16. Why is binocular depth perception so important?


Depth perception is an important aspect of normal, healthy vision; a result of good stereoscopic vision; the ability to visually perceive depth and three dimensional space; the ability to visually judge relative distances between objects; a perceptual skill that aids accurate movement in three-dimensional space.

The web site of the American Academy of Ophthalmology stated in August, 1996: “many occupations are not open to people who have good vision in one eye only [that means no stereo vision, no binocular depth perception]” Here are a few examples of occupations that depend heavily on stereo vision:

  • Cricketer: throwing, catching or hitting a ball
  • Waitress: pouring into a container
  • Driver: driving and parking a car
  • Architect: planning/building a three-dimensional object
  • Surgeon: Precise cuts and stitching up incisions
  • Dentist: Fine control of probes, needles and other instruments

The loss of binocular depth perception means more to someone than just losing the possibility of being a professional athlete or dentist. Loss of binocular vision can decrease quality of life as well as life choices. Reaching out to shake another person’s hand or threading a needle and sewing benefit from depth perception. Ask anyone who has had a head injury and lost depth perception about stepping off a curb or step and they will tell you about the challenges they now have to overcome. Parents and patients need to be informed about early detection of these conditions as well as the full range of treatment options.

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