What is a Focusing Problem?


Most people are not even aware that we have to focus our eyes, because, in most people, the focusing system of the eye operates so well that objects always appear in focus. In reality, though, a focusing adjustment is made every time we look from one place to another. This adjustment is made with the help of a muscle in the eye called the ciliary muscle or the focusing muscle.

When a child looks from the teacher to his desk, for instance, he must constrict or contract this muscle—which changes the shape of the lens in the eye and allows the child to see the print in his book clearly. When the child wants to look back to the teacher, he must now relax the focusing muscle, permitting clear vision at a distance.

A focusing problem occurs when the child is unable to quickly and accurately constrict or relax the focusing muscle, or if the child is unable to maintain this muscle contraction for adequate periods of time.

Approximately 5 to 10% of children and young adults have focusing problems that are significant enough to cause patient complaints.

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