What Can I do When Small Print Begins to Get Fuzzy?

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When your arms seem to be too short and the print blurry, blink gently to refresh your eyes, or close and relax them as if you were palming.

Change focus often to keep the muscles flexible and strong.

Read small print every day as close as you can, to keep the ability to do so. Don’t strain! Relax and see.

Getting the health of your eyes checked is important but so is only wearing glasses if you feel you are straining. Reading glasses do the work of the eye muscles for us. When we don’t use muscles they become weaker and it is even harder to focus.

Rest your eyes frequently. Losing our near vision after a lifetime of seeing well usually occurs after or during a period of stress, such as the death of a loved one, returning to school or a serious illness. Often there is a reduction in sleep and an increase in anxiety. The little muscles that change our focus from far to near are susceptible to both physical and emotional stress and they need to recover.

Some ways to rest your eyes:

Palming: This is a way to deeply rest your eyes. First, find a position where you can support your elbows, breathe fully and relax your body. You might do this at a desk, or with pillows on the couch or lying down in bed. Then, gently cover your closed eyes with your cupped hands. Avoid touching your eyes or putting much pressure on your face. In order to relax the eyes we need to relax the mind and find an alternative to our usual planning and worrying thoughts. Be aware of what you are focusing on. Enjoying the deep, velvety, black spaciousness that you “see” when you cover and close your eyes is wonderful. Or, alternatively, visualizing you are in a beautiful relaxing place, taking pleasure in what you’re seeing, feeling and hearing, can be deeply regenerative. If you palm for 10 minutes or more a day and take shorter palming breaks when you can, your eyes will recuperate their energy and see the print more sharply.

Blinking: Blinking is for the eyes what breathing is for the body. The blink spreads the tears over the eyes to wash them, nourish them and to keep them moist. The average blink is every seven seconds. When we are not seeing well we tend to try harder and stare. This actually makes it more difficult for us to see. Blinking helps us to break up the stare and to focus more accurately.

Changing Focus: When you are doing any task for a while, give your eyes little breaks by looking at something at a different distance. E.g. when reading, sewing, drawing or working at the computer look at something at least 20 feet away every five minutes or so. If you are driving look at the odometer, or in the movies look at your watch or your hand. The eye muscles like variety, just like our other muscles. They become fatigued when they are constantly focused at one distance. If the refocusing is sluggish, blink, breathe and wait for some focal readjustment so the muscles can strengthen.

Just these simple activities may well make reading glasses unnecessary.

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