What do my eyes really see?

I’ve been asked a couple times what it really is like looking through my eyes now, with such a large blind spot on the left side.  As a reminder, I have almost no bottom left view at all, very little top left periphery and am even missing some of my central left side as well. There is a picture of my visual field test results in a previous blog post. I figured I would try to explain it as best I can.

First, when I am looking straight, I see an entire visual field just like most people.  In fact, if I am stationary and looking at things that don’t have writing on them, I generally don’t even notice that my eyes are any different. Where I have the blind spot, it is not a field of black or a field of white emptiness.  I don’t know what I am not seeing until it comes into my active field of view because I have turned my head. It is exactly the same concept as the blind spots you have when driving vehicles. I just simply don’t see whatever is in that area of my visual field OR my brain is filling in what it expects to be there.

I do still have some kaleidoscopic vision, in which my left eye has sort of flashes of light.  I believe this is because I do have some bits of the periphery getting through and the periphery is most sensitive to motion, so if something moves through the field, it causes me to see some light and dark grays that appear to flash for a second or two. So I do “see” some things to the left under the right circumstances.

Finally, the brain surgery, radiation and chemo also have slowed down my visual and cognitive processing so I don’t take in all of the stimuli in the visual field even when it is in my field of view that is working.  This is why it is easy for me to get overwhelmed…I simply cannot process a lot of visual information quickly anymore. In fact, I have wondered whether this is in any way similar to disorders that impact one’s ability to perceive and interpret their surroundings. One major difference of course would be that I’m aware of all of this.

It would be great if I could take a picture of what I see and show it. Alas.


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