Reading With One Eye Closed

Reading with one eye closed might sound like a peculiar habit, but it’s more common than you think. This behavior can be traced back to various underlying causes, ranging from simple eye strain to more complex medical conditions. Historically, even ancient scholars like Aristotle and Hippocrates noted peculiarities in vision and eye behavior, although they might not have had the modern understanding we possess today. Let’s delve into the reasons behind this phenomenon and explore the potential implications.

Causes of Reading with One Eye Closed


Strabismus, commonly known as crossed eyes, is a condition where the eyes do not align properly. This misalignment can cause double vision, leading individuals to close one eye to see clearly. Strabismus can be congenital or develop later in life due to various factors such as trauma or neurological issues.


Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” is a condition where one eye has reduced vision because it and the brain are not working together properly. This condition often develops in childhood and can cause individuals to rely more on their stronger eye, sometimes leading them to close the weaker one while reading.

Symptoms and Signs to Watch For

Eye Strain

Eye strain is a common issue in our digital age, where prolonged screen time can lead to discomfort. Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, and the tendency to close one eye to alleviate the strain. This behavior is a natural response to reduce the workload on the eyes.


Diplopia, or double vision, can be disorienting and uncomfortable. It occurs when the eyes do not work together to produce a single image. Closing one eye can help manage this condition temporarily, allowing for clearer vision.

Diagnosing the Issue

Common Diagnostic Methods

Diagnosing the reason behind reading with one eye closed involves a thorough eye examination. Optometrists and ophthalmologists use various tests to assess vision and eye alignment. These tests include visual acuity tests, cover tests, and refraction assessments.

Advanced Diagnostic Techniques

In some cases, advanced diagnostic techniques such as imaging studies or neurological evaluations may be necessary. These methods help identify underlying conditions like brain tumors or neurological disorders that could be affecting eye function.

Treatment Options

Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-surgical treatments for conditions causing one-eye reading include corrective lenses, vision therapy, and eye patches. These methods aim to improve eye alignment and coordination, reducing the need to close one eye.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical options are considered when non-surgical treatments are ineffective. Procedures like strabismus surgery can correct eye alignment, while other surgeries may address underlying neurological issues.

Preventive Measures

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can prevent eye strain and other vision problems. This includes taking regular breaks from screens, maintaining proper lighting while reading, and practicing good posture.

Regular Eye Check-ups

Regular eye check-ups are essential for early detection and management of vision problems. Routine visits to an eye care professional can help identify issues before they become severe, ensuring timely intervention.

Living with One Eye Closed

Coping Strategies

Living with one eye closed can be challenging, but there are strategies to manage it effectively. Using magnifying tools, adjusting reading materials, and practicing eye exercises can help improve vision and reduce discomfort.

Support Systems and Resources

Support systems and resources, such as vision therapy programs and support groups, can provide valuable assistance. Connecting with others who have similar experiences can offer emotional support and practical advice.

Relevant Data Table For The Reading With One Eye Closed:

Cause Description Prevalence Treatment Options
Strabismus Misalignment of the eyes Common in children Glasses, surgery
Amblyopia “Lazy eye” condition Common in children Patching, vision therapy
Eye Strain Overuse of eye muscles Common in adults Rest, ergonomic adjustments
Diplopia Double vision Varies Prisms, surgery


1. Why do some people read with one eye closed?

Reading with one eye closed can be attributed to several factors. One common reason is eye strain, which occurs when the eyes are overworked, often due to prolonged screen time or poor lighting conditions. When one eye is closed, it reduces the strain on the eyes, providing temporary relief. Another reason could be strabismus, a condition where the eyes do not align properly, causing double vision. Closing one eye helps in seeing a single, clear image. Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” is another condition where one eye is weaker than the other, leading individuals to rely more on their stronger eye. Diplopia, or double vision, can also cause this behavior as it helps in managing the disorienting effect of seeing two images.

2. Can reading with one eye closed cause long-term damage?

Reading with one eye closed is usually a symptom of an underlying issue rather than a cause of long-term damage. However, if the underlying condition is not addressed, it can lead to complications. For instance, untreated strabismus can result in permanent vision problems, and prolonged eye strain can cause chronic discomfort and headaches. It is essential to consult an eye care professional to diagnose and treat the root cause. Regular eye check-ups and following prescribed treatments can prevent long-term damage and improve overall eye health.

3. What are the treatment options for children who read with one eye closed?

For children who read with one eye closed, treatment options vary based on the underlying cause. If the issue is strabismus, corrective lenses or surgery may be recommended to align the eyes properly. Amblyopia treatment often involves patching the stronger eye to encourage the weaker eye to work harder, along with vision therapy exercises. Eye strain can be managed by ensuring proper lighting, taking regular breaks from screens, and using ergonomic reading setups. Early intervention is crucial for effective treatment, so parents should seek professional advice if they notice their child closing one eye while reading.

4. How can I prevent eye strain while reading?

Preventing eye strain involves adopting healthy reading habits. Ensure that your reading area is well-lit to reduce the strain on your eyes. Take regular breaks using the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Adjust your screen settings to reduce glare and increase text size if necessary. Maintaining proper posture and keeping the reading material at a comfortable distance can also help. Using anti-glare screens and blue light filters can further reduce eye strain, especially when reading on digital devices.

5. Are there any exercises to improve eye coordination?

Yes, several exercises can improve eye coordination and reduce the need to close one eye while reading. Pencil push-ups are a simple exercise where you focus on a pencil as you move it closer to your nose, helping to strengthen the eye muscles. Brock string exercises involve focusing on beads placed at different points on a string, improving convergence and coordination. Vision therapy, guided by a professional, offers a range of exercises tailored to individual needs. Consistent practice of these exercises can enhance eye coordination and overall visual function.


Understanding why someone might read with one eye closed is crucial for identifying potential underlying issues and seeking appropriate treatment. Regular eye check-ups and being aware of symptoms can help in early diagnosis and effective management.

Posts References:

Closing one eye while reading? – OptiBoard Discussion Forums
Reading with one eye shut? – MobileRead Forums

The Routine I Used To Read 25,127 Pages Last Year.

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