Vision Myth #4 – Adult brains cannot change or grow after a certain “critical period” in childhood.



New research in Neuroplasticity, or the plasticity of the brain, refutes claims that the brain is a fixed, static organ that does not change throughout adulthood. These new findings are backed up by studies in various topics such as vision rehabilitation, growth of gray matter through meditation and successful treatment of learning difficulties. The myth that your brain becomes set in stone once you pass a “critical period” is rapidly being disproven. It used to be thought that after the age of 5 or 6, children with crossed eyes, lazy eyes, or other types of vision disorders could do nothing to regain normal vision. Children’s brains are indeed more absorbent and are in more of a fluid state, forming and changing more dramatically with each stimulus. Adult’s brains can still form and change, but in a more active way. To make changes in your brain as an adult you have to become much more self aware, maintain a deep sense of interest and motivation as you trek down a time and energy consuming path, and learn how to replace deeply ingrained habits with new habits.

If you know you have a habit, it’s no longer a habit, it’s just an excuse. -Bashar

Below is a video of Neuroscientist Dr. Sue Barry explaining how she corrected her stereoblindness at the age of 48, well after many scientists and optometrists would have believed such recovery was possible. As a professor of neuroscience, she lectured her students about how the brain cannot change and it is impossible for new neurons or neural pathways to form after birth. However, after she saw a behavioral optometrist that helped retrain her eyes to work together and achieve fusion, she was able to see 3D again. This went against everything she knew from textbooks, but she could not deny that her brain had developed in a new way to allow for depth perception in her eyesight, which she had never seen before in her entire life. 

Dr. Barry’s success is not only an inspiration to those who have stereoblindness, amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eye), but to those who have any type of vision problem. It solidifies the hope that it is never too late to begin reclaiming your own natural eyesight. The Bates Method is like physical therapy for your eyes and non-physical therapy for your mind. It carves new neural pathways, creates new synapses, and establishes a strong eye-mind connection that is necessary for proper eyesight. 

So if you read in a textbook that something is not possible, it ain’t necessarily so. With a great deal of self awareness, a lot of hard work and the right training, many of you may be able to accomplish what was once thought to be impossible. -Sue Barry