I have the strangest vision I ever heard of. I’ve never been diagnosed with autism, though as a child I carried many of the traits that are associated with autistic children. Most of those traits are based on perceptions and social skills. Though I had thought at one time that some of my habits and concerns as a child had an autistic ring to it, I never even thought about my vision in relation to autism.
I read something one day that made things a bit clearer for me. It was a discussion about the visual traits of those with autism. Finally, I had some sort of answer. I had discussed the issue with every optometrist I ever saw, went as far as to have MRIs and CT scans done, fearing that there was a tumor or something else that shouldn’t be there. I never got an answer.
I’m far-sighted. I can read so far away that the scale doesn’t even get small enough for me to not be able to read it. That part isn’t such a big deal. In fact, women have been known to be skilled sharp shooters due to the fact that in general, most women have better distance vision than men. The problem with my vision was the spots, something that children with autism and visual enhancement due to autism can relate to.
It occurred to me that people who weren’t autistic or didn’t have this vision issue might be interested to learn about it, possibly as a way to understand the perceptions of someone with autism.
I literally see spots. This has commonly been misunderstood to be “floaters” that people see before they get migraines. Those are a different issue. If you want to understand floaters, look at a bright light and look away. You’ll have some idea of what a floater is. If you want to understand the spots, look at a poorly printed digital photo.
That’s right, my brain (and yes, it’s the brain, not the eyes) interprets color the same way a camera interprets pictures. Only, in my vision, it looks more like static on a television is covering my entire world. For instance, if I look at a small circle with a 1″ diameter, I will see literally millions of tiny dots. Believe it or not, instead of this being seen as some type of poor vision, it’s actually enhanced vision. For you to imagine it, you would have to be able to imagine something as bizarre as being able to see particles of energy or at a very high rate of pixels.
Since color is just a perception of reflections of light, you can almost imagine what this does to night vision. I actually can see very well at night, as I imagine most people who have this issue can. It’s the light that bothers me. In other words, the light refracts and disperses in such a way that at night, all light look like they are aimed directly at my eyes.
I hope that this may be helpful to those that have children with autism. Every extra bit that parents can learn about how their children with autism perceive the world is another step closer to understanding the world their child lives in.