A visionary path to seeing things clearly

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By Hannah Hayes

The demands on our eyes changed dramatically in the previous decade. Stress came from reading with backlighting online as opposed to reading books where light is reflected off the page. Talking with Dr. Marisa Kruger of Evergreen, I learned a lot about Vision Transformation, her behavioral optometry practice.
“Vision is the ability to make meaningful interpretation of what you see,” Marisa says. It’s not just about seeing 20/20. It’s a falsehood that everything is all right, just as a 98.6 temperature doesn’t mean we’re healthy. Vision skills involve the way the eyes move as a team, focus and gather information. It’s a process.
“It’s not how clearly we see but how we interpret what we see. Our eyes are more like software and less like hardware,” says Marisa.
For example, you can learn how to see at night. It might take wearing different lenses, training your eyes in how to look or using peripheral vision. If eye-alignment skills are lacking, your car’s headlights won’t be enough.
Attending Pacific University College of Optometry proved to be the most rewarding way to deal with Marisa’s own early education problems. “You can be smart, hard-working and still be frustrated academically.”
She became interested in the ability to see things from many points of view. “If you’re visually inflexible, you can’t wander into alternative ways of seeing things.”
Based on the neurological research of V.S. Ramachandran and the study of mirror neurons, also known as Dalai Lama neurons, Marisa studied the way we process information. Mirror neurons allow us to see the world from another person’s point of view. To discover that we are wired for compassion is ranked as one of the great leaps forward in human evolution!
One of my new year’s resolutions is to reform superficial behavior. I used to feel boastful about multitasking, but I gained insight when Marisa called it “being multiple-ly distracted.” No, I don’t text and drive, but for those who do, Marisa states that it’s impossible. Texting closes down the visual field and distracts from driving. It’s also very different if drivers are talking with a person in their car or on the phone. Passengers are aware of the surroundings and will pause while the driver makes a turn. If you’re on the phone, the conversation just plows right through.
It’s easy to be deceived by our eyes, but they can also offer rational grounds for being more insightful.

Hannah B. Hayes is a former Both Sides Now debate columnist, small-business owner and peace activist. She has been a part of the Evergreen community for more than 35 years.