Did you know that your eyes have a built-in lens that allows you to see the entire world around you? In order to see an object, light must first hit cornea, go through your internal lens, and then focus onto your retina. Those who are near or farsighted have a differently shaped eye that can interfere with light hitting the retina. If you are nearsighted then distant objects are blurry, you wear glasses that help bend the incoming light so it hits the back of the eye. Farsighted people use a specific lens that bend the light to help make near objects clearer. The lens in your eye works this exact way except for one difference: it can bend to help you see both near and far and change power nearly instantaneously. A muscle known as the ciliary body works to flex the internal lens and change its focal power accordingly. This is known as accommodation and it allows you to focus on near and far objects interchangeably depending on where your brain tells your eyes to focus.
What is Accommodative Dysfunction
However, there are times when your accomodation ability can be compromised. A common problem involving accommodation is accommodative dysfunction. This is when your eyes can’t maintain comfort or focus when accommodating, especially with near distances. This leads to blurred vision at close, especially when reading. Why does this happen and why mainly with near? Today, we put a lot of emphasis on near vision tasks, like reading, desk work, and using the computer. Unfortunately, there are those that have visual systems incapable of doing these tasks efficiently because reading or using the computer lacks certain depth cues that our eyes need to properly accommodate without tiring itself out. When someone who lacks appropriate accommodative skills continuously performs such near vision tasks that deeply require accommodation, they may experience blurred vision, ocular discomfort or fatigue, which can then result in reduced vision and loss of concentration.
Not only are adults at risk for developing accommodative dysfunction, but also children. Accommodative dysfunction generally does not have to do with problems with our eye muscles or our lens. While growing up, some children do not develop enough focusing stamina and have trouble focusing at something up close or far for too long. Other children can develop accommodative dysfunction while in school as a result of long periods of visual tasks that lack those important stereoscopic/depth cues. Everybody is different, including our eyes. Reading something up close can be more tiresome on the eyes for some people than others. This is why visiting your optometrist annually is important, especially for children. Not detecting a problem with a child’s focusing ability early on can lead to learning and self-confidence issues later on.
What are the treatment options for accommodative dysfunction?
The first and most common line of treatment are simple reading glasses. Reading glasses can reduce nearpoint visual stress and ease the focusing burden on the ciliary muscles that flex your internal lens. When reading glasses alone are not enough, another effective treatment option is vision therapy. This allows the brain to understand the correct cues and signals needed to focus the eye muscles accordingly. A comprehensive vision therapy program guided by a developmental optometrist is highly effective. At Insight Vision Center Optometry we are proud to say that Dr. Valerie Lam and Dr. Thanh Mai love working with patients with these issues and have an extremely high level of success treating it!
Where is Insight Vision Center Optometry?
Serving the communities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and Fountain Valley. Schedule a visit with Dr. Valerie Lam or Dr. Thanh Mai to learn more. Our optometry practice is located in Costa Mesa at 3151 Airway Ave. Suite J2, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.