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A picture of an eye holding a fixed gaze

What is Steady Eye Technique?


Steady Eye Technique as Part of Low Vision Rehabilitation

For many people with low vision the ability to readily scan the environment is impaired. This affects many of the activities of daily living including reading, managing medications and the use of electronic devices to name a few. Over a period of years techniques and strategies have been developed by low vision specialists to help the client compensate for this limitation. One key technique that resulted in consistent success came to be called steady eye. Over time and with clinical experience formalized training has evolved as part of visual rehabilitation protocol. Gaining proficiency in steady eye viewing can provide a means for the student to make the most of their remaining sight. The strategy has benefits for a wide range of low vision diagnoses.


What is Steady Eye Technique?

Steady eye is a method of fixed gaze viewing in which the text or object is physically moved to bring it into the area of best vision. As an example, when reading, each word is moved from right to left into the field of view while the reader’s head and eyes remain still. This is in contrast to saccadic eye movement across a page of text. This strategy replaces most of the requirement of optical tracking for visual tasks.


The goal of steady eye training is first to teach students how to locate the area of their best vision and then how to reliably and consistently bring this vision to bear on a visual task. This requires that the student learn a new way of using their eyes. As with many skills, proficiency in steady eye can only be gained through practice and repetition. The challenge for the practitioner is providing sufficient and consistent practice opportunities for the student to achieve success.



The Challenge for the Trainer

Previously training in steady eye required the low vision professional to deliver this practice using physical print-on-paper materials. These exercise materials typically had to be made or modified by the trainer in order to conform to the individual needs of each student. The learning environment also had to be optimized specifically for each session. This preparation process was resource intensive and time consuming. .


There are other factors that also diminish training efficiency. One is inherent difficulty of manually moving practice text into the students view quickly and frequently enough to create habituation. Another is that repeated accuracy of target placement is required for effective practice. As a result, the time devoted to the manipulation of the materials and conditions negatively impacts the amount of session time available for actual training. The client’s ability to use paper materials for practice between sessions, which is necessary to maintain and reinforce the lessons, can also be problematic if any type of palsy or neuromuscular challenge is present.


MagnaFlyer and Steady Eye Technique: the Advantages of Computer Based Training...

MagnaFlyer was designed and developed to address these practical issues. The advent of the computer enabled a new solution for training and the delivery of significantly more practice opportunities in less time


This computer-based approach allows for smooth progress through the exercise protocol thereby reducing the amount of time it takes for the student to reach proficiency. Practice and repetition are easily achieved within the programs learning environment. The materials are pre-formatted and the viewing conditions are readily customizable for each student. The predictable positioning of the target text creates a consistency in the flow of practice as they build their skill. For the student this means that they can more quickly reach the ability to use this new skill to their daily lives.


As your client enters rehabilitation the MagnaFlyer training program enables them to reduce the time it takes to develop new skills for optimizing their vision. The more quickly they become proficient in these techniques, the sooner they can begin using them to enhance their independence in the activities of daily living. Learning steady eye technique provides far reaching and immediate benefits well beyond reading. The ability to habitually bring their best vision to a task makes everything from navigating, managing medications, cooking, watching television and a host of other activities far easier.


About Steady Eye technique in practice


"Steady Eye and Eccentric Viewing are techniques that can help a person to use their residual vision more effectively, particularly if macular disease effects both eyes. Lots of people with macular disease can benefit from the use of these strategies. "

"Of the two techniques, Steady Eye is the hardest method to master and takes the most practise. However, Steady Eye often makes the biggest difference to accuracy and fluency when reading, and for most people it is really worth the effort. Steady Eye takes practise to perfect as there is a need to break a learned habit; the ‘saccadic’, scanning movement of the eyes. With time and practise these skills can be developed. Not everyone is able to use Steady Eye and Eccentric Vision but those who can find it makes a tremendous difference. "


from the Macular Disease Society

United Kingdom




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