Getting Stronger: Discussion Forum

Discussion Topics => Rehabilitation => Topic started by: jansen on September 15, 2013, 12:56:34 PM

Title: Plateau
Post by: jansen on September 15, 2013, 12:56:34 PM
Hey everyone,

So Its been almost 3 years since I started with my journey to improve my vision. I've tried various exercise programs, including Bates (Bates-esque) exercises programs, Power Vision System, and specifically print pushing (through suggestions made through this forum). I'm currently seeing 20/30-20/40 on most good days with both eyes open, but I have been in this current state for over a year now, (fluctuating slightly during the school year and summer). I've tried patching my weaker, right eye in hopes of improving acuity in my right eye, but I haven't noticed any improvements. Unfortunately, I thought that working on my right eye would be the route out of my plateau, but apparently not.
At this point, I don't really know what to try, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: Todd Becker on September 15, 2013, 01:29:04 PM
Hey everyone,

So Its been almost 3 years since I started with my journey to improve my vision. I've tried various exercise programs, including Bates (Bates-esque) exercises programs, Power Vision System, and specifically print pushing (through suggestions made through this forum). I'm currently seeing 20/30-20/40 on most good days with both eyes open, but I have been in this current state for over a year now, (fluctuating slightly during the school year and summer). I've tried patching my weaker, right eye in hopes of improving acuity in my right eye, but I haven't noticed any improvements. Unfortunately, I thought that working on my right eye would be the route out of my plateau, but apparently not.
At this point, I don't really know what to try, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Jansen,

Good to hear from you again!   

There's no easy answer to your question about breaking out of your plateau.  In my post on "How to break through a plateau (http://gettingstronger.org/2010/09/how-to-break-through-a-plateau/comment-page-1/)", I made the point that continuing on the same path will not break a plateau -- you need to make a "step change" and introduce a fundamentally new step into your routine.  And it can't just be a short term change -- you have to stick with it for a while to evaluate it.  Applying that advice to your situation means doing something beyond Bates, PVS or standard print pushing.

In looking at your comments above, you stated that you have tried patching your weaker right eye. I would in fact suggest doing the precise opposite, as I've written in the forums.  Patch your stronger, left eye -- at least for certain concentrated periods of time.  This will shift the burden of focusing to your weaker eye.  Do this until the weak eye catches up, or comes close to catching up.  I think this is the first new step change you could try.

A second step change is diet.  There is substantial evidence that a diet high in carbohydrates -- sugars and easily digestible starches in bread, pasta, potatoes and rice -- raises insulin levels, and that elevated insulin levels promote myopia:
http://www.karlloren.com/Diabetes/p49.htm

The other dietary changes I suggest are:
1.  Eat fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel or eel) or take fish oil supplements.  The essential fatty acid DHA plays a critical role in maintaining the flexible membranes needed for proper development of the shape of the eye, and the development of rods and cones in the retina
2.  Eat plenty of carotenoid rich vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and other brightly colored vegetables.  These improve visual acuity

If you are already doing the above things, then let us know. 

Good luck

Todd
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: jansen on September 15, 2013, 01:50:18 PM
Hey Todd,

Its good to be back. "Patching the weaker, right eye," I accidentally meant patching the stronger eye to train the weaker one. I spent a period of over 2 months working on the weaker eye, and I haven't really made significant improvements with the acuity of the weaker eye. My biggest problem is that my weaker eye and stronger eye are almost a diopter apart I believe, seeing that I the blur point for my weaker eye is about an arm's length w/out plus lenses.
       This problem adds on to the fact that I use a +2.00 lenses during school hrs., which means my left eye is benefiting most of the times, and too strong for my right eye. It seems that if I read at the blur point (I try to change up the distance w/ weaker lenses occasionally), my vision will remain the same afterwards, versus being slightly clearer,sharper following the exercise, meaning that reading at the blur point does not seem to be working anymore. Perhaps I will try ordering custom zenni-optical specs, +2.00 lenses for left side, +1.00 lenses for the other, to match the appropriate stimulus for both.
I will take a look at the post about Plateau's right now and will check back. 

