Author Topic: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation  (Read 7078 times)

Offline Mercurial

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Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« on: September 15, 2011, 03:28:42 PM »
Greetings all,

First, a tremendous THANK YOU to Todd for putting this site together!  It's really marvelous to see what he has done to pull together disparate research into a cohesive vision of Hormetism.  Thank you!

I've been toying with aspects of the suggestions Todd provides on this site, and the one I'm currently having the most trouble with is eyesight.  My eyes seem to need around -2.5 diopters for me to see crisply.  I used to have 20/15 vision, so seeing that there might be a way to recover my way of seeing before is really exciting!  But I'm concerned that I might be wasting my time due to misunderstandings of details about the method.

First, the eyesight page talks about periodically pushing the object of attention outside of focal range and waiting for it to clear up again.  I'm very unsure about the rhythm of this.  Am I supposed to keep it in that strained range for the 1-3 hours of training?  Am I supposed to wait until it clears and then immediately bring it back into comfortable range?  Or is it something in between (e.g., hold it in the effortful range for ten seconds and then rest for ten seconds)?  Or have I completely misunderstood and it's something else entirely?

Second, there are two areas that are "just outside of focal range" for me, and I'm not entirely sure which one is intended.  I can push a book out of range so that it's just ever-so-barely out of focus and make my eyes adjust to that so that it's totally crisp again, or I can push the book far enough away that it's hard to read the words at all and I make my eyes adjust until I can read again.  Since the goal is to improve crispness of eyesight, I had been assuming that the former is what's intended.  Yet advice like driving without glasses makes me think that we can't be talking about just pushing the boundary of the 100% clarity zone here.  There's no way I'm getting my eyes to focus crystal-clear on something that's more than two feet away from my head!  But I can get them to focus well enough that I can tell what shape the sign a half-mile away is, or to count the power lines overhead.  (Counting lines like that is a bit extra-challenging since I seem to have astigmatism.)

Any help clarifying these points would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!  :)

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2011, 06:27:24 PM »
Welcome to this forum, Mercurial. I like your screen name.

...I'm concerned that I might be wasting my time due to misunderstandings of details about the method.

First, the eyesight page talks about periodically pushing the object of attention outside of focal range and waiting for it to clear up again.  I'm very unsure about the rhythm of this.  Am I supposed to keep it in that strained range for the 1-3 hours of training?  Am I supposed to wait until it clears and then immediately bring it back into comfortable range?  Or is it something in between (e.g., hold it in the effortful range for ten seconds and then rest for ten seconds)?  Or have I completely misunderstood and it's something else entirely?

There is no magic rhythm that is optimal for everyone. The key is to push yourself to the point of discomfort, but never pain or strain.  Some people might need to oscillated between D1 (perfect focus) and D2 (edge of blur) every minute or two.  Others might be able to "hang out at D2" for 15-30 minutes without a break.  This is more of an art than a science.  Play with different rhythms and find what allows you to make progress without pain.

In this respect, print pushing is like weight lifting.  Ask ten weightlifters what is the optimum number of reps and sets per session, and how much rest is needed. You'll get ten different answers.  But any routine that pushes you to make progress without overtraining and injury is beneficial.

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Second, there are two areas that are "just outside of focal range" for me, and I'm not entirely sure which one is intended.  I can push a book out of range so that it's just ever-so-barely out of focus and make my eyes adjust to that so that it's totally crisp again, or I can push the book far enough away that it's hard to read the words at all and I make my eyes adjust until I can read again.  Since the goal is to improve crispness of eyesight, I had been assuming that the former is what's intended.  Yet advice like driving without glasses makes me think that we can't be talking about just pushing the boundary of the 100% clarity zone here.  There's no way I'm getting my eyes to focus crystal-clear on something that's more than two feet away from my head!  But I can get them to focus well enough that I can tell what shape the sign a half-mile away is, or to count the power lines overhead.  (Counting lines like that is a bit extra-challenging since I seem to have astigmatism.)

