Fine print is bad for your eyes.
“Reading fine print close to the eyes, contrary to the belief of many ophthalmologists, is a benefit to the eyes of both children and adults. It has been repeatedly demonstrated, however, that fine print cannot be read clearly or easily when an effort is made.” –Dr. William Bates
Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that fine print is bad for your eyes or that larger print is better for your eyes. Maybe you find yourself continually increasing font sizes on your computers and tablets.Maybe you struggle to read fine print up close or far away and just avoid it altogether. Well as the quote above insinuates, reading fine print can actually be better for your eyes and vision than larger print, if used correctly.
It is not the fine print itself that is bad for your eyes; it is how you read the fine print. According to Dr. Bates, fine print is only bad for your eyes if you make an effort or strain to look directly at the print. He found a simple solution to this problem though; a more relaxing way to read fine print. Rather than looking at the letters, try looking at the white space beneath the letters as you slide across the paragraph. Staying at the foot of the letters still allows you to comprehend the words as you read without looking directly at them. It takes some practice but it’s well worth it to transform the activity of reading from an eyestrain-inducer into a vision-improver.
“When the eyes look directly at the letters, an effort is required, while looking at the white spaces between the lines is a rest, and by practice in this way, one can become able to see the white spaces between the lines of ordinary book type, he can read for hours and no fatigue, pain or discomfort is felt. When discomfort and pain in the eyes is felt while reading, it is because the patient is looking directly at the letters.” –Dr. William Bates
So it’s important to stay relaxed and not try too hard while reading fine print, or any size print, in order to prevent eyestrain and vision problems.
Reading fine print in the right way as described above is one of the best ways to maintain clear vision up close or to improve blurry vision up close. Every farsighted person who is willing should learn how to read fine print correctly to regain near vision and reduce reliance upon reading glasses.
On the other end of the vision spectrum, fine print may also be used as a way to maintain clear vision far away and to improve blurry vision far away. By applying similar techniques as the ones described above to reading an eye chart in the distance, you can improve your distance vision and decrease your dependency on distance glasses. See if you can notice more contrast and clarity when you look at the white spaces surrounding the letters on your eye chart instead of directly at the letters themselves.
“It is recommended that every family should obtain a Snellen test card [eye chart] and place it on the wall of some room where it can be seen and read every day by all the members of the family. Not only does the daily reading of the card help the sight of children, but it is a benefit to the eyes of adults as well.” –Dr. William Bates
You’ve heard the saying “use it or lose it” before, and that applies to your eyes and fine print. If you never give your eyes the chance to gaze at fine print up close or far away without the help of glasses, you may lose the ability to focus on any size print. If instead you learn how to read fine print up close and far away in the relaxed way without glasses, you will develop your skill of vision and keep it sharp over time. As Dr. Bates suggests in the quote above, you should read your fine print in a relaxed way without glasses every single day. It doesn’t have to be for very long, but the daily repetition will help establish this good vision habit and lead to effortlessly healthy vision.
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