Thank You!
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: jansen on September 16, 2013, 07:28:04 PM
Hey guys,

I've decided to stick with +2.00 lenses but increase the distance, along with spending more time patching the stronger eye to train the weaker one. Do you guys think it would be a good idea to increase the distance to the point where the text is barely legible, and read at that point for training periods?
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: Todd Becker on September 16, 2013, 08:14:32 PM
Do you guys think it would be a good idea to increase the distance to the point where the text is barely legible, and read at that point for training periods?

Jansen,

Usually, I've found that the optimal distance is what I call the edge of blur -- the point at which the text is still quite legible but shows the slightest beginnings of blur.  I've found that pushing further, where legibility is compromised (what you call "barely legible") tends to cause eye strain after a while.  And eye strain is counterproductive.

You could experiment with reading "barely legible" text for short periods of time, to see if it helps.  Maybe mix it up with varying degrees of defocus.  But I would be concerned about the effects of sustained defocus and eye fatigue.  A number of people on the forum have posted about "red eye" when they overdo the print pushing.

The analogy with weight lifting is apt.  There are advantages to doing a lot of reps with lighter weights and a few lifts with heavy weights.  But reading all day calls for controlling the "defocus stress" within narrow limits.

I've found that if you work with modest defocus at the edge of blur, the eyes remodel and you find that you have to keep increasing the distance periodically to maintain defocus.  Eventually, this forces you to switch to stronger plus lenses, unless you are comfortable sitting farther back.

Todd
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: Nate on September 17, 2013, 01:14:00 PM
Jansen's post inspired me to comment.  It's been a while for me too.

I've been doing the therapy for 2 years now.  I started with a prescription of -6.25R/-6.75L and with some astigmatism also-so very, very bad.  I have been very disciplined about the print pushing, though.  About 6 months ago (so 18 months into the exercises) I passed my driver's license eye exam with -5 glasses-passed it easily, on the first try.

I currently wear -3 glasses.  While they are not in complete focus, I read the 20/20 line this morning.

I am moving at a rate of about .25 diopters every 2 months.  Going at that rate, it should take me 2 more years to get out of lenses, and then my eyes will not be 20/20-but they will be good.

I wuld like to thank all of you who post.  Otis, Todd, Jansen, everyone else.  I don't think I could have gotten this far without the encouragement.

I've hit a few plateaus on my journey. 

What is working for me right now is engaging "actively" in the print pushing-or distance viewing.   In other words, Todd some where talks about 3 levels of focus-which he calls D1, D2, and D3-which refer to in focus, slightly out of focus, and completely out of focus.  Todd recommends reading at D2, and letting the eye's auto-focus pull the image into focus. 

I think that I get the best progress when I spend a lot of time at D2, which Todd recommends.  But sometimes, I push it into D3, and at the same time actively "force" the image to become clear.  By force, I mean concentrate on the clear part of the image, and in my mind, "make" the blurry part go away.  Once the blurry part goes away, I push the image away as far as possible, and conciously try to retain the clear image as long as possible.  I can only hold it for so long, and the then the blur comes rushing back-so I bring the print closer again, "force" the clearing again, and the push it as far as possible, while holding the clearness as long as possible.

Being actively engaged in clearing the image seems to really make a difference.

Nate
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: Nate on September 17, 2013, 01:36:24 PM
Two more thoughts on how "active" engagement might improve progress.

Blind people are known for having great hearing.  Some even develop echolocation, the ability to "see" by means of reflected sound waves.  But are they born that way?  No, it is a function to the extreme focus they put into making sense of their world through hearing.  The more they focus, the better their hearing gets.  I've even experimented a little with hearing.  I bought a computer program, EarMaster Pro, which is designed for musicians to develop a musical ear-tone differentiation, etc.  I have good hearing, but have never had much of a musical ear.  But I find that when I really focus my mind on the sounds, I begin to hear differences, and over time, my ability is increasing.  But focus is the key.

