Episode 19: The Impact of Vision on Learning - The Personal Brain Trainer Podcast

Below you can view or listen to Episode 19 of The Personal Brain Trainer Podcast.

The Impact of Vision on Learning


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Mentioned Links:

  • Eye Can Learn: https://eyecanlearn.com/
  • Building Peripheral Vision, Visual Tracking and Attention For Improved Reading and Scanning: https://bit.ly/3MVEqJK
  • Complementary Cognition (Dr. Helen Taylor): https://complementarycognition.co.uk

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Full Transcript for Episode 19

Speaker A: Welcome to the Personal Brain Trainer Podcast.

Speaker A: I'm Dr. Erica Warren.

Speaker B: And I'm Darius Namdaran, and we're your hosts.

Speaker B: Join us on an adventure to translate the scientific jargon and brain research into simple metaphors and stories for everyday life.

Speaker B: We explore executive function and learning strategies that help turbocharge the mind.

Speaker A: Come learn how to steer around the invisible barriers so that you can achieve your goals.

Speaker A: And this podcast is ideal for parents, educators and learners of all ages.

Speaker B: This podcast is brought to you by Bullet Map Academy.

Speaker B: And we have free Dyslexia screener app called Dyslexia Quiz.

Speaker B: It's fun, engaging and interactive app.

Speaker B: Try it now.

Speaker B: Just search for Dyslexia Quiz on the App Store and see how your scores differ from your friends and family.

Speaker A: This podcast is brought to you by Goodsensorylearning.com, where you can find educational and occupational therapy lessons and remedial materials that bring delight to learning.

Speaker A: Finally, you can find Dr. Warren's many courses @ www.learningspecialistcourses.com.

Speaker A: Come check out our newest course on developing executive functions and study strategies.

Speaker B: Hey, Erica, what are we going to talk about today?

Speaker A: Today we're going to be talking about the impact of vision problems on learning.

Speaker A: I think it's such an important topic because sometimes we are overlooking this important area of difficulty and sometimes there are individuals that appear to have learning disabilities when in fact they may have vision problems.

Speaker B: Or they could have both.

Speaker A: They could have both, that's right.

Speaker A: So in order for visual processing to take place, you have to have accurate vision.

Speaker A: And it's the same thing with in order for auditory processing to take place, you have to have good hearing.

Speaker A: So perhaps we'll talk about that the auditory piece another time.

Speaker A: But I think vision is a very important area for us to just dabble into so that we can encourage people to rule this out.

Speaker A: And as you said, because many students do have both issues.

Speaker B: Yes.

Speaker B: In the UK, the British Dyslexia Association top priority is check the vision, check the hearing and then get into checking the processing differences.

Speaker B: And the NHS, the National Health Service, says the same thing with Dyslexia as well.

Speaker B: Vision hearing need to be checked.

Speaker B: So what things are you looking out for?

Speaker A: Well, I think there are a number of things to look out for and there are many other ones, but I think the main ones are areas like refractive errors and that's the shape of your eyes that doesn't bend the light correctly.

Speaker A: And that's where we get the blur vision.

Speaker A: You know, the either being near sighted or far sighted.

Speaker A: And they have technical terms for that.

Speaker A: We've got myopia, which is near or short sightedness, and then we've got hyperopia, which is far or long sightedness.

Speaker A: And then of course, we also have things like astigmatism, which is the inability to focus on near objects, and those are probably the most common.

Speaker A: I know that I have that problem.

Speaker A: I'm looking at you.

Speaker A: We both wear glasses.

Speaker A: Fortunately, we do have these ways of being able to accommodate those problems.

Speaker A: And then another area of difficulty is something called accommodation, which is eye focusing.

Speaker A: Are your eyes actually focusing on the information?

Speaker A: Then we have itaming, which is whether your two eyes are working together in a synchronized fashion.

Speaker A: Then there is binocular vision, which is simultaneously blending the images from both eyes into one image.

Speaker A: And finally peripheral vision, which is your ability to see kind of the information in the corner of your eyes.

Speaker A: And that means that we're able to see things directly outside of our vision, but we're not turning our heads.

Speaker A: So it's interesting.

Speaker A: You can consciously say, okay, focus on what's on the peripheral edges of your vision.

Speaker A: And you can do that.

Speaker A: And I think that's an area that I'm really interested in for helping students to improve their reading comprehension.

