Could aphantasia be caused by misaligned eyes?

I recently started to suspect that i have a condition called binocular vision dysfunction and started to wonder if it could be the reason visualization is difficult for me. Apparently when eyes are misaligned, it puts extra stress on the visual system leading to neurological effects such as light sensitivity and headaches. I started to investigate and found this testimonial online of a man in his 70s spontaneously developing a mind’s eye after strengthening binocular vision I’m in the process of getting evaluated to see if i indeed have BVD. If i do, I’ll try the prism glasses or vision therapy and report back. Although it might take longer to develop the ability to visualize.

In addition to this man’s story, there’s another man who claims to have learned to visualize after practicing something called image streaming, which involves rubbing your eyes. Interestingly, both eye rubbing and headstands could increase pressure in the eyes, potentially leading to some measure of realignment. I wonder if this results in better image fusion,  reducing strain on the visual system and freeing up resources for higher level visual tasks like the mind’s eye.

This could explain why most aphantasia is congenital. Maybe someone could acquire it for similar reasons. I don’t know if surgery changes ocular pressure but maybe that’s what happened to patient mx in the original aphantasia study.

Anyway I’m curious what others think. This seems fairly easy to study.

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I just wanted to add that I don’t think this is the only factor at play just that eye alignment could be significant for some people. There are probably a fair number of people who can visualize despite having  misaligned eyes. Also, some might have a malignant due to trauma like a car crash and have little consequence to their vitalization ability.

Obviously I could be wrong about the whole thing 😂

Ive never been able to see a clear image out of binoculars using both eyes. For image to focus when using binoculars I have to close one eye. Its been like that my whole life.  I hadn’t even considered that there could be a reason for that, let alone that that could potentially be related to my Aphantasia…!

Mind you my eyes are far from good regardless – am short sighted, just like the majority of my relatives on my fathers side are. As well as having astigmatism! 


I have an update. After posting this I tried a strange set of visual exercises I found on youtube. It took 5 minutes to complete and I thought nothing of it. After, I went outside for a walk, put on my sunglasses (my eyes are sensitive to light) and my vision was transformed. Apparently I lived my whole life without depth perception and had no idea. No one ever suspected anything was wrong with my eyes (including during my regular visits to the optometrist) and my field of view was fused. My mind is absolutely blown.

Today is my fourth day doing the exercises and the effect is becoming more natural. My in depth vision exam is scheduled for a week from now. I’ll update this post if I learn anything interesting.

I have a form of congenital amblyopia in one eye. I have always known this; it presents as incomplete visual acuity when using that eye only). So when I discovered (yesterday at the age of 66!) that I have aphantasia I naturally thought the two could be related. But I’m not sure and wouldn’t be surprised if they were not. BTW I had the classic moment of realisation that other people actually form pictures —I thought  the “mind’s eye” was a non-visual construct of image-based knowledge and memory. 

I’m not sure if I want to be “cured” and be able to imagine things. It is peaceful in the dark. 

I don’t see how any physical changes to the eyes would change how the brain perceives imagination. Interesting. 

Maybe I will try it. 

The eye exercises video is good. I know people have used those for things like balance, physical therapy, lazy eye, and various other things. 

An interesting idea… I kind of doubt it can be “fixed”, especially since the brain seems to develop tons of different way s to do things, but I do have a “lazier” eye between my two (intermittent exotropia). If I’m tired or relaxed, my brain focuses over to my left eye and lets the right drift out of sync, mostly ignoring it, so maybe there is at least some trend worth considering?

The image-streaming method uses pressure on eyeballs to “prime” imagery mechanisms by adding external stimulation as a prompt.

In any event, I have had thoughts similar to yours.   There is a natural asymmetry between function of my two eyes, one of which was nearsighted and one far-sighted.  I wondered if this might predispose me to absence of imagery.   

Along similar lines, I and have also wondered whether practice learning to see “3D” images when viewing autostereograms  (cf the “magic eye” books) might be useful in cultivating imagery.

If you wouldn’t mind, please send me a message when you are ready to comment about the results of your vision therapy experiment.

Marjorie Schuman   Aphasia member #4883 on DISCORD platform

I find this line of thought intriguing. My eyes differ greatly in strength and I had surgery to correct a left “lazy eye” as an infant. An eye exam doctor casually mentioned to me decades ago that I probably see movies in “3D” with very minimal to no 3D and that I probably can’t get hidden images to “pop” out of the background no matter how long I look at them (I forgot what those are called but they were popular back then). I was astounded at the time when this eye doctor mentioned this because that was exactly my experience. Perhaps this corrective eye surgery (or the condition that necessitated it) are related to aphantasia.