Throw away the reading glasses?

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Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby vivian maxine on April 5th, 2017, 8:07 am 

To me, it has echoes of the old patent medicine sales. Yet it is printed in New York Times as a valid article. Well-written with good analysis, I will say. I wondered, as I read it, what those who know what the brain can do would make of it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/27/upsh ... d=34771439

The idea: Training the brain to do what eye muscles can no longer do might help us do away with reading glasses. The eye muscles have lost flexibility over the years and, according to this, the brain could be trained to take over the job and let us read fine print without glasses.

Contributions from our experts would be welcome. Can the brain do this?
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby Braininvat on April 5th, 2017, 9:59 am 

Yes, there is some neural plasticity that allows perceptual training like this. Here for example:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004269890900282X


I have my own experience with this, which was due to wanting to remove my glasses (which correct for myopia) when reading and using a PC. The disparity between my left and right eye was so great that this seemed impossible, but I trained myself to what eye specialists call "monovision," where I read the letters with just my right eye (that reading distance is too far for my left eye, which just shows a blur and large shapes) and ignore the left eye's different image. Also, again because I don't like wearing glasses all the time, I have learned to interpret blurred shapes and patterns really well, so I can move around the house and do various tasks without glasses. So I am aware of what the visual cortex can be trained to do.
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby vivian maxine on April 5th, 2017, 11:04 am 

I realized afterward that, yes, the brain probably can do that. The brain can be trained (rewired?) to do some marvelous things. See how paralyzed people learn to control movement with thinking. The question should have just been can the Gabor patches do it?

The writer's conclusion did point out how the boredom of the exercises could get to you. I imagine a lot of people would drop out. Understandable. Those videos didn't reveal anything to me.

I know what you mean about using one eye. I do that but not as seriously. In fact, I didn't realize I was reading mostly with one eye until the eye doctor told me so. I guess I slowly adjusted but I do misread more than I used to do. A friend's husband had eye surgery which blinded him in one eye. He would know what you are describing. He used to love to read but finally gave it up. Also had to give up his driving as he kept wandering onto the shoulder of roads.

The body gives up before the brain does?
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 5th, 2017, 11:10 am 

I just bought some anti-glare glasses recently. Anyone else use them for computer?
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby vivian maxine on April 5th, 2017, 11:28 am 

BadgerJelly » April 5th, 2017, 10:10 am wrote:I just bought some anti-glare glasses recently. Anyone else use them for computer?


I'd be interested in how they do. Do they make the print look darker? I've never tried those that you bought but I did try sunglasses. Didn't do too well. They were probably too dark. Yours should be better for computer screen.

Hammacher Schlemmer is selling them with magnification but my eye doctor says that will not work. The more magnification the farther away you have to move what you are reading.
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby someguy1 on April 5th, 2017, 6:26 pm 

Is this related to the Bates method? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bates_method. Been around for decades.
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby Braininvat on April 5th, 2017, 6:48 pm 

I don't see how it would relate to the Bates method. The Bates method purports to help reduce refractory error in the structure of the eye itself. It is mostly bogus, if you are past the age of 16 or so, because by then the shape of your eyeball is fixed. If your eye grew too long from front to back, then you have a permanent focusing problem called myopia. The lens focuses the image on where the retina should be, but in the elongated eyeball, the retina is behind that point of focus. The only way to then shorten your eyeball would involve facial trauma or prolonged frontal pressure that could severely damage the eye and detach the retina. Believe me, when I was a nearsighted teenager, I would have loved for the Bates method to work. But it didn't.

The only thing that works, and I have this from an ophthalmologist of excellent reputation, is to take a time machine back to when you were first learning to read and get your parents to make you wear reading glasses (a positive diopter correction) whenever you are reading or doing close work. This will encourage the eye to grow into a more spherical shape, due to the relaxation of the ciliary muscles that results from a positive diopter correction. (Either that, or have the time traveler encourage you to be outdoorsy all the time and illiterate - in cultures where people don't read and spend a lot of time outdoors, myopia is quite rare)
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 6th, 2017, 3:18 am 

vivian maxine » April 5th, 2017, 11:28 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » April 5th, 2017, 10:10 am wrote:I just bought some anti-glare glasses recently. Anyone else use them for computer?


I'd be interested in how they do. Do they make the print look darker? I've never tried those that you bought but I did try sunglasses. Didn't do too well. They were probably too dark. Yours should be better for computer screen.

Hammacher Schlemmer is selling them with magnification but my eye doctor says that will not work. The more magnification the farther away you have to move what you are reading.


No, the screen is exactly the same. They do work for me, but I still have to rest my eyes after writing on computer for a few minutes before I can read print from page of a book.

They do not prevent eye-strain, just increase the time you can use a computer for before you get eye strain. I don't wear glasses, and the biggest issue I have is have to wipe the things clean so much.

I am pretty sure I need some special tinted glasses too because I find the stark difference between black and white in books to be a problem sometimes. Very noticeable after reading/writing from screen!
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby vivian maxine on April 6th, 2017, 8:26 am 

BadgerJelly » April 6th, 2017, 2:18 am wrote:
vivian maxine » April 5th, 2017, 11:28 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » April 5th, 2017, 10:10 am wrote:I just bought some anti-glare glasses recently. Anyone else use them for computer?