Second, I recently read a book, "The Sports Gene" by David Epstein.  Pretty good book, by the way.  It is about the different genetic differences in high end athletes.  Professional baseball players have very good vision, which he attributes to genetics.  But as I read it, I wondered "what if their extremely good vision is aquired, not inherited?".  All of us here know that vision is at least somewhat variable, and can be developed.  A good baseball player has to spend hours focused on a small, rotating, very fast moving ball-that he has to hit with a bat.  If he misses very many times, he is out of a job.  It makes sense to me that spending time focused on a distant, small, quickly moving object, would develop your vision.  But just "seeing" the ball, like a spectator in the stands, would not be enough.  The intense focus that the player experiences would be what makes the difference.

I hope this helps.

Nate 
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: OtisBrown on September 18, 2013, 04:21:15 AM
Hi Nate,

I restrict my arguments to the necessity of beginning plus-prevention, while you can still read the 20/40 to 20/50 line.  I consider that the "plus" can have maximum effectiveness at that point.  But the issue of child-prevention is most difficult.  I think all children should have access to plus-prevention, and an ophthalmologist should supply that information - automatically.  Since most MDs will tell you that successful prevention (at 20/40 to 20/60 is out-of-the question), it is wise to understand that some MDs do realize that prevention is possible for a child. Here is the review for your interest.

http://frauenfeldclinic.com/myopic-child-parents-story/

I know that you are seeing success - and that is very important.  But in the future, if you have children, I know you will think about this issue.  There are many "ways" of prevention, but they all involve a degree of self-insight and self-motivation that truly can never be prescribed.  I think that is the real, "break point" for the issue of serious prevention.

Thanks for making your effort!.
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: OtisBrown on September 19, 2013, 09:37:14 AM
Hi Jansen,

Subject: Background truth - you are successful.

Discussion: This is to encourage you to continue with the plus - and explain WHY it is wise.

When we are in school, our vision simply goes down at a rate of  -1/2 diopter per year.  When you say you have 20/30 vision, you are successful - because you were wearing that plus lens. 

That to me is success, because otherwise, you would be down by an additional -1.5 diopters. By now, you would not be able to read the 20/100 line - if you had not kept up with the wearing of the plus.

This is the sad truth that happens every year at the US Naval Academy. 

While you might call this a "plateau" - but judged against the "standard rate" you are successful. 

Let me add this suggestion - put a bright light on your Snellen - as I do - for an accurate, consistent reading.  (Dark Snellens give POOR readings).  You might be reading in the 20/30 to 20/25 range with good light.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgUkoSSgVOs

The only additional remark I would make is to suggest trying a slightly stronger plus lens, and push away until you can not read the text.  Wait about 30 seconds, and then "pull in" until the text just becomes readable.  Then read at that distance.  Do the same thing with you computer.

What *I* did not know about (as I was becoming nearsighted), was about that proven -1/2 diopter per year.  That truly means that prevention (for the student) means consistent use of the Snellen and a plus lens.

Thanks for your interest!


Hey everyone,

So Its been almost 3 years since I started with my journey to improve my vision. I've tried various exercise programs, including Bates (Bates-esque) exercises programs, Power Vision System, and specifically print pushing (through suggestions made through this forum). I'm currently seeing 20/30-20/40 on most good days with both eyes open, but I have been in this current state for over a year now, (fluctuating slightly during the school year and summer). I've tried patching my weaker, right eye in hopes of improving acuity in my right eye, but I haven't noticed any improvements. Unfortunately, I thought that working on my right eye would be the route out of my plateau, but apparently not.
At this point, I don't really know what to try, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: jansen on September 19, 2013, 06:45:32 PM
Thank you everyone,

Currently working with +2.25 lenses on computer, and +2.75 lenses for close reading
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: OtisBrown on September 29, 2013, 07:23:08 AM
Dear Chris -

Subject: What do MEDICAL people recommend - for your long-term vision.