Speaker A: Because if you can really activate and train your consciousness to be attentive to peripheral vision, then your eyes don't have to track as much across the page and you can read in chunks.

Speaker A: Instead of reading each letter or each word, you can then start to absorb portions of sentences or lines.

Speaker A: And some people can absorb multiple lines.

Speaker A: I personally can't do that.

Speaker A: But it's really interesting.

Speaker A: I have a product where I help people to develop peripheral vision.

Speaker A: I help with tracking and peripheral vision, and that's called Building Peripheral Vision, visual Tracking and Attention for improved Reading and scanning.

Speaker A: But it's interesting because both with we talked about visual tracking in the past podcast, which I think was episode 18.

Speaker A: But peripheral vision and visual tracking are really, really key for reading.

Speaker A: If we develop those skills more, it gives us that ability to read in a more fluid and fluent manner without kind of exhausting our eyes going tracking back and forth too much.

Speaker B: It just brings home to me how much we rely on our eyes in the world.

Speaker B: And I think it's important to rule out these or deal with any visual problems, vision problems.

Speaker B: And I think a lot of people have a bit of both.

Speaker B: A lot of people with Dyslexia or Dysgraphia or any other difficulties have visual difficulties as well.

Speaker B: Just look at it statistically.

Speaker B: How many people need glasses, how many people have stigmatism and so on.

Speaker B: And dealing with them is so important.

Speaker B: Even I have one of my students at Bullet Map Academy, one of the subscribers at Bullet Map Academy, she's an ophthalmologist and she came to us because she is Dyslexic.

Speaker B: And she actually assesses people's eyes, typical ophthalmologist, but she also assesses people for the Irene syndrome and identifies Dyslexia in all sorts of different traits people have because they often come in thinking they've got a vision problem and they do have a vision problem, but they've also got a processing problem as well.

Speaker B: And so she identifies them at that level.

Speaker B: At that stage, she was saying to me, Darryl, you've got to get yourself some reading glasses.

Speaker B: And I'm like, Well, I don't really need them.

Speaker B: I can manage.

Speaker B: And at my age, you do need them.

Speaker B: And once you take that sort of load off of having to deal with that physical difficulty, you then have more kind of processing power to deal with your processing differences.

Speaker B: And I think that's quite helpful too.

Speaker B: It's so simple and obvious.

Speaker A: Absolutely.

Speaker A: I think we live in a society where people don't want to accept that they're getting vision problems as they age and so they tend to really push it.

Speaker A: I can think of my boyfriend, he's the same way, where he's like, well, I don't want to go up to another level of strength for my eyeglasses.

Speaker A: I want to stay at A 1.5.

Speaker A: And so I see him straining all the time.

Speaker A: And you have to understand that if we're straining, we're affecting our processing.

Speaker A: And I think a lot of kids are.

Speaker A: Kids may not realize that things aren't that focused or that you should be able to see things better.

Speaker A: And so let's talk a little bit about some of the symptoms before you do.

Speaker B: One of the things that we kind of unique about our podcast is that we like to turn things into metaphors.

Speaker B: And we haven't done that in a few episodes because we've gone really into the technicalities and so on of things.

Speaker B: But here's a metaphor for you.

Speaker B: Glasses are a metaphor for how you deal with processing difficulties as well.

Speaker B: So bear with me.

Speaker B: You're short sighted.

Speaker B: So you go to the optician and they say, look, your blurry eyes.

Speaker B: Here are some lenses and suddenly you see it clearly.

Speaker B: And this sort of seven year old child who's not been able to read the board and the teacher thinks that they're being lazy or uninterested or whatever, suddenly they can see the board and they've got their glasses and they can read it and they're engaged.

Speaker B: And it's transformed because they've been given this tool that affects the way they process the information coming into them.

Speaker B: And I think that metaphor also stands for other cognitive processes.

Speaker B: Sometimes you can get tools and I regard my mapping as one of these tools for my mind.

Speaker B: I get information coming into me as words and I have to translate it into doodles and pictures and branches and something visual.

Speaker B: And so this tool kind of takes this information coming in and changes it slightly so that it comes into focus so that my mind can see it and understand it and process it.

Speaker B: Does that make sense?

Speaker A: That's interesting.

Speaker A: So ultimately you're visualizing what you're hearing and then you're taking your visual and you're making it in visualization and you're making it into something that you can perceive through vision.

