Are your eyes mismatched?

Leo Durocher, the fiery win-at-all-costs baseball player, and later manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, once remarked, “I never question the integrity of umpires. Their eyesight? Yes!” Durocher would have questioned their eyesight more if he had known they were suffering from aniseikonia. So, should anyone care about this condition? And why do so many suffer this visual problem when it can be corrected?

To find out about aniseikonia I interviewed Dr. Peter Shaw who has been researching this condition for over 25 years. He mentioned one thing we know, that we are all born with a number of anatomical mismatches. For instance, one ear may be larger than the other. Or, one foot longer than its counterpart. But shouldn’t our eyes be 100 percent in tune? The point is they often do have minor differences, and this frequently causes the condition called aniseikonia.

Dr. Shaw remarked that if we used one eye at a time no one would suffer from aniseikonia. But since we normally spend each day with both eyes open, visual distortion sometimes occurs. So when the image in one eye is larger than the image in the other eye, there is a breakdown of eye co-ordination with each eye fighting for attention instead of working together as a team, and this is called aniseikonia.

What impressed me during my interview was that Dr Shaw indicated 400 million people have aniseikonia. This is the primary reason why so many suffer from visual discomfort and impairment.

It was also depressing to learn the number of things that can trigger imperfect vision. For instance, an eye that is anatomically placed lower in the face than the other eye can cause a loss of eye co-ordination. Many visual issues are caused by glasses because they correct vision while sitting away from the eyes, not on the eyes.

Dr. Shaw developed an eyeglass lens technology that takes into account that the glasses sit away from the eyes. His lens design is similar to that of people lucky enough to be born with perfect vision. And image magnification with this technology eliminates the differences common to ordinary prescription glasses.

Not all aniseikonia patients are born with mismatched eyes. Some develop this condition during normal growth, after cataract and other eye surgeries, swelling of the macula, or as the result of an accident.

People with aniseikonia may complain of headaches, double vision, eyestrain, fatigue, poor depth perception, reading difficulties, distorted vision, sensitivity to light, nervousness or an inability to appreciate 3-D images.

Dr. Shaw stressed that traditional lens design makes one fundamental mistake. It fails to consider that both eyes must work together. This results in visual distortion between the eyes and can be as uncomfortable as uncorrected vision.

To correct this problem, Shaw’s patented technology uses a binocular approach for lens design. It does so by making 20,000 computer calculations during the manufacturing process.

In fact, the technology is so powerful that it is used to treat patients with a lazy eye, in which there is reduced vison for no apparent cause. Now, this problem can be treated without using a patch over the good eye. It’s also effective in treating those with astigmatism and crooked eyes.

To satisfy my curiosity I asked Dr. Shaw if this technology would improve my vision and make my computer time a more comfortable experience. He agreed to an examination. But I subsequently learned that I’ve developed cataracts in both eyes and therefore am a poor subject for his test.

Nevertheless, as I’ve often suggested to readers, I’ll delay surgery until cataracts affect my reading.

Subsequently I interviewed patients who use the Shaw lens. One remarked, “Holy Cow, I’ve never seen this clear.” Another commented, “I wanted to hug my optometrist, as it has made my day. I no longer have tired eyes and headaches.”

A mother related that her child with a lazy eye would not tolerate a patch over the good eye to strengthen the weaker one. But after using the Shaw lens he excitedly exclaimed, “Now I can see out of both eyes.”

If and when I decide on surgery, I’ll report my reaction to the Shaw lens.

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