If you have Retinitis Pigmentosa you’ll understand this. Yesterday evening as we were getting ready for bed I asked my husband, “Where’s Bailey?” I scanned the room. Our Cavalier Spaniel is always right there with us at bedtime.
I looked right at my husband, already in bed. “Where is Bailey?” I repeated. He smiled, knowingly. “She’s right here.” And she was. She actually was right on the bed beside my husband, maybe three feet away from me.
It’s funny. With my limited visual field I make efforts to scan in a methodical manner, but still I miss huge areas. In the moment I truly think I have covered the entire space.
I blame my brain. The brain is expecting normal visual fields, and if that were the case I would have seen my sweet Bailey. It unwittingly fills in the gaps, but not accurately. After all, the brain is receiving only a small percentage (less than 20% in my case) of a normal viewing area. In this case, it filled in the entire space with the rest of the bedspread, minus the dog.
Sometimes the brain fills in something else entirely. When I was still working as a therapist, I would spend most of the hour looking directly at the client speaking to me. Suddenly I would be surprised to notice a bookshelf or draperies, seemingly out of the corner of my eye. Seemingly, since I really cannot see anything out of the corner of my eye. I had to glance in that direction just to confirm that there was no such thing on that wall. My brain had put it there.
At least that’s what I think happens. If you have RP, please tell me you’ve experienced this. Or, if you have RP and haven’t, tell me that.