Speaker B: That's right, yes.

Speaker B: So I'm translating something that I have difficulty with tons of words, and I translate it into something visual, which is my strength and so what I noticed with children, for example and here's where the metaphor is useful, because with children, often they're in class and they're straining their eyes to look at the board, and the teacher has to come along and go, hey, Darius, have you remembered to put your glasses on?

Speaker B: Oh, I forgot to put my glasses on.

Speaker B: I took them off.

Speaker B: Yes, I can see the boy.

Speaker B: And they forget that they need to put this on to see with clarity.

Speaker B: And sometimes there are tools that we need with processing difficulties.

Speaker B: Like for me, it's mind mapping, but for someone else, it would be maybe something else as a regular tool.

Speaker B: But you can forget to do it, and you have difficulty.

Speaker B: So it's kind of like sometimes you need someone to come along and say, did you put your glasses on?

Speaker B: Or, did you mind map that?

Speaker B: Or, did you put that into your task manager?

Speaker B: Or, did you write that down?

Speaker B: Or just take some notes and so on.

Speaker B: These are all tools that help us with our cognition.

Speaker B: And so they're like glasses.

Speaker B: And sometimes you need to remember to put your glasses on.

Speaker B: And that's the metaphor.

Speaker B: As human beings, we are masters at using tools to leverage up our abilities.

Speaker A: And, you know, the interesting thing about losing your eyesight is that you get used to not seeing things in focus.

Speaker A: And so you don't even realize sometimes when I look through a stronger glasses, I'm like, Oh, I forgot what it's like to be able to see such detail.

Speaker A: And you get used to it being kind of blurry.

Speaker A: And the other thing that's really interesting is when your eyesight is a little bit off, your other senses become more acute.

Speaker A: Yes, and that's really helpful.

Speaker A: So, for example, just reflecting back on when I started to lose my wonderful clear vision and learning phone numbers, I always knew phone numbers visually, and I saw a visual pattern of what someone's phone number was on my phone.

Speaker A: And then all of a sudden, now it's become tactile.

Speaker A: It's now a tactile strategy.

Speaker A: So I feel the pattern instead of seeing the pattern.

Speaker A: Okay, so, Darius, have you ever had that experience of another sense becoming more acute when one becomes weaker?

Speaker B: I'll take that from a very dyslexic left of field perspective.

Speaker B: I like sailing, and I find that you can use your eyes in sailing to read the wind and so on, but I can't always read the wind very accurately on the sea.

Speaker B: And so I rely on my cheeks to read the wind because I can feel the difference between the wind pressure on one side of my face and on the other.

Speaker B: And so I can shift my face according to the wind pressure, and I can feel the shift in wind direction and adjust the boat accordingly in a race.

Speaker B: And I'm not always looking at the telltales or whatever, but I can feel it on my face.

Speaker B: Do you see what I mean?

Speaker A: Yeah.

Speaker A: So you've moved from relying on a vision and visual processing to more of a touch and tactile processing.

Speaker B: That's right.

Speaker A: Yeah.

Speaker A: That's a really good example.

Speaker B: You were going to talk a little bit about some maybe problems that come about because of if you don't identify these things.

Speaker A: So yeah, I think if individuals are struggling with vision issues and they may not know it and many of them don't know it, and I can think of many of my students that go and get tested and they're like the Ophthalmologist says, wow, there's a lot of vision issues and there are some visual processing issues.

Speaker A: So that's an interesting thing because a lot of Ophthalmologists and even developmental Ophthalmologists are starting to spread out to beyond vision and also strengthen visual processing.

Speaker A: Okay, yes, some of them do and some of them don't.

Speaker A: But I think it's really important for us to kind of review some of these symptoms because the symptoms of vision problems often overlap with the symptoms of visual processing problems.

Speaker B: Okay, so what are the sorts of things that we need to look out for that might indicate that there's an underlying vision problem other than the obvious.

Speaker A: Headaches or eye strain?

Speaker A: Yeah, blurring of the vision, which is.

Speaker B: That'S an obvious one.

Speaker A: Yeah, that is an obvious one.

Speaker A: But again, sometimes it's so subtle that we adjust to it and we don't really notice it.

Speaker A: We forget what it's like to see something like crisply in focus.

Speaker B: Yes.

