Reading and Focusing Efficiency Can Affect One Another



All the functions that physically operate the eye can influence your visual efficiency. This means when our visual system is stressed with excessive reading or other activities involving focusing nearby objects, we can develop temporary nearsightedness or pseudomyopia. It is important to realize that our ability to read clearly is tied to our visual efficiency. Therefore, when our focusing efficiency is compromised, our ability to read gets affected too. Children are particularly susceptible to this risk. Due to their rapidly developing body, any change will manifest its effects quickly and with an organ as adaptive as the eye, it won’t take long before temporary myopia develops.
Let’s take a deeper look at focusing efficiency 
Our visual system is poorly developed after birth, since newborns can only see objects about 30 cm from their eye clearly, enough to see mum’s face. The next 3 months will stimulate a development in the focus depth so the baby can focus further and further. The primary stimuli for the eye to increase the focus depth is seeing blur. When the eye sees blur, the focusing mechanism is activated to adapt so the eyes can see at a greater distance eventually. At 6 months, the focusing ability is fully developed.
Not developing focusing efficiency properly is evidently a risk factor for learning disabilities. Hoffman established this back in the 1980s when he examined 107 learning disabled children and found that 83% of them had focusing or accommodative problems. 87% of them had eye coordination problems and a shocking 95% had eye movement issues. It is important that eye sight is taken care of in our children to prevent them from such problems.
School child behavioral cues you should be attentive about 
The average desk in schools is about 30 cm from the eyes. This accommodative demand for this distance is 3.0 diopters and children sustain the activity of focusing on their desk for reading or writing for extended periods of time - typically, more than 45 minutes. When the child lacks the visual power to sustain this activity, they may develop visual fatigue. Farsighted children can develop visual fatigue quicker since they need more focusing power to read or write. Here are some behavioral cues that indicate visual stress:
  • Child reports blurred vision
  • Rubbing eyes excessively
  • Red eyes
  • Holds book too close
  • Child reports eye fatigue frequently
  • Child reports blurry vision at a distance after near vision work
  • Difficulty sustaining near vision tasks
  • Child feels tired and sleepy
  • Child avoids near vision tasks
Temporary myopia can become permanent when left unattended
Overdoing near vision tasks such as reading, playing videogames and writing can induce excessive stress and result in blurry vision when the child looks away from the book or videogame, into a distance. This “temporary myopia” is referred to as pseudomyopia which usually goes away after a while. However, if the activities causing this are continued, myopia will develop and the kids will need reading glasses for the rest of their lives from there on out. Too many children become myopic due to excessive reading. 
You can reverse the development of myopia in children through vision training. Vision training uses a set of specialized eye movement exercises that work out all muscles involved in eye movement and restore their normal function. With children’s acutely adaptive eyes, vision training brings about a noticeable change when practiced diligently.

Leo Angart

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