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 The Connection Between Your Eyesight and Your Inner Focus 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Your Eyesight and You: A Total Mind/Body Understanding of Vision by . View all columns in series
To fully understand how vision works from a holistic perspective, let's compare it to the process of producing a finished photograph. Even after you've focused the lens and taken the picture, you still don't have a photograph until the film gets developed. This is done in the darkroom.

When it comes to your eyesight, the darkroom is your brain - the visual centers that process the visual information sent by the eyes.

After an image is registered on the retina (film) it then has to be developed into a visual image (a photograph). This is done in the occipital region of the brain (the photographer's darkroom).

Vision - the formation of images of the physical world - does not occur until the brain receives impulses sent to it by the eyes. The darkroom of your visual system is a portion of the brain known as the visual cortex or the occipital lobe, which is located in the back of the head.

As everyone knows, the camera could take a perfect picture, but as a result of some error in processing the photograph could appear unclear or too dark or too light. Conversely, current computer-based processing techniques can greatly enhance the quality of an under-developed picture, bringing out greater clarity, detail and brightness.

But the human darkroom - the visual processing center in the brain (particularly the occipital region) - can take an image that is blurred and make it clearer in the brain. This human darkroom is much more complex and intricate than any computer.

How complex? As one example, the light that enters the eye hits the retina where the image registers upside-down. Fortunately the image is "righted" in the seeing centers of the brain, otherwise we would see the world upside-down. Vision, or the formation of images of the physical world, does not occur until the brain receives impulses sent to it by the eyes. This system is so complex that researchers still do not know exactly how the brain produces these visual images.

The photographer in each of us
What's missing from the eye/camera analogy is the complex role of the brain in the visual process.

In the case of the camera, it is the photographer who controls the camera - deciding what to shoot at, how much light to let in, what to focus on, for how long and from what angle.

In the case of the eye, each of us is our own photographer - and the choices we make about what we see and how we see are governed by the mysterious interplay between our physiological processes and our conscious and unconscious mental and emotional decisions.

Inner vision
Inner vision consists of two distinct aspects:

  1. Inner focus: The attitudes and perspectives that form your view of yourself and the world.
  2. Visualization: The ability to interpret or understand what is seen (i.e., to make meaning out of symbols) and the ability to produce images with the mind's eye. Visualization is strongly connected to memory.
Inner focus is best illustrated by the age-old example of two people looking at a glass of water. One sees it as half full, the other as half empty. The physical reality is the same, but the focus is different. Each person has a unique inner focus - the result of the interplay between memories, past experiences, attitudes and expectations.

Many people with vision problems tend to have a negative focus about their eyesight, which only serves to reinforce the vision problem. Conversely, working to change your focus about your eyes can have a dramatically positive effect.

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 About The Author
Martin Sussman, president and founder of the Cambridge Institute for Better Vision and developer of the world's #1 Best-selling Program for Better Vision, is also co-author of Total Health at the Computer. Mr. Sussman......moreMartin Sussman
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