Can Everyone Unfocus Their Eyes?

Being able to unfocus your eyes is perhaps something most people would assume everyone has the ability to do. However, according to Healthline, this isn't actually the case.

When a person unfocuses their eyes, they do so by relaxing the ciliary muscles in their eyes, which in turn causes them to lose focus. In general, people tend to unfocus their eyes when looking at an object from a close range, when looking at hidden images — such as Magic Eye Images — and when admiring 3D imagery or artworks. A lot of people first learn the ability to unfocus their eyes during their childhood, while others simply pick up the skill while daydreaming or staring into space. 

For those who can't, not being able to unfocus your eyes might not seem like a big deal. However, the lack of ability to do so could be a sign of a much more serious problem. 

Not being able to unfocus your eyes could signal a deeper problem

According to research carried out by Brown University, not being able to unfocus your eyes could be a sign of esotropia — a condition otherwise known as "lazy eye" — which is when a person's eye appears to turn inward toward the nose.

As The American Association for Pediatric Opthamology and Strabismus note, those who suffer from esotropia, particularly children, can wind up losing their 3D vision, their vision on the affected eye, or lose the ability for both eyes to work together properly. Although this condition is generally diagnosed in childhood, the American Academy of Ophthalmology state that people can also lose the ability to unfocus their eyes later in life, most commonly among people who suffer from presbyopia, which is when a person's eyesight gradually begins to deteriorate and they might require reading glasses. 

Not being able to unfocus your eyes is a clear sign that your ciliary muscles aren't working properly, no matter your age. If you notice any changes to your vision, it's always advised that you should book an appointment with an eye doctor.