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Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:28 am

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Age: 31
Location: Berkeley, CA

I was born with microphthalmia in my left eye, so I've been half blind since birth. I've worn a scleral shell prosthesis for most of my life, getting new ones made every couple years. I've never met another person with microphthalmia (that I know of), though my uncle lost his vision in his left eye in a childhood accident.

What I am most curious to find out is if anyone knows anything about the impact of congenital (or at least early childhood) left eye blindness and subsequent emotional development. I have suffered from depression for most of my life, and it was only suggested to me recently that my vision impairment may play a role in that. My therapist told me that left eye to left eye contact is important in intimacy and emotional connection with others, and is especially important in mother-infant bonding and natural emotional/cognitive development. I have not been able to find too much information about this, but since a lot of my struggle throughout my life has had to do with relating to others, I am very curious to learn more. What I do know is the left eye is controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain, which is characterized as the emotional, artistic side. This prompted me to write a poem that starts with the line, "The side of me that loves has never seen you."

If anyone has any information about this topic that they can share with me, I'd greatly appreciate it.

_________________
29-year-old straight white male from the SF Bay Area. Born with microphthalmia of the left eye. I've worn a scleral shell since I was 3 or 4. I speak English and Spanish.

In the land of the blind, Erasmus of Rotterdam would vote for me to be king.



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Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:33 pm

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Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:40 pm
Posts: 2230
Location: Northern Italy (Mancunian at heart)

Hello Bluerey,
One the whole there is very little literature available which gives information about the psychological/emotional/physical side effects of people with monocular vision and related issues/concerns.
However, you may find it useful to read this article. I haven't had time yet to condense it into bullet points but when I have time I will.
http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bit ... sequence=1

Certainly you are not alone in your feelings and the article describes a range of emotions that people feel.
Our own experiences here at LE. show that everyone has different experiences. Some suffer from emotional issues and low self esteem while others don't. However the article is very good in that it interviewed 20 people of varying ages and who suffered from different causes of vision loss. Nearly all were concerned that they hadn't received much help or explanation on the impact of monocular vision and the emotions associated with it.
I lost my vision in one eye much later in life so I wouldn't be able to answer your question specifically but don't ever give up.

Love the line of your poem. How very lovely.

_________________
Ward. (pronounced "Vard")
Orbital bone fracture resulting in loss of vision R eye. Fixed dilated pupil. Sensitive to light. (May 2008)
F/48.
"Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy" Lao Tzu



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Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:39 pm

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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:31 pm
Posts: 94

Indeed is very litlle to find and read about the effects on our life for loosing one eye.
As you seen in my topic http://www.losteye.com/message_forum1/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9709 are some consequences that should not be neglected.
Studying emotional psychology I understood that eyes play a big role in our body language.
I had a period when I suffered from severe depression afther I took useless drugs from doctors ,one day searching on the internet I found some documentary about Marijuana's good effects on treating depresion and I can confirm that it is true and it helped me , now I am 100% heathy physically and psychical ,I'm not smokeing marijuana from 2 years afther 14 months of treatment ,it's not addictive.

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Sorry for my english.



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Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:54 pm

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bluerey wrote:

What I am most curious to find out is if anyone knows anything about the impact of congenital (or at least early childhood) left eye blindness and subsequent emotional development. I have suffered from depression for most of my life, and it was only suggested to me recently that my vision impairment may play a role in that. My therapist told me that left eye to left eye contact is important in intimacy and emotional connection with others, and is especially important in mother-infant bonding and natural emotional/cognitive development.


Loosing a part of your body can cause depresion whether it is a few fingers ,a hand , a foot or the eye for some people can result in very negative emotional effects especially for teens, even Henry Post suffered from depression because of the lost eye.

Men are less emotionally unlike womens whose thinking is based on emotions.

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Sorry for my english.



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Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:21 pm

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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:37 pm
Posts: 16
Age: 27
Location: The Netherlands

Hi!

I can relate to much what you are saying bluerey. I've studied cognitive neuroscience and the things you put forward were also of special interest to me as I've also been blind in my left eye from the age of four. I didn't find much in my study regarding emotional influences and losing an eye. However I did learn more about the neurology of vision and I might be able to clear up some of your questions:

First, scientists have found some differences between both hemispheres in the brain, but saying one side is emotional and the other is rational/analytical is a myth, there's simply no scientific support for it (the differences found were vastly exaggerated by people not able to understand the research, this information started getting a life of its own).