For actively working on your eyes, you want to stay between D1 and D2.  That means you can't apply the method while looking at distant signs with edge blur.  However, that doesn't mean that looking at distant signs or power lines that have some blur is without value!  Any distance viewing helps, even if you can't perfectly resolve edges.  In fact, sometimes if the light is bright enough and you allow your eyes to relax, you'll be lucky enough to get crisp flashes or periods of good focus.  Sometimes this occurs as "double vision" superimposing a crisp edge or line over a blur.  I think all of that is beneficial, but it is not a systematic exercise like print pushing at the edge of blur.

Analogously, disciplined weight-lifting to the edge of failure may be the fastest, most predictable way to gain muscular strength, but that doesn't mean you should shun carrying heavy objects, rock climbing and cycling up hills as alternative "natural" ways to get stronger.  

Probably some combination of intense focused exercises and natural exertion is best in ANY field of strengthening or rehabilitation, whether that be for muscles, eyes, or even the brain!

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2011, 05:42:36 AM »
Hi Mercurial,
Todd is the expert here -- since he devoted hmself to long-term wearing of the plus.  It is truly difficult to "get started".  Obviouslly you are interested in how to use the plus.  Let me include this suggestion.  Print this Snellen eye-chart out:

http://www.i-see.org/block_letter_eye_chart.pdf

Put it on a wall at 20 feet, and shine a bright light on it.  Then find out which line you can read 1/2 the letters.  Record that line number.  Then use this chart consistently.  I know it might not be "too good" -- but you do need a base-line to judge your progress.  As I published in another place, 20/40 is acceptable for FAA 3rd class license. 

Like weight-loss (if on a diet), Snellen clearing is honestly slow.  Once you have established a "line" on the Snellen, you don't have to check for about a month.  Learning is indeed "interacting" with people, like Todd, who are successful.  So keep posting, and we will help as much as we can.  Otis

Offline shadowfoot

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 07:55:42 AM »
Todd and Otis have seem to have answered most of your questions already, so I will just add a few points. First, I would like to reiterate that progress will be slow and non-existent at times. Try out different strategies (different distances, etc) and see what works best for you. I would highly recommend reading through the entire eyesight without glasses thread (yes, all 500 or something posts!). I think you will find that a lot of your questions have already been asked, even questions you didn't know you had. Also, let me clarify why we talk about driving without glasses. In the United States (I don't know if this is different on other countries), the legal cut-off for driving is 20/40 vision. That is why if you get a reduced prescription lens you should still be able to see 20/40. We also use 20/40 as the mark of where you can "throw away your glasses," because once you vision is at that point, there is no legal requirement to ever wear glasses -- unless you want to be a pilot, in which case I think you must be correctable to 20/20.

Hope that helps and good luck! Its a ton of work but it really does pay off!

Offline Mercurial

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2011, 09:48:18 AM »
Welcome to this forum, Mercurial. I like your screen name.

Thank you!

There is no magic rhythm that is optimal for everyone. The key is to push yourself to the point of discomfort, but never pain or strain.  Some people might need to oscillated between D1 (perfect focus) and D2 (edge of blur) every minute or two.  Others might be able to "hang out at D2" for 15-30 minutes without a break.  This is more of an art than a science.  Play with different rhythms and find what allows you to make progress without pain.

Okay.  The examples you give here are quite helpful to me since I have a tendency to overtrain in pretty much everything I do; I've tended to spend somewhere around 60 to 90 minutes at what you call D2, figuring the eyestrain I was feeling was like the muscle strain from a pushup.  Knowing that 15-30 minutes during the one- to three-hour period is at the more far end of the spectrum gives me some perspective.  Thanks!

For actively working on your eyes, you want to stay between D1 and D2.  That means you can't apply the method while looking at distant signs with edge blur.  However, that doesn't mean that looking at distant signs or power lines that have some blur is without value!  Any distance viewing helps, even if you can't perfectly resolve edges.  In fact, sometimes if the light is bright enough and you allow your eyes to relax, you'll be lucky enough to get crisp flashes or periods of good focus.  Sometimes this occurs as "double vision" superimposing a crisp edge or line over a blur.  I think all of that is beneficial, but it is not a systematic exercise like print pushing at the edge of blur.

