Rave Reviews

Praise for Coming to Our Senses

“Absolutely fascinating.”—Temple Grandin

What would happen if you had a new sense grafted on your body? Sue Barry is alert to the many fascinating details of how Liam and Zohra navigated their new sensory experiences, essentially giving the reader a lab course in experimental philosophy. This moving work of biography and scholarship explores the deep questions that arise when people choose to live in bodies that have been made new and strange.”—Michael Chorost, author ofRebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human

Coming to Our Senses is an engaging and illuminating book. Barry's intimate account of people who gained the ability to see and hear as adults offers rich insights into how we shape, and our shaped by, our senses. Along the way Barry teaches us much about vision, hearing and the human capacity to learn and adapt.”—Dennis M. Levi, UC Berkeley

“Neurobiologist Barry (Fixing My Gaze) explores sight, hearing, and perception in this triumphant survey of people who gained a sense they were born without. Barry skillfully balances scientific explanations with empathetic stories of how senses shape the human experience”…This powerful tale is as thoughtful as it is informative.”—Publisher's Weekly

“Through stories of two amazing individuals, a neurobiologist explains how we see and hear…Even science savvy readers will find surprises in this insightful exploration of how two humans learned a new sense.”— Kirkus 

“Interweaving [personal] accounts with scholarly investigations of how perception works, Barry celebrates her subjects' determination to adapt to their newfound senses.” —Smithsonian Magazine

“In telling the detailed stories of how Liam and Zohra learned to navigate the world using their new senses — stories that in many ways mimic the way able-bodied infants accomplish the same thing — Barry gives us insight into what it means to be human.”—New York Times

Coming to Our Senses, by neurobiologist Susan Barry, explains how our actions shape and reshape our senses throughout our lives, delving into this deeply personal developmental process.”—New Scientist

“While researching the fascinating and inspiring story of a boy and a girl — born blind and deaf, respectively — who learned to see and hear after receiving surgical intervention, Barry, a neurobiologist who herself gained sight in both eyes in midlife, arrived at a new theory about the nature of perception.”—Toronto Globe & Mail

Praise for Fixing My Gaze

Fixing My Gaze was rated fourth for all science books of 2009 by the editors of Amazon.com

Fixing My Gaze is a magical book, at once poetic and scientific, that holds out great hope for all of us. Here Susan Barry recounts her discovery that through training she could acquire, in adulthood, the three dimensional vision she lacked in all her early years. Barry, an excellent brain scientist, illustrates through her personal experiences and the fascinating science of vision that the brain is a marvelously plastic organ that can continue to change its wiring and thereby its function throughout our adult life.”—Eric Kandel, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine; author of In Search of Memory

“It had been widely thought that an adult, cross-eyed since infancy, could never acquire stereovision, but to everyone's surprise Sue Barry succeeded. In Fixing My Gaze, she describes how wonderful it was to have, step-by-step, this new 3-D world revealed to her. And as a neurobiologist she is able to discuss the science as an expert, in simple language.” —David H. Hubel, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine; John Franklin Enders Professor of Neurobiology, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, co-author of Brain and Visual Perception

“Correcting a vision problem changes how Sue Barry experiences and perceives the world. When vision therapy restores her ability to see depth, she enters a world of visual detail that she had never seen before. Fixing My Gaze is essential reading for people interested in the brain and in vision problems.” —Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures

“One axis of [Barry's] book is a graceful and grateful appreciation of a newly acquired ”˜ability to see the volume of space between objects and to see each object as occupying its own space' — revelations that allowed her to live ”˜among' and ”˜in' the things of this world and gave her first movements of snow falling, trees branching, and a faucet arcing out of the sink”…he book's main contribution, however, is exposing the wrong-headed dogma that acuity and binocular vision can be restored only during a critical developmental period.”—New England Journal of Medicine

As a neurobiologist, Barry is in a unique position to tell her life story because she can, and does, give scientific explanations for why her eyes and brain could not produce 3-D images, and how she fixed that problem.-The Washington Post

Fixing My Gaze is a beautifully written, deeply informative, and profoundly inspiring story of Dr. Susan Barry's personal and professional discovery of the wonder, complexity, and potential for positive change that exists in the human visual system. It will appeal to anyone interested in the beauty of the nervous system, and should be required reading for every person involved with the education, behavior, and development of children.” —Brock and Fernette Eide, authors of The Mislabeled Child

