May 28, 2020

"Look around the corner"

Published on in |

Look-around-the-corner. Or call it "staring" or "gazing"

Whatever you call it, I call it "look-around-the-corner". 

Here is, what I mean...

Just some short information to get you on track:  In order to see more clearly and to be able to resolve details such as text, images, faces, we need the middle part of the retina (the macula) for central vision. We also use the outer parts of the retina, but that part of the retina does not provide "detailed" vision as the macula would allow for. 

How does it work, this "look-around-the-corner"

Well, I think every human being automatically looks in the direction of the "object of interest", e. g., basically points his or her eyes at the middle of a TV screen, at a face, a picture, a clock, etc. But me, in order to see the object of interest, let's say a wall clock.
 I first have to let my eyes circle (or "scan" the environment) to find out where it is, and then I have to "look around the corner" to read the clock. That is actually quite tiring and might look strange to others. 

Ah, well, I discovered the clock.
And automatically the viewing direction goes back to the clock itself, which then appears blurred (or is completely "gone"). So I have to look slightly next to it in order to use the outer part of the retina for reading the time. Then (if any possible) relax my eyes and look again at the object. Doing this again and again probably becomes a kind of reflex, but it takes time.  

... at the computer

Imagine how many years I am already looking for my mouse cursor on the screen. Only when my eyes are not aiming directly at the screen, but somehow next to it, and when moving the mouse a bit, I will see the cursor in the corner of my eye. Well, I have to do that a few times a day. 
Reading texts is basically the same: look some rows higher or lower than the actual row you want to read. Well, believe it or not, it is possible to some extent, but there are limits ... 

... with faces

It's different and more difficult, e.g. with faces. When looking at them, they are - depending on distance - not clear at all and tend to blend with the background. And a face or a facial expression is really difficult to recognize. 
But for others it looks rather strange when I try to look over and behind their head to see at least some facial features and facial expressions using the outer part of the retina that is not meant for detailed vision. This look must look like "staring", which is not intended. 
For that reason, I usually look at people's faces, which results in me not seeing them and embarrassing situation, because people don't understand that I actually don't see them.

 ... in other situations

But "looking the other way" or "looking around the corner" helps (or sometimes not) in many situations in everyday life. It helps to perceive objects and - if I know what it is - to recognize them. With unknown or unexpected objects, recognition sometimes becomes more difficult.

Time is a factor

Time to look is also important. Fast-moving objects may have disappeared from the "visual field" faster than I realized. 
This is tough luck in the street, if you do not see the approaching car, or only when it's almost too late.


And yes, I see something from the corner of my eye, like e.g., the fly on the wall. But then I don't see it when trying to focus at it. The picture of what I see and what I do not see may change with every twinkle of my eyes.  


About this text

Jutta's Story texts were originally written in 2016-2017.
end of 2018 I am officially legally blind..
And I am proud to be a member of the Malta Society of the Blind.