Training Your Brain So That You Don’t Need Reading Glasses

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    Mar 28, 2017 1:29 AM GMT
    NYT: By middle age, the lenses in your eyes harden, becoming less flexible. Your eye muscles increasingly struggle to bend them to focus on this print.

    But a new form of training — brain retraining, really — may delay the inevitable age-related loss of close-range visual focus so that you won’t need reading glasses. Various studies say it works, though no treatment of any kind works for everybody.

    The increasing difficulty of reading small print that begins in middle age is called presbyopia, from the Greek words for “old man” and “eye.” It’s exceedingly common, and despite the Greek etymology, women experience it, too. Every five years, the average adult over 30 loses the ability to see another line on the eye reading charts used in eye doctors’ offices.

    By 45, presbyopia affects an estimated 83 percent of adults in North America. Over age 50, it’s nearly universal. It’s why my middle-aged friends are getting fitted for bifocals or graduated lenses. There are holdouts, of course, who view their cellphones and newspapers at arm’s length to make out the words.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/27/upshot/training-your-brain-so-that-you-dont-need-reading-glasses.html?
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    Mar 28, 2017 2:57 PM GMT
    Reader's Comment

    Perhaps many of you have missed the announcement in January that Novartis has purchased Encore Vision, a company that has developed an eyedrop that can restore the flexibility of the eye's crystalline lens, eliminating presbyopia. Their EV06 drug has passed Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials, and works by breaking the chemical bonds, created by decades of exposure to UV radiation, that cross-link layers of the lens, making it stiff.
    If the drug continues to perform well in future trials, presbyopia may well be eliminated in the next few years.
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    Mar 28, 2017 3:26 PM GMT
    Reader's Comment

    Perceptual learning offers a good treatment, but for decades, there have been eye exercises that take less time. They aim at strengthening the ciliary muscles so that they can bend the lens. And for many people they work! And in my experience, they work fast. You cross your eyes focusing on a nearby target for a few days, and one day you wake up and you can read! Then after a few months, you must do this again.
    Anyone interested please look up on the web. One retired optometrist named Ray Gottlieb had a whole set of instructions. Of course these cost nothing, so they have been completely obscure.
    Presbyopia eye drops are also on the way, that soften the lens. Encore Vision of Ft. Worth developed an effective product, which a few months ago was bought by Novartis. Don't expect to see them in the US this decade. Whenever Novartis decides, they will probably be available in poorer countries, where they won't cut into the eyeglass business so much. But watch for them.
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    Mar 28, 2017 3:36 PM GMT
    Reader's Comment

    I am really nearsighted and when I hit about 50 (almost 20 years ago), I spent big bucks on progressive lenses and found them to be completely useless, especially when using a computer. Easier to just change glasses than try to keep text in the close-up area of the lens. So I ordered a pair about 2.0 weaker than my prescription, giving a natural focal length about 16" from my face. They're perfect for the computer, and good enough for reading, cell phone use, crafts, socializing, in fact just about everything except driving, for which I switch to my regular prescription glasses. Go to an optometrist and they'll correct your vision to 20/20, which means you can focus perfectly on something 20 feet away. But how often do you really need to do that? Hardly ever. And this GlassesOff stuff sounds even more expensive and more miserable than bifocals.
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    Mar 28, 2017 7:42 PM GMT
    Wrong Title NYTimes, which is why they have a bad rap for distorted news. It should be:

    Training Your Brain So That You WON'T Need Reading Glasses