I can actually summon those flashes of clarity at will by blinking hard.  I get 20/20 vision for a moment and then watch it wash away slowly over the course of two to three seconds.  That's been a truism for about ten years now.  I once asked an optometrist about it and she said that this was due to moisturizing the eye.  I kind of don't believe her because putting saline solution or thicker eye lubricants on my eyes doesn't have the same effect at all.  So I'm still not sure what to make of it.  I try not to use those flashes because they're so brief and make the eye training a lot easier, which I take to mean that the eyes aren't actually getting the training they need.

In any case, this was really helpful.  It's good to know that the training of looking in the distance is really meant to be of an entirely different kind than the print-pushing.  Thank you for clarifying that for me.  :)

Probably some combination of intense focused exercises and natural exertion is best in ANY field of strengthening or rehabilitation, whether that be for muscles, eyes, or even the brain!

Yes, I'm quite inclined to agree.  I'm an educational psychologist who dabbles in neurology, and I had started concluding many of the things you talk about with Hormatism but specifically in a learning and skill-development context.  In fact, my dissertation is on the key role that struggle plays in developing mathematical understanding that's novel to the person who is struggling.  I just never thought to apply this same reasoning to areas outside the mind before.  Thank you again for that.  :)

Offline Mercurial

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2011, 09:53:57 AM »
Let me include this suggestion.  Print this Snellen eye-chart out:

http://www.i-see.org/block_letter_eye_chart.pdf

Put it on a wall at 20 feet, and shine a bright light on it.  Then find out which line you can read 1/2 the letters.  Record that line number.  Then use this chart consistently.  I know it might not be "too good" -- but you do need a base-line to judge your progress.  As I published in another place, 20/40 is acceptable for FAA 3rd class license. 

Like weight-loss (if on a diet), Snellen clearing is honestly slow.  Once you have established a "line" on the Snellen, you don't have to check for about a month.

Thank you for the suggestion!  I'm not entirely sure what this will do for me, though.  I know that measurement is usually a good idea, but in this case I'd be concerned that the measurements are superfluous.  If my Snellen rating improves but I can't see any improvement in my day-to-day functioning, I'm not sure what the Snellen clearing tells me.  And vice versa: if I find I can read the titles of my books from across the room again without glasses, I kind of don't care what the Snellen chart says my visual rating is.  Am I missing something?

Learning is indeed "interacting" with people, like Todd, who are successful.  So keep posting, and we will help as much as we can.

Will do.  Thank you!

Offline Mercurial

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2011, 10:04:03 AM »
Todd and Otis have seem to have answered most of your questions already, so I will just add a few points. First, I would like to reiterate that progress will be slow and non-existent at times.

Indeed.  Most progress worth making is usually pretty slow.  It takes a long time to convince neurons that they need to rearrange instead of just changing their firing patterns.  I can be patient.  :)  Thank you for the reminder!

Try out different strategies (different distances, etc) and see what works best for you.

I'm actually not sure what you're suggesting here.  Would you mind elaborating a bit?

I would highly recommend reading through the entire eyesight without glasses thread (yes, all 500 or something posts!). I think you will find that a lot of your questions have already been asked, even questions you didn't know you had.

Yes, I would like to do that.  It's just a matter of time and efficiency.  After getting something like five pages into it I determined that it would be vastly more efficient for me just to ask my two questions, and I'm glad I have.  But I'll read through that monster soon enough.  :)

Also, let me clarify why we talk about driving without glasses. In the United States (I don't know if this is different on other countries), the legal cut-off for driving is 20/40 vision. That is why if you get a reduced prescription lens you should still be able to see 20/40. We also use 20/40 as the mark of where you can "throw away your glasses," because once you vision is at that point, there is no legal requirement to ever wear glasses -- unless you want to be a pilot, in which case I think you must be correctable to 20/20.

I'm actually not worried about the "driving without glasses" thing.  I just put my glasses at the end of my nose and look over them.  I can see perfectly well enough to drive safely (and believe me, that isn't something I want to fudge!).  Having the glasses at the tip of my nose makes it easy for me to get immediate crispness the moment I need it just by tilting my head.  The only thing I seem to sacrifice by doing that is my ability to easily read traffic signs like the freeway exit signs.  The signs are still color- and shape-coded, though, so whatever I can't pick up by reading I can almost always make up with other kinds of visual perception.