Speaker B: And I think one of the clever ways to do this is to ask someone you're with if they can read a number plate.

Speaker A: Right?

Speaker B: So if you're going down the road and you go, oh, what's that number plate say?

Speaker B: And you play a number plate game or something like that with a young child and they're like, Oh, I can't read that.

Speaker B: And you're like, Oh, right, got it.

Speaker B: So you've got your quick instant sight test on the road and you can do it the other age as well.

Speaker B: You can speak to an elderly relative and say, what's the number plate?

Speaker B: And also a partner who's maybe not wearing their glasses when they're driving because they don't need to, but actually they might be getting on the dangerous side because there's a minimum distance you have to be able to see a number of plate to be safe on the road.

Speaker B: And so I find that's a really interesting way of just quickly identifying vision problem.

Speaker A: That's a really cool idea.

Speaker A: I love that.

Speaker A: I love that.

Speaker A: Another symptom is the avoidance of close work or visually demanding tasks.

Speaker A: So a lot of little kids that are struggling with vision problems, they kind of push their work away and so that is always a possibility that they're just struggling with the vision or sometimes the vision becomes so taxing that that's another reason why they're avoiding it, because it's too much and many times, or the page might be filled with a lot of details.

Speaker A: It's very dense, and that's usually overwhelming for them, but it goes back to a vision weakness.

Speaker A: Another thing is poor judgment of depth.

Speaker A: So looking more at the depth perception.

Speaker B: I'm just thinking in my head here like, it's quite an interesting exercise for judgment of depth.

Speaker B: Could be a vision problem, or it could be a sign of dyspraxia.

Speaker A: Yes, isn't that interesting?

Speaker B: Wouldn't that be an interesting little exercise here?

Speaker B: Frequent headaches or eye strain.

Speaker B: Okay.

Speaker B: Could be shortsightedness and your straining, or it could also be you've got clear vision and it's dyslexia because of the visual processing of all the words.

Speaker B: You can be utterly exhausted by that.

Speaker B: The end of the day as a kid, blurring of vision, okay, can be physical, your eye vision, but it can also be a processing blurring, as it were, that's happening because of visual stress between the white background and the black text.

Speaker B: And that can create a kind of blurring feeling because there's this dissonance between the two.

Speaker B: And then you reduce that dissonance with a tinted background and a gray or text or a blue text, and then that sort of blurring goes away and there's a clarity coming.

Speaker B: Avoidance of close work.

Speaker B: That could be vision, and it could also be dyslexia or processing difficulties, et cetera.

Speaker B: Put judgment of depth dyspraxia.

Speaker A: It could even be a behavioral issue.

Speaker B: Yes.

Speaker A: And unfortunately, I think that's what happens.

Speaker A: It's so many times the kids get accused of behavioral issues when in fact.

Speaker B: Yes, you're so right.

Speaker A: There's either a vision or process.

Speaker B: Why do we jump to the worst conclusion?

Speaker B: Why do we jump to that boy is acting up because he doesn't care or he's not motivated or he's stupid.

Speaker B: Why?

Speaker B: He's bad or he's bad.

Speaker B: You know what?

Speaker A: He's a bad boy.

Speaker A: Yeah, we do that.

Speaker A: I guess it goes back to judgment.

Speaker A: It's just that we all have to be really careful not to look at others through a judgmental eye, I guess, because we're always constantly comparing everybody to our own perceptions and our own self.

Speaker A: So if somebody has a weakness that's different than what we have, we just assume that they're not trying.

Speaker B: And I think that's so true because even this vision, difficulty with vision, it's probably the easiest thing to identify a difference with.

Speaker B: You can both look at the number plate and you can say, well, I can read it saying 21 D.

Speaker B: And the other person goes, Oh, is that 21 D?

Speaker B: I can't read that.

Speaker B: And you can both compare it.

Speaker B: But it's very hard to do that with cognitive skills, where you're both comparing cognitive skills.

Speaker B: You just assume that everyone thinks like you.

Speaker B: Everyone.

Speaker B: But we've got enough self awareness of a different society to know that we have different temperaments, we have different psychological profiles, different motivations, and different learning styles, different processing styles.

Speaker B: We are a whole diverse range of creatures to do a range of tasks.

Speaker B: I mean, which actually I've got to share something with you, Erica, that ties in with this a little bit obliquely.

