Many people ask me how nearsightedness and farsightedness are related to learning, especially among children. Do they make things worse, better or is learning and reading completely unaffected by these two conditions?
Farsightedness Verses Nearsightedness
It helps to understand the difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness. Nearsightedness is when distant objects become blurred but near objects are easier to see and focus on. Long sightedness or farsightedness is the opposite, where distant objects are clear and easy to concentrate on, but near objects like books and computers are more difficult to focus on.
The symptoms are where it gets very interesting. Farsightedness usually sees both distance and near objects clearly, but their main problem is eyestrain. Nearsighted people rarely experience eyestrain, but the price they pay for this is the distant objects become more and more blurry.
So when it comes to learning, nearsightedness and farsightedness are actually polar opposites.
Nearsighted people tend to be big near viewers, that is they concentrate for long periods of time on close tasks. Unlike their farsighted counterparts, near sighted people (or myopic people) are usually bookworms, computer geeks, gamers, studiers and good students.
In contrast, farsightedness makes looking at near objects much harder. Therefore most long sighted people have a hard time concentrating on near objects, and so they tend to either experience eyestrain such as sore eyes or headaches, or frequently they simply fail to concentrate and so they become academically very poor.
Many children with learning disabilities find it hard to concentrate and do well at school because they are farsighted. On the other hand, most short sighted students are good at school, and most often at reading.
It should also be noted that with the rise of hand held computer devices such as smart phones, tablets and hand held gaming consoles, the incidence of nearsightedness is increasing rapidly. This is because, unlike farsightedness, becoming more nearsighted gives the person an edge up close and allows them to concentrate foe a long period of time doing what they love! Again, concentrating for long period on near objects promotes the growth of nearsightedness ad farsightedness is actually detrimental to prolonged close work.
So, when it comes to learning, nearsightedness and farsightedness are complete opposites.