Monocular Cues Vs Binocular Cues

One of the puzzling situations for every binocular user is the long going debate on monocular cues vs binocular cues. Have you ever wondered about how a pair of binoculars help you viewing an object placed a far distance from you? Or, have you ever thought of studying a detailed discussion on the 3D experience of everything that you see with your eyes or with the help of binoculars?

Well, the fact is that not everyone has a proper understanding of the difference between monocular cues and binocular cues. Besides, if you want to make a thorough analysis of this particular subject, you won’t get a discussion that is easy-to-understand for people with a non-science background.

Therefore, I thought of doing in-depth research on this topic to come up with a piece of comprehensive discussion that is easy-to-understand for everyone.

And, here, I have come with a detailed discussion on monocular cues vs binocular cues. I am pretty much confident that you will be able to understand all the fundamental differences between monocular cues and binocular cues after finishing the following discussion (spending only 5-7 minutes at best).

So, here we go….

Monocular Cues Vs Binocular Cues 

When the topic is about understanding cues, it is vital to get yourself acquainted with some essential factors. Those factors will help you get to understand different types of cues in an easier way.

Depth Perception

The term depth perception refers to your visual ability for viewing the world in three-dimensions while estimating the distance of the objects you are seeing from your place.

To be honest, it is a critical factor required for our survival because it helps in navigating following the most accurate and efficient way.

I must let you know the fact that without the perception of depth, we would never be able to measure the distance an object placed far away from us. Also, we wouldn’t be able to determine how much distance we need to cover to reach the specified object.

Space perception can be the best example of a human being’s ability to perceive depth.

If you want to have a deeper understanding of what depth perception is all about, then you have to study the two major classes of cues – monocular cues and binocular cues.

Motion Perception

The term motion perception refers to the specific process of conjecturing with the direction of an object and the speed of different elements of a particular scene, mainly based on your visual input.

Monocular cues (meaning what we can see using only one eye) can spot the nearby or closed motion, but in this case, perception of depth is not up-to-the-mark. Contrarily, binocular cues work better when you try to perceive the motion of objects from a distance.

Motion perception can be of two types –

  • First-order motion perception.
  • Second-order motion perception.

Of these two types, the first-order motion perception mainly occurs because of the specialized neurons in our retina. These specific neurons can track the motion through the luminance.

On the other hand, the second-order motion perception happens because of the investigation of the changes in any object’s placing or position with the help of feature-tracking on our retina.

What Are Cues? 

Cues, also known as optical cues, is the perception of depth of our eyes during the time of viewing an object placed at a certain distance. The factor depth perception is the reason of different types of depth cues that exhibits exclusive or distinct capabilities.

In a nutshell, a cue is truly nothing but the visual cue that infers the sensory cues grabbed by our eyes with the help of light, thus creating and presenting a visual perception. For your information, the visual system is a dominant factor in almost all types of species, particularly humans.

Visual cues play a significant role in forming a source of information that helps humans determine how the overall surroundings should be seen or perceived. And this is where the monocular cues and binocular cues come into the picture.

Putting it simply, monocular cues provides us with in-depth information on a particular scene at the time of seeing with one eye. And, the binocular cues provide us with deeper information about a specific scene at the time of seeing it with both eyes.

Scientists and Doctors like Charles F. Prentice and Dr Simon Barnard have contributed a lot in vision science to get a clearer idea about monocular cues and binocular cues.

Understanding of Monocular Cues 

As I have already mentioned, monocular cues help us getting depth information while viewing an object with one eye. Broadly speaking, monocular cues are mainly a collection of some cues that help us in achieving the mentioned result.

Here is a short discussion on those cues that form monocular cues –

Motion Parallax

When we observe a moving object, at that time, the stationary objects against or in the background can give us hint about the relative distance. And, if you have the information on the velocity and direction of the movement, then you can use motion parallax for determining the absolute depth information.

Absolute Size

If you don’t have the correct information about the size of an object, then you won’t be able to determine the distance of the objects (a large and a small object). The smaller object would seem to be further away even when both the large and smaller objects are placed in the same position.