Speaker B: There's this researcher in the UK, and I have to get her on the podcast at some point.

Speaker B: She's come up with complementary cognition as a term.

Speaker B: Isn't that a gorgeous term?

Speaker B: Complementary cognition?

Speaker A: That is nice.

Speaker A: It's almost like the implication of a symbiosis.

Speaker B: That's right.

Speaker B: So her thesis is that dyslexia exists because it's required by society, autism exists because it's required by society.

Speaker B: This whole range of differences in thinking and so on are specialization and differences in thinking that all complement one another.

Speaker B: When you look at society as a whole now, when you think of evolution or the development of humanity as a whole, rather than right now, over the last 80, 90 years of public education that we've had in the Western world, you know, public education has only existed in the UK since, I think around about 1940s.

Speaker B: Was it just after the war or was it just at the they took it from the churches who were doing it in a sort of haphazard, sort of private kind of way.

Speaker B: People chose to send it to a little school and so on, until the state took on the role of teaching the whole of society as schools.

Speaker B: And they took that in the UK away from the churches, and they basically took them from being private into public ownership of the schools, as it were, and committed to training every child.

Speaker B: But they used a factory industrialization model that was just emerging within industrialized society to segment people into the three strands of different whether you're a technical strand for technical work, or if you are managerial work, or if you're executive work and the ruling class.

Speaker B: And we've got split into those three streams at eleven years old.

Speaker A: Yeah, it's so different.

Speaker A: And I see benefits to both.

Speaker B: Well, it's changed now.

Speaker B: I mean, we changed it in the 70s.

Speaker B: But the point I'm making in that is that complementary cognition starts to not fit within the factory model because you want sort of pretty specialized, streamed three classes of people.

Speaker B: You go there, you go there, you go there.

Speaker B: Whereas complementary technician, there's a whole range of different cognitive abilities that all fit together within society to produce an outcome.

Speaker B: Why did I share all of that?

Speaker B: I think it's because we can misread the signs and misread motivations even at the very basic level of a child's not seeing correctly.

Speaker B: And so we can misunderstand it as bad behavior because it can lead to bad behavior.

Speaker B: If the child can't see the board and what they're meant to do, they just get distracted.

Speaker B: They start looking at the door window, and then they start playing with talking to their friends, and then their friend starts talking to them, and then they start doing something that gets distracted and then it turns into bad behavior.

Speaker B: But the motive and the driver isn't the bad behavior, it's the bad vision.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker A: We just have to go back to the core.

Speaker A: And as practitioners, it's very important for us to remain compassionate.

Speaker B: Yes.

Speaker A: Compassion is everything.

Speaker A: So I'm going to take you back to the symptoms.

Speaker A: And these are two very interesting ones because they're ones that you can observe.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker A: So occasionally kids, or even peers or family members or friends, you might see them turning their head left or right or up or down, and they're trying to accommodate some type of vision problem, or they may be covering one eye to favor the vision, or they might just be kind of peering out of one eye.

Speaker A: And all of those are little things that we do subconsciously to be able to see better.

Speaker A: One thing that I do, which I love, I dated somebody that was in the area of vision at one time in my life, and he taught me that if you restrict your vision to a very small area and I'm pinching my fingers together and there's a tiny hole and I look through it, your vision becomes clear.

Speaker A: So it's funny, because when I'm in the grocery store and I can't see the price of something, that's exactly what I do.

Speaker A: I pinch it and I look through it.

Speaker A: And if you look really close to something without your glasses, you can see it completely clearly.

Speaker B: So it's like you've got little invisible binoculars that you're looking through.

Speaker B: Tiny right.

Speaker A: It doesn't work for distance, but it works for close up.

Speaker B: Oh, I see.

Speaker A: Brilliantly.

Speaker A: It's amazing, really.

Speaker A: If you're long sighted and you can you see text without your glasses?

Speaker B: I can, but it's a bit blurry.

Speaker B: But I'm going to try that just now.

Speaker A: But if you actually restrict your vision and look through it, you'll see that it's completely clear.

Speaker B: Oh, my goodness.

Speaker A: Isn't that cool?

Speaker B: That's amazing, listeners.

Speaker B: You have to do it.

Speaker B: How do you describe that?

Speaker A: It's like pinching your fingers together.

Speaker B: Tiny little hole that you like a two millimeter.

Speaker B: Two millimeter?