I know we are always torn between doing the "right thing".  We always want some one medical - to give us the necessary advice.   For me, "improvement" means passing the 20/40 line objectively, under my control.  But it is also a recognition of "educated self-responsibility" where I have the opportunity to protect my vision by my long-term wearing of a plus.  Here is some discussion of that topic by an ophthalmologist for your interest.

http://frauenfeldclinic.com/vision-improvement-recognize-opportunity/

Dr Alex has posted a huge number of items on this subject - and I would read them carefully.  But the most important issue is to recognize that this is all personal.  You can not "cure", and that is not the issue.  It is personally developed wisdom, to continue - as necessary.  This is not about what "medicine" might do.  Rather it is what you judge is essential to do.
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: chris1213 on September 29, 2013, 07:53:10 PM
Otis,

As a coincidence I was reading the posts on this thread and noticed you wrote addressing me.

I agree with you. Actually, I'm working on the +2.5. It's pretty interesting because I wake up most morning reading the 20/30 now but my vision goes down to the 20/40 to 20/50 the rest of the day. I still have to figure out what I'm doing wrong for this to happen. I must keep wearing the plus anyways and I'll post when I get some more permanent results.

Thank you for the comments, this encourages all of those working on the plus. Some doctors may argue against the plus but the results talk for themselves. I really like the idea that there are some behavioral optometrists like Alex himself.

Chris. 
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: OtisBrown on October 25, 2013, 03:39:26 AM
Hi Chris -

I know that when we hit a "Plateau", we need encouragement.  Here are some suggestions from an ophthalmologist.

http://frauenfeldclinic.com/troubleshoot-progress/

Don't quit - when you are becoming successful.
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: OtisBrown on October 25, 2013, 06:52:27 AM
Hi Chris -
As you might know - I am an engineer.  Here is a young woman who had the "plus" recommended to her. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWjnNM0VYM4

I think it is wonderful that an OD made that recommendation.  I am not certain she know WHY it is very wise to wear the plus, "correctly" through four years of college.  This is why true-prevention is a matter of personal knowledge, and is not a "short-term" solution.  I know if an OD made this recommendation (and I  was in total ignorance), I would also ask, WHY??  I attempt to answer that question - although the person's wisdom must play a major role in his success.

I reorganized the statistics of the only excellent "plus" study I could find.  See:

http://myopiafree.wordpress.com/study/

The "original" data,  was not that clear, perhaps.  But what it truly shows is the necessity of wise, long-term wearing of a plus, as the young woman is doing it.

I add the additional requirement to "empower" you.  Plan to always pass the 20/40 line, by personal checking.  Don't expect any OD help - they just have NO INTREST in you doing this.  As long as you exceed the 20/40 line - you are successful.  But you also know  how to check with a -3/4 diopter lens.

The data shows that this is not a "short-term" solution, but rather a long-term wise education.  This data, for me, answers the "why" question.  No OD can do this for you - so you must do it for yourself.

As always, just keep posting, but accept this type of difficulty in true-prevention.

Otis
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: chris1213 on October 25, 2013, 11:40:18 AM
Wow Otis while I was writing a message to you, you mentioned almost all my points very clearly.

Thank you for the encouragement and I'll keep wearing the plus. I want to see clearly again.

That video you posted is very helpful and clear for those who are barely experiencing myopia or just started too. I will keep the link to show it to anyone who may need the information. Thank you again.

Chris
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: OtisBrown on October 25, 2013, 04:51:18 PM
Dear Chris,

From our private conversations, it is clear you have understood the idea of, "print pushing", and the necessity of personally, and objectively passing the required 20/40 line.  I like to be in objective control of my distant vision, and that is how I do it.

I know that few people truly understand, "statistics", but even a simplified version will show that your average college student at 20/40, will go down to 20/200 (approximately) in four year - if he does not take plus-prevention seriously.

It takes a real "educated mind" to fully accept the challenge of always passing the 20/40 line (and far better) if you are persistent.

