I just finished reading the chapters in Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book, The Island of the Color Blind about the Pacific islands of Pingelap and Pohnpei that have many totally color blind people (achromatopes). I am curious if there is a concentration of strabismics in one geographical area in the world or in several? If so, what accommodations have they made as a group to “make it” in a 3D world that they navigate while being monocular?
It was fascinating to read in the chapter that several achromotopes had an acute sense of hearing, were very musical and had good memories. I imagine that people with other visual disorders would have similarly sensitive hearing. I can attest that I fall into this category of very sensitive hearing as my auditory strength has helped me learn foreign languages and master their accents. One of the researchers who was on the trip with Dr. Sacks was himself colorblind and felt very much at home being in a place where he could easily recognize his fellow achromatopes by the way they hid from the sun and constantly squinted.
Reading this made me curious what it would be like to meet many other people who have strabismus. I know we all share stories of how we were ridiculed as kids for our divergent eyes and stories of our personal anguish, but what are the commonalities of behavour that we share?
In one blog by a woman in her 40s going through vision therapy for strabismus, she asked if other monocular folk had low blood pressure and got many responses from strabmismics who indeed had low blood pressure. I have such low blood pressure that I can never donate blood. Is there an explanation for how strabismus and low blood pressure could be related? I asked my developmental optometrist and he had no explanation.
Do many strabismics have above average auditory tendencies? Do we have stronger olfactory senses?
I have two aunts who are also strabismic and they hate driving. They also lived in the former USSR until their 40s and 50s and were not used to driving. I hate driving and I’ve lived in the US since I was a kid. Their hearing doesn’t seem to be all that incredible and they have no musical or linguistic talent. I don’t find commonalities with them.
If anyone has any thoughts or observations on common compensatory behavour of strabismics, please do comment.