Okay, it’s time to get serious. We’re finally seeing a shift in the paradigm of vision in a Kuhnian sense
I blogged last week about the amazing book co-edited by Gordon Dutton, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Glasgow, Scottland, who is doing a phenomenal job of bridging the eye-brain gap in practice. It is worth highlighting a fact that continually gets lost or glossed over, so let me shout it out in caps: THE EYE IS PART OF THE BRAIN. In particular I like this quote from Penn Medicine: “The retina is actually a piece of the brain that has grown into the eye and processes neural signals when it detects light. Ganglion cells carry information from the retina to the higher brain centers; other nerve cells within the retina perform the first stages of analysis of the visual world.”
So the next paradigm shift is to stop talking about what the eye does and what the brain does. The eye is part of the brain, so we should be speaking of what the eye does in relation to other areas of the brain. We began to nudge this paradigm in 2004, in speaking of vision as a collaboration between the eyes and brain. We wrote at that time, in a publication by the American Optometric Association, that signals travel back-and-forth between the eyes and the rest of the brain. Were we to write the publication again today it would have been titled Vision: A Collaboration Between Eyes and the Rest of the Brain.
Through Gordon Dutton’s co-edited book I revisited two important references. One is his classic 2003 article on cognitive vision. The other is Donna Shaman’s 2009 manuscript on CVI. They both come in Chapter 4 of the book, and I suspect I’ll have more to share as I read along in Starbucks tomorrow morning …