Health & Fitness

Want to Avoid Reading Glasses? Train Your Brain


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Once you’re over the ripe old age of 30, it’s likely that your ability to read small fonts will begin to decrease steadily every 5 years. For most of us, this means we relying on reading glasses by the time we’re 50. While I am lucky enough to have good eyesight without glasses,

I see my parents struggle with their reading glasses, leaving 18 pairs around the house yet never having one pair handy when they need them. Of course, sometimes the glasses are pushed back above their foreheads while they are searching around for a pair comically, which is a different issue altogether. The point is, glasses can be a real hassle, especially if you are not used to needing them.

This growing inability to accurately focus our eyes as we age is known as presbyopia (which, literally translated in Greek, means ‘old man eye’), and it affects the vast majority of middle-aged Americans. The lenses of the eyes stiffen with age, meaning it takes more work from the eye muscles to bend them in order to focus properly. Eventually, this leads to immense difficulty reading small text.

While reading glasses are a simple fix for this loss of near vision, not everyone is excited to rely on glasses every time they want to read anything. But, there may be another way. There is evidence that taking the time to train the brain can help the brain pick up the slack for what the eye muscles can no longer handle.

Although lenses stiffen with age, the way your brain processes what you are seeing can be sped up and clarified with a little effort. Your brain becomes able to identify and comprehend more of what it is seeing even though the lenses are functioning below 100 percent.

What is this incredible training, you ask? It involves staring at these strange designs known as Gabor patches, which stimulate the part of the brain that manages vision. You can find these images on training programs like GlassesOff.

The GlassesOff app is an excellent way to train your vision to reduce your need for glasses due to age-related degeneration. The designed program lasts 2-3 months, requiring only about 10 minutes of practice three times a week. And yes, the program this app uses is backed by scientific evidence. While brain training exercises do not work for everyone, staving off the need for reading glasses through simple brain exercises is an enticing option.

Of course, the app is about $25 for 3 months, and more if you wish to continue maintenance training. So, while reading glasses may be less convenient, they are a much cheaper option in the long run. What do you think? Would you try brain training to gain a few more years of naked reading?

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