I would certainly like to use underpowered glasses, and I think my current prescription is a bit underpowered by around a quarter diopter.  It's just a matter of cost.   :P

Thank you for your help and encouragement!

Offline shadowfoot

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011, 10:25:14 AM »
Try out different strategies (different distances, etc) and see what works best for you.

I'm actually not sure what you're suggesting here.  Would you mind elaborating a bit?


When you are applying the stress to convince you eyes to improve, you want to make sure to keep it between over-training and stressing your eyes out and not training enough, which will result in no improvement. This is basic and applies to any kind of stress you apply to your body -- you might say that it is the backbone of hormesis. How exactly you manage that is up to you. For example, you might find that using the plus lenses for 3-4 hours a day while occasionally print-pushing and allowing your eyes to clear is what works for you. Alternatively, you might find that doing two 15 minute sessions of print-pushing a day and not using the plus otherwise works best. Personally, I am very prone to eye strain and improve best by devoting most of my effort to relaxation and spending 15 minutes a day to going for a walk with my plus lenses (+2.5) on while otherwise not using them.I hope this clears up my point for you.

I think the Snellen is more useful and accurate than you are giving it credit for. If you use it under proper conditions (good lighting, don't squint or blink to force a line) it is a good way of tracking your progress. I have never improved a line on the Snellen where it was not blindly obvious I had done do when looking around outside. On the other hand, I have in the past thought my vision, based on looking outside, had improved, when it actually hadn't.  Thus, the Snellen provides a good way for me to really track my progress, or lack thereof, to figure out what is working and what isn't. But it certainly is not necessary.

Offline Mercurial

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 04:28:27 PM »
I hope this clears up my point for you.

I believe it has.  Thank you!

Thus, the Snellen provides a good way for me to really track my progress, or lack thereof, to figure out what is working and what isn't.

Ah, okay.  That seems sensible.

I just tried to measure it using the IVAC Otis posted a while back (since I don't seem to have any bright lamps or lights).  With various blinking tricks, I seem to have 20/50 in my left eye and 20/60 in my right.  (I actually get a flash of perfect clarity when I blink hard, but it goes by too quickly for me to read a line.)  Without blinking I can make out the 20/200 line but not the 20/100 one.  :P  I doubt my vision is actually that bad, though, since I have pretty much perfect vision with -2.5 in my left and -2.75 in my right for my glasses prescription.  (I can read parts of the 20/15 line with my glasses on.)  What Todd calls D2 varies a bit for me but seems to be right at about 15 inches away from the bridge of my nose when I'm not wearing any glasses.  (It's sometimes slightly less for my right eye, so I put a bit more training on that one.)  So I kind of suspect that my astigmatism is making my Snellen harder to read than one would expect for my actual amount of distance blur.

I'm reading through that monster thread now.  I've gotten about halfway through.  I'll post any more questions there.

Thanks everyone for your guidance so far!  I'm excited by the prospect of getting my vision back.  :D


Offline shadowfoot

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 05:40:43 AM »
Mercurial,

I generally do not count blinking or squinting in Snellen progress. I only count a line when I can keep it in focus long enough to read across the whole line and keep say all the letters. As for how good your vision is without glasses, I cannot say exactly, but I can give you my own personal experience. I currently have 20/15 vision without glasses, and if I put on +2.5 lenses I can only read the 20/200 line. This seems to verify your experience of having 20/200 vision, applying a -2.5 lens, and getting 20/15 vision.

Offline Mercurial

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Re: Seeking clarifications on myopia rehabilitation
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 10:56:09 PM »
Hello Shadowfoot,

Yes, I just got it confirmed.  I went to my eye doctor (since my newest pair of glasses was giving me headaches and I wanted to reduce the prescription anyway), and apparently my Snellen rating is somewhere between 20/100 and 20/200.

On the plus side (hah!), it seems my astigmatism might be getting weaker.  I've been doing the print-pushing and long-distance gazing regularly for about a week or so now, so it could be because of that.  It could also be simply that the doctor mis-measured me in the first place.  We'll see!  (Pun only partially intended.  :D )