“[E]nticing”… [Barry] combine[s] a vivid and poetic account of her recovery with a detailed description of her treatment and the underlying science.”  — Nature Neuroscience

“A prepared and informed mind, plus a wealth of relevant experience, is what Susan Barry brings to thinking about the fascinating matter of vision.”…his book could change other people's lives” — A. C. Grayling, Barnes and Nobles review

“[A] fascinating account”… In addition to recounting her personal triumph, Barry clearly explains the visual and clinical science needed to understand the significance of this achievement”… [T]his engaging book will leave both readers knowledgeable in the field, as well as those just looking to understand something about the visual process, pondering what else there is left to see.” — The Journal of Clinical Investigation

“Fascinating and moving…Sue Barry shows us that with healthy eyes and the simplest of tools, we can see the world in an entirely new way. Fixing My Gaze made me wonder: What new things could any of us see, if only someone told us it was possible?” —Michael Chorost, author of Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human

“[A] powerful account”… [Barry's] journey to attain the type of vision that most take for granted is inspirational and instructive.” —Virginian-Pilot

Fixing My Gaze provides a fascinating, informative, and beautifully written account of [Barry's] acquisition of stereopsis after vision therapy at the age of 48 years”… Barry's insights about her own vision provide wonderful insights into what it means to not have stereopsis, and the profound, life-changing effect of acquiring it.” —Optometry and Vision Science

“In Fixing My Gaze, neuroscientist Susan Barry explains for the rest of us in fascinating detail just what a truly and completely ”˜flat' world is like to live in for 48 years”… For vision professionals, the various case histories in Barry's book offer added proof of the brain's ability to rewire itself and learn to fuse signals from both eyes well into adulthood. For stereoblind individuals, the book offers hope of actual improvement without promoting any magic diet or mail-order Tibetan herbs. For 3-D enthusiasts, it offers multiple reminders of the wonder and importance of stereopsis that are all too easy to take for granted in the midst of impassioned debates over lens separations, digital resolution or Medium Format viewers.”—Stereo World

“The book is a joy to read.” — Times Higher Education Supplement

Fixing My Gaze is no ordinary memoir”… As a brain scientist and an acute observer, Barry is uniquely qualified to serve up a book that tickles the brain in fascinating ways.”— Valley Advocate

“[R]eaders of this book will be enriched by the experiences that Sue Barry recounts on her marvelous journey”… Part memoir and part science, Fixing My Gaze is a fitting tribute to the determination of a patient and her optometrist in challenging conventional wisdom and dogma.” — Journal of Behavioral Optometry

“[Barry’s] buoyant journey into stereovision is an eye-popping ride.” —Discover

“[Barry] tells a poignant story of her gradual discovery of the shapes in flowers in a vase, snowflakes falling, even the folds in coats hanging on a peg”… Recommended for all readers who cheer stories with a triumph over seemingly insuperable odds.” —Publishers Weekly

“Magnificent…It is not yet clear what percentage of patients may be like Sue Barry, but Fixing My Gaze will encourage eye care practitioners to go ahead and find out, with definite benefits to their patients. Moreover, the book is fascinating reading.” —Nigel Daw, Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience, Yale University; author of Visual Development

“Dr. Susan Barry's story is seemingly about stereovision, but the depth she probes goes well beyond three dimensions. No one reading her fascinating account will ever look at vision the same way again.” —Dr. Leonard J. Press, Optometric Director, The Vision&Learning Center

“It is rare to gain stereoscopic vision if born without it, but Susan Barry reveals that it happened to her. Fixing My Gaze is the engaging story of her unusual adventure.” —Richard L. Gregory, Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol; editor of The Oxford Companion to the Mind

Online Reviews for Fixing My Gaze


New England Journal of Medicine

Nature Neuroscience

Journal of Clinical Investigation

The Washington Post August 2010

Times Higher Education

Publisher’s Weekly

Princeton Alumni Weekly May 13, 2009

Seed Magazine, June 1, 2009

Psychjourney podcast June 4, 2009

New Scientist, June 6, 2009


Eide Neurolearning Blog

Maino's Memo

BookPage June 2009

Online Appearances


YouTube lecture 1

YouTube lecture 2

YouTube lecture 3

YouTube lecture 4

YouTube lecture 5

Friday Evening Lecture, Marine Biological Laboratory