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Judging Distance & Best Eye Exercises

How we judge distance and finding the best kind of eye exercises have a lot in common. There are many factors involved in how we judge distance, but one of these is key to identifying effective eye exercises.

We learn to judge distance by the degree or angle at which  our eyes are converged.

Have you ever watched an infant reaching out for toys or objects? Their first attempts are often clumsy. They reach out, miss, try again, go too far, or too close, but eventually get it right. All this is done for fun, but they are learning, among other things, how to judge distance.

The child’s brain soon learns that when the eyes are converged at a certain degree/angle there is an associated distance where the hand will make contact!

Throughout infancy and early childhood this process of learning distance continues. The end result is a powerful mind-eye link in which the brain can give a “distance” perception for anything on which the eyes are converged. This is virtually automatic. (Distances greater than about 30 meters depend more strongly on several other factors for distance judgment).

The end result is a powerful eye/brain connection where the point of convergence X, is determined by the brain as being distance Y, as in the illustration. These two become one. When X changes so does Y!


Convergence (X) is controlled by the extra ocular muscles attached to the eye ball. Focus or accommodation (Y) is controlled by the ciliary muscles and suspensory ligaments attached to the lens.

This established eye/brain, X=Y pattern, is so powerful it over rides failure or weaknesses of the ciliary muscles that may develop after the pattern is established.

The power of this X/Y brain pathway also plays a role in why we see 3D with magic eye charts! (This is explained in the Eye Gym manual)

Decoupling describes the separation of your focus distance (Y), from your convergence distance, (X). In normal situations this does not happen. However, if we have weaknesses in our focus ability, decoupling can and does happen. Usually without us being aware of it. These two illustrations, show X/Y falling out of sync for short sighted, and far sightedness. Older age reading blur, or presbyopia, is like the farsighted illustration.

This illustration has the amount of decoupling the same for both eyes, in reality they may be quite different. However in both these situations X is dominant, and even though the lenses have failed to accommodate, the brain may believe that X = Y, and consider the job done! The brain does not always realize that decoupling has taken place and just accepts the result as the best focus available! This is especially so if the decoupling was mainly in one eye, because the brain will suppress the image from that eye! These points apply to the mature brain with established, dominant patterns, not for an infant who’s patterns are in flux.

Glasses provide optical correction that mechanically, or artificially, reunites X and Y! The problem with this artificial X = Y correction, is that it does not address the underlying causes. The underlying decoupling and focus issues will probably continue to increase in severity, and stronger prescriptions will soon be needed! Better to rebuild your vision with good eye exercises.

People who have this type of decoupling must use eye exercises which confront the X=Y brain habits!

The adult brain can relearn and change the X=Y patterns, but only if “forced” with suitable eye exercises. These exercises must challenge the habits, and reopen the learning process to rebuild new patterns. Such exercises should also tone up the ciliary muscles, and improve lens flexibility to coordinate more effective X=Y patterns.

Only eye exercises offering these qualities can rebuild your vision. The Eye Gym contains more than a dozen charts and many techniques to rebuild vision and new X/Y patterns.

Here is a Checklist for Eye Exercise Programs

Pirate Patches NO (You must have a method which allows binocular activity)

Pinhole glasses (OK as an aid, especially if you want to avoid your glasses to do an eye exercise program, but should not be used as an exercise)

Palming (good)

Edging & tracking (good)

Bead String (good, but limited – the Eye Gym String is more effective)

Tromboning/near far exercises (important)

Stereoscopic exercises (very important)

Binocular synchronization exercises (very important)

Scanning exercises (very important)

Convergence/Divergence/Accommodation exercises (very important)

And, of course, nutrition, positive attitudes, and emotional well being are a basic.


Copyright, Chris Barrett, B.A., Th. 2009


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