This Man’s Stereoblindness Was Cured after Watching the 3D Movie Hugo


Most of us have seen a film that drastically altered our view of the world, however what number of can say {that a} film modified their imaginative and prescient? Bruce Bridgeman, a neuroscientist on the University of California, can! Growing up stereoblind, Bridgeman at all times noticed the world as flat as a result of he couldn’t understand depth-of-field. To him, timber in a forest regarded like easy inexperienced panels, and he must reposition his head to determine how shut or far objects have been. However, all that modified after a fateful go to to the cinemas. After watching the film “Hugo” in 3D, Bridgeman was capable of see depth for the primary time in his life. The movie had primarily cured his situation completely.

Because of a situation known as “alternating exotropic strabismus” or “lazy eye,” Bridgeman might by no means have a look at an object or scene with each eyes on the identical time, which brought on stereoblindness or the shortcoming to see depth.

Bruce Bridgeman. Image credit:

From the Roman doctor known as Galen of Pergamon to Leonardo Da Vinci, scientists and specialists have identified for hundreds of years that two eyes understand photographs higher than one. The picture that we see with our left eye is barely totally different from how we see the identical picture with our proper eye. It was later found that the slight distinction really permits our mind to understand depth-of-field.

However, Bridgeman had a situation referred to as “alternating exotropic strabismus,” which brought on his eyes to float outward. That means he might have a look at a selected scene with one eye at a time however by no means with each eyes on the identical time. Because of this, his mind was unable to kind stereovision, which is the flexibility to understand depth. However, he used different clues similar to movement parallax, occlusion, perspective, and shading to assemble details about depth.

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Those who’re born with impaired stereovision come to depend on these different clues to understand depth. That is why they typically don’t understand they’ve this situation till they’re adults. Moreover, the usual imaginative and prescient assessments that optometrists carry out don’t embrace stereovision, which ends up in delayed analysis.

The movie  Hugo got here as a revelation for Bridgeman. From the second he placed on his 3D glasses, he observed a stark distinction in his imaginative and prescient. Even after the glasses got here off, Bridgeman was capable of see the world in 3D, which is one thing might by no means do earlier than.

Still picture from the film Hugo. Image credit: Paramount Pictures

In February of 2012, the 67-year-old neuroscientist went to the theater together with his spouse to observe the Martin Scorsese film known as Hugo.  Much like everybody else, he paid additional to get his 3D glasses. The second he placed on these glasses, he noticed the surroundings and the characters within the film leap out. He had by no means skilled stereovision like this earlier than. Surprisingly, the improved skill to understand depth didn’t depart him even after he took off the glasses. Lampposts, timber, automobiles, and folks regarded extra vivid than ever. Bridgeman was seeing the world in 3D for the primary time ever!

As a neuroscientist, Bridgeman’s space of labor was the visible system. Naturally, he started researching for a attainable rationalization for what had occurred to him. Turns out, his case was distinctive, and watching a 3D film will not be a remedy for stereoblindness.

After researching the work of Torsten N. Wiesel and David H. Hubel’s with kittens, Bridgeman got here up with some attainable explanations. The 1981 Nobel Prize winners had extensively studied the visible methods of kittens with misaligned eyes. Their analysis confirmed that many of the cells within the visible cortex of the mind get activated by one of many eyes. However, a small share of those cells reply to each eyes. Bridgeman hypothesized that these analogous cells in his visible cortex will need to have been activated whereas watching the film, and that allowed stereoscopic imaginative and prescient.

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Other specialists have acknowledged that though the identical technique might not totally work for everybody, the film might need had one thing to do together with his improved imaginative and prescient. Several scientific research have additionally proven that individuals can enhance their stereo imaginative and prescient by coaching their eyes and altering their visible habits. A well-known instance of that’s Sue Barry, often known as “Stereo Sue,” who is alleged to have skilled stereovision for the primary time when present process imaginative and prescient remedy.

Just a few months after watching the film, Bridgeman visited his optometrist, who carried out assessments to gauge his stereo threshold. He had taken the identical take a look at a long time earlier. However, this time, the outcomes confirmed a dramatic enchancment in his stereovision, although it was nonetheless not inside the regular vary. 1,2,3

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