Depth from Motion

When an object makes a move closer toward you, the size of the object will start increasing from your point of view (meaning you will see it bigger).

Kinetic Depth Effect

When a stationary object is placed in front of a light in a way so that the shadow of the object appears on a translucent screen, at that time, you (meaning the observer) will see (from the other side of that screen) a two-dimensional pattern of multiple lines. This is what the kinetic depth effect is all about.

Linear Perspective

Parallel lines that we have talked earlier may seem to congregate or assemble at a particular distance. Remember that the farther they will be, the closer they will appear to you (meaning the observer).

Relative Size

Always keep in mind that size does matter. In order to determine the distance between two objects, you have to know the size of both the objects in the first place.

Familiar Size

Having familiarity with an object’s size will help you in determining the distance of the object from you.

Aerial Perspective

When an object is placed at a much larger distance from you, at that time, you will experience difficulties while gauging a distance between you and the object for the scattering of light.


This term refers to the overall amount of work your eye muscles need to do or perform while focusing on an object. In this case, you have to gather a deeper understanding of kinesthetic sensations and visual cortex.

Texture Gradient

It refers to the amount of each detail we are ablet o see when an object is placed closed to us.

Occultation or Interposition

When an object partly obscures or overlaps another object, at that time, it assists you to measure the distance of those objects keeping the first object in the first place.

Shading and Lighting

If one of the two objects is nearer to the light, at that time, that particular object (the one closer to the light) will have bigger size in your eye.

Understanding Binocular Cues

Binocular cues refer to your ability to perceive the perception of depth using both of your eyes. Broadly speaking, binocular cues are a collection of some cues that help in performing the visual action for perceiving depth perception.

Here is a little discussion on those cues that form binocular disparity.

Retinal Disparity

This term is also known as binocular parallax. It mainly refers to the fact that your two eyes see the same object from different angles. And, it is triangulated by your brain to determine the exact distance.

Binocular Convergence

This particular term refers to the total amount of rotation your eyes need to perform for focusing on an object. It helps you in determining how near or far an object is away from us.

Application of Monocular Cues

In many instances, the application of monocular cues is indeed versatile. Using the monocular cues, you can easily determine the depth while standing at the top of any staircase or at the corner points of a large building. Using only one eye while viewing things helps you in measuring the apparent size of an object that you want to view.

Application of Binocular Cues

The application of the binocular cues provides you with the ability to find out the 3D space of an object concerning your position. Using the binocular cues, you feel the experience of perceiving the depth of an object while watching 3D movies, stereoscopic photos, or Magic Eyes.

Advantage of Binocular Cues

Here, I will mention some of the major advantages of binocular cues –

  • With binocular cues, you get the advantage of enjoying a wider Field of View.
  • Binocular cues help you in getting a clear view of the object you are trying to focus.
  • You can use the retinal disparity and binocular convergence for distinguishing the distance variations.
  • Binocular cues help you in improving or enhancing your perception of contrast sensitivity, brightness, visual acuity, and flicker perception.
  • With binocular cues, you get to view an object placed behind an obstacle.
  • Binocular cues cerate room for binocular summation that provides you with faster reaction times.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are monocular cues used?

Answer: Monocular cues help us by providing with the depth information when we try to view an object with one eye.

2. How monocular cues help us interpret what we see?

Answer: With monocular cues, images get an interpretation in terms of a two-dimensional world. As a result, closer objects seem to be larger.

3. Can Anxiety Cause Eye Flashes?

Answer: Anxiety can cause some mental and physical changes like fast breathing, increased heart rate, and a sudden feeling of panic.


So, here is a detailed discussion on monocular cues vs binocular cues that I have promised to deliver you.

I am fully confident that I have made this complicated discussion on the difference between monocular cues and binocular cues, an easy-to-understand one.

Still, if you have any kind of confusion, do not hesitate to ping me.

I would be glad to help you out.


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