Distorted View of Oneself

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Reality Distortion Lens

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The way you view someone can literally depend on your eyeglass prescrip­tion. Eyeglass lenses distort your field of vision in an effort to correct curvature anomalies. I own two pair of multi­focal eyeglasses. One is for short-distance computer use. The other is for clarity at long distances.

During normal activities, my glasses are frequently off. Sometimes I am wearing one of my two eyeglass prescriptions. Therefore, walking in front of a mirror can present one of three impressions of myself.

From my point of view, the image without wearing eyeglasses is what I accept as my true appearance—even though my pupil curvature is imperfect. But when I pass by a mirror wearing reading glasses, what I see is dramatically different. My head resembles a water-rich summertime green-and-red seeded fruit.

What if my real appearance is the one I view when wearing my computer glasses? Among amateur artists, similar deviations from reality are apparent in portrait drawings. Some appear skewed.

Is What You See What You Get?

Distorted View of Oneself

The main optical distortions of the eye are spherical aberration, chromatic aberration, oblique astigmatism, and high-order aberrations. This got me thinking. Our impression of who is attractive may largely depend upon our individual eyesight aberrations. Someone appealing with our glasses may look differently without.

We might also feel that we are not photogenic because of the disparity between what we see in the mirror. You have heard that the camera makes you look 10 pounds heavier. Actually this depends upon the lens and our position within the frame.

Portrait photographers recognize the effect of geometry, focal length, and lens distortion. So they choose equipment and settings wisely for the best headshots.

Could the differing shape of everyone’s eyes factor into the impression that some feel they are not photogenic? Laser refractive surgeries change the curvature of eyes. You could walk out seeing clearer and finally know what you and your loved ones look like—for better or worse.

Since camera focal length significantly affects subject appearance, consider having a professional photography sitting. It will likely be a truer repre­senta­tion than the selfies on your smartphone. You might even be more attractive than you think!

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Kevin Williams is a health advocate, artist, pro­gram­mer, and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites. He has 17 years experi­ence as a Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs graphics con­sul­tant.

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