Looking at the Dominant Eye

We all see with a preferred eye.  Our dominant eye focuses on an object and our other eye provides the necessary angle to give us the perception of depth.

Here’s how you can do a test to find your dominant eye:

The dominant eye is the eye that looks directly at an object. The non-dominant eye is the eye that looks at the same object at a slight angle. This small difference provides depth perception.

Being right or left handed will not necessarily determine if you are right or left eye dominant.

Eye dominance is an important consideration for monovision correction to reduce the need for reading glasses or bifocals. Anyone who is presbyopic should consider monovision.

What most of us don’t realize is that when we make eye contact with another person — in person — we don’t make eyes contact, we only make a singular “eye” contact.  We cannot look at both eyes of a person at the same time.  We can only look at one of their eyes at a time.  Perhaps unwittingly, that is how the phrase — “Look me in the eye!” — came into being.

When you look at another person’s eye, and most of us always pick the same one eye of the other person, several things are in play.  The person you are looking at has no idea you’re only looking at their one eye, because they’re only capable of looking at one of your eyes, too.

As well, our “one eye” focus is so intense, you tend to miss unique features in the other eye of the person.  For example, one of my childhood teachers had a blind eye, and I had no idea it was damaged until one of the other students in class pointed it out.  I’d always focused on her “good eye” when speaking to her and I never noticed the blind eye.  My perception of her changed just a little when I learned about the existence of her “other, non-eye”– and I have since learned that if we pick a “bad eye” in another person, we have a hard time switching to focus on the other that that we rarely, if ever, focus on seeing. If both eyes are damaged, we tend to look away from the eyes and focus on the mouth.

I was reminded of this monovision the other day when I was flirting with my wife on Valentine’s Day, and I kept winking at her.  She was not responding.  I winked some more.  No response.  When I asked her why she wasn’t winking back, she told me I wasn’t winking.  When I winked with my other eye, she responded with a silly smile.  When I immediately winked with my other eye, she didn’t catch it.

It’s fascinating how our physiology forces us to become “One Eye Blind” when we are up close and personal and, in many ways, we’re missing half the message by focusing on only one eye and entirely missing the winking.