I'd be interested in how they do. Do they make the print look darker? I've never tried those that you bought but I did try sunglasses. Didn't do too well. They were probably too dark. Yours should be better for computer screen.

Hammacher Schlemmer is selling them with magnification but my eye doctor says that will not work. The more magnification the farther away you have to move what you are reading.


No, the screen is exactly the same. They do work for me, but I still have to rest my eyes after writing on computer for a few minutes before I can read print from page of a book.

They do not prevent eye-strain, just increase the time you can use a computer for before you get eye strain. I don't wear glasses, and the biggest issue I have is have to wipe the things clean so much.

I am pretty sure I need some special tinted glasses too because I find the stark difference between black and white in books to be a problem sometimes. Very noticeable after reading/writing from screen!


BJ, could the strain be from the pixels? As I understand it, there is a constant movement there - a sort of background (unseen) movement there which could tire the eyes. I first learned about it when I could not look steadily at the television screen. Someone explained that it was the pixels. Are they also part of a computer screen?

For me, with computer screens, it's the faintness of some print. Not at all sites, though, which makes me think it is "them". Cutting back on their ink? <g> I know. They don't use ink. Just being silly. But some pages are so light that I can't read them and friends say the same thing.

Clue. Once in a while, instead of wiping the glasses, wash them in dishwashing detergent (the hand-washing kind). Rinse well. An optometrist told me about that and it does work. Removes a film buildup from wiping them.

Way off topic but anything that helps is welcome. Right?

Thank you, Biv, for the education.
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby Dave_Oblad on April 6th, 2017, 10:33 am 

Hi Vivian,

It's not so much about Pixels as it is about the fact that a computer screen flickers very fast. You get the same effect if you read under a florescent lamp (typical in a modern office). Use incandescent when possible. Most of these modern power saving bulbs also flicker, except filament types.

I also noticed that watching a movie on a Plasma Screen is less strain than watching the same on an LED TV Screen. Plasma Screens don't flicker as badly.

And yes, sometimes they may use fonts too fine or bad contrasting colors that can be a strain if viewed for too long. If I use a computer screen too long, I get an Astigmatism. Can't even watch TV for awhile afterwords. I see double, even when looking with just one (either) eye.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 9th, 2017, 4:09 am 

Viv -

Not really. I suffer the same issue with print in paper, just takes longer to have effect. Could also be due to position of my neck too (have had previous trouble with pinched nerve).

I have just noticed the glasses do make things a tiny, tiny bit darker. Anyway, if you use the computer a lot then I recommend them. I now find it much easier to sleep because the blue light is cut out.
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby vivian maxine on April 9th, 2017, 8:19 am 

BadgerJelly » April 9th, 2017, 3:09 am wrote:Viv -

Not really. I suffer the same issue with print in paper, just takes longer to have effect. Could also be due to position of my neck too (have had previous trouble with pinched nerve).

I have just noticed the glasses do make things a tiny, tiny bit darker. Anyway, if you use the computer a lot then I recommend them. I now find it much easier to sleep because the blue light is cut out.


Good point, BJ. Have you seen an ophthalmologist to see if an adjustment can be made? You can also get prescription glasses tinted but you want a good, professional optician to do it.

If you think it is the position of your neck, maybe a pair of computer glasses. I don't now what kind of lenses you have - single, bifocal, trifocal. Or any? My computer glasses remove the distance part and leave the reading and middle vision. Now I don't have to bend my head back and neck up to see the screen.

Then again, if you use a laptop, all that is moot. I'll think about the tinted glasses. See if they work over regulars.

The blue light seems to be a problem. When these new bulbs came out, my friend tried them. She soon went back to the old bulbs. What is it about blue? She said they gave her a headache.

Good luck.
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 10th, 2017, 2:15 am 

Blue makes your brain think it's morning. Circadian rhythm gets fooked uup!
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby Braininvat on April 10th, 2017, 9:59 am 

Yep. I have to stop looking at a PC screen at least 30 minutes before going to bed. (or get some blue filter specs)
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby Kurtis on April 29th, 2017, 3:10 am 

I would love it if this were true as I hate wearing glasses and contacts.
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby eagle on May 5th, 2017, 8:59 am 

Yeah it would be great if any of these techniques worked although I think we should approach such bold claims skeptically.

For now it seems like our best options include glasses, lasik, and lifestyle adjustments.

Hopefully improving laser technology yields better results in the upcoming years!
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Re: Throw away the reading glasses?

Postby Heavy_Water on May 5th, 2017, 12:46 pm 

I believe that neural plasticity might be sufficient enough to allow one to dispense with corrective lenses up to a point. That is, if the visual degeneration reaches a "tipping point" then, no, no amount of new;y built neural pathways is going to allow you to read without glasses. It's all a matter of degrees. Gradations. This holds true on all things physical.

A blind person is not going to be able to use this method, for example. Just as, a hearing aid will not help a person who is completely deaf. The visual acuity, therefore, must be at least sufficient enough to be able to discern at least the shapes of the words in order for neural plasticity to be able to "pick up the slack." If a person is so far-sighted that, say, he cannot even see the darker shapes on the page, then no amount of practice or "brain training" is gong to enable him to read without corrective lenses.
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