Speaker B: One eight of an inch, or 116 of an inch if you're in America.

Speaker B: Tiny yeah, yeah.

Speaker A: And then you look through that hole at something close by that you couldn't normally see, and you can see it clearly.

Speaker A: And he taught me all sorts of things.

Speaker A: I think the worst thing he ever taught me is that you can wear two pairs of glasses.

Speaker A: So if you've got two weak pairs of glasses, you can wear them at the same time.

Speaker A: And so it's awful because there are times where I'm wearing two pairs of glasses and I forget and I look ridiculous.

Speaker UNK: Fantastic.

Speaker A: Anyway, it's kind of funny, but I just wanted to say that there are these kind of there you go.

Speaker A: If you see me wearing two pairs of glasses, I'm struggling with my vision.

Speaker A: Anyway, some other classic ones are double vision, difficulty following a moving target.

Speaker A: That's such a key area.

Speaker A: And that's getting back to tracking, which we talked about last week, which is so important for so much of the learning process, being able to track from left to right, but also tracking around so that you can see the big picture and make sense of everything.

Speaker A: There's also dizziness or motion sickness.

Speaker A: So some individuals and you hear that with dyslexia, where kids often say like they feel a little bit of motion sickness or dizziness when they're trying to read and it might be the contrast of the black and white text that's making them feel that way or that they might feel that the words are moving around and yeah, so that could be dyslexia, but it's probably also a vision issue.

Speaker A: And then there are two other ones, difficulty changing focus, which we've talked about, and poor eye hand coordination often, but not always, goes back to fishing issues.

Speaker B: And the bottom line with all of this is there's tools and techniques to solve all of these things.

Speaker A: That's right.

Speaker B: I mean, we don't know them necessarily.

Speaker B: We're not going to talk about them or discuss them or we're not the experts in that.

Speaker B: But you need to go to the experts in that, like your partner, ex partner, and find the tools and techniques that are maybe a bit more advanced than pinching your fingers together, of course, but that's just a simple example of how you've got them.

Speaker B: So what are the consequences of if you don't do this, if you don't face up and identify the vision problems?

Speaker A: I think particularly let's think about for academics.

Speaker A: For academics, it's going to make it difficult for you to read.

Speaker A: Your eyes may feel fatigued, the words might jump around, you might have problems with repeating words or omitting words while reading.

Speaker A: And all of these things are going to impact reading comprehension or just keeping place.

Speaker A: That used to happen to me all the time and it still does unless I use my finger where I'll read the same line over and over again because my eyes don't track down to the next one, particularly when the text is very small and very dense.

Speaker A: Yes, but everybody should always use their finger.

Speaker A: It just reduces the cognitive load.

Speaker A: It's not cheating.

Speaker A: It helps the brain.

Speaker A: It assists the brain and it prevents the eyes from tracking back and forth.

Speaker A: It encourages the reading in a fluid manner.

Speaker A: And almost all speed readers use their fingers.

Speaker B: That's got to be the biggest takeaway of this whole episode, I'd say.

Speaker B: The power of the finger.

Speaker B: I mean, even using your finger to track backs and forwards and then even.

Speaker A: Limiting how much you track your finger back and forward so that you start to rely more on your peripheral vision.

Speaker A: Not taking your finger and putting it right under the first word, putting it under the third word, to kind of encourage the eyes to utilize these resources that we have which we might not be consciously using.

Speaker B: Absolutely.

Speaker A: But I think beyond the reading, poor Eyesight has a profound impact on writing.

Speaker A: Whether it's your handwriting or just again, if you're not able to see that well, it creates that cognitive load and dissonance that makes it harder for you to write in a fluid manner and access everything that you need to do.

Speaker A: Because writing is such a complex both reading and writing are such complex skills that require so much concentration and unity of different cognitive processing areas that we just don't need to have any kind of difficulty hindrance getting in our way because then it really impacts that ability to do it in a fluid manner.

Speaker B: It's like having a hole in a bucket.

Speaker B: It's just spurting out unnecessary energy and focus by having this constantly taking out your attention.

Speaker B: Because the reality is that the brain is super clever, super powerful, that if you do have a physical vision problem, it's constantly compensating.

Speaker B: I mean, even the basic idea of our eyes, we are only seeing what, I don't know, 5% of what's coming into our eye.

