Can you ignore your dominant eye?

Left eye dominant, originally uploaded by Bob Goyetche.

Do you know which eye is your dominant eye? Apparently most people have one eye that does most of the heavy-lifting viewing-wise. Some people don’t have a dominant eye. The concept is properly called Ocular Dominance.

How can you tell which is your dominant eye? It’s pretty simple. Wikipedia shows us the “Porta Test”, which has not caused any recent injuries :

“The observer extends one arm, then with both eyes open aligns the thumb or index finger with a distant object. The observer then alternates closing the eyes or slowly draws the thumb/finger back to the head to determine which eye is viewing the object (i.e. the dominant eye)”

I’m left-eye dominant. I’d never given it much thought honestly.. Then I started getting into photography. As I was reading (and RE-reading, and RE-RE-reading) photography books, it dawned on me that the pictures or diagrams showing someone taking a picture seem to show people using their right eye (like I tried to do in the picture above)..

Apparently, I’m some sort of freak or at least in the minority in that I’m right handed, and left-eye dominant.. So if you see pictures of me taking pictures, I’ll pretty much have the camera hiding both eyes and most of my face.

I Googled the photography forums, to see if this is something I should try to change as I’ll be committed to taking horrible pictures forever, or if it’s even an issue I shouldn’t spend time on and worry more about f-stops and why I keep leaving the lens cap on.  As with almost anything discussed on a forum long enough, there are opinions on both sides of this issue. I figure I’ve got enough to learn about photography for now, so  I’ve decided to keep working “as designed”, and concentrate on taking better pictures with the eye I’m used to using to judge things..

This got me thinking about business/life/etc…What a great exercise is it to try to look at something from the non-dominant eye.

We often make decisions based on our “dominant eye”. It could be work or life experience, or perhaps you were even trained to look at something a certain way. Try to take a second to see if you can view the issue through your “other eye”, maybe the change in perspective will show you something new under your thumb your dominant eye can’t see..

How often do you give your non-dominant eye a chance to see new things?

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  1. James Carter says:

    It turns out I’m left-eyed, but right-handed too. All hail your cross-dominant overlords!

  2. Nico says:

    I did the dominant eye test on my shooting class. In highschool. Yes, we could choose shooting as a sport in my highschool.

  3. Phil Bowman says:

    I’m left-eye dominant. Never a problem until I started using digital cameras and got smudges from my nose all over the screen, where they’re designed to use the other eye.

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