the doctor more than other kids would.
Sports? I was told that lacking depth perception, they would be all but impossible. Which was almost entirely true. Baseball? - no hope of timing/aiming a bat swing. Catching a small moving object - nope.
Oddly enough and to the confusion of my eye doctor (who was also the one who did the surgery to straighten my left eye) I did very well as a hockey goalie up until highschool when I began needing glasses for my right eye and glasses don’t play well in goalie helmet - fogging up constantly. Golf is always interesting - for me each time out is like learning again, having to re-calibrate my eyes to the length of the various clubs. Over time there’s more muscle memory so it’s more each year a re-learn and then okay.
I liked to race around on my bike as a kid, wearing out break pads. Racing games were my forte too, so when I finally got my driver’s license I didn’t have much trouble as by 16 I had learned to adapt with other forms of depth queues when in motion and knew how cars work and drive but I still generally avoid any really tight situations that require extreme precision as with the mantra of Canada’s Worst Driver that good drivers stay within their limits.
So finally here is where the TrackIR comes in - almost.
When I got my first (and current) car - I was still almost entirely “right-eye’d”. Vision in my left eye progressed up to 20/25 and my right degraded to 20/40 but I have glasses. My left eye works and I have great peripheral vision on both sides, and I could force stereo vision if I tried but that lead to eye strain and a headache. I am a Canadian, so we drive on the right side of the road and sit on the left side of the car. If you live somewhere it’s the opposite (left side of the road / right side of the car) pretend your right eye is the bad one. Looking forward I calibrated my driver’s side mirror to work with my right eye when I turned my head as the left eye was basically edge-peripheral vision only.
Around that time I got my TrackIR which you would think is a problem. How can I retain view of the screen with my head turned to the right if my left eye doesn’t want to play along? Well I decided to force it. My trackIR is set so that the opposite side eye can still see the whole screen when my head is turned (the game camera is looking over the shoulder). Over time, my brain got used to this fancy new idea of switching between eyes and using the left eye’s field of view more and more. One day I noticed my driver’s side mirror was waaaaaaaaaay off. So I adjusted it…and then I closed my left eye and it was wrong again… Yeah, my brain “activated” the left eye and was using it naturally as part of full-field vision. Still not stereoscopic, but a wholly new experience from my childhood and the driver’s mirror has since remained calibrated to my left eye.
Now I also ride a motorcycle and with no A-pillar obstructing my forward FOV, it’s a seamless transition from left to right. While riding, sometimes things go stereo momentarily all on their own, and it doesn’t feel straining. You can tell when the world suddenly appears to have more…depth.
I have trackIR to thank for giving me vision that no doctor understood could be done - I wanted to tell my eye doctor at SickKid’s, but she has since retired. When I eventually have kids, if one is born with monocular vision I’ve got another tool to combat it. Hopefully they like racing or flying simulators…if they are anything like me, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Now I wonder if VR is a logical next step and then see how things go after some WWII dogfights!