Eyeglasses for Small Children - Visual Aerobics
- The more regularly anyone USES glasses
or contact lenses, the more they NEED to use them. Whether this is
a good idea for adults might be debated, but for very young kids,
it seems extremely foolish to not allow some of their eye muscles to
develop as they should. (OCCASIONAL use is not a problem.)
- An eyeball is designed to have a specific
shape LENS in it which focuses distant images onto the RETINA which is
at the back of the eye.
- There is a donut-shaped muscle which
tightly surrounds the eyeball, which is called the Ciliary Body.
When that muscle is activated, like all other muscles, it gets thicker
and shorter. In this case, shorter means it has a smaller radius, so it
SQUEEZES the eyeball, which changes the overall shape of the eyeball,
which causes the Retina to be farther from the
Lens. You do this without realizing it when you need to look at
something close to you, such as the text in a book.
- As long as the brain knows that it
needs to keep exercising these Ciliary Body muscles, everything is fine
and you can focus both near and far.
- However, wearing eyeglasses such as
READING GLASSES allows the eyes to focus on nearby things without
needing to activate the Ciliary Bodies. If this is done regularly,
then the Ciliary Body muscles get weaker and weaker, which means
you then NEED to wear glasses! But you can EXERCISE the Ciliary
Bodies by alternately looking at near and far things, which builds
them up to be stronger and stronger, meaning there is LESS need
for eyeglasses. To start very young children on eyeglasses means
they will probably never develop the strength of their Ciliary Bodies,
and therefore will need thicker and thicker glasses during their
lives. I recommend trying to avoid having small children wearing
eyeglasses, and instead trying to get them to practice strengthening
their eye muscles. I call it Visual Aerobics.
This concept was first developed around 1982.
This presentation was first placed on the Internet in
1997, and then later again in April 2011.
I am convinced that small children rarely require eyeglasses and
that a type of Visual Aerobics has a strong likelihood of strengthening
muscles in each eye which change the shape of the lens and therefore
adjusts the focus from far to near. I believe that older people tend
to not do this activity as often as when they were children and
so the lenses of their older eyes lose some of this muscle tone and
therefore they gradually tend to become either nearsighted or farsighted.
I believe that with a very simple type of eye exercise (beyond the
effects due to the natural curiosity of most small children), those
muscles in the eyes can be re-strengthened, much like leg or arm
muscles are re-toned after being in a cast after a broken bone.
When I was six years old and in First Grade, a woman who worked
for the school had each child sit and try to read off the letters
on an eye chart. As it happened, I had not attended Kindergarden and
I did not yet know most of the letters in the alphabet! That probably
guaranteed that I had no way of passing her eye test! But when she wrote
down that I had totally failed it, she somehow decided exactly what
type of glasses that she was going to require me to wear (for the
rest of my life!) and apparently they were to be very thick glasses!
She sent a note to my parents that told them to get such glasses
My mother saw that I was very upset about it all. Part of it was that
I did not want to start out my life wearing extremely thick glasses, but
the other part was that I knew that I had no possible chance of having
passed her eye test, so I knew it was unfair.
As it happened, my parents were very poor and they could not easily
pay for the cost of glasses, so they agreed to not buy glasses for
As it happened, once I learned the letters of the alphabet, and ever after,
I have passed all eye tests extremely well. For most of my life,
my sight has been described as being 20-17, that is, objects that are 20 feet
away from me, I see even more clearly as though they were only 17
feet away. In other words, never in school nor in a long lifetime
afterward, have I ever needed glasses, with the exception of sunglasses
when at the beach and in my elderly years, occasionally reading
glasses for fine print.
I later learned that the women hired to give eye tests to children in
that school were NOT Doctors or even Nurses. There were simply
Secretaries who told kids to repeat the letters they could
see (and read). My life might have been quite different if my
parents had had enough money to be able to buy those glasses that
the woman decided I had to wear!
As an adult scientist, I have learned amazing things related to
this. It now seems clear that MILLIONS of little kids are told
that they had to wear glasses, where that very likely was never
necessary. Better than that, even a child who might briefly need
glasses might easily grow out of that need!
In studying the structure of the human eye, there is an important
structure called the ciliary body which resembles a narrow
doughnut, which surrounds the somewhat flexible lens of the eye.
The function of the ciliary body is to adjust the shape of the lens.
This changes the focal distance of the lens, which then enables
the person to focus on either a distant object or a nearby one.
All healthy people have ciliary bodies which can use internal muscles
to rapidly change the focus from near to far. As a result,
those people do not need to use glasses to do that function.
I have long been aware that ALL muscles in the human body need to
be regularly exercised to maintain muscle tone. When someone breaks
a leg or arm and the bones need to be fixed in a plaster cast
for some weeks, the muscles atrophy during that period of disuse and
they need to be regularly exercised for a while afterward
to get muscle strength up to earlier condition.
It seemed obvious to me that the muscles in the ciliary
bodies probably also need to be regularly exercised to maintain
muscle tone. And I suspected that some children might not do
enough changes in focus from near to far to provide the necessary
exercising of the muscles.
Notice a really terrible side effect of a child or anyone else
constantly wearing prescription eyeglasses. The muscles in the
ciliary bodies rarely to ever need to actuate, in other words,
those muscles are nearly forced into atrophy.
This seems to indicate two obvious things to me.
(1) NOT to perscribe eyeglasses to small children at all, or only
in extreme situations of need. (2) Provide eye focusing
exercises for the eyes, that is, alternating looking at something
far away (more than 20 feet) and something such as the page of a
book or a magazine. This process should EXERCISE the muscles in
the ciliary bodies such that the NEED for eyeglasses may disappear!
Not only might the current need for glasses be reduced, but even
people who have long needed to wear glasses may discover that they
no longer need to do so!
This presentation was first placed on the Internet in 1997 and then again
in April 2011.
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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago