Self-Assessment Check List
This Self-Assessment Checklist Can Reveal Vision Difficulties
Your visual system can undergo tremendous stress these days. Students now read three times the number of textbooks their grandparents did. Adults constantly use their near vision at their work. And the growing use of computers has engaged a growing number of workers in prolonged, near-vision tasks.
Eye discomfort, headaches, blurred vision, lowered visual performance a wide variety of vision-linked problems are related to this heavy vision load in the neat, arm’s-length distance.
Human beings weren’t designed to do this stressful seeing less than arm’s length away. We have hunter eyes for survival, spotting game and enemies at a distance. Only in the last half century have so many people been forced to deal with sustained, near visual tasks. The result has been a constant stress on the visual system, producing many of the symptoms and problems described in this self test.
Many people who report these symptoms also have 20/20 eyesight at distance, yet just can’t handle the visual stress associated with near vision tasks. Visual stress is linked to the development of permanent vision conditions such as nearsightedness, astigmatism and other problems that affect how one lives and even behaves.
Effects of visual stress
When visual stress is present, people react in these ways:
- avoid the task by doing as little as they can get by with;
- experience pain or other symptoms (aches, visual and/or overall body fatigue, falling asleep when reading, etc.);
- suppress the sight of one eye (at the cost of reduced efficiency and understanding);
- develop myopia or astigmatism, or
- any combination of the above.
For most people, the response to stress is reduced achievement and understanding.
How To Use This Test
The questions in this self test cover the most common symptoms optometrists observe in their patients. If you experience one or more problems on the list, it may be time to contact a behavioral optometrist. Take this self-test with you on your first appointment. The results will help with the assessment of your visual problem.
Visual Function Self Test
|Do you wear glasses for your reading?|
|Do you enjoy reading?|
|Do you think you should be able to read faster?|
|Do you understand what you read as well as you’d like?|
|Is it an effort to maintain your concentration while reading? (Short attention span.)|
|Do you tend to skip words or lines of print while reading?|
|After reading, do you look up and notice that distant objects are momentarily blurred?|
|Does print tend to appear blurry after reading for awhile?|
|Do your eyes itch, burn, water, pull or ache?|
|Do words appear to float or move while reading?|
|Do you tend to lose your place while reading or copying?|
|Do you tend to use your finger or a marker to keep your place while reading or copying?|
|Do you have to re-read words or lines while reading?|
|Do your eyes feel tired at the end of the day?|
|Do you sometimes have to squint, close or cover one eye when reading|
|Do you ever experience headaches during or after reading?|
|Are you especially sensitive to sunlight or glare?|
|Are you aware of any tendency to move your head closer to, or away from what you are reading?|
|If you use a computer, does the video (VDT) screen bother your eyes?|
|How long can you read before you are aware of your eyes getting tired?|
|How many hours daily do you spend at a desk, or reading, or at other arm’s length vision distances?|
What Is a Behavioral Optometrist?
Behavioral Optometrists spend years in post- doctoral education to master the complex visual programs prescribed to prevent or to normalize -visual problems and enhance visual performance. Behavioral optometry is an umbrella term which also includes developmental and functional optometric practices. Not all optometrists practice behavioral optometry. To find one who does, call or write OEP Foundation for a referral list in your area.
Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc.
Pamphlet Copyright © 1989, OEP Foundation, Inc. – A nonprofit foundation for education and research in Vision. Permission to reprint the contents of this brochure granted to P.A.V.E ® – 12/6/96 by the Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc.