Binocular Vision Information
Binocular Vision is the ability to see using input from two eyes. Most mammals have this ability along with many birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. The word binocular is derived from Latin, where bi means two and ocular refers to the eyes.
Just because a creature has two eyes however does not automatically mean that it will have binocular vision. Infants and small children are often unable to develop this until they are a little bit older. Sometimes, adults either lack or lose the ability to see and will experience visual distortion to some degree.
One of the abilities most reliant on binocular vision is known as depth perception. Your depth perception allows you to accurately gauge distance, or how far away something is, just by looking at it.
This is also the reason we are able to perceive the world in three dimensions as opposed to two. There are different elements to depth perception, and this only makes up one part of a larger equation. There are also cues that come from only one eye that allows us to judge the distance of an object.
In some animals, there is no binocular vision although they have two eyes. In order for an animal to focus both eyes on one point, the eyes need to be positioned towards the front of the head. It's more common in larger animals such as bears, lions, and other predators.
If an animal is primarily classified as prey, such as a rabbit, it will typically have its eyes placed further back on its head, with one on each side. This allows it to see in two directions at once, which gives it a better view of its surroundings.
Certain birds of prey have really unique eyesight that actually gives them a 360 degree view of their surroundings without the need to move their head an inch.
This really comes into play in animals that require the ability to use stereopsis. Stereopsis is the ability to form a three dimensional image from the signal input from the eyes. When a predator is stalking its prey, it doesn't necessarily need to be able to see in all directions.
It's more important for it to be able to determine the exact distance of its prey so that it can attack more efficiently. Stereopsis works because each eye creates a slightly different image of a particular object. They are only a few inches away from each other, but that's enough to create images different enough for the brain to combine into a 3D object.
A Binocular impairment is a condition where the binocular capabilities of the eyes don't function properly. People who have this impairment usually aren't able to use stereopsis and have a noted lack of depth perception.
If you notice that you have some sort of vision impairment, or even if you think you do, you should always go see a professional, because that's the first step if you want to Protect Your Eyesight.
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