Performing everyday activities like reading, writing, and computer work with confidence depends on your eyes’ ability to clearly perceive objects around you at any distance. Without proper focusing abilities, however, you may find you can’t switch your focus from object to object quickly enough to send important information to the brain, resulting in a major headache (literally).
If you’re having trouble focusing your eyes on objects in front of you, you may have accommodative dysfunction, an acquired eye focusing problem that occurs in both children and adults.
What Causes Accommodative Dysfunction in Children and Adults?
The eye’s ciliary muscle is responsible for how well it can focus on nearby and faraway objects. This small but mighty muscle flexes the lens of the eye, causing it to change shape so it can properly focus light onto the retina. Without a strong ciliary muscle, the lens may fail to transmit light to your retina, making images appear blurry and out of focus.
Several factors could affect your ciliary muscle’s ability to shape your lens, including poor general health, medication side effects, extreme longsightedness or eye turns, near-point stress from prolonged up-close work, concussions, head trauma, and genetic predisposition.
In addition to these causes, accommodative dysfunction in children is often a result of not spending enough time on tasks that develop focusing stamina. It is important to monitor your child for lack of stamina-building tasks in your child’s routine, especially if he or she spends many hours focusing on visual tasks that lack important stereoscopic or depth cues.
How Do You Know if You Have Accommodative Dysfunction?
While it’s more common for children to have accommodative dysfunction, adults can develop it too. The disorder’s symptoms can also worsen over time, so it’s important to seek treatment from a qualified developmental optometrist if you find you’re having difficulty focusing your eyes. Watch out for the following symptoms to determine if you should schedule a visit to your optometrist or vision therapist:
- Visual stress, including sore and red eyes, blurry vision, headaches, or migraines
- Glare while reading or working on a computer
- Abnormal posture and head tilt
- Inability to focus while performing up-close visual tasks
Accommodative Dysfunction Treatments
Treatment for accommodative dysfunction normally requires the use of training spectacles or visual exercises that train the eye to focus while building stamina. If you think you or a loved one may have accommodative dysfunction, contact one of our experienced vision therapists today.
We’re happy to schedule your complimentary consultation to determine treatment plan that takes your unique needs into account. With the right focusing exercises, you’ll improve your visual endurance and strength over time and see more clearly than you ever did before.
The content of this blog has been reviewed for accuracy by
Briana Larson, OD, FCOVD, FAAO, FNORA-Executive Director