VISUAL ACUITY AND EYE MOVEMENTS
It used to be that visual acuity is determined by the optics of the eye and the anatomy of the retina. That is obvious! But researchers at the University of Rochester have now shown that small eye movements are equally as important.
And although they are called microsaccades, from the “point of view” of the retinal cells they are epic – just as the movement of the earth is to us.
Our eyes are constantly moving, absorbing new fragments of the universe and constantly changing data through the retina.
Poor eye test results have traditionally been associated only with defects in the optical and/or physiological properties of the eye; eye movements were not even considered. But it turns out that they allow people to read as much as 2 lines more compared to a situation where eye movements are absent or impaired.
If you are shortsighted and have ever gone to the cinema without glasses or contact lenses, then you know that even 2 lines can matter.
WITHOUT EYE MOVEMENTS OUR VISION DULLS
The researchers set up a tricky experiment in which the image of the eye chart remained motionless on the retina. This led to a sharp decrease in visual acuity: people slid from 20/20 to 20/30.
Interestingly, poor fixation control is often found in patients with dyslexia, and visual impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
It is possible that methods based on ocular movement training and motor rehabilitation can help improve visual acuity. For example, patients with movement disorders practice maintaining their gaze on fixed objects and then accurately switching it to neighboring objects.
This kind of therapy is not intended to compensate for the deficiency of optics, impaired structure, or physiological characteristics of the eye. But if the saccades and the properties of the eye are interconnected, then treatment methods that include eye movements can be useful in a number of cases.
By the way, small eye movements also affect the perception of contrast. “Well…what does contrast have to do with me?” – You might ask, but if you ever driven at night and barely missed a pedestrian wearing dark clothes, then you are in the know.
“We see because our eyes are always moving,” said a scientist. Do not forget, by the way, that once every 20 minutes you must take your eyes off the monitor / phone and look into the distance, at least for a minute.
Life, as the BEI slogan suggests, is beautiful. See it!
Photo: Eya Ozerova