How to deal with near and Distant vision in school?

I’m 17 years old going to high school. In my classes( which are like 5 to 6 hours long) in school, I regularly have to switch between near(looking at my books or writing down) and distant vision(looking at teacher or board). I wear my reduced prescription so that I can see the board clearly but also I’m forced to use it for near vision(for which I should be using differentials) since I constantly have to look or write in my notebook. How do I deal with this situation?
[I have 5.25d power, my reduced prescription is 4.75d and differential prescription is 4d]

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I would say if you’re constantly shifting your focus from near (your book) to far (the teacher and black board) and vice versa, it’s no problem to wear your normalized glasses. Eye strain and ciliary spasm occurs when looking at a fixed close distance for a long time. So while you’re listening to the teacher and taking notes, just wear your normalized. But when you’re working on an assigned task (close-up) for a longer time, you should probably switch to your differentials.


Agree with @mbassano, if there is enough shifting between distances then you can keep your normalised on. However, if it is all close up for a longer time then change to diffs, e.g. taking a test on paper or screen at school, studying at home, etc


alright! I shall continue to wear my normalized then, thanks for your answers @mbassano and @BiancaK


This question is probably the most important question for the future of danger zone school.
I would go crazy if I need to change the glasses for every distance-change.

I think multifocal-glasses could solve this problem best.
I just wonder, if lens manufacturers can use lower minus power in the area, what usually is used for plus lens power. I think this would be a special request.
If they can’t, I wonder if they could at least use the plus lens area without any power at all?
If they can’t, one way could be using minus contact lenses which over-power the weak plus lens to achieve the needed differential power and add minus power to the minus lens area to achieve the needed normalized power.

But without contact lenses and without all these possibilies, the only way could be just use not so high glasses, so you can look under the glasses for close-up vision and through the glasses for distance vision. I do this all the time at home for distance-change work. But I’m lucky for this, because I do not have very high myopia.

So high myopic + no contact lens option + school would really suck.

And then there are also contact lenses, which sound like they can prevent eye strain because of close-up vision. I have not tested them.


I understand the idea but this is not how EM recommends doing it.

Multifocal glasses are not recommended for children or young adults, neither by EM nor by optos.
Optos don’t accept that different powers are needed for different focal distances (even when they support they allow for max half diopter accommodation close-up, not for 1.5D as EM, and anyway both distances get overcorrected…) and EM is not in favour of prescription complexity - the more complex the prescription is the more chances there are to mess measurements up (sph per eye, cyl strength and axis, plus added to the bottom, different PD for different distances - all of them a bit off and it creates a total mess in vision).
The price of comfort is getting natural accommodation skills switched off.

The other thing not recommended by EM is to use an area of the eye for one distance and another area for another distance. This is the fast lane for developing astigmatism issues.

As long as the eyes are moving between distances, it is OK to wear normalised at school - assuming notetaking is done with a good posture, maximising the normal distance between head and paper.
I used to do a mix of working from home / working at sites (minimal close up) / working in the office. I wore no corrections for the first one and wore normalised for the other 2 and had no issues because I wasn’t fixated on a small screen for hours. It is rarely the small intervals during work or school hours that ruin eyesight but more the less accounted for several other hours outside of work / school…


From the way you describe it, bifocals or “anti-fatigue” multifocals for in-school use only really sound tempting (-4.75 with a +1 add or +0.75 add.) They’re not a replacement for differential and normalized, but for the exact situation @kcube2004 is describing (constantly having to switch back and forth) they’re very useful and can relieve eyestrain, especially since you understand where to look through them and how to use them (as opposed to little kids who are always looking through the center at screens, or regular people who just have no idea how the lenses work and what they’re supposed to do.)

If you’re mostly not looking down at your desk then I agree with the previous posters who say just use your normalized, but if you’re having to do something like read the board for questions and then write the answers in an test book (where you’re spending most of your time doing near work for which you should use your differentials but every few minutes you need your normalized to read the next question on the board) they could be very useful.