Second, while it is true most of our body is controlled by the opposite hemisphere, this is not the case with vision. Instead, stimuli (visual information) from the left field of vision of either eye are processed by the right hemisphere and vice versa. So both of your hemispheres are processing information from your right eye! It's the side from which the information comes that determines which hemisphere processes the information, not whether it's your left or right eye.

Visit the following website for a picture that should make it more clear:
http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v6/n3 ... 30_F4.html

(If you have a scientific background I'd recommend: Chapter 5: The Perception of Visual Stimuli. *Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience* Edited by Dale Purves, Elizabeth M. Brannon, and Roberto Cabeza, et al.)

Given the abovementioned evidence, I seriously question the statements from your therapist regarding left eye to left eye contact. I can understand that eye-contact is important for mother-infant bonding but this left eye to left eye contact seems like nonsense. Maybe he/she was trying to comfort you by giving an explanation for your depression. Remember however that a lot of people deal with depression, not just people who are monocular.

I do agree that your visual impairment may play a role in your depression, but not in the way you described it.

Hope this information is of use to you!

Luke

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Inflamed iris led to removal of lens.



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Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:15 pm

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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:48 pm
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Age: 62
Location: Vancouver Island, BC

Greetings and thank you for your interesting query: re: left eye stats. I wonder if the control group would be blindness in both eyes/depression. I tend to be skeptical. Depression can be triggered by many things, and I would say, that without enough data, anything could be made to fit a premise.

Depression is a chemical situation and can be, hopefully, managed by a multi-level approach using drugs, exercise and counselling.

Re " Maybe he/she was trying to comfort you by giving an explanation for your depression”
I agree: it my have been said from a supportive-good-intention perspective. Don’t put too much into that analysis.

Depression is a slippery partner: I saw my dad suffer all his life because he did not reach out for help.
Thank you for your story and please keep in touch
Libbie

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60ish ~ female
That’s ‘Libbie’ ~ with 2 “i”’s.

Evisceration ~ August 13, 2012 ~ left eye: 2 retinal detachment surgeries, Glaucoma, cataract, Chronic synechia (anterior/posterior), = resulting in Atrophy.



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Wed May 01, 2013 4:10 am

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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:59 pm
Posts: 90
Location: northern NJ

Hi, Bluerey.

I want to add my own 2 cents here as well. A baby born without one of his/her eyes -- such as my son, born with no left eye at all -- does not experience vision-related or emotional "loss" and never has any sensation of missing something; such a child is not aware, for example, that his visual field, depth perception, peripheral vision, etc. are "less" than those of a binocular person. I sympathize about your depression but feel that your therapist, while well-meaning, was irresponsible in describing a potential lack of bonding between a mother and a baby without vision on the left (or either) side. Blind children aren't getting visual stimulation from either side but nonetheless don't fail to bond with their mothers or grow up sad or depressed unless they aren't loved, touched, etc. Given that I knew about my son's left-side anophthalmia (i.e. extreme microphthalmia) prior to his birth, I always made sure to switch arms when holding him, approach him from his 'good' side, and most importantly, give him tons of affection.

I also think you need to start questioning a basic premise you have about yourself -- written in the 1st line of your posting -- which is that you're "half blind." Unless your non-microphthalmic eye is non-seeing, what makes you half-blind? If your visual acuity is good and you can see the world, you're not half-blind or blind at all(!), and that self-perception may have played a role in your depression all these years. It's funny that you even say that, because the one thing I always tell people who express excessive sympathy for my 1-eyed toddler is "Missing half of your eyes doesn't render you half-blind, or blind at all." Many of the kids who share my son's genetic condition are born with no eyes -- THAT's blind, so thank God you're not blind!

You say you've never met anyone else with A/M (anophthalmia/microphthalmia). Please check out the website of ICAN, the International Children's Anophthalmia/Microphthalmia Network, http://www.anophthalmia.org. Also, Yahoo has a Microphthalmia group, and Facebook does as well. Although the condition is rare, you are not alone! In the interest of your future, you might also want to know that recent findings in genetics have shown that up to 25% of A/M cases have an identifiable genetic cause (with some cases likely to pass to the next generation), so if you see yourself becoming a parent someday, check out the 'Genetics' tab on the ICAN site.

