Quite often the question comes up, whether the reading of books should be avoided, because it is supposed to be the major cause of short-sightedness.
Since Bates said in his book, that reading fine print is favourable for the eyes (it can only be reead with relaxed eyes), I reduced the size of the print in my laptop to 50% to read an e-book and found it really much less straining.
I tried to find out, where exactly is the difference in reading bigger or smaller print and it seems to me that in small print, I really perceive the printed word as such, whereas, in bigger print, I don't really 'see' the printed word itself - instead I 'read' the meaning transmitted by it, I 'abstract' more easily from the 'image' of printed word to the 'meaning' of the word.
When I realized this, the idea came up to me, that maybe the reason, why reading leads to 'wrong seeing habits' is the fact, that it 'stimulates' not to really notice what is there, but to 'abstract' a 'theoretical meaning', seeing in 'categories of interpretetion'. So for example instead of noticing the details of a beautiful flower, a gardener will 'recognize' is at a 'rose', and 'see', that it needs to be watered and treated...
And maybe reading 'reinforces this 'tendency of abstraction', seeing without noticing what really is there, in all visible details, but 'seeing' the idea, that comes up in my mind with all my knowledge I have about the real fact.
I'm not sure, whether I could explain clearly enough what I mean to say, but maybe someone else has had similar ideas or experiences and may help to clarify this thought.
First of all if eyesight is challanged then you can in general use it as a bio-feedback advice to improve the eye sight. That is why I see reading as an oppertunity to improve eyesight. I think Bates also has said that reading in dark light might be beneficial for vision because you are forced to relax in order to be able to read effortlessly. However it is of course not a good advice if you do not master natural visual habits.
I immediately understand your thinking and why it is easier to read fineprint after having read your post. It is because vision is very much mental. The brain have already prepared and programmed how to interpret things and how to look at things in a sequential way, everything is prepared and stored in the subconscious memory. So the interpretation of the words when reading is just a matter of an enable and disable function of already prepared interpretation sequences in the mind. The programming of the mind maybe is object oriented
, the programming wants to treat things as objects. The mind has already stored the words (as objects) visually in advance so it can regognize them really fast, and so you can read fast. If you read each character one by one on the other hand the object oriented programming doesn't work mentally that much anylonger and instead you have to build objects out of the characters afterwards (in real time) which consumes a lot of time, you get stuck in reading, the reading gets slow as a consequence, and there will be lots of strain due to this.
What I immediately realize is that the white space between the words is really imortant to be aware of when reading, but the white space should not be causing the eyes to lock. The eyes should just hoover over inbetween the words in a smooth way.
Something also says to me that as reading is mental, then effortless reading is something you can train and learn. It is a matter of learning to identify the words and simultaneously move the eyes dynamically in a smooth way.
However I think there are personal differences when it comes to understanding what you read. If you don't understand what you read in a fast way then it will be harder to keep the reading effortless, but one way to handle this is to read when you are not tired, for instance it is much easier to read in the morning compared to in the evening, although many people read very late and strain there eyes.
For instance if you study you shall wake up early and do your home work in the morning instead of late in the evening. Also the Bates method actually improves your thinking such that you think more efficient and thus faster, might be a connection there.