Speaker B: We're only choosing to see what 5% or something of what's coming into our eye because our brain is deliberately deleting out of all the blood vessels that it can see in the back of your eye.

Speaker A: And you know what you just hit on?

Speaker A: Inhibitory control.

Speaker B: It is.

Speaker B: It's inhibitory control.

Speaker B: Absolutely.

Speaker B: And really it's about deleting.

Speaker B: Deleting, deleting, deleting all the time.

Speaker B: Elon Musk talks about this all the time.

Speaker B: Your brain is a deleting machine.

Speaker B: It's designed to delete as much information as possible and to simplify it and what he calls into a vector.

Speaker B: And that's a very tech kind of perspective, but I really like it because the difference between a vector and a bitmap is a vector is, let's say you've got a line, a curvy line, right?

Speaker B: And it just chooses the start of the line, the end of the line, and a few points in between.

Speaker B: And then it joins a line that joins those dots.

Speaker B: You've only got like seven pieces of information.

Speaker B: Whereas if you were to draw that line out of pixels, you might end up having 600 pieces of information to draw all of those lines.

Speaker B: And the problem is when you scale it up or scale it down, you start to lose definition and so on.

Speaker B: But if it goes down into a simple vector where you've got like six main principles and you join the dots, that's what our brain is doing all the time and wanting to do.

Speaker B: And so when we're looking at our vision, it's already deleting information to try and focus in on the things that we're wanting to concentrate or expect us to concentrate.

Speaker B: But if you're adding extra vision problems onto it, it's trying to add more information in take because it adds information into the blind spot of our eyes, there's a spot in our eyes that is actually completely blind and what your brain is doing is taking like photoshop some of the information around about it and pasting it in there to fill it in so it becomes a continuous smooth image and so the brain, if we've got these other vision problems is trying to do all of that for the blurriness and sharpening up or whatever and it's using a huge amount of effort unnecessarily which could go towards actually understanding what you're looking at.

Speaker A: Yeah, I often refer my students for more comprehensive vision screening just to make sure that there aren't any other issues, particularly these ones that come in with learning difficulties and I'm thinking about one of my students in particular which are really profound where I see this is an extremely bright individual but there's a lot of shutdown, a lot of shutdown going on and a lot of overwhelm going on and this person actually did have a comprehensive vision screening assessment and it was realized, which she didn't understand or didn't realize herself, that she had multiple vision issues and she's now going through over a year of vision training to get her eyes to work together and I think there's going to be a profound change in her capacity because this is a kid that is so intensely bright but unable to handle college because she gets overwhelmed and shuts down and I think that this is going to be one of the keys to helping her move through that.

Speaker B: Well, Erica has been a really fantastic episode I think.

Speaker B: Take your vision seriously, look after it, guide it, protect it and just measure it.

Speaker B: Find a professional who will do really comprehensive analysis of your vision, not just.

Speaker A: Yeah and don't be afraid to accommodate it.

Speaker A: Yes and I do know that there are exercises that you can do to strengthen your eyes and supposedly it can improve your vision and if that's something that you really want to do, great, but don't just live with the fact that you're living in a blurry world because you're missing out on a lot yes.

Speaker A: And you're straining your brain more than you need to so you then are not able to work to your full potential.

Speaker B: Yeah and the key thing and being personal brain trainer podcast here is if you want to train your brain and if you want to achieve it's, your biggest asset in life, your brain.

Speaker B: And so you need to make that brain power be properly deployed, have that cognitive flexibility and that inhibitory control so that you focus it.

Speaker B: And the cognitive flexibility is also a theme here, is that is your map of the world accurate to the world.

Speaker B: And so with cognitive flexibility you're constantly adjusting your understanding of reality to reality and adjusting to it.

Speaker B: And if physically your understanding of that world isn't quite on point then you don't need to use your cognitive load to solve that.

Speaker B: You can get a tool like glasses or a technique to solve it.

Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker B: Lovely.

Speaker B: See you in the next episode.

Speaker A: Terrific.

Speaker B: Bye bye.

Speaker A: Thank you for joining our conversation here at the Personal Brain Trainer podcast.

Speaker B: This is Dr. Erica Warren and this is Darius Namdaran.

Speaker B: You can check out our show notes for links to resources, mention the podcast, and please leave us a review and share us on social media.

Speaker B: Just take a screenshot and post it up on your social.

Speaker B: And until next time, see you.

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