You sound like a sensitive soul, so I'm pretty confident that both sides of your brain are capable of love and other good stuff, regardless of your monocular vision :) . Please find a therapist who will help you get to the root of your depression. You may feel old at 29, but you have a lifetime of seeing things in a better light in front of you.

Good luck & let us know how things are going!

_________________
Shani, mom to Hillel, a delightful monocular preschooler w/congenital anophthalmia (a.k.a. microphthalmia) caused by the SOX2 genetic mutation. See http://www.anophthalmia.org/genetic_issues.



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Wed May 01, 2013 4:37 am

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Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:45 am
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Age: 31
Location: Berkeley, CA

Thanks for your input, everyone.

I just wanted to clarify a couple things: I have no misgivings about identifying as half-blind. It might be a sloppy term, but I've never minded it. My right eye is near-sighted with astigmatism, so even the vision I have on that side isn't great. But obviously I know I'm not blind and that if I were it would be world of difference from what it's like now. That being said, aside from not taking too strongly to ball sports and thus being less confident athletically as a kid, I never thought too much about how being half blind might have affected me until recently. That was at the prodding of my therapist and my dad. Though it confused me, my dad says he always thought I was very brave growing up with just one eye.

Whether or not there's anything special about left eye contact, I think wearing a prosthesis can set you up for misunderstandings in your personal relationships. If a person looked at me and saw one eye that was clearly different/damaged, they would not expect to get any kind of connection or recognition from that eye. But if they see an eye that is false and think it's real and healthy, they will expect a connection from it, but they won't get it. I've had people tell me they tried to connect with my left eye before giving up and switching to the right. How many people gave up without trying the right? Normally I don't think about it too much, but it was just on my mind and I've never had anyone I could ask before.

Thanks again.

_________________
29-year-old straight white male from the SF Bay Area. Born with microphthalmia of the left eye. I've worn a scleral shell since I was 3 or 4. I speak English and Spanish.

In the land of the blind, Erasmus of Rotterdam would vote for me to be king.



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Wed May 01, 2013 5:56 am

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One Eyed Leprachaun
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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:02 am
Posts: 12827
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Hi and welcome to LE. If you are having self esteem issues I'd seek counselling a lot of us here have and it has helped. I've had an eye removed and have a full prosthetic eye and to be honest have had no issues with eye contact with new people. I must stress I'm an extrovert which helps. I hope being here brings you some solutions; some people place themselves in crowds or tables etc to the advantage of their seeing eye. cheers vera

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If there's no chocolate or chardy in heaven, I'm not going



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Wed May 01, 2013 11:21 pm

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Age: 60
Location: Penticton, B.C., Canada

Welcome Bluerey to LE!

I find this to be an interesting discussion and covers many issues.

First, I would just like to say that the whole person is what we must not lose sight of...pun intended.

For us at LE, being monocular is an aspect we share, but it is only one aspect of our total being. Some people are monocular from birth or early in life whereas others become monocular much later. Each case has unique challenges.

The important thing is, all of us, monocular or not, have limitations of some kind that challenge us in life. Limitations are not necessarily negative. What helps me understand this is the concept of "inclusion/exclusion". We can't be everything...so if you are athletic, you may not be studious and a computer nerd. We are born with certain propensities, that makes us who we are or can potentially become, we also necessarily exclude other propensities.

Like I said before, everyone has their own in-built challenges. The important thing is to align yourself with your natural strengths and use them to meet your unique challenges.

Realizing what makes you feel that your life is worthwhile and meaningful is one of the most important things for us humans to be aware of.

I think it helps if we focus on what we have that we uniquely can add or give to the world...usually our challenges lead us to helping others with the same challenges.

I hope my rambling was helpful in some way...

cheers Bluerey!

Luciano

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If you mind it, it will matter.

Detached retina left eye, prosthesis in left eye 2010; very low vision in right eye; macular degeneration, drops for galucoma, two laser treatments for tears.

Male, Born: 1954



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