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Ask Dr. Julie: What Happens To My Eyes When I Look At Something Up Close?

look at something up close

In this segment of Ask Dr Julie, I thought I would cover a question that comes up a lot, and that question is, “When I look at something up close, what exactly happens to my eyes? What do they do?”

Well, there’s two systems that need to function accurately when you’re looking at something up close. There’s two systems that get triggered for your vision system. The first one is, and not necessarily in this order, the accommodation system and the vergence system.

The accommodation system is kind of better known as the focusing system, but this is the system that allows you to focus in clearly and see the print. However, if your focusing system is working but the vergence system, or the eye alignment system, is not working, you still may have difficulty seeing things clearly. In fact, you might be able to see double vision if your convergence system or the ability to cross your eyes at near doesn’t kick in also. So, if your ability to converge and cross your eyes happens, but you can’t focus in, it might be blurry. So there are several things you might have, blurriness or double vision, if one or the other of those systems does not work properly. Those are the two systems.

Now when we talk about tracking across a page, we kind of invoke another thing which is the tracking system, but that gets to be more complex and there’s other things that are involved with that too, like the brain’s ability to scan and track ahead and to see peripheral information. So there’s quite a few things depending upon what you’re looking at and what task you are doing that kick in on the vision system in order for you to perform a task.

I hope this is helpful. If you have questions, then certainly connect with us. Call us at (618) 288-1489 or go to our website and fill out the questionnaire form located on our first page at And with that, thanks for tuning in to this portion or this segment of Ask Dr. Julie. If you have questions, then email us back and say, hey, here’s my question, because your question might show up on a future segment. Thank you.