Science project

Long Distance Short Distance Eyesight

Difficulty of Project



Less than $1

Safety Issues


Material Availability

Easily available from the internet and your bookshelf.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

At least an hour.


To determine how age affects the speed that someone can change the focus of their eyes between near sightedness and far sightedness. 

Materials and Equipment / Ingredients

  • An eye chart
  • A book


Eyes are very sensitive. They adjust based on light, distance, focus, and many other variables. How does this change when we get older? Does it become harder to take notes, or switch between seeing things up close and seeing them far away? 

Research Questions
  • How long does it take for eyes to adjust between near sightedness and far sightedness?
  • Does the amount of time it takes vary with age? 
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
  • How do eyes work?
  • What is the difference between reading something close and reading something far away?
  • What happens to the eye when someone switches between these two?
  • What is presbyopia? 

Experimental Procedure

  1. Find a group of subjects willing to participate in this experiment. a. Aim to find a similar number of subjects from different ages—some over 40, some in their teens, some younger than that, some over 60, etc.
  2. Make sure that these subjects understand that when they show up, they are allowed to have glasses as long as they are NOT bifocals! a. Long range glasses are okay, but make sure they do not take the glasses off while reading something close.
  3. Administer an eye exam from a poster that is hung far away.
  4. Give your participants a break.
  5. Administer a second eye exam from a book that is close.
  6. Individually, make every participant take an eye exam from a poster hung far away, then quickly shift to reading the book close up. Measure how long it takes for them to make this shift. a. In addition, count the number of mistakes made while these charts. 


FDA. “Pursuing a 20/20 at 40+.” eNotAlone. 2009.

“Looking After Your Eyes.” KidzWorld. 2009.

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