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The Science behind the MagnaFlyer Software Display

How Does the MagnaFlyer Training Program Work?


Training Steady Eye and Eccentric Viewing with MagnaFlyer


What is Steady Eye Technique?

In broad terms steady eye technique is the skill of keeping the head still and moving the object or word to be viewed into the location of best vision. This is in contrast to saccadic eye movement used to scan a line of text. For instance to read a book or label using steady eye technique each word of the text is moved into position while the eye remains fixed on a point in the visual field. Training in steady eye technique is designed to teach the client how to reliably find and fixate on that location consistently. The goal of steady eye training is to teach the client how to optimize their sight and then habituate bringing their best vision to bear on daily tasks. Steady eye technique is used for many activities of daily living beyond reading however, the method used for skill building is based on reading text based practice exercises.


For more information on steady eye technique please click here


Consistent Guided Practice is the Key to Success

Proficiency in steady eye technique is an acquired skill. It’s literally learning how to see in a different way. Acquiring the skill is an additive process of progressing through a sequence of exercises. Each exercise builds upon the one before and consistency in practice and repetition are the key ingredients for success.


In this regard it's much like learning to play the piano. At first we need to know where to put our hands in order to locate the keys. Then with each successive exercise we concentrate on how to place our fingers accurately to use this new instrument. Eventually, with sufficient practice, placing our fingers on the right keys becomes automatic and natural. This kind of practice is successful because the keys on the keyboard are always in the same place.


Steady eye technique requires a similar sort of training that requires focused and consistent repetition of practice materials. The MagnaFlyer display modality is able to provide that consistency by always placing the text of the practice exercises in the same place on the screen. This in turn allows more exposure to exercise materials in less time and maximizes the efficiency of the training.


Steady Eye Technique and the Preferred Retinal Locus

The area of best vision for a sight impaired individual is called the preferred retinal locus (PRL).This is in effect, the “sweet spot” where your client's sight is the most acute. The first step in introducing steady eye to the client or student is teaching them how to consistently locate their PRL. This is accomplished with the first level exercises in the MagnaFlyer protocol.


Most people with vision loss will have discovered that they have a point in their visual field where they have their best vision. Accessing it consistently, quickly and automatically to bring it to bear on a task is a different matter. The first MagnaFlyer exercise is for the client to practice systematically focusing their PRL in a specific place. The exercise consists of a sequence of single characters displayed at a slow pace at a fixed location on the screen. The goal is, with sufficient repetitions and feedback, that the client is able to reliably see, recognize and read the characters as they're presented.


Following this first important step each successive exercise is designed to add to this core ability. They include exercises for distinguishing between numbers, increasing the span of view and eventually reading with confidence. From there the exercises focus on comprehension and reading as an activity rather than an exercise. All of these exercises are conducted at the client's own pace and guided by the low vision professional are generally completed in a few sessions.


By the time the MagnaFlyer steady eye training protocol is completed, the client will have more than reading proficiency. Their remaining eyesight will be enhanced with a new skill that will provide them greater independence in a range of daily activities.


The MagnaFlyer Curriculum of Exercises: From Recognition to Comprehension to Independence

The MagnaFlyer curriculum includes three levels of standardized exercises. Each level contains a group of purpose related practice materials that are numbered sequentially. It is important to follow the sequence as each exercise builds upon the previous one. The completion of each level represents a milestone toward proficiency.

Level 1: Fixation Exercises:

These are for teaching the client to become accustomed to consistently locating and using their PRL (Preferred Retinal Locus)for fixed gaze technique. In this folder the sequence of exercises is for expanding the number of characters seen using the PRL. The exercises begin with a one-character display then on to exercises designed for beginning scanning.


Level 2: Pre-reading Exercises:

These exercises are for continuing the expansion of gaze to take in more characters and introduce word recognition and comprehension.


Level 3: Reading Exercises:

These exercises are composed of reading material of various lengths and difficulty. They are an opportunity for you to begin to gauge the client’s proficiency and their comprehension. This level also includes a unique form of comprehension quiz called "The Quizzler”. This is a non-punitive form of interactive quiz designed to reinforce the client while giving you an accurate gauge of their true progress.

Each exercise has a recommended display speed setting. However every student is different and may want the speed slower or faster depending on their comfort level. As the exercises progress you will typically find that the student will want to increase the display speed. By level 3 it’s recommended that the student be allowed to set their own reading speed.



The exercises are also designed to be self administering. The client if equipped with a basic computer and the software can practice on their own. The simplicity of creating a consistent display makes it possible for the client to be completely engaged in the practice rather than manipulating materials.


The Advent of Computer Training for Steady Eye

For effective practice, consistency in training materials and repeatable protocol is required. As noted above, Steady Eye technique is the skill of keeping the head still and moving the object to be viewed into the line of best sight. Prior to the advent of the computer most steady eye training had to be conducted using paper materials and some form of magnification. The practitioner would over time teach the client how to move the text so that they could view it optimally using their PRL. However there were several confounding factors that impacted the efficiency of the training. The challenges of manually delivering the consistency required for effective practice, customizing paper materials for each client and modifying the training environment meant less actual training was accomplished per session.


By contrast a computer is inherently capable of exacting repeatability and customization. The onscreen environment is consistent in all aspects of content delivery. As you will see the MagnaFlyer Training Program uses a display paradigm that replaces the need for manual manipulation of training materials. This advance allows you to and your client to achieve more in less time and focus on your client’s success.


The MagnaFlyer steady eye training software is not just for reading rehabilitation, it delivers a newfound capacity for a wide range of visual needs


"At home I had been using paper exercises daily for 2 yrs and didn't feel that it was helping my vision. after 2 weeks with MagnaFlyer I was able for the first time in two years to see my face in the mirror and the birds at my bird feeder outside the window"


Jeane S.

Low Vision Rehabilitation Client



For more information about the MagnaFlyer curriculum of exercises please click here