I know we all "quit" with the plus for periods of time - that is just "human nature".  But this is why I insist on the 20/40 line.  I assume you will get to the 20/25 line or so. Then you will stop wearing the plus for some time, and then be back to 20/40.  This is TOTALLY NATURAL AND NORMAL. With your wisdom, you will simply re-start with the plus.

The statistics are very clear on that point, and the 20/200 you would get down to - if you don't stop it at 20/40.

As always, great person wisdom is required to keep your naked-eye vision normal though the college years.  This is clearly not "medicine", but, in my judgment, educated-science.

Keep posting your thoughts - we all learn from them.


Wow Otis while I was writing a message to you, you mentioned almost all my points very clearly.

Thank you for the encouragement and I'll keep wearing the plus. I want to see clearly again.

That video you posted is very helpful and clear for those who are barely experiencing myopia or just started too. I will keep the link to show it to anyone who may need the information. Thank you again.

Chris
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: chris1213 on October 25, 2013, 10:03:45 PM
Hi Otis,

I agree with you're wisdom on the use of the plus. Since this thread is already titled "plateau," here's a part of what I've already mentioned to you:

I believe it's not only the use of the plus, but the wise use of them that maintains the health of our vision. See, something interesting I barely noticed is my misuse of the plus. This was already mentioned by David De Angelis when he said how he spent most of the time wearing the plus with no results, until he understood print pushing more clearly. (Maybe it's part of our human nature that most of us most experience the problem before we do something, instead of preventing it or learning from the errors of others haha).

I hit a plateau for all these months, like David De Angelis did. But it was until this week that I noticed I was wearing the plus without print pushing and letting my eyes clear the image. I was either living in blur, even with the plus, or maintaining a distance that would let me see the image clearly, thinking my eyes would respond/adapt. When the image is too clear there is no stimulus and the close distance doesn't prevent accommodation that much; when there is a lot of blur on the other hand, the eyes give up and don't clear up the image so there's no benefit.

The reason the first months while wearing the plus I got faster results was because I started wearing them just at the edge of blur letting my eyes clear up the image and staying in that position for some time; this brought stimulus. After I got to 20/40 though, I thought that by pushing the image way further my eyes would get used to it but I hit the plateau for the past 5 months.

Now I understand clearly that, since we spend so much time focusing close up, like most college students likely do, we have to compensate for that with the use of the plus (just like we compensate for our sedentary lives by working out or going to the gym). However, the point of the plus is mimicking outdoor vision while we look up close. So if we focus at a very short distance, even while wearing the plus, this doesn't stimulate our eyes. But if we slowly and persistently bring our eyes to a further distance wearing the plus close up, where they can clear the image, it lets them "think" we are looking at a far point. That "exercise" changes our eyes until we hopefully reach emmetropia.

Remember, Todd's website suggests hormesis, the wise use of stimulus to bring forward a change so it's not about walking around with the plus hoping to see results. We can walk around with weights all day but how would it benefit us? Even if you read the book of David De Angelis he says that he got stuck on -0.5 for over a year before he understood that consistent print pushing, in the way I talk about in the previous paragraph, would bring him the results he wanted.

For all the mentioned ideas, I totally agree with what Otis says about constantly wearing the plus and also thank Todd for his website and the information he provides.

Chris
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: jansen on October 31, 2013, 12:25:14 PM
Yes, I definitely agree, we need to constantly challenge our eyes with further and further distances in order for them to adapt and thus improve. I admit that when I got to 20/30-20/40, I began to "settle in" with the improvements and have kept a constant distance while reading with plus lenses, not really pushing myself as much as I used to
Title: Re: Plateau
Post by: Alex_Myopic on December 17, 2013, 12:55:59 PM
"In any learning process there are plateaus. Plateaus are periods of time when, no matter how much the student practices correct vision habits, the vision improvement seems to level off. It takes time for the mind and body to adjust to the vision habits you have practiced.
Once the level of vision skills you have practiced is solid, a foundation is created for further progress. Simply continue to practice better vision habits each day, and when your vision is ready to progress further, it will."

From the book "Relearning to see" by Tom Quackenbush.