So, maybe it’s a dissident view, but if you’re only doing limited near work like glancing at the book occasionally while you’re watching a lecture (5 minutes of near and 55 minutes of far each hour) I agree with everyone saying just use your normalized and don’t worry about it. If it’s the reverse, and you’re spending hours doing near work, but constantly interrupted with a need to see something at distance) I’d try bifocals to spare your eyes from all that accommodation.

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This was my problem when in college, when I first got glasses. I typed my notes into an electronic typewriter (laptops then wouldn’t fit on your lap) and was constantly looking from the board to the typewriter. I looked at the tiny typewriter screen more than the board most classes and did not like the strain it caused. I don’t think progressive lenses were available then (early-1980s) but I would’ve loved bifocals with clear glass on the bottom. It seems that would have been the ideal solution as I didn’t need close-up correction (then or now).


So I think easy solution is, just buy glasses, which you can look under. Multifocal glasses would be anyway expensive. And probably all high myopes try to use contact lenses, so just split the normalized value with the glasses and contact lenses diopters, which are differential diopters.
I would not look through normalized at close-up because I think during the day the short stimulation can sum up, and you dont want to react everytime you look a little too long up close. I have already a habit of looking under the glasses for close-up. It’s really not bad at all. The height of my lenses is 3 cm. 2,5 cm would be even better. BUT prepare, maybe someone will tell you, you look like old people, because old people do the same but for opposite purpose. They look over the reading glasses for distance vision. School is not the best place to look stupid sooo…I really hate school. The worst and senseless life time in life.

Btw I had a teacher, his teaching concept was like talking 30 minutes and 60 minutes consisted of writing everything from his papers to the blackboard so the pupils copied the blackboard infos to their papers. What a waste of time just for copying information incl. copy-errors etc.

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When I was last in college (BSEE + MSEE) I made a reasonable (for me) solution: remove lenses from a plastic frame – lenses had normalized or “full” refraction. Put each lens in some clay in a modelmaker’s mitre box. Cut each lens in half. Re-attach lenses to frame (uppers only). That left me looking at my notes through clear air.

That scheme depends on one not needing lenses for near/academic work, obviously. And being handy enough to risk sacrificing $200 – $300 glasses if one fails the cut tho today that’s more like $20 – $30 via Zenni etc.


That was Benjamin Franklin’s idea:

I have to look close up for 20 minutes for each hour of time (40minutes distance). I would consider using normalized for the situation since I can’t convince my parents to buy a bifocal lens after I convinced them to have two glasses(differentials and normalized). I sit in class for around 5 hours. I sit at a good distance from the board so as to get some blur challenge. with an additional 1 hour given to outdoor walks, do you think my eyes would improve at a good rate?

Forget about the bifocal lenses, that was just an idea. Maybe it would really not work out well in practice.
If your lenses are very high, maybe another way would be hold the glasses higher while looking under them or even put them on your forehead. But you know this acting will make you look strange. Still the most unobtrusive way would be just look under them.

You can try it with normalized first. You will notice if your eyes are getting strained. Try to hold a good distance to your paper, so the hyperopic defocus would be not very strong.

If you feel, the observing of close-up time takes too much attention from you, then I would say the habit of looking under the glasses or putting the glasses away, is even easier than losing attention for observing close-up time.
Do not let disturb yourself at school because of the myopia thing. It should be habit solution.

He said his differentials are -4.00, so just looking under the normalized (no correction) for close-up won’t work unless he holds is papers within 20 cm from his eyes. I don’t think that will result in a very good posture…

I think you could improve that way, yes. So don’t worry about wearing your normalized in class. Just switch to differentials when working on a longer close-up task. And try to get as much outdoor distance vision as you can. 1 hour on schooldays is fine, but maybe you can get some more outdoor time in the weekend…? And keep doing AF at every occasion.